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PhD - Leadership for Higher Education

Aspiring college or university leaders or administrators could prepare for their professional roles by enrolling in Capella University's Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education program. Learn more about this online doctoral degree program here.

Official Program Name:

Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education

School Offering Program:

Capella University

Degree Level:


Program Prerequisites:

Before entering Capella University's Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education program, students should hold a master's degree and have a professional background in teaching or educational administration. Applicants to Capella University who are under 24 years of age must have completed at least two years of college or have active military status; some programs may have additional admissions requirements.

Program Description:

Capella University's Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education program focuses on the development of management, problem-solving, and research skills applicable to administrative or executive level positions in colleges, universities, or other postsecondary settings. It is offered as a specialization in the Ph.D. in Education program. Specialization courses address leadership roles and theories, human resource management in postsecondary institutions, learning assessment methods, current trends and changes in higher education, and administrative challenges. The core curriculum emphasizes educational research and research methods. A series of dissertation research courses assist students throughout the development and presentation of their required doctoral project.

Learning Format:


Total Credits Required:

92 credits.

Financial Aid Available:

Capella participates in several federal financial aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant Program and Federal Stafford Loan Program. Capella is also eligible to certify Veterans Educational Benefits and can provide information on other non-federal loan programs.

Capella-funded scholarships are also available in select disciplines, such as the Robert C. Ford Human Services Scholarship and the Helene Krivosha Scholarship for education students. There are also external scholarships offered specifically to Capella students, such as the Go the Distance Scholarship.

Tuition, Financial Aid & Start Dates

Since every student is different, there isn't a "one size fits all" for school information. Start dates and tuition often vary between selected programs, and financial aid opportunities are unique to each student's circumstances. Complete the form to the right to get the most up-to-date and accurate information based on your selected program and circumstances.

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Required Courses for a Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education:

Degree program and course requirements are subject to change. Contact Capella University to confirm the most accurate information before enrolling in a program.

Core Courses

  • Advanced Studies in Education: Theory, Practice, and Purpose
  • Survey of Research Methods
  • Qualitative Design and Analysis
  • Quantitative Design and Analysis
  • Leadership in Higher Education
  • The History of Higher Education
  • PhD Dissertation Research Seminar Track 1
  • PhD Dissertation Research Seminar Track 2
  • PhD Dissertation Research Seminar Track 3
  • Doctoral Exam
  • Dissertation Courseroom
    • Students must register a minimum of four times

Specialization Courses

  • Human Resources in Higher Education
  • Assessment in Higher Education
  • The Future of Teaching and Learning: Issues for the Educational Leader
  • Technology for Higher Education Leaders
  • Higher Education and the Law
  • Advanced Funding and Managing Education Enterprises
  • The Politics of Higher Education
  • Higher Education Administration

Elective Courses (12 credits)

  • 12 credits of approved Graduate-Level Electives
  • Student Advising and Retention (recommended)
  • Statistics for Educational Research (recommended)

Post-Graduation Opportunities

Career Paths:

Graduates of Capella University's Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education program could be prepared to fill directorial or administrative positions in a variety of higher education settings. They could work for public or private community colleges, 4-year colleges or universities, technical colleges, or online learning institutions.

Positions graduates could pursue include:

  • Dean
  • Financial aid director
  • Student admissions administrator
  • College or university department head

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