PhD/EdD, Leadership: Higher Education Leadership Specialization
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Develop Your Expertise in Higher Education Leadership with a PhD or EdD from Concordia University Chicago

Higher education faces more challenges today than ever before. Leaders in the field must have expertise in managing the financial and educational aspects of running a school, while also understanding the laws and regulations that affect institutions of higher learning. Earning a doctorate in educational leadership prepares graduates to become valued experts in this field.

The online EdD and PhD in Leadership: Higher Education Specialization programs from Concordia University Chicago offer innovative degree options from a university of distinction. Both doctorate programs focus on producing ethical experts in higher education who are ready to assume the top jobs in university administration.

PhD in Higher Educational Leadership
  • Theoretical and abstract
  • Research-focused
  • “Big-picture” approach
  • 67 credit hours
EdD in Higher Educational Leadership
  • Practical and applicable
  • Action-based
  • Focused approach
  • 61 credit hours

The Higher Education Leadership PhD and EdD programs from Concordia University Chicago will help students:

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of higher education institutions.
  • Hone leadership and administration skills applicable to higher education institutions.
  • Explore policies, practices and issues facing public and private post-secondary institutions.
  • Develop research skills that stem from evidence-based decision making.

Experts in higher education leadership and administration are in greater demand than ever before as colleges and universities face increasing financial constraints and more competition. They also must guide schools and students into the distance-learning era as online courses and degree programs continue to grow. Earning an EdD or PhD in educational leadership prepares you to advance into top administration positions in this challenging and rewarding field.

Prepare for Higher Education Leadership with an Online EdD or PhD from Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago offers a variety of specialized degrees in many industries, including healthcare, business, education and human services. The Higher Education Leadership PhD and EdD programs are designed to prepare graduates with the latest knowledge and skills needed to develop expertise in running a post-secondary academic institution.

Among the topics covered in the doctorate in educational leadership program are:

  • Research-Based Decision Making
  • Leadership Theories and Professional Practice
  • Developing the Organization’s Human Capital
  • Promoting and Leading Change
  • Creating and Leading a Learning Organization
Degree Program Specifications

The Higher Education Leadership PhD program requires 67 credit hours of online coursework, including a comprehensive exam and dissertation. The EdD program has two less research courses and a total of 61 credit hours. All online courses are eight weeks in duration.

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission into the Higher Education Leadership PhD or EdD program at Concordia University Chicago, students must have earned a master’s degree with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Prospective students must complete the free online application and submit all required admission materials:

  • Objective Statement – Write a brief statement outlining your education and career goals and explain how a doctorate in educational leadership from Concordia University Chicago will help you fulfill those objectives.
  • Official Transcripts – Provide one official, sealed transcript from each institution that has granted you a degree.
  • Graduate Exam Scores – Submit an official copy of your current Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores. (Test results must be dated within the prior three years). There is no minimum score required to be accepted.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Send two letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to comment on your academic proficiency, professional competencies, personal character and potential for doctoral study.
  • Professional Resume – Provide a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae, including relevant work experience, degrees, certifications, and skills.
  • Writing Sample – Submit a paper that demonstrates your ability to write in a scholarly manner at a level typical of graduate work. A paper from your master’s program would be most appropriate. This sample should approach, but not exceed, five pages in length.

International applicants may be required to submit additional supporting materials, such as proof of English language proficiency and a foreign transcript evaluation from an approved credentialing service. For full requirements, visit the Admission & Tuition page. 

There is no application fee to apply for the online EdD or PhD in educational leadership program at Concordia University Chicago.

PhD/EdD, Leadership: Higher Education Leadership Specialization: 61-67 Credit Degree Program

Course name

Credit hours


Research-Based Decision Making
The Leader as Trainer, Mentor, and Coach
Leader Development: Cultivating, Sustaining, and Renewing the Organization
Leadership Communication and Decision-Making
Agents of Change

Select five:  

The Pursuit of Leadership Excellence
Critical Issues in Leadership
Leadership Theories and Professional Practice
Developing the Organization’s Human Capital
Leading the Knowledge Enterprise
Promoting and Leading Change
Creating and Leading a Learning Organization
Strategic Forecasting and Planning


Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge (PhD only)
Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Leadership (EdD only)
Organizational ChangePolicy Analysis
Select one:  
Leadership: Politics, Power and Applied Ethics
Ethics for Educational Leaders
Sports Leadership and Ethics
Research and Statistics for the EdD, Practitioner Track  
Research Design 4
Select two:  
Survey Research
Qualitative Research
Methods of Action Research Inquiry
Quantitative Research
Research and Statistics for the PhD, Researcher Track  
Research Design
Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research
Mixed Methods Research
Select one:  
Survey Research
Advanced Topics in Statistics
Advanced Topics in Qualitative Analysis
Career Outlook for Higher Education Leaders

Those who work in higher education leadership oversee student services, faculty research and academics at colleges and universities. They may lead large departments such as the registrar’s office, student life or admissions.

Demand is high for qualified professionals in this field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% increase in employment of postsecondary education administrators between 2016 and 2026.

Earning an EdD or PhD in Higher Education Leadership prepares graduates for many jobs, including:

  • College President
  • Director of Admissions
  • Alumni Relations Director
  • Continuing Education Specialist
  • Dean
  • Program Director

Salaries vary depending on the exact position and location. According to BLS data from May 2017, the median salary for postsecondary education administrators was $92,360 per year. The top 10% of postsecondary administrators earned over $182,150 annually.

Quality higher education leadership betters the lives of students, prepares tomorrow’s leaders and ensures that academic institutions operate efficiently, effectively and ethically. Earning an EdD or PhD in Higher Education Leadership prepares graduates to take on critical leadership roles in higher education.

Tuition & Financial Aid

If there is no interruption in your course of study at Concordia University Chicago, you are guaranteed there will be no increase in tuition rates. Contact us to confirm the current tuition and fees for the Higher Education Leadership PhD or EdD program. Students who enroll in the online program as a degree candidate are eligible to apply for federal financial aid.

Active-duty military service members, veterans and eligible dependents can take advantage of financial programs available to assist in paying for a college education. For more information, please visit our website.

Contact Information

Lori McGill-Sarago
Concordia University Chicago
Student Recruitment Manager


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