Higher Education Administration - St. Cloud State UniversityHigher Education Administration - St. Cloud State UniversityHigher Education Administration - St. Cloud State University

Doctoral Program Overview

"St. Cloud State University's doctoral program in Higher Education Administration provides current and future college and university administrators an opportunity to learn about leadership in a rigorous and supportive environment that is designed for professionals. The Center for Doctoral Studies is a state-of-the-art facility, where experienced faculty work with and mentor doctoral students. The cohort model of delivery provides students with a supportive atmosphere for learning."

Dr. Wanda Overland
Vice President for Student Life and Development
St. Cloud State University

Doctoral Program Mission

The mission of the Higher Education Administration doctoral program is to prepare higher education professionals for advanced leadership positions in a diverse array of post-secondary institutions and organizations.  The program is driven by a commitment to excellence in teaching, learning, leadership development, and understanding of the role the academy plays in a global society for creating and distributing knowledge.

Program Vision

We prepare and develop reflective, ethical, global, and transformative leaders and academicians.

Program Overview

Individuals currently holding or interested in senior-level leadership positions in higher education will find this program flexible and accommodating to their needs. Students are prepared for advanced leadership positions in a diverse array of post-secondary institutions in academic, student, and administrative affairs.  

Leadership careers can be found in athletics, academic departments, admissions, advising, career services, financial aid, human resources, residential life, teaching, records and registration, multicultural resource centers, public relations, student life and development, and so much more.

  • Convenient Weekend Courses: A weekend model (Friday evening and all day Saturday) of course delivery makes it a great choice for working professionals to balance learning with career and family lives. Students usually take two courses per semester (fall, spring, and summer) and concentrate on one course at a time. Each course typically meets three weekends.
  • Location: A new cohort starts each fall semester on the St. Cloud campus.
  • Program Length: Coursework may be completed in eight semesters (2 1/2 years).  Completion of the dissertation proposal, research, and final defense vary depending on the student’s research timeline but take a minimum of one additional year.
  • Cohort Approach and Professional Network: A cohort approach is offered with approximately 15 students progressing together through the practitioner-focused curriculum. Students build a camaraderie which fosters a learning community and valuable professional network after graduation.
  • Esteemed Faculty: Professors have strong academic credentials and are accomplished professionals from the field. Classes are taught by faculty members.
  • Hands-On Training: Course learning typically takes place in the classroom allowing students to exchange ideas and build relationships with faculty members and classmates. Some online assignments and hybrid courses may be offered. In addition, some field excursions may be included to provide firsthand observation to discover colleges and universities for academic, social, and cultural enrichment.
  • Gain Real-World Knowledge: The doctoral program infuses internationalization and globalization into the curriculum. It also offers courses to discover Universities in the European context with an online course and/or an education abroad opportunity in Italy.
  • Engaging Research: Students select their own dissertation research topic that they are passionate about that is appropriate for their field. Students select their advisor and committee members that best fit their research.
  • Career Opportunities: The doctoral program engenders advanced leadership skills in academic, student, and administrative affairs and builds rewarding career opportunities for professional practice of higher education administration throughout the world.
  • Elite and Affordable: SCSU is an accredited institution with a history of excellence since 1869. SCSU is ranked in the top 4% Most Affordable among Forbes' America's Top Colleges sorted by annual cost.
  • The program hosts the annual Summer Leadership Institute in Higher Education.

  • Doctoral Students at a Glance


    Student Gender

    Student Age


    Student Ethnicity


  • Doctoral class size: 15-18 students.
  • Our doctoral students possess varied experiences and backgrounds which enrich the classroom.
  • Doctoral students come from all around the world with many of them commuting to campus.
  • A majority of doctoral students work full-time or part-time and have a career before pursing their doctorate.
  • Doctoral students are engaged in research under the advice or in collaboration with faculty members.
  • Students and faculty members may present together at a variety of regional, national, and international conferences.
  • Doctoral students participate on committees and professional organizations on and off campus.

Doctoral Transition Points

The HIED Program is organized around a set of transition points that serve as benchmarks within the program and provide for individual assessment and program accountability.Herbert King

Transition Point 1:
Admissions and Orientation to the EdD Program

Transition Point 2:
Qualifying Examination and Advancement to Candidacy

Transition Point 3:
Dissertation Proposal Defense

Transition Point 4:
Final Dissertation Defense and Program Completion

Transition Point 5:
Post-Graduation Follow-Up Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Doctor in Education (EdD) degree and a Doctor in Philosophy (PhD) degree?
Both the EdD and PhD doctoral degrees are equal in rigor but are only slightly different in substance. The PhD is research oriented typically for careers as research scholars whereas the EdD is practitioner oriented where theory and research is applied by professionals who work in the field. More details about the differences can be found at: Differences between EdD and PhD.

Does my undergraduate or master's degree need to be in a related area?
Your undergraduate and master's degrees do not need to be in the Higher Education Administration field. We understand that students have varied interests and we welcome applicants with various baccalaureate and masters degrees.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions can be found through Graduate Admissions.

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