Ph.D. Educational Administration (Higher Ed. Leadership)

The coursework consists of a basic core in which students are provided with a firm grounding in the organizational context of higher education including its history, social and philosophical foundations, and contemporary challenges as well as introduced to the processes of educational inquiry and research. The internship core consists of two semester-long, field-based experiences under the supervision of a university supervisor and an on-site mentor. In the advanced core, students investigate the major functional areas of higher education and contemporary management science and leadership theories. Emphasis is on problem-based learning in the courses, and the internship experiences give students opportunities to link theory to practice as well as enhance the learning environment for students and faculty. Upon completion of coursework, students take comprehensive examinations (prelims) integrating what they have learned in classes and internships. Once admitted to candidacy, students plan, propose, conduct, present and defend their dissertation research.

Throughout all phases of the program, students are supported by Indiana State University graduate faculty. In addition, academic professionals from a diversity of institutions and functional areas are invited to bring their expertise to the program as guest lecturers, mentors, and program advisors.


The Student Affairs and Higher Education Program and the Higher Education Leadership Program at Indiana State University stresses the importance of social justice, anti-racism, diversity, and educational equity and these components are central to our mission, vision, and values. Preparing student affairs practitioners and higher education administrators how to advocate for marginalized groups to eradicate systemic oppression in higher education could be the pivotal link in empowering colleagues to be proactive and paving a way for students to be justice and equity allies.

Program Proficiencies
The Higher Education Leadership Program is designed to help students develop knowledge, attitudes, and skills in the domains of leadership, inquiry and research, communications, and higher education. Within each of the four domains, specific proficiencies have been identified for students to develop and demonstrate throughout the program.

Reflective Leadership
Graduates will demonstrate:

  • comprehensive knowledge of different theories on leadership and management;
  • the ability to reflect critically on historical and contemporary issues within education and to relate them to leadership and practice;
  • the ability to articulate an integrated philosophy of education and leadership;
  • the ability to exercise leadership within an educational setting.

Analytic Inquiry 
Graduates will demonstrate:

  • the ability to construct and support reasonable interpretations and arguments;
  • the facility to employ multiple perspectives and theoretical frames to assess educational and organizational structures, policies, and practices;
  • the ability to read and review critically original reports of empirical and synthetic research and to use it to resolve administrative challenges in educational situations;
  • an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research paradigms.

Communication Proficiency
Graduates will demonstrate:

  • communication, interpersonal, and process skills necessary to function effectively in academic and professional situations, including written and oral communication, listening to and working collegially with diverse groups, and facilitating intra- and inter-group relations.

Higher Education
Graduates will demonstrate:

  • A thorough theoretical understanding of higher education and its administration and the ability to relate theory to practice within the following dimensions:
    • Academic Affairs
    • Organization and Governance
    • Finance Policy and Legal Aspects
    • Student Affairs
    • Social Foundations of Education
  • The ability to plan and evaluate policies and programs within higher education.

Program Structure
Students begin the program with a cohort group and commit to moving through the program’s schedule of studies with that cohort group. Students enroll full time (3 courses for 9 credit hours) each semester for five consecutive terms over a two-year period, including a summer session. Coursework is delivered through a combination of distance learning and intensive on-campus workshops. The Internet and video/audio conferencing technologies are used. Courses during the academic year consist of three Friday/Saturday on-campus workshop seminars and weekly virtual sessions that generally meet one afternoon per week. The summer session between the first and second academic year combines virtual sessions, directed study, and a required three-week residency on campus.


Program Curriculum

How to Apply

Dissertation Resources