Doctorate in Higher Education Administration

Where Higher Ed Careers Reach New Heights

Designed for working professionals, our research-focused EdD in Higher Education Administration program prepares aspiring educational leaders for senior and executive positions within the field. This doctoral program emphasizes leadership development, critical thinking, and research skills that are essential for cultivating scholarly identities, inquiry-driven learners, critically reflective practitioners, and socially just practices.

Taught by a faculty of renowned experts, the curriculum is centered on the practical application of theory and research, with a focus on addressing current challenges and opportunities facing higher education institutions today.





Leading Faculty & Professional Peers
Engage in learning communities that draw upon real-world experiences shared by classmates with a broad range of diverse perspectives and professional backgrounds. Faculty are hands-on and highly regarded as scholars or scholar-practitioners and experts in the field.


Convenient Schedule
In order to accommodate busy professionals who work both locally and nationally, the program offers flexible weekend classes that meet one time per month on Friday and Saturday.


Hands-On Professional Development
The program provides a high-quality, fast-paced scholarly experience in which students can integrate theory and research seamlessly with practice. Unique to GW's program, you will have the opportunity to focus your dissertation on a problem of practice you've encountered within your higher education career.




The GW Advantage

The Higher Education Administration doctoral program leverages our location in Washington, D.C. - the epicenter of policy, practice, and research - to foster a community of scholar-practitioners, professional and research opportunities, and a commitment to diverse educational experiences. 

Our location also provides students with the distinct advantage of being a neighbor to national organizations, including The Department of Education, American Council on Education, ACPA and NASPA, American Educational Research Association, and a variation of colleges, creating valuable networking and career opportunities.





 Program at a Glance


Doctor of Education (EdD) in the Field of Higher Education Administration


Educational Leadership

Course Delivery:

Main Campus

Program Entry:


Avg. Cohort Size:



Our Mission & Values
graphic in circle shape that reads "HEA Program Values: Cultivating Scholarly Identities, Cultivating Inquiry-Driven Learners, Cultivating Critically Reflective Practitioners, Cultivating Social Justice Practices"

The mission of the Higher Education Administration (HEA) program is to prepare exceptional leaders for administrative, academic, and research positions in two- and four-year higher education institutions, national and international associations, government agencies, and other post-secondary educational settings.

HEA Values

Our doctoral program seeks to cultivate scholarly identities, inquiry-driven learners, critically reflective practitioners, and socially just practices. 

Scholarly Identities: Scholarly identity is the product of your training, areas of expertise, methodological inclination, interests, publications, research agenda, reputation and anything else that may be important in your field. Thus, your scholarly identity is multifaceted and (ideally) signals to anyone who researches your work (googles you), what you have done, what you are doing and what you can potentially do in the future.

Inquiry-Driven Learner: An inquiry-based learning approach lets students share their own ideas and questions about a topic. This helps foster more curiosity about the material and teaches skills students can use to continue exploring topics they are interested in. Rather than simply memorizing facts, students make their own connections about what they are learning that leads to asking questions, making discoveries, and testing those discoveries in the search for new understanding.

Critically Reflective Practitioner: someone who, at regular intervals, looks back at the work they do, and the work process, and considers how they can improve. They ‘reflect’ on the work they have done.

Social Justice Practices: Social justice in education refers to a commitment to challenging social, cultural, and economic inequalities imposed on individuals arising from any differential distribution of power, resources, and privilege. According to NASPA, The social justice competency is defined as “both a process and a goal which includes the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to create learning environments that foster equitable participation of all groups while seeking to address and acknowledge issues of oppression, privilege, and power." We undergird this competency within our course frameworks, and our dispositions.

Learn more about Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education Administration >

The following requirements must be fulfilled: A minimum of 53 credits and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.
EDUC 8505 Seminar: Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8510 Administration and Organization of Higher Education
EDUC 8515 Comparative and International Higher Education
EDUC 8520 Theories for Research on College Students
EDUC 8525 College and University Curriculum
EDUC 8530 Leadership in Higher Education
EDUC 8555 Policy Analysis in Higher Education
EDUC 8566 Higher Education Finance
2 credits selected in consultation with advisor
EDUC 8120 Group Comparison Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8122 Qualitative Research Methods
3 credits of Level B Research Methods coursework in consultation with advisor.
EDUC 8280 Critical Review of Educational Leadership Literature
EDUC 8998 Pre-Dissertation Seminar (taken for 3 credits)
EDUC 8999 Dissertation Research (minimum 12 credits needed to complete requirement)
An approved dissertation proposal is required.
Comprehensive Examination
Successful completion of a comprehensive examination is required.
2024-2025 Cohort Weekend Schedule

Cohorts will meet in-person on the Foggy Bottom Campus (specific location to be shared in advance), on the following dates.

Session Times: 8:10 am-12:00 noon; 1:10 pm-5:00 pm

Summer 2024

  • May 31, 2024-June 1, 2024

  • June 21-22, 2024

  • July 19-20, 2024

  • August 9-10, 2024

Fall 2024

  • September 6-7, 2024
  • October 4- 5, 2024
  • November 1-2, 2024
  • December 6-7, 2024

Spring 2025

  • January 24-25, 2025
  • February 21-22, 2025
  • March 21-22, 2025
  • April 11-12, 2025

Summer 2025

  • May 30, 2025-May 31, 2025
  • June 20-21, 2025
  • July 11-12, 2025
  • August 1-2, 2025
Program Outcomes

As the highest level of academic achievement, our doctorate in higher education administration is designed to produce scholars and experts in the field. Program outcomes include:

Critical Thinking and Analysis: Students will learn to critically evaluate existing research, identify gaps in knowledge, and develop research questions that address those gaps.

Advanced Research Skills: Students will understand research methodologies specific to their field. They will be able to design and conduct original research and analyze and interpret complex data.

Original Contribution to Knowledge: Doctoral candidates are expected to make an original and significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in their field through the completion of a doctoral dissertation.

Independent Scholarship: Doctoral candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to work independently and autonomously. They will become capable of conducting research with minimal supervision, managing their time and resources effectively, and making informed decisions about their research direction.

Scholarly Expertise: Program graduates should acquire an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of existing theories, concepts, and research within their area of study, developing into subject matter experts.

Effective Communication: Candidates will increase their communication skills to effectively convey complex ideas and research findings through scholarly articles, conference presentations, and engaging in intellectual discourse within the academic community.

Teaching and Mentoring: Through hands-on experiential learning opportunities, students will acquire pedagogical, supervisory, and mentorship skills, as well as learn to deliver lectures.

Leadership and Professional Development: Students acquire the ability to lead research teams, collaborate with colleagues, and contribute to the advancement of their field beyond their own research.

Ethical Conduct: As doctoral candidates are expected to adhere to high ethical standards in their research and professional conduct, participants gain a deep understanding of how to demonstrate integrity, respect for intellectual property, and awareness of ethical considerations related to human subjects or other ethical concerns specific to their field.



 Apply Now

GSEHD’s Office of Admissions invites you to apply for a spot in our program. Please review the following admission and financial information.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Review our step-by-step guide to applying to GSEHD >

To learn more about the program, admission process, and upcoming events, please connect with the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now   Schedule Consultation with Admissions Counselor  

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.

  • Prerequisite: Master's Degree
  • Resume
  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Sample: Candidates are required to submit a writing sample that best showcases their skills in academic writing and their potential for success in doctoral studies. The work submitted must be solely authored by the candidate. This is not an exhaustive list; however, suitable examples include technical writing reports, academic research papers, class papers, and excerpts from previously published works. The writing sample should demonstrate the candidate's ability to engage with complex ideas and communicate them effectively. There are no specific requirements regarding the length, topic, or focus area of the writing sample.
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (preferably one from a faculty member and the other from a professional supervisor): The letters must have been written within the calendar year and have been tailored for the Higher Education Administration Program.

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

View more details about requirements  

The deadline for Fall 2024 has passed. For more information or to inquire about the next admissions cycle, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Application Timeline Fall
Priority Deadline Nov 1
Round 1 Deadline Dec 15
Round 2 Deadline Jan 16
Round 3 Deadline March 1
Round 4 Deadline May 1




 Tuition & Financial Aid

We know embarking upon graduate school is a big decision - due in part to the costs of attending. At GW, we understand the time and thought behind making graduate school work for you. Please take a moment to learn more about the options and opportunities available to help fund your graduate education.

Learn more about scholarships, grants & financial aid   

Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour, unless otherwise noted. Rates vary by program and location.

The tuition rate* for the on-campus EdD in HEA program is $1,905 per credit hour.

This program requires 53 credits.

Please note: Additional fees may apply for international students, late fees, etc. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

*Summer 2024, Fall 2024 and Spring 2025

View the current fee chart    

Scholarships are available to eligible admitted students. Review eligibility requirements and learn more about funding your education >



David Surratt headshot
quotation mark

What I have learned continues to allow me to support and educate our future leaders, citizens, and movement builders during their college years. Furthermore, my applied knowledge and education has given me the confidence to lead complex organizations and advise colleagues at the most senior levels including university presidents, chancellors, and governing boards.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University of Oklahoma



 Career Outlook

The ever-evolving field of higher education requires exceptional leaders for administrative, academic, and research positions on college campuses, national associations, and government agencies.

Our graduates are transforming the conversation and quality of experience at higher education institutions and organizations nation-wide. 60% of program graduates serve in roles of provost, board of trustees member, or tenure leadership.

HEA Career Opportunities
group of professionals around a conference table, one stands and presents paper to a colleague - photo credit: on Freepik

The career paths you can take in this field are as vast and diverse as the world of higher education itself. For example, 

  • Academic Leadership: president, provost, dean, department chair, or other leadership position
  • Student Affairs: director or dean of student life, admissions, financial aid, diversity, equity and inclusion, or other areas related to student success and support
  • Institutional Research: senior researcher; use data analysis to inform institutional decision-making and improve outcomes for students
  • Policy and Advocacy: director of government relations or senior officer in governmental sectors; shape higher education policy and advocate for issues affecting higher education institutions and students
  • Consulting: providing expertise and guidance to higher education institutions on a range of issues, from strategic planning to organizational development
  • Scholar/Scholar-Practitioner: professor/associate professors


Meet a few of our recent alumni:

  • Debra Bright - Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, The George Washington University
  • Chris E. Dome - President, Neumann University
  • Tanya Millner-Harlee - Provost and Vice President for Learning, Anne Arundel Community College
  • Thomas Harnisch - Vice President for Government Relations, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)
  • Tracae McClure - Statistician, U.S. Department of Education
  • Wayne Webster - (Incoming) President, Albion College
  • Brett Weigle - Retired Colonel; Professor, Theater and Campaign Planning, War College
  • Kristen Wong - Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU)
Potential Employment Settings
casually dressed group of professionals review charts and their laptops around a conference table - photo credit: Freepik

Students interested in pursuing this degree find positions within:

  • Philanthropic Organizations & Foundations
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Think Tanks
  • The Department of Education
  • Government and Non-Governmental Entities



Higher Education Administration (EdD) Faculty

Dr. Isaac Agbeshi-Noye

Professorial Lecturer

Dr. Deniece Dortch

Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration

(202) 994-6853
Dr. Tom Harnisch

Professorial Lecturer

Dr. Mikyong Minsun Kim

Associate Professor, Higher Education Administration

(202) 994-3205
Dr. Dwayne Kwaysee Wright

Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives




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