Higher Education, Ed.D.
Graduate Studies

Immaculata’s higher education doctoral program inspires and equips insightful, ethical administrators and faculty leaders. If you aspire to be a leader who serves directly in an administrative role, or an educator with direct academic responsibilities, this program will provide the perfect balance of theoretical structure and application-to-practice.

Throughout the curriculum you will focus on topics vital to higher education today, such as:

  • Contemporary global issues and challenges
  • History and philosophy of higher education
  • Change theory and strategic thinking
  • Research techniques and applications
  • Higher education leadership, ethical decision-making, equity and diversity

A capstone internship will give you important practical experience in an area of higher education that most interests you.

Program Highlights

Hybrid Courses

The Doctor of Higher Education program is delivered in a hybrid format that seamlessly blends face-to-face and online delivery, allowing you to experience the intimacy of the classroom as well as the convenience of distance learning. Each fall and spring semester consists of 14 weeks alternating weekly with seven of those weeks face-to-face and seven spent in online delivery. Two courses are offered each semester and meet on the same night. In the summer semester, courses vary with most offered in a four-week, accelerated format with one intensive learning weekend face-to-face.

You may choose to join a cohort with classes at our main campus in Malvern, PA, at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA, Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, PA, or at Montgomery County Community College University Center in Blue Bell, PA

The Cohort Model

You will attend classes as part of a cohort, which creates a professional learning community to enhance student-to-student interactions and support throughout the program. This format is especially helpful for working adults who study part-time and move through the degree program as a cohort group within a standard semester framework. Students take six credits per semester in order to maintain cohort status.

Specialization Electives

You will develop an area of specialization (e.g. academic affairs, student engagement, enrollment management, nursing education) within higher education through the selection of elective courses, independent study courses and topics, the practicum experience and dissertation study. Your academic advisor will work with you to help design an area of specialization that builds upon your interests and career goals.

The Dissertation

The capstone of the higher education program is your successful completion of studies in your area of interest. You will select a chairperson at the start of the dissertation writing process who will work with you until the completion of your study. As a culminating experience, you will defend your research study to a panel of readers and university administrators.


The higher education foundational concentration provides professional courses addressing leadership, law, finance, strategic planning, policy, historical context, learning theory and assessment, ethics, diversity and multiculturalism, and the integration and application of technology. The research core provides a solid background in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, culminating in your dissertation study. The specialty course sequence lends flexibility so that you can focus on a particular area of interest in higher education based on your future aspirations as an administrator, faculty member, or nurse educator.

In addition to a variety of electives in administration or teaching and learning, the program offers a concentration in nursing education.


The practicum experience allows you to hone the knowledge and skills you have developed in the program. During this 90-hour applied field experience, seasoned professionals offer you personalized professional development opportunities and guidance related to issues and trends impacting higher education.

Study Abroad Option

Every other year students may choose to study higher education in a selected country. This faculty-led trip provides opportunities to contrast and compare how the higher education system in the travel country varies from the system in the United States in light of current issues such as funding, access, and assessment.

Discover Immaculata

Grounded in IHM tradition and charism since 1920.

Find out what an IU education can do for your mind, your character and your future.