Join the ranks of higher education visionaries.

It’s an incredible time to work in higher education. Faced with sliding enrollments, increased competition, and shrinking endowments, institutions are making innovative moves to defend their value. Medical schools are integrating with art schools. Universities are bringing their best programs online. More colleges are opening satellite campuses overseas. If you’ve ever wanted to make your mark in higher ed, now is the time. The floor is yours—and with an EdD in Higher Education from Concordia University, people will listen.

This particular EdD specialization includes an emphasis on both higher education administration and higher education instruction, and is designed to prepare servant-leaders for leadership, teaching, and service positions in colleges, universities, community colleges, governmental agencies, educational associations, and other public and private postsecondary educational settings.

Through intensive curricula, scholarly discussions, and a nurturing faculty of highly regarded instructors, our EdD program produces leaders who inspire ethical change. Each of our five fully online, leadership-focused specializations incorporates a unique Virtual Residency component, follows a four-phase schedule of eight-week classes, and is limited in class size to support quality and collaboration. Accredited, nonprofit, and private, Concordia has been developing leaders since 1905.


Please correct highlighted fields...


Please correct highlighted fields...


Please correct highlighted fields...
Yes! By submitting this form I ask to receive email, texts and calls about degree programs on behalf of Concordia University-Portland, and agree automated technology may be used to dial the number(s) I provided. I understand this consent is not required to enroll.
100% online
100% online with a Virtual Residency
Innovative four-phase schedule with built-in breaks
Updated curriculum
Current and relevant curriculum
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Concordia is one of the most respected names in learning today
Time to completion
42-month time to completion (minimum)
10,000 alumni
Over 10,000 College of Education alumni
Faith-based university
Nonprofit, private, and faith-based university


EdD in Higher Education Specialization Objectives

In addition to meeting the goals and objectives set forth for Concordia’s doctoral program, the Higher Education specialization develops transformative leaders who:

  • Understand the history of American higher education and how it relates to the critical issues facing academia today
  • Carefully evaluate research findings to make evidence-based strategic decisions
  • Recognize proven leadership and management strategies for successfully managing diverse and complex organizations
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the complex financial realities of higher education, and the factors that affect long-term financial viability
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different curriculum design and instructional models
  • Acknowledge the transformational power of technology and strategically adopt proven innovations in teaching and learning

The Higher Education specialization is ideal for:

Professionals who plan to pursue careers in teaching, admissions, student services, student records, intercollegiate athletics administration, campus facilities, university business offices, institutional advancement, institutional research, and other administrative and support services in higher education

The EdD in Higher Education follows a four-phase schedule.

Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Core Courses
EDDC 600 A&B / EDDC 602 A&B / EDDC 603 A&B (0.5)
Nine Lives of Scholarly Writing I, II, III

This course provides opportunities for doctoral candidates to develop and refine their scholarly writing during the first year of the education doctorate in order to become stronger writers during and beyond their academic career. Writing craft development occurs through peer writing groups, close study of published texts, and interaction with faculty writers. Course topics include writing article abstracts and analyses, critiques, and literature surveys. Strategies for reading critically, organizing and developing thoughts, choosing appropriate vocabulary, and revising one's own writing are also covered. Candidates write and revise various genre of scholarly writing throughout the year-long series, culminating in a revised draft of the first Comprehensive Connection Paper.

EDDC 605 (3)
Transformational Learning
Based on the view that an individual's beliefs influence his or her actions in powerful ways, this course encourages candidates to reframe their world-view to move away from knowledge transmission towards transformational learning. Candidates will deconstruct conformity to social and cultural canons which have permeated U.S. public schools to a negative effect. They will examine theories that are meant to catalyze social transformation and individual change, and develop their own theory and practice of transformative learning for social change.
EDDC 608 (3)
Quantitative Research Methods
This course helps beginning educational researchers balance the competing demands of formal experimental and survey design principles with the ever-present practical constraints of the real world so that they can conduct sound quantitative research. Emphasis will be placed on formulating research questions, identifying relevant target populations, selecting respondents for study, refining definitions of the effects of interest, identifying relevant comparisons, selecting appropriate measures, including descriptive, inferential, and probability statistics, determining how many subjects to study, taking advantage of the results of previous research and pilot studies, and anticipating the unanticipated. The quantitative research designs of survey, correlation, causal-comparative, and comparative will be examined.
EDDC 611 (3)
Qualitative Research Methods
The goal of this course is to examine inquiry from a relativistic, but systematic, way of knowing. Candidates will apply qualitative research principles through coherent study of the established methodological designs of narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study. The issues of alternative knowledge claims, validity or trustworthiness, in-depth field work, and data collection and analysis will be examined through these six strategies of inquiry.
EDDC 615 (3)
The Ethical Educator

This course is grounded in the belief that it is the responsibility of educators to employ ethical practice in the daily activities of their personal and professional lives. Educators must also ensure that the institutional policies and practices of their school or organization adhere to the application of ethical practice throughout the workplace. The course will emphasize human subjects research issues of harm and deception. This study of the use of ethical principles in an educational context will include an examination of the underlying assumptions and implicit or explicit policies that can support or erode ethical practice. As a result of the activities and discussions completed in this course, candidates will have the opportunity to transform their personal and professional ethical lives and priorities.

EDDC 618 (3)
Leading Organizational Change
This course focuses on helping learners internalize the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values necessary for facilitating organizational improvement in schools and colleges. In particular, it zeros in on the theory and technology of Organizational Development (OD), and the "what, why, and how" of planned change in diverse educational settings from pre-school to graduate school. Additionally, the course content is undergirded by person-centered values, democratic leadership skills, as well as the ideology of service-management, and is aimed at facilitating excellence in student-centered teaching and learning.
EDDC 620 (3)
Creativity, Inquiry, and Innovation
This course emphasizes the need for organizations to foster an environment where creativity, inventiveness, and entrepreneurship are expectations in the culture. Topics are investigated through popular literature and case studies of individuals who have made significant break-through contributions in the areas of science, music, art, and business. The course will address such questions as "What is the essence of creative work? Can creativity be learned? How critical is it for organizations and leaders to innovate? What conditions are necessary in the workplace to foster an environment where creativity, experimentation, and innovation are welcomed? Who determines what is creative and what is not? Why is innovation more likely found in the commercial and nonprofit sector rather than schools?" Lastly, the course hopes to tap the creative potential within all of us and illustrate its value for our own growth as well as the health of the organization.
EDDT 653 (4)
Religion and Dense Meaning: Parables
This course explores the nature of sacred texts used by practitioners of religion. Because most sacred texts were developed prior to widespread literacy and printing technologies, they require specific reading skills, particularly in extracting practical meaning from densely written texts. Focusing on the Parables of Christ, this course both explores the content of these parables and appropriate reading/ interpretation of these foundational texts.
EDDT 654 (4)
Religion and Extremism
Throughout history, religion has motivated self-sacrifice on behalf of a greater cause. In this course, candidates will study the scriptures, doctrines, and historical contexts that have inspired such movements and actions of extremism and gain an understanding of the power of religion. They will also develop skills in helping students recognize and deal with these influences in their lives and communities.
EDDT 652 (4)
Religion in the Modern World

This seminar investigates the interface of religion and contemporary society through fundamental questions about the meaning of life, the reality of God, and truth and values to live by in a postmodern context. The candidate will examine critically his/her own beliefs and values in the light of popular assumptions and prevalent attitudes in our time, and the deeper questions of life that are addressed by various religious approaches.

EDDR 610 & 619 (2)
Scholars Before Researchers I & II

Scholars Before Researchers I and II are courses taken back-to-back in Phase III. The classes are devoted to researching and drafting Chapter Two of the dissertation proposal. Course topics include an overview of the literature review process, advanced library research techniques, and methods of organizing and managing the literature. Students will leave the course with a completed draft of their dissertation literature review. The course is taught by the Faculty Chair who is involved in the process from topic formulation to proposal defense.

EDDR 620 & 621 (2)
Intense Research Module I & II

The Intense Research Module (IRM) I and II courses assist the candidate in developing the research design and the methods that are employed in the Phase IV research field experience. One intense research module content area is completed in each course to support the development of the dissertation’s research design.

Prerequisites: EDDR 610 & EDDR 619 with grade of P

Content Areas:

  • Case Study, Narrative, and Action Research
  • Correlational, Causal-Comparative, Including Ex Post Facto Research
  • Descriptive or Survey Research
  • Experimental Research
  • Phenomenological and Ethnographic Research
  • Policy Research
  • Program Evaluation Research
EDDR 697 (2)
Proposal Development

This course is designed to assist doctoral candidates in completing their dissertation proposals and prepares candidates to defend a dissertation proposal before their dissertation committee. The course continues the Phase III emphasis on developing Scholars Before Researchers by guiding candidates to develop professional writing, research, and presentation skills. Candidates’ Faculty Chairs will instruct, mentor, and advise candidates as they: revise Chapters 2 and 3 of the proposal, write the Chapter 1: Introduction, and then synthesize the full proposal in order to ensure it is defense-worthy. The full dissertation committee will provide input, critique, and support during the development and defense process.

EdD - Higher Education Courses
18 credits
EDDH 621 (3)
Critical Issues in Higher Education

This course will explore the challenges and opportunities that exist in America's system of higher education. Candidates will develop leadership skills in analyzing higher education issues and making informed decisions, based on this analysis, relative to higher education practice. Included in this course will be a study of the impact that state and federal policies have on higher education and the significant role that higher education leadership has in examining and influencing these policies. A particular emphasis will be placed on utilizing appropriate resources to be well-informed on issues facing higher education and developing skills essential to presenting one's perspective through debate and advocacy in order to be an effective leader in higher education.

EDDH 623 (3)
Higher Education: Curriculum and Leadership
This course addresses the need for administrators and teacher leaders to both understand innovative curriculum, instruction, and assessment for college and university education and to develop the leadership skills to implement them effectively. Students will explore a wide variety of curricula and instructional and assessment applications, including curriculum theory, instructional theory and practice, curriculum designed for the gifted and talented, curriculum designed for special needs populations, and educational technology. The aim of the course is to prepare higher education leaders to effect transformational change as well as to meet the curriculum, instruction, and assessment challenges that face higher education today and in the future.
EDDH 630 (3)
Higher Education: Finance and Facilities Management

This course will provide a contextual framework for candidates to understand factors affecting the financial wellbeing of higher education institutions and how these factors affect an institution's long term viability, sustainability and ability to deliver on their mission.

EDDH 633 (3)
Higher Education: Human Issues, Accountability, and Administrative Behavior

This course examines the character and structure of the American Postsecondary Education system. Candidates will explore the history, major participants, and forces that have shaped the American postsecondary enterprise through a study of six components: (1) History of American Higher Education; (2) Diversity of institutions within higher education; (3) Benefits of higher education; (4) Diversity of Students within American higher education; (5) Issues of Autonomy, Accreditation, Accountability, Academic Freedom and Federal and State Coordination of higher education institutions; and (6) Future Trends in American higher education.

EDDH 638 (3)
Higher Education Law

Leadership in American higher education demands an understanding of the legal context of that service, and its policy implications. This course will provide candidates with an overview of the laws and legal precedent most relevant to higher education and will introduce candidates to methods of legal analysis and decision-making so that they can anticipate, recognize and appropriately address legal issues as higher education leaders. Additionally, candidates will learn how to incorporate legal advice from attorneys into decision-making. Candidates will also learn to access court cases, regulations, statutes, and understand the legal relationships among these various sources of law. The primary format for this course will be reflection and discussion, based on articulating deep analytical thinking, both orally and in writing.

EDDH 640 (3)
Technology and Revolutions in Higher Education
Higher education is in the midst of a revolution. Technology has already changed the way we organize and live our lives, and higher education is scurrying to adapt to the rapidity of the digital age. This course investigates the current forces accelerating change in traditional higher education, conducts research to determine what a transformed learning environment could be, and promotes the need for higher education to take the lead in realizing a new vision for teaching and learning.
Students Will Choose Two of the Following Seven Intense Research Module Options:
4 credits
EDDR 639 (2)
Intense Research Module: Descriptive or Survey
Descriptive or survey research involves collecting data to describe conditions, test hypotheses, or to answer questions about people's opinions on some topic or issue. It is particularly useful to quantify dispositions and as a quantifying complement in a mixed-method design.
EDDR 649 (2)
Intense Research Module: Experimental Research
"When well conducted, experimental students produce the soundest evidence concerning cause-effect relations" (Gay, et al. 2013, p. 251). The focus of this course is on Quantitative Methods of Experimental Research. The goal of the course is for students to understand and demonstrate the value of Experimental Research in Education and the Social Sciences. Students will propose an Experimental Design, conduct a pilot study, and evaluate the outcome of the study.
EDDR 650 (2)
Intense Research Module: Correlational, Causal-Comparative, Including Ex Post Facto
This course covers two non-experimental quantitative research designs: correlational and causal-comparative, including ex post facto. Correlational research involves collecting data to determine whether, and to what degree, a relationship exists between two or more quantifiable variables while in causal-comparative research the researcher attempts to determine the cause or reason, for existing differences, or that have occurred in the past, in the behavior or status of groups or individuals.
EDDR 661 (2)
Intense Research Module: Policy
Policy research determines which of various alternative policies will best achieve a given set of goals. It may be descriptive, analytical, or focus on causal processes and explanations, evaluating existing or new policy, describe best practice, measure social change, or develop projections.
EDDR 692 (2)
Intense Research Module: Program Evaluation
Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies, and programs. Questions may focus on effectiveness, improvement, or alternatives and usually examine the relationship between current practice and a set criteria, desired outcomes, or aspirations.
EDDR 663 (2)
Intense Research Module: Qualitative Case Study, Narrative, and Action Research
This course is designed to provide educational leaders with an in-depth study of the practical and applied research designs of case study, narrative, and action research, focusing on single or multiple case bounded systems, context sensitivity, multiple triangulated data sources, and data analysis. Candidates will begin writing the methodology section of the dissertation proposal.
EDDR 670 (2)
Intense Research Module: Qualitative Phenomenological, Ethnographic
The focus of this course is on two specific methods of qualitative research: Phenomenology and Ethnography. The goal of the course is for students to understand and distinguish between each of these methods and then conduct a preliminary study choosing either Phenomenological or Ethnographic research methods.
Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Dissertation
1 credits
EDDR 698 (1.5)

The dissertation is a scholarly document intended to demonstrate the research competence of the author and to produce greater understanding. It is written in the formal language and style of its discipline or field of study, and it results from a comprehensive, logical, and ethical investigation. The dissertation is an expression of the highest level of critical thought and is expected to be a substantive contribution to the theory or practice of its discipline or field of study.

Candidates are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits of dissertation.

** Extended Dissertation Opportunity

Should you need more time than the allotted two semesters to complete your dissertation, you may register for an additional eight weeks (1.5 credits; not eligible for financial aid) or, if necessary, an extra semester (3 credits; financial aid may be available).

I’ve found that school is not designed to take over your life, it’s designed to be that missing puzzle piece in your life.
TYSON CLYBURN, EdD Transformational Leadership

Concordia University's Virtual Residency Advantage

With our EdD program’s innovative Virtual Residency feature, you’re able to earn your EdD in Administrative Leadership completely online — without having to sacrifice time away from your family, work, and other obligations.


What’s a Virtual Residency?

The focal point of any doctoral program is the residency. Since Concordia Portland’s online EdD is aimed at the practitioner-scholar who already balances career, family, and other responsibilities, we designed a doctoral residency that can be completed anywhere, anytime, and completely online.


How does the Virtual Residency work?

  • It utilizes an orientation module to introduce new doctoral candidates to a rigorous course of study and identifies resources needed to engage fully in the doctoral experience
  • It employs the cohort model to generate a source of sustained collaboration and support among peers
  • It provides interactive group projects designed to build community, cooperation, and creativity
  • It provides networking opportunities embedded in proposal and dissertation development, which creates pride, fellowship, and esprit de corps with faculty, dissertation chairs, and fellow students in a cohort

“It appears clear that one of the main reasons almost 50 percent of students don’t finish their doctoral work is that they don’t have adequate support,” says Dr. Jerry McGuire, Emeritus Professor and former Director of Doctoral Studies at Concordia University-Portland.

As part of our Virtual Residency, students have a rich and expansive support system; they’re linked to mentors who can guide them throughout the program and the doctoral dissertation process.