Online Educational Studies, Specialization in Educational Leadership & Higher Education, PhD | University of Nebraska

Educational Studies, Specialization in Educational Leadership & Higher Education, PhD

Doctor of Philosophy

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Course Delivery
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Get the same diploma as on campus students

This blended program is designed to prepare you for a scholarly position as faculty in education leadership and higher education or for positions that require knowledge of educational leadership and/or higher education and extensive research preparation.

This PhD degree program provides coursework in areas related to higher education including:

  • Leadership, planning and finance
  • History and philosophy
  • Policy, law and politics
  • Higher education environments
  • Teaching, learning and student affairs
  • Community colleges
In-depth learning, practicum and scholarly experiences prepare participants for leadership positions or positions as professors and scholars in the field of higher education. 

The PhD is awarded once students have completed a minimum of 90 graduate semester hours after attaining their bachelor's degrees, plus research and statistics courses for a total requirement of 108 graduate credit hours.

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 your 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.

Elizabeth Niehaus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Niehaus's areas of expertise are in student affairs, service-learning/international service-learning, internationalization of higher education, study abroad and research methods. Her research focuses on ways in which educational environments facilitate learning and development for students, faculty and staff in higher education.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A master's degree

    Must be from an accredited university

  2. 3.00 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. Taken the GRE

  4. Taken the TOEFL or IELTS

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  5. A written personal statement

  6. 3 letters of recommendation

  7. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  8. Three samples of writing or research

  9. Personal vita or resume

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

  • Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  • Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
  • Apply and be admitted to the department
Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
January 15

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln grants the PhD degree to students who have completed a minimum of 90 graduate semester hours after attaining their bachelor's degrees if the following requirements are met. This minimum assumes the student has taken one research course as part of a master's program, plus an additional 15 credit hours of research and statistics courses.Including research and statistics course requirements, the total credit hour requirement is 108 graduate semester hours.

The specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education requires completion of a minimum of 45 semester hours taken at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after admission to this program.

Four common courses are required of all masters students. If doctoral students have not completed these courses, or equivalents, they are also required in the doctoral program.


  • Master's degree (assumes one research course) - 33 credit hours (may be transferred in)
  • Research/statisticscourses (if not already completed, not included in the 90 hours) - 15 credit hours (may be transferred in)
  • Dissertation - 15-18 credit hours
  • EducationalAdministrationmaster's core (if not already completed, not included in the 90 hours) - 0-12 credit hours (may be transferred in)
    - EDAD 830 Administrative Theory in Educational Organizations
    - EDAD 833 Educational Finance or EDAD 922 Finance in Higher Education
    - EDAD 837 EducationLaw or EDAD 925 Law and Higher Education
    - EDAD 981Introductionto Research in Educational Administration
  • Common doctoral course (EDAD 966 Leadership in Educational Organizations) - 3 credit hours
  • Electives - 27-42 credit hours

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
EDAD 800Foundations of Research & Methods of Inquiry in Educational Administration3

Course Number: EDAD 800

A written report is required. Investigation and analysis of current problems in education administration and supervision.

EDAD 830Administrative Theory3

Course Number: EDAD 830

Introduction to classic and contemporary administrative theory as applied to educational organizations. The theoretical nature of the course content is relevant to those with an interest in a broad variety of educational institutions. General organizational theory, organizational models, historical schools of administrative theory, authority, power, motivation, and leadership. Frequently students are involved in studying problems of practice as a means of testing theory.

EDAD 833Educational Finance3

Course Number: EDAD 833

Critical analysis of the political and economic elements impacting K-12 school finance. Content and activities address both building and district level concerns with an emphasis on principles, programs, and trends in school finance.

EDAD 837Education Law1-4

Course Number: EDAD 837

Evolution, principles, and practice of education law in relation to local, state, and national units of organization. Education law of Nebraska.

EDAD 922Finance in Postsecondary Education3

Course Number: EDAD 922

Federal and state government funding, institutional planning, technological and community influences, human resources finance, budgeting, and sources of financial support as they relate to postsecondary education institutions and agencies.

EDAD 925Law and Higher Education3

Course Number: EDAD 925

Examination of legal principles applicable to postsecondary education institutions. Overview of the legal system, postsecondary education institutions as legal entities, authority for governance and administration, faculty rights and responsibilities, student rights and responsibilities, institutional and personal liability, and other selected issues.

EDAD 966Seminar in Educational Administration1-3, max 6

Course Number: EDAD 966

Prereq: PermissionEducation administration problems with an analysis of research and literature pertaining to these problems.

EDAD 993Introduction to Doctoral Studies in Educational Administration0

Course Number: EDAD 993

Workshop seminar topics are determined with the student’s adviser. This is a required, non-credit course.

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
EDAD 892Special Topics in Education3

Course Number: EDAD 892

(CYAF 892; EDPS 892; EDUC 892; SPED 892; TTEAC 892) Prereq: EDPS 859 or parallel; EDPS 859 or equivalent Aspects of education not covered elsewhere in the curriculum.

EDAD 907Issues in Educational Politics and Policies3

Course Number: EDAD 907

Analyze and evaluate policy processes involved in making choices; develop understanding, apply and evaluate knowledge about key political concepts and theories to the analysis of educational policy issues; analyze and evaluate issues as points of political conflict between institutional structures with competing interests; understand people as the actors in roles they occupy in the political system.

EDAD 910The Higher Education Environment3

Course Number: EDAD 910

Universities are adaptive, living systems interacting with their environment. Equips participants with the skills required to analyze and assess the environment of higher education institutions. Environment concepts, components and structures are studied together with analysis techniques and methodological approaches to future study.

EDAD 912BCommunity College Leadership3

Course Number: EDAD 912B

A course designed to enable the administrators to become knowledgeable of recent trends and issues in school management, finance, or other concerns affecting the administration of the public schools.

EDAD 921Administrative Issues in Postsecondary Education3

Course Number: EDAD 921

Introduction to contemporary issues in the administration of postsecondary education with a focus on the scholarly literature, a comparative analysis of administration in types of institutions, leadership and planning, institutional and environmental issues, and selected topics.

EDAD 923The Community College3

Course Number: EDAD 923

Designed particularly for those interested in upper secondary and college levels. Junior college movement; relationship of movement to provisions for an adequate educational program; functions of the junior college; legal status and basis for extension of junior college; problems of organization, administration, and curriculum.

EDAD 926The American Professoriate: An Administrative Perspective3

Course Number: EDAD 926

Contemporary faculty issues in postsecondary education institutions from the perspective of college administrators. Current status of faculty, assigning faculty workloads and monitoring performance levels, evaluating faculty performance, structuring development activities, and special topics.

EDAD 934Teaching and Learning in the Community College3

Course Number: EDAD 934

This course is planned for individuals who hold or aspire to leadership positions in community colleges that focus on or support instructional programs and others who seek to learn more about this particular aspect of America’s comprehensive community colleges. The primary purpose of the course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of five aspects of the community college:Its curricular missions (general education, transfer education, career education, remedial/developmental education, community education);Its faculty and student population;Issues concerning program and curriculum development;Human resources aspects related to instructional programs (full- and part-time faculty ratios, hiring qualified adjunct faculty, faculty development programs);Issues concerning the evaluation of programs and the assessment of student outcomes.

EDAD 935Workforce, Economic, & Community Development3

Course Number: EDAD 935

Workforce, economic, and community development represents a central mission of the community college. Community colleges provide an important means for educating citizens and preparing skilled workers to maintain the civic vitality and economic growth of their communities. EDAD 890 develops the knowledge base and capabilities needed by community college leaders to advance the workforce, economic, and community development mission of the community college. This course explores the workforce, economic and community development role of the community college within the broader context of recent economic, social, and technological changes in communities, society, and the economy and examines the how this role is integrated with, and distinct from, other community college missions. Drawing on both sound theory and best practices, course topics include the strategy, structure, funding, policy, and programs of the community college related to workforce, economic, and community development. Using both conventional and applied/experiential learning activities, students will explore leadership issues related to planning, managing, budgeting, and evaluating the effectiveness of workforce, economic, and community development programs in the community college.

EDAD 980Seminar in College Student Development2-3

Course Number: EDAD 980

EDAD, EDPS 977. (2-3 cr per sem, max 6) Current knowledge, theories, and practices, and related issues in the area of college student development. Special field experiences and research projects are available to students for additional credit.

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $356.50
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $408.75
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1069.50
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $1226.25

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $750.00
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $802.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $2250.00
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $2406.75

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  • Quality learning experience

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