Education Administration, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. degree is offered in two program concentrations: higher education administration and CD-12 education administration. Each prepares students for a variety of leadership positions in institutions and agencies related to the emphasis of their studies. Those earning the degree serve as university administrators, school superintendents and principals, administrators in school districts and government agencies, college and university faculty, and other related leadership capacities.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Advanced program candidates possess a high level of oral, written, and technological communication skills, with specialization for the specific professional role(s) emphasized in the program. For doctoral programs, candidates are prepared to publish and present at conferences.
  2. Advanced program candidates conduct research using rigorous scientific practices.
  3. Using systematic and professionally accepted approaches, advanced program candidates demonstrate inquiry skills, showing their ability to investigate questions relevant to their practice and professional goals.
  4. Advanced program candidates demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the extant literature in K-12 Educational Leadership and/or Higher Education.


Applicants must complete the Graduate School application. 

Degree Requirements (51 Post-Masters Hours/36 Post-Specialist Hours)

The total number of hours required may vary depending on prior graduate coursework completed, but must be no less than the hours stated. Based on the curriculum described below, a program of study will be developed with the student’s advisor and must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Dean of the Graduate School. Courses listed on the program of study must be completed no more than 10 years prior to graduation.

Qualifying Examination

A writing sample, as one part of a three-part interview process, serves as the qualifying examination.


Coursework is designed to ensure that at the completion of the program the student can demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions developed in each of the following 4 areas.

Area 1 - Doctoral Core Courses (9 Hours)

9 hours of required doctoral core courses. Required for students completing the Higher Education Administration and the CD-12 Education Administration concentrations.

Course Title Credits
EDLP 805Advanced Educational Policy Analysis3
EDLP 806Theories of Educational Leadership3
EDLP 807Seminar in Selected Topics in Educational Administration3
Total Credit Hours9

Area 2 - Concentration Courses (Post-Masters 12 hours; Post-Specialist 0-12 as approved by academic advisor)

CD-12 Education Administration Concentration

A minimum of 12 hours of coursework related to CD-12 education administration as approved by advisor. Possible courses include, but are not limited to the following:

Course Title Credits
EDLP 753Advanced Methods of Instructional Supervision3
EDLP 754Educational Finance3
EDLP 755Educational Policy Analysis3
EDLP 756The Superintendency3
EDLP 757AThe Superintendent in Practice I3
EDLP 757BThe Superintendent in Practice II3
EDLP 758School Building Planning3
Higher Education Administration Concentration

12 hours of EDHE (or EDLP) coursework related to higher education administration. Possible courses include, but are not limited to the following:

Course Title Credits
EDHE 720Advanced Study in Adult Education3
EDHE 730Evolution of Higher Education in America3
EDHE 732The American College Student3
EDHE 734The Community/Technical College3
EDHE 736Financial Aspects of Higher Education3
EDHE 737Legal Aspects of Higher Education3
EDHE 738Principles of College Teaching3
EDHE 830Organization, Administration, and Governance of Higher Education3
EDHE 832Special Topics in Higher Education 13
EDHE 833Contemporary Trends/Issues in Higher Education3
EDHE 835Leadership in Higher Education3
EDHE 839Institutional Assessment in Higher Education3
EDHE 851Comparative Higher Education3

Course topics may include, e.g., Ethics, Diversity in Higher Education, Equity & Access in Higher Education, Curriculum in Higher Education, Disability in Higher Education, Film & Fiction.

Area 3 - Doctoral Research Cognate (Post-Masters 18 hours; Post-Specialist 15-18 hours as approved by academic advisor)

Research Methods Requirement
Course Title Credits
EDLP 808Field Problems in Educational Administration: The Literature3
9 hours in research selected from below (or other courses approved by advisor)9
Educational Statistics I
Educational Statistics II
Design and Analysis of Educational Surveys
Qualitative Inquiry
Narrative Inquiry
Ethnography and Education
Qualitative Case Study
Survey of Research Methods
6 additional hours of research as approved by advisor6
Total Credit Hours18

Area 4 - Dissertation Preparation (12 Hours)

A minimum of 12 hours in courses to prepare the student for the dissertation:

Course Title Credits
EDLP 899Dissertation Preparation12
Total Credit Hours12

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination for the Ph.D. degree includes a written and oral examination.


Every candidate for a doctoral degree is required to successfully complete and defend a dissertation. Prior to preparing a dissertation, a proposal is required. The dissertation proposal must be approved by the student’s Dissertation Committee. The degree candidate must successfully defend the dissertation [oral defense] before his or her Dissertation Defense Committee.