Indiana State Online

Educational Administration: Higher Education Leadership Ph.D.


The Department of Educational Leadership offers the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in educational administration with a specialization in leadership in higher education. This program, which prepares students for positions of leadership in two- and four-year collegiate institutions, is geared toward professionals who are currently working in higher educational settings and desire a quality educational experience that allows them to continue meeting family and work responsibilities.

  • This Ph.D. program includes a focus on preparing graduates for administrative leadership positions at public or private four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, technical schools, and for-profit post-secondary institutions.
  • Master's degree coursework is applied to the curriculum such that students take 45 credit hours of coursework (15 courses) plus 18 dissertation hours to meet the requisite 90 hours needed to complete the degree. Students can complete the program in two academic years or five semesters. Students are required to complete three weeks of residency during the summer.
  • The program follows a scholar/practitioner philosophy that stresses knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for leading institutions of higher education in the twenty-first century. The program offers opportunities for mentoring and support from a network of alumni who provide valuable insight and guidance throughout the program.
  • The curriculum includes significant supervised practice coursework and blends class-based, practicum-based, and independent learning experiences. The curriculum also includes an integrated internship experience designed to familiarize students with a minimum of three administrative units within an institution of higher education. Coursework and dissertation projects focus on problems of practice.
  • Students begin the program with a cohort group and commit to moving through the program's schedule of studies with that cohort group. Students enroll full time (3 course for 9 credit hours) each semester for five consecutive terms over a two-year period, including a summer session. Coursework is delivered through a combination of online learning and intensive on-campus workshops. Internet and audio conferencing are some of the technologies used. Courses during the academic year consist of three Friday/Saturday on-campus workshop seminars and weekly Internet audio/video sessions that generally meet one afternoon per week. The summer session between the first and second academic year combines directed study and a required three-week residency on campus.
  • The program offers a consistent course schedule:
    • Programs starting in the Fall of odd years: classes are held on Wednesdays
    • Programs starting in the Fall of even years: classes are held on Thursdays

The Department of Educational Leadership has developed a short video presentation that provides a closer look at EDLR's Higher Education Program. We recommend you take a few minutes to view this insightful presentation to learn more about the Higher Education Leadership (Ph.D.) Program.

Required Courses:

The coursework consists of a basic core in which students are provided with a firm grounding in the organizational context of higher education including its history, social and philosophical foundations, and contemporary challenges as well as introduced to the processes of educational inquiry and research.

The internship core consists of two semester-long, field-based experiences under the supervision of a university supervisor and an on-site mentor. In the advanced core, students investigate the major functional areas of higher education and contemporary management science and leadership theories.

Emphasis is on problem-based learning in the courses, and the internship experiences give students opportunities to link theory to practice as well as enhance the learning environment for students and faculty. Upon completion of coursework, students take comprehensive examinations (prelims) integrating what they have learned in classes and internships. Once admitted to candidacy, students plan, propose, conduct, present, and defend their dissertation research.

[ list all courses ]

Admission Requirements:

Applicants must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  • Hold a master's degree granted by a regionally accredited institution.
  • Have earned a grade point average of a B+ or above on all graduate work attempted.
  • Provide a minimum of three letters of recommendation from persons who know the prospective student in a personal, and/or academic, and/or professional capacity.
  • Submit an official transcript from each school at which any undergraduate or graduate work has been done.
  • Provide scores received on the Graduate Record Examinations General Tests.
  • Submit a detailed narrative highlighting the applicant's personal and professional contributions to leadership in education. The admissions committee may require the applicant to appear for a personal interview and to present evidence of his or her ability to write acceptable prose under controlled conditions.

Note: It must not be assumed that meeting minimal standards guarantees admission to the program.

GRE Information:

We do not have minimum performance expectations on the GRE nor do we use GRE scores in isolation from other components of your application given that the research on its use for admissions decisions emphasizes the benefits of the GRE in combination with other application elements. However, stronger scores are always more advantageous than weaker scores. Thus, we advise that students take the time to adequately prepare for the exam, including purchasing a test prep guide, and/or consider taking a test prep course. Guide materials can be obtained from most bookstores.

The GRE can be scheduled and taken at any Sylvan or Prometric Learning Center and your unofficial scores will be available to you immediately after the exam given that the test is taken on computer. Please email your unofficial scores to the EDLR Office immediately after taking the exam to: since your official scores will generally not be received by the College of Graduate and Professional Studies for approximately 3 weeks.


The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

In addition, all education licensure programs and related school programs are accredited by the Indiana Department of Education and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Application Instructions:

  1. Apply online.
  2. Submit the following materials to Indiana State University, Graduate Admissions, Welcome Center, 318 North Sixth Street, Terre Haute, IN 47809-1904. E-transcripts should be sent to
    • Official transcripts for all institutions attended (undergraduate and graduate)
    • Official GRE scores
    • A nonrefundable application fee of $45.00 (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) or $65.00 (international students) payable by Visa, MasterCard, or check or money order payable to Indiana State University.
  3. Please upload and attach the following as part of the online application process:
    • Departmental application
    • Resume/curriculum vitae
    • Statement of personal narrative of professional goals and past experiences
    • Three letters of recommendation from individuals able to comment on the applicant's potential as a leader

Note: Returning ISU students must apply for re-admission if they have not attended ISU for more than two calendar years.


Applications are due by February 15 with notification of decision by April 15. Failure to submit all of the above items in a timely manner can delay your admission decision.

Fees & Expenses:

[ current fee rates ]

Financial Aid & Assistance:

Graduate students may be eligible for federal student loans if they are admitted into graduate degrees (or first-time teacher certification programs) and meet other eligibility requirements. Certificate programs are not eligible for financial aid. Private alternative loans can help students pay college expenses that may not be covered by federal loan programs or other financial aid. For more information, visit financial aid.

In addition, students may be eligible for payment plans and veterans benefits.

Departmental scholarships are also offered through the EDLR Department as well as through the Bayh College of Education. Representatives of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies are available to assist applicants' research opportunities for financial support for students wishing to further pursue financial aid options.

Further Information:

For further information and assistance, contact:

Indiana State Online
(812) 237-2345

Indiana State Online Students Residing Outside of Indiana: Each of the states has its own approval processes for out-of-state institutions offering online degrees. While Indiana State University endeavors to offer all of its programs to as wide an audience as possible, all ISU online programs may not be available in all states. Currently, online programs are not offered in the state of Massachusetts. To check the status of programs available in a particular state, visit program availability.

The Graduate Catalog and Undergraduate Catalog of Indiana State University are the documents of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalogs supersede information issued by any academic department, program, college, or school. The University reserves the right to change the requirements at any time.