Educational Studies, Ed D (Educational Leadership & Higher Education)

Doctor of Education Degree with a Specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Fully Online
  • 96
  • $357.00
  • $750.00

Why Pursue This Program

The blended Educational Studies, Ed.D. with specialization in Educational Leadership & Higher Education program is designed to prepare scholars whose work will influence educational change in local, regional, national and global settings. 

Students choose the blended Educational Studies, Ed.D. program to: 

  • Develop leadership and analytical skills needed to lead P-20 education, higher education, community colleges and other educational institutions. 
  • Join a diverse, doctoral learning community that engages in intense, graduate study of contemporary issues from multiple perspectives. 
  • Learn from graduate faculty who are internationally renowned scholars who craft rigorous opportunities for advanced study, mentor students and engage in funded research. 
  • Gain knowledge through in-depth learning, practicum and scholarly experiences which prepare students for leadership positions as professors and scholars in the field of higher education. 

Who should choose this program?

  • Individuals with a master’s degree who aspire to hold an administrative position other than P-12 administration.
  • Individuals who intend to pursue or continue a career as a practicing administrator in education or a related field.
  • Practitioners working in P-20 educational settings, higher education, community college and other education-related organizations throughout the world.

The program provides students with constructive experiences that enhance their academic and professional success by: 

  • Demonstrating a commitment to the study of problems of practice and contributing to policy development and analysis. 
  • Providing mentored opportunities for teaching in higher education. 
  • Working with faculty who offer opportunities to participate in international research initiatives, overseas conferences and comparative travel-study. 
  • Assisting individuals to tailor a program of study to their scholarly and professional interests. 
  • Preparing students to conduct and share educational research. 
  • Encouraging and promoting academic writing for different audiences and stakeholders. 

Through the program, students explore innovative approaches to today’s education problems utilizing research tools of inquiry such as: 

  • Quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • Hermeneutics
  • Ethnographic research methods
  • Discourse analysis
  • Phenomenological study
  • Narrative inquiry
  • Policy analysis
  • Historical analysis
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Philosophical analysis
  • Teacher self-study research
  • Multimodal analyses

Note: A minimum of 45 semester hours must be completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after admission to this program. Six credit hours of coursework must be in-residence, on-campus, as approved by the student’s adviser. These are typically completed as one-week in-residence sessions during the summer. These courses focus on special topics of major interest and allow for extensive interaction with experts in the field.

Career Outlook: Educational administrators oversee student services, academics and curriculum in schools and colleges. Typically, postsecondary education administrators need a master’s degree because employers prefer to hire candidates that have experience with the job duties listed above. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Postsecondary Education Administrators is growing at 10%, which is faster than average. The Bureau also reports that the demand for Elementary, Middle and High School Principals is growing at 8%, which is about as fast as average. Principals coordinate curriculums, oversee teachers and provide a safe environment for students.

The UNL Educational Studies, Ed.D. program is invested in preparing researchers and educational leaders to serve and work in a variety of professional positions including universities, private industry, non-profit organizations, research agencies, policy agencies and school systems.

More about the Educational Studies (Educational Leadership & Higher Education Specialization) program:

The University of Nebraska—Lincoln offers two nationally recognized Doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership and Higher Education, the Ph.D. and the Ed.D. The programs are offered to individuals interested in any level (P-20) of education. 

The program is described as an online program; however, all students are encouraged or required to travel to campus. Normally, all doctoral students will be on campus to present the dissertation proposal and for the final defense of the dissertation study.

Courses are offered on the regular semester and summer session schedule of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Research residency seminars are offered during the summer in a hybrid fashion (time-intensive on-campus experiences followed by additional online content) to facilitate the on-campus residency requirement. Courses are announced in the UNL online schedule and students register for courses using the University web-based enrollment and billing system.

New applicants should be aware that not all advisors can accept new students every year. We recommend that you contact the individual faculty members to learn about their scholarly interests and advising capacity in the course of preparing your application for admission. 

What's it like to take a program online?

Quality learning experience

The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.


Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.

Service you expect from a leading University

Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.

About Faculty

University of Nebraska online courses are taught by expert faculty who embody the qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience. Students learn from faculty with a variety of backgrounds, many of whom are published researchers in their fields. NU faculty who teach online do so in a way that optimizes learning within the online modality and because technology enables students to access education they may otherwise may not be able to pursue.