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. The Maryville 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 EdD online and learn to impact higher education on a grand scale.

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100% online coursework

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Attend your residency on campus or online

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Complete your courses and dissertation simultaneously

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Receive personal mentorship from scholar-practitioner faculty

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 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

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission — HLC

Forbes America's Top Colleges 2017

Ranked among “America’s Top Colleges” — Forbes, 2017

Kiplinger's Best College Values

Ranked among the best values in private colleges
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, 2017


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

What can I do with an online EdD?

Our EdD 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 doctorate in higher education online is a great way to increase your earning potential.


Chief Academic Officer


Dean of Students


Department Chair


College/University President


Academic Dean


Admissions Director




Postsecondary Education Administrator


* All median salaries based on January 2016 reports from

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 EdD may be your best option.

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

Practice-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 EdD, you can apply existing research to the critical issues impacting your institution and inform decisions directly.

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

What will I learn in the online EdD in higher education leadership program?

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. The program is designed for completion in as few as 32 months of year-round study.

Doctor of Education - Higher Education Leadership Curriculum

EDHL 750Reflective Leadership Practice & Inquiry3 Credits
EDHL 751The College Student Experience3 Credits
EDHL 752Leadership in Higher Education3 Credits
EDHL 753Educational Research Methods3 Credits
EDHL 754The Competitive Context of Higher Education3 Credits
EDHL 755Research Residency 13 Credits
EDHL 756The Academic Community3 Credits
EDHL 757Organizational Leadership in Higher Education3 Credits
EDHL 758Understanding Data & Analysis3 Credits
EDHL 759Strategic Change & Innovation3 Credits
EDHL 700EDHL 700-EDHL 7153 Credits
EDHL 760Research Residency 23 Credits
EDHL 761Performance and Accountability3 Credits
EDHL 762Leading in a Complex Environment3 Credits
EDHL 763Dissertation Research and Writing3 Credits
EDHL 764Portfolio and Final Dissertation Defense3 Credits
EDHL 790Dissertation Proposal0 Credits
EDHL 791Dissertation Defense0 Credits

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