Leadership in Higher Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

The ability to influence educational change through policy and educational reform requires a broad knowledge-base of how higher education works. In the Leadership in Higher Education specialization, you will explore a variety of topics specific to higher education, including how higher education is organized, how it is financed, legal issues and the history of higher education. You will have the opportunity to take an in depth look at community colleges, and will conduct research and analysis to identify future directions of national and global higher education. As a graduate, you will be prepared to pursue positions as an educator in higher education institutions with a research agenda, or researcher for organizations focusing on the direction of higher education.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. However, up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If the program is not completed in 75 credit hours, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The PhD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

PhD Degree Requirements

Admission to the doctorate programs at NCU requires a master's degree from an accredited institution. PhD students are also required to demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Foundational Competencies for PhD Program

  • Graduate Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete a Statistics in Education Research Course, EDU8003, and also EDU8006, Advanced Educational Statistics.
  • Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to show competency in writing skills for research purposes through their Northcentral University graduate coursework before being assigned to any dissertation courses. Students will be required to take EDU8001, Advanced Scholarly Writing, to improve APA formatting skills and to address advanced writing and research skills as necessary.
  • Computer Competency - PhD students are required to use appropriate computer skills that are necessary in writing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents, etc.). In addition, students need to use computer programs for the statistical analysis and presentation of data (e.g., Excel, SPSS). The oral defense normally requires a computer-based presentation by the candidate (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation).

Course Length

All new students enrolling in the PhD in Education program are automatically enrolled in courses that are eight weeks in length. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

Foundation Courses - 6 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

EDU8000, EDU8000-8

Foundations for Doctoral Study in Education (This course will be taken as the first course)

This course is an orientation to Northcentral University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree in Education. Doctoral level skills, such as academic integrity, time management, effective use of the Northcentral Library, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and APA form and style in professional communication are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of personal goals, strengths, and challenges, and a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.

EDU8001, EDU8001-8

Advanced Scholarly Writing

The purpose of this course is to build advanced skills identifying and obtaining high quality sources through online library searches. In addition, the course addresses advanced writing and APA formatting skills, and it prepares students to be critically reflective consumers of research reports.

The PhD in Education requires six specialization, five research, and two statistical courses for a total of 39 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

LHE7004-8

Organization and Governance of Higher Education

This course introduces doctoral students to the classical theories, traditional models, and contemporary readings regarding approaches and structures relative to organizational governance in higher education. Topical areas to be covered include organizational theory, governance models, campus climate, institutional change, and diversity.

EDU8002-8

Educational Research Methodology

This Doctoral level course provides students with an overview of the research process, and an opportunity to learn about educational research methodology and the components of a dissertation. The course will also provide the student with the opportunity to identify and develop a research topic, define a research problem, describe the purpose of the research study, and establish associated research question(s). The student will prepare a Topic Paper and a preliminary annotated bibliography for the dissertation topic in the Signature Assignment.

LHE7005-8

Legal Issues in Higher Education

This course enables doctoral students to develop a fundamental understanding of the importance of legal issues in higher education and their impact on individual rights and responsibilities as well as those of institutions of higher education.

EDU8003-8

Statistics I

This course provides an introductory exploration of statistics for the graduate student. It includes instruction on the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics, and introduces inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts to help the student understand statistical methodology used in education, and also more generally, developing a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.

LHE7006-8

Student Affairs Leadership

Within this course, doctoral students study the evolution and current practices of student affairs in higher education. The philosophical, historical, conceptual, and research foundations of the profession and the cultural and organizational contexts of student affairs will be explored. Students will examine how various functional areas contribute to learning, personal development and other elements of the institutional mission. Students will also explore how current trends in campus demographics impact student affairs programming.

EDU8202-8

Research Design

In this course, the student acquires the basic skills necessary for the interpretation and application of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. The student will examine the formal research process carefully, with an emphasis on practical applications and skill development. Critical concepts and principles intrinsic to research paradigms, study designs, and methods of inquiry are presented to empower the students ability to formulate and respond to research questions. The resources listed below from the Northcentral University Dissertation Center are critical resources throughout the whole research process, students are highly encouraged to become deeply familiar with the resources from the Northcentral University Dissertation Center.

EDU8005-8

Qualitative Research Design

This course is an examination of qualitative methods for studying human behavior including grounded theory, narrative analysis, ethnography, mixed methods, and case studies.

LHE7007-8

Strategic Enrollment Leadership

Community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities can use information and intelligence to improve relationships throughout the institution, an approach known as strategic enrollment management. Similar methodologies can be applied to prospective and current students, alumni and donors. The enhanced relationships that result can increase enrollments, improve graduation rates and advance the institution. The program provides students with the best principles and practices for leading recruitment, enrollment management, and institutional advancement efforts. Students will focus on effective enrollment management and leadership, recruitment, retention, institutional advancement, student service, targeted communication, applying technology to enrollment management and developing an institution-wide strategic enrollment process. Students have the opportunity to customize this course to their particular professional setting and goals.

EDU8006-8

Statistics II

This course is an intermediate examination of statistical analyses commonly used for research in education. It prepares the doctoral student with the skills required to plan, conduct (using SPSS), report, and interpret quantitative statistical analyses. Topics include: basic statistical knowledge, probability theory, exploratory date analysis, assumptions for statistical tests, parametric and nonparametric tests. Specific analyses include: correlation, regression (simple, multiple, and logistic), basic ANOVA and advanced ANOVA techniques.

LHE7008-8

Higher Education Finance

This course will provide students with an overview of financial issues applicable to higher education in the United States. Students will engage a broad foundation of theory, practice, research, and policy of higher education economics. Topics will include societal investment in higher education, methods of finance, costs of higher education, and budgeting concepts.

EDU8007-8

Quantitative Research Design

This course provides students with the skills essential for designing experimental, quasi-experiment, and survey studies; analyzing the data collected in these studies, and interpreting the results of data analyses. Students will explore designs and statistical techniques to use with their envisioned dissertation research.

LHE7010-8

Current Trends and Topics in Higher Education

Higher education is experiencing radical transformation in scope, style, technology, and objectives. In this course students have the opportunity to survey many different trends and societal influences, but also have the opportunity to research those topics which relate to their professional role -- whether they serve in a community college, for profit institution, a private not-for-profit, a state university system, or a not for profit institution. Topics for consideration include 1. the effects of globalization and the prospect of international accreditation; 2. the balancing of entrepreneurial and philosophical goals of higher education; 3. the interaction between state governments and public universities; 4. the changing role of community colleges; 5. the conflicting interests and roles of boards, administrators and faculty; 6. the emergence of virtual education and the impact of technology on teaching and learning; 7. the shifting demographics and psychographics of students; 8. the differing views of academic governance; 9. the transition from a faculty-centered culture to a student-centered culture; 10. the impact of for profit higher education institutions; 11. the evolving role of professional and regional accreditation agencies; 12. the changing attitudes toward and approaches to tenure and the emergence of post-tenure review models. With guidance from the faculty member, students may also customize this course to focus on particular areas of interest and professional growth.

EDU8207-8

Planning Dissertation Research in Education

Students in this course will begin the process of writing a dissertation for a research or professional doctorate. The course will address the University dissertation process and aids to successfully complete a dissertation, including self-care and time management.

Dissertation Courses - 12 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

CMP9500E

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

In pursuit of a research doctoral degree (PhD) at Northcentral University, students gain expertise in their academic discipline and in one or more specializations that complement their academic discipline. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is intended to assure that students have mastered knowledge of their discipline before candidacy status is achieved and their dissertation work is initiated. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is taken following the completion of all foundation, specialization, and methods courses. This course is graded using Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) grading criteria. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination must be successfully completed with an "S" grade prior to beginning any work in Dissertation courses. This course may only be retaken once.

DIS9501E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9502E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9503E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9504E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral defense. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s PhD in Education costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $986
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,958
  • Program cost: $59,160
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Technology Fee: $0
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors.For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.