Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership

Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership

Offered as a joint program through the National College of Education and College of Professional Studies and Advancement, the Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership is a professional doctorate. It addresses a variety of topic areas directly related to the complex operation of today's colleges and universities.


Students enrolling for January 2017 are eligible for a 20% tuition scholarship for the duration of the program—making it one of the most affordable programs available.


The program provides participants with an in-depth study of all functional areas of higher education institutions. An emphasis on mission-driven leadership, data-driven and research-informed practice and decision-making, and student-centered outcomes define the program. Designed to be completed in under three years, the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership integrates work from the doctoral capstone project beginning in the first year of study.

Consider getting your doctorate in Higher Education Leadership at National Louis University (NLU) if you:

  • Are an administrative professional who wishes to advance into a leadership role or advance in your current leadership position.
  • Are a faculty member who holds an in-field Master’s degree and are looking to advance to graduate teaching and academic leadership.
  • Work in a related field and are interested in making a career change to higher education.
  • Are interested in applied research and immediate application of knowledge to professional practice.
  • Have an interest in all facets of state-affiliated, nonprofit, and for-profit college and university operations and learning how to measure, evaluate, and advance student and institution outcomes.
  • How to assess critical issues and challenges related to leading mission-driven, student-centered higher education institutions (HEIs) and/or their functions in the increasingly dynamic and competitive environment.
  • How to identify data needs, select appropriate empirical approaches, and engage in research related to solving complex issues with multiple stakeholders.
  • Engagement in collaborative, evidence-based practices to create, lead, manage and grow programs and initiatives designed to advance the institutional mission and goals.
  • How to contribute to efficient leadership and management of various functions of a HEI, including academic affairs, faculty development, student services, enrollment management, record management, academic technology, quality assurance, and other operational areas through action research.
  • Integration of theories of student development, teaching and learning, leadership, governance, assessment and continuous improvement into professional practice.

The program is available in an executive blended model and as an online program with limited weekend and virtual residencies. The format of the program encourages the formation of strong learning communities for networking and practice, and enables participants to apply new knowledge immediately to professional and classroom settings.

  • Online—fully online courses, with three weekend residencies in Years 2 and 3 of the program. Residencies are offered in Chicago, Tampa and virtually, in a synchronous web-based conference format.
  • Executive Cohort—in each ten-week quarter, students meet for a total of three Saturdays (approximately once per month), with the rest of course requirements completed online. Three weekend residencies in Years 2 and 3 of the program are also required. This format is offered in Chicago and Tampa.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for Postsecondary Education Administrators was $88,390 (2014), with faster than average job growth projections of 9% through 2024. The median annual pay for Postsecondary Teachers was $70,790 (2014), with faster than average job growth projections of 13%.

As a private, non-profit institution, NLU has a long-standing reputation for its education and administrator training programs, and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Since 1886, we've trained thousands of Chicago-area and Florida teachers and administrators, and continue to graduate the majority of Illinois' Golden Apple Award winners—one of the most prestigious teacher honors in the state. Our instructors bring both academic skills and their extensive leadership experience to the classroom, providing unique depth to NLU’s doctoral programs.

The Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership offers many advantages over other programs.

  • Practitioner Doctorate with an emphasis on application.
  • Progressive online and executive formats meeting the needs of today's professional.
  • Designed to be completed in under 11 quarters (three years with continuous enrollment and recommended course load).
  • Capstone project work integrated into course load.
  • Graduates of any Master's program welcomed.

NLU also offers students an opportunity to earn an alternative/concurrent Education Specialist in Higher Education Leadership (Ed.S.) degree. Students may be admitted concurrently into the Ed.D./Ed.S. program and credit earned in the Higher Educations Leadership Ed.S. program may be applied without limitation to the full doctoral Higher Education Leadership program.

For more information about enrolling at any of our locations including Florida, connect with an Enrollment Specialist or Apply for Free today.

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements as well as additional requirements specific to the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership program. Refer to the appropriate Application Checklist available online at nl.edu/applyonline.

Get more information today about enrolling in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).

Please note: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may change the state licensure and endorsement requirements at any time and without prior notice. Teacher candidates will be bound by the requirements in place when applying for licensure, not by the licensure requirements in place when beginning their program. That is, the state may specify that a new regulation is immediately applicable to all candidates with no provisions made for candidates who began their work on licensure under different regulations.

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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