Doctorate in Higher Education Administration

The ever-evolving field of higher education requires 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.

Located in Washington, DC, the Higher Education Administration Doctoral program leverages its location to foster a community of scholar-practitioners, professional and research opportunities, and a commitment to diverse educational experiences. Designed for working professionals, the research-focused executive Higher Education Administration program prepares senior leadership and executive management decision-makers for administrative, academic, and research positions in diverse educational settings, agencies, and associations alike. Unique to the Higher Education program at GW, you will have the opportunity to focus your dissertation on a problem of practice you've encountered within your higher education career. By integrating theory and research seamlessly with your practice, you will be equipped with the skills necessary for professional academic and administrative career development.

Graduates will gain valuable networking opportunities and connections for college student personnel administrators throughout Washington DC.

For more information on the program's unique features, career pathways, and curriculum, please view and download Ed.D. Higher Education.


Why a GW Doctorate in Higher Education Administration?

    Location: GW’s location in Washington, DC- the epicenter of policy, practice, and research - 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/universities in size and affiliation.
    Convenient Schedule: The Program offers flexible weekend classes to accommodate busy professionals who work both locally and nationally.

A minimum of 53 credits, including 24 credits in core courses, 9 credits of research, and 2 credits of electives.

Core Courses

EDUC 8505Seminar: Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8510Administration and Organization of Higher Education
EDUC 8515 Comparative and International Higher Education
EDUC 8520Theories for Research on College Students
EDUC 8525College and University Curriculum
EDUC 8530Leadership in Higher Education
EDUC 8555Higher Education Policy
EDUC 8566 Higher Education Finance


2 credits selected in consultation with advisor

Research Courses

EDUC 8120Group Comparison Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8122Qualitative Research Methods

3 credits from the following:
EDUC 8100Experimental Courses
EDUC 8130Survey Research Methods
EDUC 8131Case Study Research Methods
EDUC 8140Ethnographic Research Methods
EDUC 8142Phenomenological Research Methods
EDUC 8144Discourse Analysis
EDUC 8170Educational Measurement
EDUC 8171Predictive Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8172 Multivariate Analysis
EDUC 8173 Structural Equation Modeling
EDUC 8174 Hierarchical Linear Modeling
EDUC 8175 Item Response Theory
EDUC 8177 Assessment Engineering


EDUC 8280Critical Review of Educational Leadership Literature
EDUC 8998Pre-Dissertation Seminar (taken for 3 credits)
EDUC 8999Dissertation Research (minimum 12 credits needed to complete requirement)

Approved dissertation proposal required
Successful completion of comprehensive exam required

Visiting Assistant Professor
(202) 994-6853
Associate Professor
(202) 994-5123
Associate Professor
(202) 994-3205
Career Outlook


The careers our graduates pursue are diverse and fuse leading edge research and policy with practice.

  • Sally Sagen Lorentson brings over ten years of experience in student affairs to her position as the director of orientation and family programs and services at George Mason University
  • Lindsay Mathers Addington is the Assistant Director of International Initiatives at the National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Shaunna Payne Gold serves as the associate director of assessment programs and student development in the Office of Multi-ethnic Student Education at the University of Maryland
  • Scott Filter is currently the Associate Vice President of Public Policy for Bridgepoint Education
  • Marianne Huger Thomson serves as the Associate Dean for Orientation, Transition and Retention at American University
  • Tracae McClure served as a research intern with United Negro College Fund, the nation's largest minority serving organization
  • Our graduates are transforming the conversation and quality of experience at colleges and universities nation wide. Join our conversation



    Program Entry: Fall
    Prerequisites:Master's Degree
    Campus:Foggy Bottom

    Application Requirements

    • Online Application
    • Resume
    • Statement of Purpose
    • 2 Letters of Recommendation (academic and/or professional)
    • Transcripts (unofficial)
    • Standardized Test Scores (GRE or MAT)
    • Application Fee

    *Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants

    For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

    Transformation Begins Here

    Learn more about the Doctorate in Higher Education Administration program located on campus (202) 994-7066.

    In the News

    GSEHD alumna Dr. Kimberly Hough (Ed.D., Education Administration and Policy) has been selected as the next Superintendent of Academy School District 20 in Colorado, the region’s second largest district. Dr. Hough has been assistant superintendent for human resources and talent development in the Loudoun County School District in Ashburn, VA, for the past six and a half years. She’s worked 24 years in education. While at the Loudoun County School District, Dr. Hough led a team that planned and staffed 12 new schools and hired more than 850 teachers and 2,900 fulltime, part-time, hourly, and substitute staff during a single year. She also increased diversity in new employees by 23 percent, developed recruitment programs to serve higher-poverty schools within an affluent district and proposed budget reallocations to increase services in cost-effective ways.

    GSEHD alumnus Dr. Brad Beecher (Ed.D., Higher Education Administration) published an article entitled "Creating New Knowledge Networks with Education Cloud" on

    GSEHD alumna Dr. Marianne Huger Thomson (Ed.D., Higher Education Administration) has been appointed Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Syracuse University. She will use a new model that aims to address student issues and provide support in a proactive, systemic and integrated way. Her operation will also see an increase in staffing in areas of student case management, conduct investigations and programming within the residence halls. Dr. Thomson joined Syracuse University in September 2018.

    GSEHD alumnus Dr. James Blalock (master's and Ed.D., Higher Education Administration) has become the first ever Associate Vice President of Institutional Research and Technology at Careret Community College in Morehead City, North Carolina. In this capacity, he oversees the offices of academic support, distance learning, information technology, and institutional effectiveness.