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 19 course units is required for graduation.1

Required Courses
EDHE 5010Introduction to Doctoral Studies0.5
EDHE 5020Contemporary Issues1
EDHE 5040Proseminar I0.5
EDHE 5050Proseminar II0.67
EDHE 5070A
EDHE 5070B
Quantitative Methods I
and Quantitative Methods I
EDHE 5080A
EDHE 5080B
Qualitative Methods I
and Qualitative Methods I
EDHE 5210A
EDHE 5210B
Leadership, Governance, and Strategy
and Leadership, Governance, and Strategy
EDHE 5260A
EDHE 5260B
Managing Change in Higher Education I
and Managing Change in Higher Education I
EDHE 5120Proseminar III1
EDHE 5140Quantitative Methods II0.67
EDHE 5150Qualitative Methods II0.33
EDHE 5160A
EDHE 5160B
Higher Education Finance II
and Higher Education Finance II
EDHE 6010International Context2
EDHE 5090Public Policy1
EDHE 6060Dissertation Workshop I1
EDHE 6090Capstone Seminar0.33
EDHE 6130Dissertation Workshop II1
Cohort Electives6-8
Strategic Management Research I
Advanced Topics in Higher Education Management III
Strategic Management Research II
Equity And Diversity
and Equity And Diversity
University And Community
and University And Community
and Globalization
Leadership and Change
Teaching and Learning
Community Colleges
Quality/Risk Management
Geography of Opportunity
Managing Intercollegiate Athletics
Student and Campus Services
Enrollment Management
Leadership and Change for Higher Education's Future
Total Course Units19

Course Requirements

Candidates for the Executive Doctorate must complete the equivalent of at least 19 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 9995). 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.


Course offerings vary per term, academic year, and/or cohort.


International site location changes per year


Session may require travel to off site location 

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
SummerCourse Units
EDHE 5010 Introduction to Doctoral Studies 0.5
EDHE 5020 Contemporary Issues 1 1
EDHE 5040 Proseminar I 0.5
 Course Units2.00
Required Courses:  
EDHE 5050 Proseminar II 0.67
EDHE 5070A Quantitative Methods I 0.33
EDHE 5080A Qualitative Methods I 0.67
EDHE 5210A Leadership, Governance, and Strategy 1
EDHE 5260A Managing Change in Higher Education I 0.5
Cohort Electives:  
EDHE 5060 Strategic Management Research I 1
EDHE 6160 Advanced Topics in Higher Education Management III 0.33
 Course Units4.50
Required Courses:  
EDHE 5070B Quantitative Methods I 0
EDHE 5080B Qualitative Methods I 0
EDHE 5120 Proseminar III 1
EDHE 5140 Quantitative Methods II 0.67
EDHE 5150 Qualitative Methods II 0.33
EDHE 5160A Higher Education Finance II .5
EDHE 5210B Leadership, Governance, and Strategy 0
EDHE 5260B Managing Change in Higher Education I .5
Cohort Electives:  
EDHE 5130 Strategic Management Research II 1
EDHE 5170A Equity And Diversity 1
EDHE 5190A University And Community .33
EDHE 5230A Globalization .33
EDHE 5250 Geography of Opportunity 0.33
 Course Units5.99
Second Year
Required Courses:  
EDHE 6010 International Context 2 2
Cohort Electives:  
EDHE 5160B Higher Education Finance II 0
EDHE 5170B Equity And Diversity 0
EDHE 5190B University And Community 0
EDHE 5230B Globalization 0
 Course Units2.00
Required Courses:  
EDHE 5090 Public Policy 3 1
EDHE 6060 Dissertation Workshop I 1.0
Cohort Electives:  
EDHE 5180 Managing Intercollegiate Athletics 0.33
EDHE 6020 Student and Campus Services 0.33
EDHE 6050 Enrollment Management 0.33
EDHE 6150 Leadership and Change for Higher Education's Future 0.33
EDHE 6160 Advanced Topics in Higher Education Management III 0.33
 Course Units3.65
Additional Requirements  
EDHE 6090 Capstone Seminar 0.33
EDHE 6130 Dissertation Workshop II 1.0
Cohort Electives:  
EDHE 5100 Leadership and Change 0.33
EDHE 6100 Advancement 0.33
EDHE 6110 Teaching and Learning 0.33
EDHE 6170 Community Colleges 0.33
EDHE 6190 Quality/Risk Management 0.33
 Course Units2.98
 Total Course Units21.12