Endicott students and faculty in class

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Higher Education concentration
The Ed.D. in educational Leadership with a concentration in higher education will help you build your expertise as a leader and make a difference in the field.
Advance your career... and yourself.
The journey starts with us.

Links and Contacts


Interested in trying one of our classes before applying? Click the button above and send us an email. We'll get right back to you. If you prefer to talk by phone, please call program director JoAnn Gammel at (978) 998-7753.                   

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership offers:

  • A highly personalized approach.  A small student cohort keeps the student /teacher ratio low and the level of support high. You will develop career-long professional relationships.
  • Apprenticeship Experience:  A unique apprenticeship offers the chance to experience new perspectives, build a professional network, and expand career options.
  • Blended learning environment.  Excellent online courses combined with in-person learning experiences provide you with high-quality flexible learning as well as opportunities to develop relationships and long-term partnerships. 
  • Focus on small schools.  Students are encouraged to address the challenges and unique opportunities for access and innovation in small colleges and universities.

For a list of current courses, please visit the Doctoral schedules.

Now accepting applications for the January 2015 cohort. 

Program Mission Statement

Leadership for small higher education institutions requires creativity, flexibility, strategic thinking, an entrepreneurial stance, and a respect for student-centered institutions. The mission of the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership is to prepare professionals for leadership roles in the administration of small colleges and universities, non-profit agencies and schools. 

This doctoral program integrates research and practice so that doctoral students understand the historical, political, social, and philosophical aspects of small colleges and universities which have challenges and opportunities that distinguish them from larger institutions. Applied learning, the hallmark of Endicott, is demonstrated through an apprenticeship in which doctoral students explore areas of specializations within senior leadership positions such as academic affairs, student development, institutional advancement, financial affairs, faculty development, and facilities. 

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership is designed for career professionals in higher education who wish to attain leadership positions in small- to mid-sized colleges or universities, including both two and four-year college settings, or in smaller colleges or satellite campuses within larger universities. In this cohort-based program, a combination of different roles, perspectives, and experiences enriches the program and its participants.


A distinguishing feature of Endicott’s educational leadership program is the administrative apprenticeship.  Students log 224 hours and earn 6 credits as Doctoral Fellows at their Apprenticeship Site. 

Doctoral Fellows benefit by:

  • Participating in meetings, administrative activities and other events in order to understand better the diversity and complexity of administrative functions, leadership roles, and decision-making in small colleges.
  • Taking on special projects and assignments to benefit the host institution while under the mentorship of experienced campus leaders.
  • Initiating a small research study or project for the host institution.
  • Attending a professional conference while completing the apprenticeship.

Developing career credentials. 

Host Institutions benefit from:

  • The Doctoral Fellow’s “informed outsider” perspective and expertise.
  • Special projects completed during the Fellowship.

Highlights of Past Apprenticeships:

Department of Veterans' Services & Department of Higher Education, Veterans Education, Massachusetts College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston Montserrat College of Art Jeremiah-Endicott Program and National Center for Residential Student Parent Programs

Program Overview

Accelerated learning - The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program is a cohort-based degree option allowing students to complete 48 credits of coursework within three years including completion of the comprehensive examination and an apprenticeship.

Applied learning - Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to apply and reflect on leadership knowledge and skills and test theory in a practice setting.

Adding new knowledge  - Dissertation research and writing is completed with the support and guidance of a faculty committee.

Hybrid format – Student cohorts meet face-to-face seven times during the semester.  Courses are supplemented with online elements using Canvas, the college’s learning platform.  Students are expected to have information and communication technology (ICT) skills and capability.

Program Components

Phase I. Students accepted to the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program will be admitted in cohort groups. Students will complete 30 credits of coursework in higher education leadership, administration, and research.

Phase II. In Phase II of the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program all students put together a Doctoral Study Committee. The primary task in Phase II is to pass a comprehensive exam that is based on the core courses. Students will typically take the exam in the second year. Advancement to Phase III requires passing the comprehensive exam.

Apprenticeship. The Apprenticeship may be completed in Phase I, II or III of the program. A pre-requisite to registering for the apprenticeship is 18 credits of coursework.

Phase III — Doctoral Candidate. This is the final phase of the program and includes the completion of a dissertation. The dissertation is research-based and must include original research. Students will develop dissertation proposals in consultation with their Dissertation Committee.

Program Design

Students earn 48 credits.
12 credits of Research (required)

  • Research Methods I: Qualitative
  • Research Methods II: Quantitative
  • Research Methods III: Mixed Methods
  • Research Methods IV: Issues in Research

12 credits of Higher Education Leadership (required)

  • Organizational Management in Higher Education
  • Creativity & Leadership in Challenging Times
  • Theories & Practice in Academic Leadership
  • Leading in a Technological World

12 credits of Electives

  • History & Administration of Small Schools
  • Budget, Finance & Operations
  • Student Development: History & Issues
  • Teaching, Learning & Instructional Culture in Higher Ed
  • Though Leaders & Critical Issues in Higher Education
  • Epidemiology (with Ph.D. in Nursing)
  • Ethics in Research (with Ph.D. in Applied Behavioral Analysis

  6 credits of Apprenticeship (required)
  6 credits of Dissertation Proposal Writing (required)

Below is a typical program of study. 









Year 1


Research I: Qualitative

Organizational Mgt


Research II: Quantitative

Leading in a Tech World



Creativity & Leadership

Academic Affairs Ldrshp


Year 2



Research III: Mixed





Comprehensive Exam


Year 3



Dissertation Proposal Writing



Dissertation Proposal Writing


Research IV: Issues

Dissertation Study


Student Advising

Each student admitted to the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership program will be assigned a faculty advisor who will guide his/her study until Phase III.  The Dissertation Committee serves during Phase III. It consists four members: the student, who serves as convener of the committee; a chair, who can be the student’s advisor; and two additional professional/faculty members, one of whom can be from outside Endicott College. The responsibilities of the Dissertation Committee are to approve the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation research methodology, to advise students to seek approval of the IRB before proceeding with data collection, and to evaluate the dissertation as a contribution to the field of Educational Leadership. The student convenes a final meeting, during which the student will make an oral defense of the dissertation to committee members and the Director of the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program. The student also makes a public presentation to the Endicott community, once the committee has approved the dissertation

Application Requirements

Students must submit an  application, either online, or on paper, an application fee, plus:

  1. Complete, official transcripts from all previous, post-secondary education.
  2. Three letters of recommendation. At least one letter of recommendation must be authored by an academic respondent holding an earned doctorate degree who can attest to your ability to complete doctoral study successfully.
  3. An original 6-10 page (double-spaced, 12 pt. font) Personal Statement. Please respond to these questions: 1) What relevant knowledge, skills, experiences bring you to this point of considering doctoral study? 2) In what ways will doctoral study support your academic, professional and/or personal goals? 3) What would be your ideal apprenticeship and why? This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing skills. Please be sure that your full name is included on the pages of your Personal Statement. 
  4. Official copy of scores from either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Code: 3854 or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) Code: 2567. 
  5. All students for whom English is not a first language must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Code 3369
  6. A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae with evidence of at least three years of related, professional experience. 
  7. A Writing Sample. In addition to the Personal Statement, doctoral applicants are asked to submit a short paper (limit 10 pages), double-spaced, in 12 point font responding to a particular question: What are the most critical challenges facingleaders in higher education today? The writing sample will be evaluated for evidence of:  thoughtful analysis, ability to develop main points and support claims, focus and organization, academic style, use of sentence variety and vocabulary to convey meaning clearly, control of sentence structure, language, grammar and punctuation. Please be sure that your full name is on the document. 
  8. An admission interview is required of all candidates; please call the Program Director at 978-998-7753 to make arrangements.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of higher education’s history and major developments with an emphasis on small and mid-size colleges and universities.
  2. Demonstrate a mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary for senior administrative and leadership roles in higher education.
  3. Apply effective and thoughtful research skills to representative decisions typical of those required of higher education leaders; including academic and student life issues.
  4. Demonstrate mastery of their own specialization within a professional or senior level administrative role.
  5. Demonstrate the critical inquiry and analysis skills needed to engage at the doctoral level in intellectual discourse within their area of interest.
  6. Complete an original research dissertation in an area of study that will enhance the scholarship of the field of higher education.
  7. Demonstrate collaborative attitude and behavior as a member of a cohort team.
  8. Develop a disposition that embraces diverse perspectives, is open to multiple world views, and value driven leadership practices.  

Career Outlook

Higher Education Leadership – Career Outlook

The average salary of those with a doctorate degree is 20% higher than those with a master’s degree. Earning a doctorate places you at the pinnacle of your field where top-level career options are within reach.  The doctorate gives you a competitive advantage in the job search process, provides an opportunity for personal growth and development, and signals your ability to integrate theory and research evidence with professional experience in leadership positions.

Job Titles  & Job Duties

Typical duties and job titles can vary widely, from college president to vice president of academic affairs to student affairs professional. In general, higher education administrators work with college and university faculty, staff, and students on projects related to academics, operations, and student life. For example, college and university presidents are responsible for directing and overseeing the daily and long-term administration of the school as a whole, from academic standards to cultivation of alumni organizations to faculty development to managing endowments. Higher education administrators specializing in student affairs may oversee residence hall life, student programming, and extracurricular activities. 

Higher Education administrators are employed in colleges, universities, community colleges and technical or trade schools.  A doctorate is often required. Employers often want candidates who have experience working in the field, especially for occupations such as registrars and academic deans.

Job Outlook

Education-portal.com reports, “There is generally strong competition for higher education administrator jobs.” 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook posts these quick facts:

Higher Education Administration

2012 Median Pay

$86,490 per year

Entry-Level Education

Master’s degree

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

5 years or more

On-the-job Training


Number of Jobs, 2012


Job Outlook, 2012-22

15% (Faster than average)

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports Senior Administrator Median Salaries annually. For example, in March 2014 they reported:


Median Salary (all institutions)

Doctoral Granting Institutions



2 –Year Degree

Chief Academic Officer (Provost






Chief Student Affairs Officer






Dean of Education






Dean of Instruction






Chief Campus Security Administrator







Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Postsecondary Education Administrators.  Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm

The Chronicle of Higher Education. (March 3, 2014). Median salaries of senior college administrators, 2013-14.  Retrieved from: http://chronicle.com/article/Median-Salaries-of-Senior/144975/). 

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