Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education

Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education 

Leadership for a changing higher education landscape

The Executive Ed.D. in Higher Education develops agile leaders for an era of rapid change. The innovative curriculum emphasizes global and international perspectives, socially just leadership, data-informed strategy, and iterative design thinking to reimagine the future of higher education.


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Key Features

Cohort Model 

Your cohort will bring together experienced leaders with different backgrounds – academic, ethnic, professional, and international – to form a diverse and dynamic learning community. This experience will broaden your perspective and change the way you lead.

Global Focus

Leveraging the resources of the Lynch School's prestigious Center for International Higher Education, the program brings together cohorts of experienced administrators from across the US and around the world to study with BC’s internationally-recognized faculty.

Data + Design

Our curriculum prepares you to make complex decisions with data-informed insights to design higher education institutions and systems that work better for everyone. 

Online, with Summer Residencies

The program pairs online learning with weeklong summer residencies in two of the world’s most dynamic cities, Boston and Dublin. Online courses are offered in a variety of formats during the academic year, and live online meetings are scheduled at times to that allow you to grow in your current role while completing the program.

Summer Residencies


Chestnut Hill, MA

While on Boston College's beautiful Chestnut Hill campus, students will attend the Doctoral Proseminar and Law, Policy, and Politics of Higher Education in the (Inter)National Context. The dynamic city of Boston serves as a backdrop for cohort-building and networking activities. The first residency is the first full week in June each year.


Dublin, Ireland

The cohort will travel to Ireland for this residency. Students gain a comparative perspective on critical higher education issues in the Managing Change in Higher Education course, meeting with university and corporate leaders, as well as policymakers and government officials. The second residency is the second full week in June each year. Tuition is inclusive of accommodations and most meals for all residencies. Students are responsible for travel and related visas.

Connor's Center

Connors Retreat Center
Dover, MA

Students visit Boston College’s picturesque Connors Center located in Dover, MA. In this retreat setting, students complete the course Strategic Problem Solving through Design Thinking. Catholic Higher Education concentration students also participate in the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education. The third residency is in mid-July each year.

At a Glance

What is the format?

100% online program with 1-week summer residences

How long will it take?

This part-time program takes 3 years to complete. 

When can I start?

Students begin in May and come to BC for their first summer residency in June.  

Meet Our Students

In an era of increased disruption and rapid change, higher education needs a new kind of leadership. This program will help participants reimagine institutions, execute difficult decisions, discern whether traditional ways of conducting business are still relevant, and attend to issues of justice and purpose.
Stanton E. F. Wortham, Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean, Lynch School of Education and Human Development


Students learn in an executive-style course format that involves case studies and research-based discussions that develop the skills, mindsets, and technical knowledge needed to address the issues facing higher education in the United States and around the world. 


  • Courses: 14 
  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 3 years
  • Practice-based capstone 

Ed.D. in Higher Education

Catholic Higher Education Concentration

As an extension of Boston College's scholarship in Catholic education, students also have the option to pursue a concentration in Catholic Higher Education – currently the only graduate program in the United States with this unique degree concentration. 

The goal of this optional concentration is to engage students in articulating, animating and assessing the characteristics of a vibrant 21st-century Catholic college or university. Students will join in formative activities including opportunities for communal prayer and liturgy, meals and dialogue with relevant leaders, and ongoing professional development on current topics in Catholic Higher Education. 

The optional concentration will consist of 3 courses (9 credits) taken as electives. Students will also attend the annual Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education during their final summer residency, providing an opportunity to network with a broad international Catholic administrator community. 


Affiliated Faculty

Photo of Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Emeritus Professor and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)

Professor Ellen Hazelkorn
Emeritus Professor and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)

Photo of Dr. Ariane de Gayardon, Researcher, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente

Dr. Ariane de Gayardon
Researcher, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente

Financial Aid

Education should level the playing field. We feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $8.4 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable. 



To be eligible for the doctoral program, applicants must already hold a master's degree and have 7 years or more of professional experience in higher education or a higher education-adjacent field. 

Application & Deadlines

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required; however, this fee is waived for select applicants.


  • Regular Decision — 12/1

    Applicants will be notified mid-February.


    Apply Now


    To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

    In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

    Personal Statement

    To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

    In lieu of a traditional personal statement, we ask for responses to each of the following questions. Please number the questions and limit your response to each question to 500-750 words.

    1. How does the Ed.D. program at Boston College align with your future professional goals?
    2. What are the issues, problems of practice, and intellectual growth areas you hope to explore during the Ed.D. program?
    3. What are the skills, experiences, and values you will bring to your cohort and the higher education community at Boston College?
    4. (Optional) We are committed to our students' ability to thrive in the program. Is there anything else you would like to share with the program's faculty? We welcome learning about what supports would best meet your needs as you prepare for this next stage in your professional development.


    Letters of Recommendation

    Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form.

    Three letters of recommendation are required with a preference for one letter to be from the applicant’s current employer.  


    All official undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be sent to our office before the application deadline. Please note the following:

    • Only official sealed (unopened) transcripts are acceptable. An official postsecondary transcript must be printed on official institutional paper and include at least one of the following: an institutional watermark, the registrar’s signature, or the registrar's seal.

    • Copies and unofficial transcripts sent directly from applicants are not acceptable, the transcript must come directly from the institution.

    • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate and/or graduate degree, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.

    Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to gsoe@bc.edu from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in gsoe@bc.edu to ensure it is received by our office. 

    If your degree was obtained from an institution outside of the U.S. you are required to submit a course-by-course evaluation completed by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) approved evaluator. A complete list of NACES-approved evaluators is found on the Directory of NACES Members.

    Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:

    Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
    Campion Hall 135
    140 Commonwealth Avenue
    Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

    Standardized Tests

    GRE is not required.

    Writing Sample

    To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

    A writing sample from the applicant’s current or former position is required. The writing sample should showcase the applicant’s analytic thinking and writing skills. It can be any written product from your current or former job in which you were the primary author, such as an academic paper, a proposal, a report, an evaluation, etc. Applicants are welcome to preface the sample with a brief summary that explains the background of the paper to provide context for the Admissions Committee. There is no word limit for this submission.

    International Students

    International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development.

    Requirements for International Students

    Higher Education Program Highlights 

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