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Doctorate Degree in Adult and Higher Education

Doctorate Degree in Adult and Higher Education


The mission of the Ed.D. program in Adult and Higher Education (AHE) is to provide advanced professional study for leadership roles through practice and research in adult and higher education.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Apply knowledge of the cultural, political, and economic forces shaping the historical, social, and philosophical foundations of adult and higher education to their research and practice.
  2. Apply theories of learning and development to the research and practice of adult and higher education.
  3. Critically evaluate the issues that impinge on policy formation in adult and higher education.
  4. Demonstrate leadership in the field of adult and higher education.
  5. Conduct independent research of relevant issues in the field of adult and higher education.


The doctorate in Adult and Higher Education prepares a person to take positions in three broad leadership areas: middle management or top level administrative posts directing educational programs for adults; teaching positions within higher education institutions; and occasionally as a researcher or evaluation specialist.

Administrative positions have been the major goal of most students. These positions are found in a wide variety of settings, such as: deans and directors of extension within community colleges and universities; directors of staff development or training in business or industrial settings; and directors of continuing professional education (i.e. law, medicine, nursing).

Teaching positions tend to be of two types: professional positions in graduate programs of adult and higher education or faculty positions in fields such as nursing or human resource development in which the theory and methods of adult and higher education are seen as basic to the curriculum.

Research positions are also available in the areas of military education, continuing professional education, and governmental policy units.

Three Areas of Emphasis

General Program of Study

Upon admission, a student is expected to form a doctoral program advisory committee. In general, this committee will consist of a chair from the adult and higher education faculty and at least two other faculty members, one of whom must be from outside the faculty of adult and higher education.

The doctoral program in Adult and Higher Education requires a minimum of 93 semester hours of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree, including the dissertation. With the approval of the department and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, a master's degree may be accepted in lieu of 30 of the 93 semester hours.

The following outline is a sample program that you, with the advice of your Program Committee, are responsible for completing upon admission to the program. The program of study form has several sections reflecting the learning objective areas discussed earlier.

Common Requirements (Minimum of 15 semester hours)

The common requirements include course work in research methodology, learning and development, and socio-cultural analyses. Students will complete course work in areas such as research design, statistics, historiography, philosophical methods, and ethnographic techniques. The structure of educational systems refers to general foundational courses, usually in education, such as the historical, philosophical, or social foundations of education. The individual in an educational setting refers to courses from psychology or educational psychology.

At least 9 semester hours must be in research methodology, not including ETR 520 or its equivalent. These requirements may not be met through independent study.

Major Field of Study (Minimum of 18 semester hours)

Adult and Higher Education (CAHA) course work, excluding dissertation hours.

Cognate (Courses outside CAHA)

A cognate is a cluster of courses taken outside of adult and higher education in a professional area such as human resource management, public administration, English as a second language, or gerontology.

A typical doctoral program includes a minimum of 9 semester hours of course work in other colleges within the university. These credits may be taken within the common requirements or the cognate.

Doctoral Research and Dissertation (15-30 semester hours) - CAHA 799

When students pass the required exams and are eligible for dissertation, they must remain continuously enrolled and take a minimum of 3 credits per semester (Spring, Summer, and Fall) of dissertation hours (CAHA 799) to continue enrollment in the Ed.D. program.