Higher Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Graduate students at a hooding ceremony

About the Program

Online * Engaging * Leading-Edge

The Higher Education Administration program approaches online learning with the same academic excellence that has been the hallmark of St. Cloud State since 1869. Our online learning experience allows you to actively engage with professors and your cohort, while balancing career and personal life. Plus, it provides a leading-edge and unique education abroad experience to learn about cultures and universities around the world.

As an established or emerging leader, you will understand all aspects of university life and effectively lead two-year and four-year colleges and universities around the world. That knowledge can be immediately applied to the challenges you face as a professional. Plus, you will enjoy a curriculum that allows you to select your own research topic and work on your dissertation as you progress in your coursework.

Our challenging, yet fulfilling, and in-depth degree program prepares you to gain employment and a lifetime of career advancement. Graduates have launched successful careers in a wide variety of higher education career areas.

Cohort Course Delivery Methods

Fall 2019 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

Fall 2018 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

Fall 2017 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses face-to-face via a weekend schedule (Friday evening and all day Saturday) on the St. Cloud campus.  Students take two courses per semester (fall, spring, and summer) and typically concentrate on one course at a time.  Each course typically meets three weekends.

Fall 2016 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses face-to-face via a weekend schedule (Friday evening and all day Saturday) on the St. Cloud campus.  Students take two courses per semester (fall, spring, and summer) and typically concentrate on one course at a time.  Each course typically meets three weekends.

About Our Students

  • Students have varied educational backgrounds, including college counseling, nursing, engineering, sports management, student affairs, advising, teaching, fundraising, information technology, and enrollment management
  • Half our doctoral students are 40 or older, 65 percent are women and 25 percent are students of color 
  • Students come from the United States and around the world 
  • Graduates have launched successful careers in a wide variety of higher education career areas

About Online Program Delivery

Our accredited online learning experience allows you to actively engage with professors and your cohort, while balancing career and personal life.

You attend online classes when it is convenient for you. Some online activities meet during designated times.

Follow course lectures, read materials, submit assignments, participate in live chats, communicate in discussions, video conference, meet industry experts and converse with professors -- all while seeing and talking online.

Coursework is completed using an eight-week or sixteen-week delivery format. Faculty provide a syllabus with structured requirements for each course, including assignment deadlines. Each week, students are expected to review course materials, participate in learning activities and complete assignments.

Online learning offers a great deal of independence, but that doesn't mean that you're alone. Your instructors are available to answer your questions and the University is here to provide resources to help you succeed. Plus -- your classmates will be a source of ongoing support as you earn your degrees together.

Personal Attributes for Success in Online Program

While online courses offer greater flexibility, they also require more self-discipline, independence, internal motivation and perseverance than courses on campus. You will be most successful if you are a self-starter able to work on tasks on your own without someone helping keep you focused. Faculty are there to help and guide you as needed but you will be responsible for getting course assignments completed by the deadline. Students who are self-disciplined to log into classes and discussion forums regularly are the most successful. Persistence is an important skill so when you run into a challenge, you keep trying and ask for help.

The online learning experience is as rigorous as the in-class experience with faculty who are experts in their fields. The textbooks and in class resources are in most cases the same in online and on campus courses. Faculty are there to help and guide you along the way.

It will be important for you to be comfortable with online technology as this is your main source of classroom participation. Reading lecture materials, submitting assignments, discussion forums, and conversing with professors will all be done online. You will need basic computer literacy and Internet skills.

Also keep in mind that online courses require as much time as on-campus classes and you’ll need to schedule that time into your calendar. Plan to devote about 12 hours a week to most three-credit courses.

It will be important to have excellent time management and organizational skills. Many distractions can arise so it will be important to set up a distraction-free work space to focus on your coursework.  You need to be diligent about scheduling ample time on your calendar to complete assignments by course deadlines. Breaking up assignments into smaller portions is a great way to manage the course workload and to avoid procrastinating large assignments until the last minute. Students who review their syllabus and develop a plan for completing their assignments are the most successful. 

Online classes rely heavily on reading, writing, speaking and typing skills to communicate with classmates and faculty. As you actively participate in discussion forums you will want to articulate intelligent comments rather than providing poor English grammar or put little effort into discussion posts. Many assignments will involve short or long papers or providing an oral presentation.  As a result, you may want to take some refresher courses to become more comfortable communicating or to increase your typing speed before beginning online classes.

Another component to consider for online courses is to create a good study environment, whether that be in an office in your home or a place at a local library.  You will want to find a place to work without distractions (i.e. television, cell phones) that is comfortable and has good lighting.

It is important to develop a good support system as you pursue your degree.  That may include communication with family members to let them know how they can best support you while earning your degree. Communicate with your supervisor to let them know your career goals, how to best support you while earning your degree, and how this degree will positively impact your knowledge and skills you can apply towards your employment.  Find a colleague or friend who has pursued their doctorate for support.  Once in the program, seek out the support of your faculty advisor and classmates for support.

Have a plan to finance your entire education and have a back-up plan if something changes.  St. Cloud State provides you with assistance to finance your education through financial literacy, money management, borrowing loans and seeking out graduate assistants, scholarships or tuition waiver.

For some additional tips for being successful in an online program, visit