Higher Education Management, EdD

Peerless in our focus on the unique strengths and challenges of senior-level leaders in higher education, the Executive Doctorate reaches far beyond a standard doctoral program, as it brings together cohorts of current senior leaders to challenge each other and engage with world-renown faculty— all without career interruption. The Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management trains an emerging generation of top higher education leaders from campuses, government, and affiliated organizations to manage resources strategically, leverage evidence-based decision-making, create entrepreneurial opportunities, challenge practices critically, and conquer the dynamics of complex organizations. The program redefines academic inquiry: we focus on using sound analytic principles to tackle relevant, practical questions of strategy for governing broad segments of the higher education enterprise. Our alumni form a growing and influential network of college presidents, vice presidents, deans, and other leaders who overwhelmingly report that the program propelled their careers and increased their impact.


A minimum of 20 course units is required for graduation.1

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
SummerCourse Units
EDHE 501 Introduction to Doctoral Studies 0.5
EDHE 502 Contemporary Issues 2 1
EDHE 504 Proseminar I 0.5
Transfer Credit 2-8
 Course Units4.00
EDHE 505 Proseminar II 0.67
EDHE 506 Strategic Management Research I 1
EDHE 507 Quantitative Methods I 0.33
EDHE 508 Qualitative Methods I 0.67
EDHE 521 Leadership, Governance, and Strategy 1
EDHE 616 Advanced Topics in Higher Education Management III 0.33
 Course Units4.00
EDHE 512 Proseminar III 1
EDHE 513 Strategic Management Research II 1
EDHE 514 Quantitative Methods II 0.67
EDHE 515 Qualitative Methods II 0.33
EDHE 516 Higher Education Finance 2 0.5
EDHE 517 Equity and Diversity 1
EDHE 519 University and Its Community 2 0.33
EDHE 523 Globalization 0.33
 Course Units5.16
Second Year
EDHE 601 International Context 3 2
 Course Units2.00
EDHE 509 Public Policy 4 1
EDHE 518 Managing Intercollegiate Athletics 0.33
EDHE 602 Student and Campus Services 0.33
EDHE 605 Enrollment Management 0.33
EDHE 606 Dissertation Workshop I 0.5
EDHE 615 Leadership and Change for Higher Education's Future 0.33
EDHE 616 Advanced Topics in Higher Education Management III 0.33
 Course Units3.15
EDHE 609 Capstone Seminar 0.33
EDHE 610 Advancement 0.33
EDHE 611 Teaching and Learning 0.33
EDHE 613 Dissertation Workshop II 0.5
EDHE 617 Community Colleges 0.33
EDHE 619 Quality/Risk Management 0.33
 Course Units2.15
 Total Course Units20.46

Course Requirements

Candidates for the Executive Doctorate must complete the equivalent of at least 20 course units of approved graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree. Admission to the Executive Doctorate requires a master’s degree (M.S. or M.A.) or professional degree (M.B.A., J.D., M.S.W., M.P.A., M.Ed.) and transfer of eight post-baccalaureate courses. These credits must be approved by the program director.

Students are admitted to the Executive Doctorate as a cohort. A minimum of 12 course units of graduate work is included in the program. The program consists of a prescribed curriculum that students take as a single cohort offered over six consecutive semesters of enrollment—there are no elective courses or distribution requirements. Students begin in August, and complete coursework over the next five terms. Dissertations are completed during the sixth and final semester of the program. All degree students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least “B” in order to graduate.

CU count

The program is designed as an integrated twenty-two month experience where all classes are predetermined and continue across terms. Students are considered full time and pay a flat tuition/program fee rate regardless of the number of course units they are registered for each term.

Elective courses

The course load per term for Executive Doctorate students is prescribed; students may not take additional courses, either at Penn or elsewhere, nor may students drop or add courses, during the period of their enrollment

Dissertation Requirements

Information regarding program candidacy, the doctoral preliminary examination, forming a dissertation committee, holding an oral proposal hearing and scheduling a final defense can be found on the GSE website.

Dissertation Supervision Registration

For students registered after the sixth semester of the program, registration for consecutive semesters is required in the form of dissertation supervision (EDUC 995). Applicable Penn tuition and fees will apply.

Registering for dissertation supervision does not necessarily mean that a student is on dissertation status. Dissertation status is attained once a student completes all coursework and passes the preliminary examination.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2021 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.