Higher Education and Leadership Studies, Ed.D.

Complete your application by June 1st, 2021 and receive $1000 off your Fall 2021 class. *Available to new entering Fall 2021 graduate students.

Edgewood College offers an innovative three to three and one half-year Ed.D. program designed for working professionals in the areas of educational leadership in higher education, educational agency, and corporate education environments. As a student in this professional course of study, you’ll deepen your leadership capacities and position yourself for administrative and faculty positions. You will have the opportunity to integrate with leaders, faculty members, and deans from institutions of higher learning, including the Wisconsin Technical College system, public and private four-year colleges and universities, for-profit and online learning centers, and businesses and agencies that lead educational initiatives.

Program Overview

  • 54-credits, ending in an Ed.D. and dissertation. With steady enrollment and progress, students can complete the program in 3-4 years.
  • You will take a series of courses, two at a time, with research courses introduced early to provide a foundation for study and your own research.
  • An example of course sequencing beginning in Fall 2021.
  • To maximize your online learning experience, we offer optional residency opportunities in Madison, WI. These in-person opportunities will build relationships and allow you to connect with faculty early on, making future conversations and classwork richer.


  • Offered fully online with synchronous and asynchronous meeting times.
  • Sessions are a combination of synchronous and asynchronous meetings. Synchronous sessions may include discussions with the full class or small group, or student-faculty meetings. Students are expected to attend and participate in the synchronous meetings for each class.
  • Both Blackboard and Web Ex, a video conferencing tool, support our online learning environment. Learn more about how online learning works and the expectations of a successful online learner.



On-Demand Webinar

Want to learn more? View our webinar to learn about the Higher Education Doctoral Program.

Admission Requirements

Application deadline - The priority application deadline for all 2020 Higher Education is August 1, 2020. Applications received after August 1 will be reviewed and accepted on a space-available basis.

  1. Complete and submit the Ed.D. application (Contact your admission counselor to find out how to apply for free.).
  2. Provide evidence of a master's degree from a United States regionally accredited or equivalent post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for regular admission status. The cumulative grade point average is computed on the highest degree held at the time of application to the Edgewood College graduate program.
  3. Request that official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions be sent directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies.
  4. Provide two letters of recommendation. One of the letters must attest to the applicant's ability to be successful as a doctoral student. The second letter should give evidence of the applicant's ability to collaborate with colleagues and demonstrate strength in leadership. Letters should be mailed directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies, 1000 Edgewood College Dr., Madison, WI 53711.
  5. Submit a letter of intent including a brief statement of the reason for pursuing the doctoral degree in educational leadership, and a brief discussion about how the program can help the applicant reach personal and professional goals.
  6. Provide a resume or curriculum vitae that includes but is not limited to the areas listed below:
    • Education: Major(s), schools attended, degrees obtained and dates of attendance
    • Professional positions held
    • Presentations made to organizations, groups and professional associations
    • Honors/ awards received
    • Memberships in professional and other organizations
    • Community Service: Name(s) of organizations, description of activities and positions held
  7. International Students may have additional admission requirements.Learn more.

Transfer Credits

Upon regular admission, an applicant may submit up to 18 semester hours of graduate credit from other United States regionally accredited (or equivalent) post-secondary institutions for consideration of transfer to Edgewood College for application to a degree program. Approval of the respective department is required. To be considered for application to a degree program, a course must have been taken within the past five years, must have a "B" or better grade for courses receiving a letter grade of "A" through "F" (if the grade is "P" the equivalency is determined by the appropriate school or department), must be relevant to the degree program to which it is being applied, and must not have been applied toward another degree. Grades from transfer courses are not computed in the Edgewood College GPA. Applicants should make known to the program director any course credit to be submitted for review for transfer upon application if those credits fall within the policy requirements.

Course Requirements

850: Doctoral Writing and Foundations of Leadership

3 credits
Throughout the Edgewood Ed.D. program, we expect students will develop and grow in their skills, capabilities and dispositions as Edgewood leaders, academic writers, and scholarly researchers. This course focuses on academic writing and Edgewood Leadership. Students will explore and apply the foundational elements of academic writing as well as the Dominican ethos that forms the cornerstone of the Edgewood leader identity. This ethos is made up of a commitment to learning that is anchored in our Dominican heritage, a serious reflection of what this work really means to us, and an intentional movement towards action as a calling to us.

852: Consumer of Research

3 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to basic research concepts and research ethics. The goal of this course is to equip students with an understanding of commonly employed research methodologies that are used to address and solve problems in their professional worlds. The course introduces students to the language of research, ethical principles and challenges as they pertain to the research process, and basic elements of the research process within quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches. Further, students will learn how to effectively use the library resources and services to access the most credible and current sources. Students will learn techniques for locating, evaluating, and organizing information to be used in research papers. Students will also learn how to critically review research articles as a means of evaluating the credibility and usability of sources, and to determine how research findings are useful in forming their understanding of their work.

854: Leadership Theory and Practice

3 credits
This seminar introduces students to issues in US higher education with a focus on the evolving purpose(s) of higher education and some of the social, political, and economic pressures that have prompted that evolution. We will examine higher education in the US from its origins to the present in relation to how this history informs contemporary issues of leadership regarding faculty roles, student populations, curriculum/programs of study, and assessment/accountability. Students will be introduced to emergent research that aids educational leaders in deepening their knowledge of the complex system(s) of colleges and universities that comprise contemporary higher education.

856: Foundations-Quantitative Research

3 credits
This course introduces students to the process of evaluating and conducting quantitative research in the higher education field. Students learn the basic methods of quantitative research such as correlational survey research, experimental research, and quasi-experiment research. Besides, this course is designed to help students understand the basic concepts of statistics used in educational research. This course will include eight learning modules with topics ranging from descriptive to inferential statistics. Specific topics include frequency distributions, central tendency, variability, probability theory, and hypothesis testing. As part of the class requirement, students are expected to practice SPSS software on descriptive analysis (frequency, mean, variance, standard deviation, etc.), and basic inferential statistical analysis of comparing mean difference using one sample. The goal is for students to acquire necessary skills and abilities to work with real data of students’ dissertation later in the research sequence.

858: Organization Development

3 credits
This course allows students to utilize, and build upon, their leadership skills in the analysis of organizational structure, development, and change. Students will have the opportunity to apply behavioral science theories and current research concerning individuals, teams, and organizations to the dynamics and mechanisms of organizational change. Through course readings, group interactions, and self-reflection students will analyze and diagnose ongoing activities within their organization and identify appropriate interventions to facilitate organizational change. Additionally, students will identify how the traditional organizational structures with higher education may benefit from organizational development. Furthermore, students will explore how organizational development is different from other models of change and how leaders address stakeholders’ resistance to change.

860: Special Topic

3 credits
This is a special topics course in higher education and leadership studies. The course topic and title are TBD.  

862: Finance in Higher Education

3 credits
Finance of Higher Education serves as an introduction to higher education finance and budgeting and features an exploration of the many fiscal issues facing higher education. It is an examination of institutions of higher education (public, private, non-profit, community colleges, research, comprehensive) through a financial, organizational, and leadership lens. Much of the focus will be devoted to examining how financial decisions--past, present, and future--impact student access, perceived value, and the mission of colleges and universities. Topics include budgeting, financial planning and analysis, financial decision-making processes, cost, quality of education, student debt, sustainability, fund raising, and organizational culture. Dimensions of ethics, diversity, inclusion, and leadership are major components of our learning. The goal of this course is to empower current and future educational leaders with an understanding of financial issues and their effect on culture, organizational behavior, decision-making, mission, and College/University sustainability. Through this understanding, the students can build their own leadership strategies to promote the mission of their institutions.

864: Qualitative Foundations

3 credits
This course introduces the foundations that guide qualitative inquiry, also known as “naturalistic inquiry”. Students will learn about philosophical and epistemological underpinnings of qualitative research, a basic over view of 5 approaches, qualitative methods (specific research tools- e.g., interviews), and qualitative methodology (justification for using a particular research approach or tool). In addition to providing an overview of qualitative research methodologies, students in this course will have an opportunity to apply theories to practice by designing a qualitative research project. The readings, class discussions, and online activities, will prompt reflection on your identity as a researcher and the complexities involved in qualitative inquiry. Students will explore methodological assumptions, topic selection, research question development, participant selection, relationships with participants, data collection and data analysis methods, validity criteria, and interpretive and representational decisions. The goals of the course are for students to learn criteria by which to evaluate contemporary qualitative research and to gain beginning knowledge and skills for designing and conducting qualitative inquiry.

866: Inclusive Leadership

3 credits
The course takes as a core assumption that inclusion is a concept of shared power. The goal of the course is therefore to help student learners identify a strategy whereby they can individually work with people significantly different from themselves in policy, design and decision-making, particularly as it relates to higher education. This course will help students develop a foundation for research-based practices in the area of inclusion and diversity. Students will therefore leave with a working knowledge of how to create and implement a framework for inclusive excellence and diversity. Guided by a comprehensive strengths-based perspective, students will leave the course with the ability to understand: (1) the impact of racial/ethnic and gender stratification on the higher education system; (2) institutional/organizational and social psychological barriers that systematically impede achievement outcomes; and (3) strengths-based strategies to eliminate racial, ethnic and gender barriers at multiple levels – policy, organizational and individual.  

868: Special Topic

3 credits
This is the second special topics course in the higher education and leadership studies program pertains to government influence in higher education. Learning outcomes and instructor(s) TBD.

870: Strategic Leadership

3 credits
Students will focus on leadership decision-making, organizational planning, and creating positive organizational change within the complex systems of higher education. Students will plan a major change management process for their own institutions and they will utilize a systems-based approach to decision-making in higher education. Finally, students will evaluate strategic planning processes and structures in higher education.

872: Special Topics: Research

3 credits
This is the third special topics in higher education course, and it's offered in the summer term of year 2. The course is a research course and will be co-taught by a quantitative and qualitative research expert. Students will focus on quant or qual methods, depending on what they intend to pursue for their dissertation. This is a practical and applied research course.

874: Higher Education Law

3 credits
Students will be introduced to a spectrum of legal issues commonly raised at institutions of higher education (IHE). Because the law intersects with all facets of campus operations, this course will provide a framework that explores the intersection between the law and both internal and external partnerships. There is a need for IHE leaders to understand their responsibilities to rights of students, faculty and staff, as well as the broader community so that partnerships become a conduit to sustainability for an institution and its affiliates. Students will identify and describe major legal issues in higher education.They will analyze case law and understand how court rulings should inform policies and procedures and learn how to brief a case by spotting issues and identifying the dispositive facts of a case. Finally, students will learn how to approach and resolve a challenge from the perspective of different stakeholders.

876: Applied Research

3 credits
This course gives all students an opportunity to develop a hands-on pilot research project that is aligned with the students’ dissertation inquiry. The goal is to help students get the preliminary research experience by applying one research methodology student learned from the research courses in the program and run a real pilot research project. This course will include four components: Study planning, data collection, data and analysis preparation, and concluding reflection. Students are expected to consider the research ethics and issues related to the proposed pilot project, draft an IRB proposal for review, and follow the recruitment and data collection procedures ethically. Students are expected to present their pilot research findings as the end product of this course and use it as a foundation for the dissertation work.

878: Portfolio and Reflection

1 credits
In this one-credit course, students will complete their portfolio: a compilation of reflections and key assessments completed prior to the dissertation. Students will also have an opportunity to attend face-to-face meetings. The meetings are intended to introduce students to their dissertation committees and to build community with them. As part of the portfolio process, students will compile key assessments and complete reflections that highlight their academic writing, scholarly research, and leadership skills and their identities in each domain.

880: Special Topic: Writing and Research

3 credits
This course will focus on applying academic writing standards to the proposal. Topics will include the use of the following components of quality academic writing: solid organization and coherence, APA style and format, headings, tables and figures, citations, and references. Students will incorporate multiple iterations of feedback and be supported towards a successful proposal presentation and dissertation defense. Students will prepare a proposal using components of academic writing and prepare for a formal proposal presentation.

882: Dissertation Writing

3 credits
This course aids students’ journeys from discerning their topic towards the creation of and successful presentation of their proposals. To do so, students will be introduced to a variety of resources, including the dissertation template and quality review guide. The course will also provide multiple iterations of expert feedback to hone and align student proposal components. Students will draft and edit their proposals with the aid of research faculty. They will learn to incorporate multiple rounds of feedback from faculty members and from their advisor. At the completion of the course, students will be prepared for their proposal presentation.

884: Dissertation Proposal

1 credits
This course allows students to convene their committee members for their proposal presentation. Following the Dissertation Writing course, the student now presents their Chapters 1-3 to the dissertation committee. Through 12 suggested slides, students outline the research question and their plan for data collection and analysis.  

886: Dissertation Research

3 credits
This course allows students to conduct their dissertation research as outlined in their Institutional Research Board (IRB) material and methodology section of their approved dissertation proposal. Students employ the data collection techniques relevant to their proposal, followed by the appropriate data analysis. Students write chapter 4, “What the data says,” and chapter 5, “What the data means”. These chapters integrate feedback from the advisor and possible research faculty consultations, in addition to editorial feedback. Students will also revise Chapters 1, 2, and 3 both to change verb tense to past tense, and incorporate committee feedback from proposal meeting. Student and advisor may work together to determine how to proceed on committee recommendations.

888: Dissertation Defense

1 credits
This course allows students to convene their committee members for their defense presentation. Following the Proposal Presentation, the candidate now presents their findings to the dissertation committee. Through 20 suggested slides, students outline the research question, data collection, and research findings.

Course Schedule

Program Notes: 54 credits and successful defense needed for degree completion. In spring term, if Easter is lands on second weekend, then we have moved synchronous meeting to following weekend. For summer term, we host the synchronous class one week before classes formally begin to allow more time later in the summer.

Year 1 2020-2021

Semester Course Date Time
Fall 852: Consumer of Research (3)
850: Doctoral Writing & Foundations of Leadership (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST
Spring 856: Quantitative Foundations (3)
854: Leadership Theory & Practice (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST
Summer 860: Special Topics (3)
858: Organizational Development (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST

Year 2 2021-2022

Semester Course Date Time
Fall 864: Qualitative Foundations (3)
862: Finance (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST
Spring 868: Special Topics (3)
866: Inclusive Leadership (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST
Summer 872: Special Topics: advanced quant or advanced qual (3)
870: Strategic Leadership (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST

Year 3 2022-2023

Semester Course Date Time
Fall 876: Applied Research (3)
874: Law (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST
Winterim 878: Portfolio Reflective & Review (1) TBD TBD
Spring 880: Special Topics: Academic Writing (3)
882: Dissertation Writing (3)
10:00-11:30 CST
11:30-12:30 break
12:30-2:00 CST
Summer 884: Dissertation Proposal (1) Independent work Independent work

Year 3.5 2023-2024

Semester Course Date Time
Fall 886: Dissertation Research & Analysis (1-3 variable credit). 3 total credits needed. Independent work Independent work
Spring 888: Dissertation Defense: successful defense required for commencement participation Independent work Independent work

Tuition and Financial Aid

Pursuing your doctorate in education (Ed.D.) is the next step for many educators looking to expand their career opportunities. An Ed.D. not only adds to your professional qualifications but it builds your network, deepens your understanding of research methods, and strengthens your academic writing.

Some students interested in a doctorate in education question the value of earning a Ph.D. vs. an Ed.D. This article in Inside Higher Ed provides a brief comparison of the strengths of each degree.

The Chronicle of Higher Education compiles information on the salaries paid to senior administrative positions. Learn more about the compensation you might expect for various positions at higher education institutions.

Tuition and Credits

Graduate tuition for the 2021-2022 year is $1052 per credit (effective Summer 2021).

The Board of Trustees sets the tuition annually so a small increase each year is possible. In addition, doctoral students pay a $105 fee each term.  Books and other instructional supplies would be in addition to this cost.

The Edgewood Ed.D. program is designed to take students between three and three and a half years to complete, while the typical doctoral program takes five years, as a full-time student, to complete.

Completion Equals Success

Tuition is only one factor in choosing a program. Completion rates are another important element of doctoral programs. Edgewood College boasts an 85 percent completion rate, compared to 57 percent at other institutions.

Therefore, your chances of attending Edgewood College and completing your degree are much higher, making it a smart investment of both time and money.

Our individual attention to student support helps guide each student through meaningful, engaging coursework, research, and dissertation completion.

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Learn more about Stafford Loans, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Links of Interest
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