May 23, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Higher Education, EdD

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The Higher Education Doctoral Program at UMass Boston seeks to empower emerging leaders who can serve as change agents and advocates for social justice and equity in higher education. Students include early-to-mid career professionals who work in higher education institutions, including community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and public and private universities. They occupy a variety of roles in student affairs, academic affairs, admissions and enrollment management, financial aid, institutional research, human resources, and other administrative areas. Early-career scholars have also entered the program, seeking to develop skills for careers as researchers, faculty members, or policy analysts.

The program is based on a cohort model in which PhD and EdD students participate in a common curriculum. Through elective courses and research experiences, students are able to pursue goals specific to either degree. Individuals who plan to pursue a career as a senior-level college or university administrator can apply to the EdD. Those who plan to pursue a career that includes college teaching, research, policy analysis, or service as a chief academic officer can apply to the PhD.

Degree Requirements

EdD requirements include 60 credits of coursework beyond the master’s: 15 core courses (including dissertation seminars), two electives, a qualifying paper, dissertation research (9 credits), and completion of a dissertation. Students spend one full day per week (Fridays) taking courses on campus for three academic years and participate in a three-week program in June for three summers. In January of the third year, students complete the qualifying paper, which serves as the qualifying examination.

The Dissertation

The EdD dissertation presents an original, empirical research study focusing on an educational problem with special relevance to professional practice or organizational policy. It is designed to demonstrate a student’s ability to use existing knowledge to design and carry out an empirical research project that makes a contribution to and articulates implications for higher education practice or policy. The EdD dissertation may be focused on the evaluation of an existing educational program or policy in a higher education setting.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate programs in the


Higher Education, EdD

Requirements include the submission of an admission portfolio consisting of:

  • a completed application for admission;
  • essay: In an essay of approximately 2,000 words, write from the perspective of a reflective higher education practitioner and structure your essay by addressing the following areas:
    1. Reflect on your practice in higher education and how that practice relates to larger higher education issues.
    2. Reflect on your capabilities for leadership in higher education.
    3. Reflect on your preparation for doctoral level work.
    4. Reflect on what you will contribute to the Higher Education Doctoral Program and what you will gain from it.
  • a resume or curriculum vitae;
  • three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s educational and/or professional background, and who can comment on the applicant’s potential for doctoral work;
  • a completed Employer Agreement Form, showing year-by-year how the applicant and his/her employer will arrange the applicant’s work life to permit him/her to meet the program’s requirements (including the three specified June sessions and a full weekday on campus each week during the semesters leading up to the dissertation seminar);
  • official transcripts of all previous academic work, graduate and undergraduate, demonstrating particularly that the applicant has earned a master’s degree or equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing.

Optionally, applicants may submit test scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The admissions committee will interview all finalists before making its recommendations for acceptance to the program.

Completed applications must reach the university’s Office of Graduate Admissions by February 1.


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