Leadership in Higher Education

Doctor of Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

EdD Leadership in Higher Education digs deep into a variety of topics specific to higher education such as how higher education is organized, how it is financed, associated legal issues and the history of higher education. You will gain knowledge of educational leadership research, theory and practices applicable to higher education. In our unique one-on-one mentoring approach, your doctoral professors will have you conduct action or applied research to identify future directions of national and global higher education leadership. With a Leadership in Higher Education EdD, you will have the knowledge and skills to lead in the field of higher education.

General Degree Requirements

The EdD program may be completed in 54 credits. However, up to an additional 12 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the EdD program.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree Requirements

  • Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Doctor of Education Program.
  • Students must complete all doctoral courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (B) or higher.
  • EdD students must demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Doctoral Dissertation Process

The School of Education has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing an EdD applied research dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed EdD Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University's dissertation support structure. The EdD doctoral research courses, the comprehensive exam course and the dissertation courses are specifically designed to guide students through the process.

The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the EdD. The EdD dissertation is applied, project based and results in a product designed to produce appreciable improvements in the student's school or organization and must also impact the student's leadership growth. Although applied and project based, the EdD dissertation is a scholarly document. To earn the EdD degree, the student must demonstrate the ability, drive and determination; and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist in the attainment of high academic goals.

The School of Education offers students the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization within a degree program. Students who complete at least 18 semester credit hours in a specific specialization may elect to have the specialization recorded on their transcript and diploma.

Northcentral University recognizes that each student is unique, and therefore evaluates each application based not only on what courses or program of study a student has accomplished previously, but takes into consideration which specialization is being pursued at Northcentral University and their current and future professional goals.

Course Length

Existing EdD students may opt to switch to eight-week courses by contacting their Academic Advisor. Once existing EdD students have opted for eight-week courses, they must receive approval from the Office of the Dean to switch back to a program of 12-week courses. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


Organization and Governance of Higher Education

In this course, doctoral students will analyze and evaluate theories, models, and readings on approaches and structures for governing higher education organizations. This course is intended to help students understand the competencies and training necessary to undertake various operational and leadership roles. Doctoral students will gain a sound understanding of complex college and university organizations and develop a working understanding of the elements of organizations which comprise contemporary social systems. Students will explore major forces, issues, and themes which influence American society and in turn affect colleges and universities.


Legal Issues in Higher Education

In this course, students will develop a fundamental understanding of the importance of legal issues in higher education and their impact on individual rights and responsibilities as well as those of institutions of higher education.


Student Affairs Leadership

Within this course, doctoral Learners study the evolution and current practices of student affairs in higher education. The philosophical, historical, conceptual, and research foundations of the profession and the cultural and organizational contexts of student affairs will be explored. Learners will examine how various functional areas contribute to learning, personal development and other elements of the institutional mission. Learners will also explore how current trends in campus demographics impact student affairs programming.


Strategic Enrollment Leadership

In this course, students will learn the best principles and practices for leading recruitment, enrollment management, and institutional advancement efforts. Students will focus on effective enrollment management and leadership, recruitment, retention, institutional advancement, student service, targeted communication, applying technology to enrollment management and developing an institution-wide strategic enrollment process. Students have the opportunity to customize this course to their particular professional setting and goals.


Higher Education Finance

This course will provide students with an overview of financial issues applicable to higher education in the United States. Students will engage a broad foundation of theory, practice, research, and policy of higher education economics. Topics will include societal investment in higher education, methods of finance, costs of higher education, and budgeting concepts.


Current Trends and Topics in Higher Education

In this course, students will explore areas of interest in higher education. Often these areas are new topics of special interest to higher education. At times, areas of higher education that are receiving attention nationally will be highlighted through this course. Students will work with instructors to create a self-directed study plan on a topic appropriate for doctoral level study.


Foundations of Higher Education Leadership

Higher education leadership occurs in an environment of ambiguity and constant change. Leaders must be able and willing to embrace uncertainty, continually learning, and develop a deep understanding of their core values. The course is designed to provide foundational grounding in the study of leadership theory and research, in higher education. Emphasis will be given to the practical application of higher education leadership theories and the academic and administrative roles of an institution of higher education. Students will explore best practices to uncover links that can be made to increase the value of higher education practices.


Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education

In this course, students will explore institutional and programmatic planning in tandem with the concern for institutional effectiveness. A major goal of this course will be to ensure an understanding of and appreciation for the range of approaches that can be taken to strategic planning, explicitly linking all strategies with the principles and best practices that support the drive toward institutional effectiveness.


Community College Curriculum and Program Development

In this course, students will receive a general and introductory knowledge of curricular and leadership issues in a community college setting. Students will explore issues related to the community college curriculum relative to program development, student services, and leadership as well as assessment.


Introduction to the Community College

In this course, students will gain knowledge of the history, nature, and purpose of American community colleges with emphasis on college funding, leadership, staffing, service learning and the importance of the mission, vision, and values. Mastery is attained through developing a strategic plan addressing a current/recent college challenge.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s EdD costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $902
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,706
  • Program cost: $49,058
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.