Higher Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Graduate students at a hooding ceremony

About the Program

Online * Student-Focused * Future-Driven * Affordable

The program approaches online learning with the same academic excellence that has been the hallmark of St. Cloud State since 1869. You deserve to learn online the right way.  Our approach to distance learning has quality at its core and strong emphasis on student support. As a leader in technology and innovation, St. Cloud State constantly searches for the best ways to educate and engage our students in an online learning environment.

You'll enjoy an engaging and interactive learning experience that accommodates working professionals at an affordable price. You attend classes online, when it is convenient for you.  This allows you to balance life, work and education. 

Our comprehensive program prepares you to lead two-year, four-year, public, and private colleges and universities. You'll enjoy a student-focused program where you examine all areas of higher education including student affairs, administration, athletics, enrollment management, alumni and development, academics, and so much more. Plus you further refine your skills in the areas that most interest you. And, you'll grow as a leader.

You'll experience a leading-edge and unique education abroad experience to learn about cultures and universities around the world.  Plus, you select your own research topic you are passionate about and prepare for your dissertation as you progress in your coursework. The dissertation journey is provided in a step-by-step approach where the task of completing a dissertation is broken into small, manageable parts.

Online learning offers independence, but that doesn't mean that you're alone. Your instructors are available to answer questions and the University provides online resources and financial assistance to help you succeed. Plus, your classmates will be a source of professional support as you work toward your degree.  

A diverse body of students come from across the country and around the world. Students varied professional backgrounds and culture provide enriching and engaging discussions in which you learn with and from your peers. You will grow together as a collegial group, helping each other while developing a life-long professional network. Together you will advance your knowledge and can immediately improve practices in your field. 

Personal connections go beyond the online classroom. You'll make connections and build relationships during optional professional development conferences, Twins game, program socials, and St. Cloud State athletic games.

We have a history of helping students achieve their career goals.  Our students and graduates have launched and advanced successful careers in a variety of higher education and student affairs areas. Obtaining a doctorate will position you to pursue a wide range of roles within higher education and open many doors for your future. Employers value our high quality online program.

You'll develop both deep disciplinary knowledge and specialized skills that support successful careers in higher education and student affairs. The program utilizes the standards developed by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) as its benchmark for professional competencies assessment. 

Cohort Course Delivery Methods

Fall 2021 Cohort
  • This cohort will take courses 100% online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some optional synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

Fall 2022 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses 100% online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some optional synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

About Our Students

  • Students have varied educational backgrounds including college counseling, nursing, engineering, sports management, student life and development, advising, teaching, fundraising, information technology, higher education, and enrollment management.
  • Students varied professional backgrounds provide enriching and engaging discussions in which you learn with and from your peers. 
  • Half our doctoral students are 40 or older, 65 percent are women and 20 percent are students of color 
  • A diverse body of students come from across the country 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 engage with professors and your cohort in online discussions. You attend classes 100 percent online when it is convenient for you with a few optional online activities meeting during designated times. If you are unable to meet during designated times, you watch the recording of the meeting later.

Follow course lectures, read materials, submit assignments, communicate in discussions, video conference, meet industry experts and converse with professors — all while connecting online. Utilize technology such as D2L Brightspace, MediaSpace, and Zoom. Plus, receive an online orientation to prepare you to begin your education journey.

Coursework is completed using an 8-week or 16-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 provides online resources and financial assistance to help you succeed. Plus, your classmates will be a source of professional support as you work toward your degree. 

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. You will want a computer and good bandwidth for completing your coursework.

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. 

Self-care is important for keeping your mind and body healthy.  Maintain healthy habits including exercise, sleep, eat well, and take breaks.

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. Ask for help when you need it - we are here to support you.

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