Online Doctor of Education – Higher Education Leadership

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Great leaders don’t accept the status quo.

They accept a challenge.

How do you improve delivery and efficacy in higher learning? How can you better prepare students for the workforce? How do you adapt to emerging technology and modern faculty-administration dynamics? It takes reflective, future-focused leadership to answer today’s big questions in higher education. Maryville’s online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership can provide you with the leadership abilities and perspective to meet the challenges of today — and tomorrow.

Explore higher education-focused leadership theory and develop the expertise to apply it in real-world situations. Build a contemporary understanding of administrative relationships and the student experience. Gain actionable insight into higher ed governance, policy, and financing to help you effect institutional change. Pursue your Maryville online Doctor of Education and learn to impact higher education on a grand scale.

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100% online coursework

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Option to attend residency on campus or virtually

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Complete your courses and dissertation simultaneously

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Receive personal mentorship from scholar-practitioner faculty

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Benefit from the added support of our cohort learning model

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Graduate in as few as 32 months

Why choose Maryville for your online Doctor of Education program?

We’re unlike other online EdD programs in a few major ways.


Most doctorate programs place the dissertation at the end of the program, but we believe it should be more than just a paper at the end of your study. It should inform your research, drive your leadership focus, and keep your writing and thinking sharp throughout the program. Incorporate valuable knowledge you gain as you learn it.


The online EdD program is more than a doctorate in education — it’s a doctorate in higher education leadership. Your focus will be squarely on impacting higher education at the institutional level. We want you to be in a position to help those institutions grow in the face of a fluctuating economy, changing technology, increased competition, and an influx of degrees in the job marketplace.


This means you benefit from smaller classes, more collaboration, and more individual attention and mentorship from faculty. You also get to continue coursework with the same classmates so you can develop your skills together.


As you work on your assignments and your dissertation, you will have complete access to the Maryville library and librarians. Additionally, your courses will include integrated writing tools, such as pre-submission proofreading with detailed feedback.

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Forbes America's Top Colleges
Kiplinger Best College Values
Money's Best Colleges

EdD holders stand out.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 1.9% of people over age 25 hold doctorate degrees.

Susan Bartel Associate Professor of Higher Education Leadership

Susan Bartel, EdD

Associate Professor of Higher Education Leadership

“I teach the Strategic Change & Innovation in higher education course, and one valuable lesson we teach in our program is understanding the perspectives of all constituents by putting yourself in the shoes of people you serve.”

What can I do with an online Doctor of Education?

Our online Doctor of Education is a leadership-focused degree that promotes strategic high-level decision-making. Of course, those who complete EdD programs can teach, but the degree is most applicable outside of the classroom. Positions at the top levels of higher education can empower you to have a greater influence. They can also prove to be very lucrative. Earning your online Doctorate in Education is a great way to advance your career and increase your earning potential.


College/University President


College/University Administrator


Department Chair


Dean of Students


Admissions Director


Chief Academic Affairs Officer/Provost


* Based on salary data compiled by
** Based on salary data compiled by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic


Why earn an EdD over a PhD in higher education?

Not all doctoral programs in higher education have the same value or utility. We want to make sure the skills you earn from your online education degree match your aspirations. Here are some reasons why an online Doctor of Education may be your best option.

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Time — Our online Doctor of Education degree is a 32-month, 48-credit program. Compared to a PhD in higher education you could be saving 1-3 years in completion time.

Magnifying Glass IconPractice-based research — In a PhD program, your primary goal is to master and extend the body of knowledge on a subject, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your research is applicable in a leadership role. With our doctorate in educational leadership online, you can apply existing research to the critical issues impacting your institution and inform decisions directly.

Professional IconLeadership — An online Doctor of Education is all about leadership. PhD programs are typically designed for specific academic disciplines. With an online EdD degree, you have the potential to become a provost or president of a university.

Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership Curriculum

The best higher education doctoral programs prepare you to address the critical issues that will shape the future of higher ed. That’s why we focus on topics like quantitative and qualitative data analysis, future-focused governance and finance, contemporary student experiences, new and innovative technologies, and just about anything else you may face in a leadership role. We also let you explore your individual interests through professional practice courses based on current trends in higher education. Our online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership program is designed for completion in as few as 32 months of year-round study. You can learn more about our program at our curriculum page.

Lead in and out of the classroom. Our curriculum can help you develop the competencies to be a top educator in the classroom, or to apply your knowledge and skills toward outstanding research. Learn to solve the complicated challenges of classroom dynamics in courses such as Leadership in Higher Education and Leading in a Complex Environment, and hone your research skills with Research Residency I and II and Understanding Data & Analysis. A dynamic, future-focused doctorate. At Maryville University, we have been bravely innovating in education for nearly 150 years. When you earn your Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership with us, we can help you take that mentality with you. With courses like Strategic Change & Innovation, we help you establish a progressive and change-oriented mindset, so wherever you go in the future of your education career, you’ll go with confidence. Leadership starts with compassion. As an educator, your students are a primary focus. That’s why our curriculum includes courses like the College Student Experience and Reflective Leadership Practice & Inquiry to help you understand your students and design your higher education strategies around their needs, concerns, and abilities.

Online Doctor of Education Admissions Requirements

  • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for master’s transcripts
  • Minimum of three years experience in the field of higher education (exceptions considered for demonstrated professional leadership experience transferable to higher ed)
  • Must submit both bachelor’s and master’s transcripts
  • Resume/C.V.
  • Personal essay: 500 – 600 words
  • Two professional letters of recommendation

Learn more on our admissions page.

Apply to the online Doctor of Education degree program at Maryville University.