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 justice-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, mission-driven, and focuses on iterative design-thinking, which equips graduates with the skills and agility to effect lasting change.

The program leverages the resources of the Lynch School's prestigious Center for International Higher Education to integrate course topics into the global higher education context. As an extension of Boston College's scholarship in Catholic education, students have the option to pursue a concentration in Catholic Higher Education - currently the only graduate program with this unique degree concentration in the United States.

Designed for experienced administrators, with a minimum of 5-10 years of experience in higher education, this part-time, three-year program pairs online coursework during the academic year with in-person week-long summer residencies. The program culminates in a practice-based capstone project that integrates content across the curriculum.

Summer Residencies 


Summer I 

While on Boston College's beautiful Chestnut 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 activities. 


Summer II

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

Connor's Center

Summer III

Students will visit Boston College’s picturesque Connor’s Center located in Dover, MA. In this retreat setting, students will complete the course Strategic Problem Solving through Design-Thinking. Catholic Higher Education concentration students will also participate in the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education. 

*Please note accomodations and a majority of meals will be provided. Candidates will be responsible for travel and related visas to attend the residencies. For students with extenuating circumstances, a remote option will be available.  

At a Glance

How many courses?

The program consists of 14 courses for a total of 48 credits.

What is the format?

The program is offered online with an annual in-person week-long residency.

How long will it take?

This part-time program takes three years to complete. 

When can I start?

Students begin in the Summer (May 2021) and come to Boston College for their first summer residency from June 6-11, 2021.  

In an era of increased disruption and rapid change, higher education needs a new kind of leadership. This program will help participants re-imagine 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

Program Faculty & Expertise

What will I study?


  • Courses: 14
  • Credits: 48
  • Practice-based capstone 

The program culminates in a practice-based capstone project where small groups of students work together to design an independent research project. 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.

Ed.D. in Higher Education 

Catholic Higher Education 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. 

Higher Education Program Highlights 

Tuition and 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. 

Application Information



Regular Decision
Rolling Admission
Until 12/15

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.

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 can be any written product from your current or former job in which you were the primary author, such as a memo, a proposal, a policy report, an evaluation, etc. 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

Contact Us