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

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

Civic-minded leadership for a changing higher education landscape

Applications open September 2020

The Executive Doctor of Education in Higher Education develops civic-minded leaders with the skills, mindsets, and technical knowledge to match the changing pace of higher education. The innovative, data-informed curriculum emphasizes socially just leadership that is transformational and mission-driven; the program explores how higher education can reproduce inequality and offer students the problem-solving tools necessary to intervene. This aligns with the programs overall focus on  iterative design-thinking. Courses function as “living laboratories” that include iterative ways of addressing contemporary issues in higher education with critical concepts woven across courses.

Additionally, the program leverages the resources of the Lynch School's prestigious Center for International Higher Education to extend course topics into the global higher education context.  Further, as an extension of Boston College's scholarship in Catholic education, students have the option to pursue a concentration in Catholic Higher Education. 

This program is designed for higher education professionals with a minimum of 5 to 10 years full time professional experience and a master's degree. The online program combined with yearly in-person intensives, allows candidates to maintain and advance their professional roles. The cohort-based program has been designed for students to benefit from the experiences and knowledge of their classmates and to broaden their network.

In-person Intensives 


Summer I 

While on BC's beautiful Chestunt Hill campus students 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 activites as well. 


Summer II

The cohort will travel to the Ireland for this intensive. Students will gain a comparative perspective on higher education challenges and opportunities as they meet university leaders. Student will apply these perspectives to critical higher education issues as they take Managing Change in Higher Education.

Connor's Center

Summer III

The final intensive is at Boston College's picturesque Connor's Center. The cohort will take Strategic Problem Solving through Design-Thinking  as the culmination of their coursework. 

At a Glance

How many courses?

The program consists of 16 courses for a total of 48 credits.

What is the format?

Courses are primarily offered online with an annual in-person intensive session.

How long will it take?

This part-time program takes three years to complete. 

When can I start?

Students begin in the Summer and come to Boston College for their first intensive experience.  
Cohorts begin every other year (odd numbered years).

Program Faculty & Expertise

What will I study?


  • Courses: 16
  • Credits: 48
  • Practice-based Capstone 

Program of Study 

The culmination of the program for students is the capstone project. Groups of 2-3 students work together to designed an independent research project and analytic undertaking. The Capstone challenges students to integrate and apply their work in the Ed.D. program to the complex nature of colleges and universities, human and organizational learning, and the application of research to the pressing problems facing contemporary higher education practice and policy. Through the integration of theory and practice, the Capstone is designed to further develop the skills of practitioner-scholars in postsecondary settings.

Ed.D. in Higher Education 

Catholic Higher Education Concentration

The goal of this concentration is to engage students in articulating, animating and assessing the characteristics of a vibrant 21st Century Catholic college or university. The Catholic Higher Education Concentration will consist of 3 courses (9 credits) taken as electives. 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. This concentration culminates with students being offered specialized advising on their culminating capstone project that will focus on Catholic Higher Education. Students will also attend the annual Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education during their final summer intensive, providing an opportunity to network with a broad international Catholic administrator community.

Higher Education Program Highlights 

Financial Assistance 

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 $7.5 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.

Application Information



Regular Decision
Rolling Admission
Until 2/1

Apply Now

To be eligible for the doctoral program, applicants must already hold a master's degree and have 5-10 years of professional experience in higher education or a higher education adjacent field. 

Apply Now

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


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.

Student will provide written responses to 3 short prompts designed to gauge student’s interests, backgrounds, and motivation for the program.

Letters of Recommendation

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

Two letters of recommendation are required with a preference for one of these from the student’s employer.  Please also list the names and contact information of two additional references as a separate document.


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.

International Students

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Learn about requirements for international students.

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