Feb 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Higher Education, Ed.D.

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The Ed.D. in Higher Education prepares midcareer professionals from a variety of postsecondary institutions and settings to perform at a higher level. These include public and private institutions; community colleges; and state, regional and national governance systems and organizations. Students engage with program faculty and their cohort in all course content, which includes the individual development and execution of a problem-based dissertation. Program activities benefit the students in their roles as postsecondary leaders and the organizations they serve.

Degree Requirements

The Ed.D. curriculum is delivered in a three-year executive-style format in which students meet in 10 weekend sessions each year and in summer intensive sessions. The schedule is designed for midcareer professionals to further their education while continuing to work full-time. Students become part of a student cohort when admitted and remain in the cohort as they progress through the program. Six cross-cutting themes infuse courses and other learning opportunities:

  • Organization and governance
  • Policy and finance
  • Student affairs
  • Research methods
  • Applied dissertation
  • Foundational topics

In an applied dissertation that serves as a capstone experience, students demonstrate research and leadership competencies by engaging in a multifaceted inquiry project based on a problem of practice.

Admission Requirements

1. Possess a master’s or post-baccalaureate degree before you begin the program.
2. Complete and submit the online application: https://gradadmission.smu.edu/apply/.
3. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts with a GPA of 3.000 or higher.

  1. Electronic transcripts should be sent directly by the institution to: gradappmaterials@smu.edu
  2. Paper transcripts should be sent directly by the institution to:

Graduate Application Processing
PO Box 518
Dallas, TX 75275-0518

4. TOEFL English language proficiency test scores for students whose native language is not English.
5. Personal Statement. Candidates should prepare a statement of purpose, which should be between 750-1,000 words. This statement should address the factors that encouraged the candidate to seek a degree with the SMU Higher Education Program. Candidates should address their background, personal and professional experiences that prepared them for the study of higher education, what strengths they bring to the program, and their professional goals after the completion of the Ed.D.
6. Submit an academic writing sample that demonstrates analytic and written communication abilities. This writing sample can be 1) a 3-5 page paper that addresses specific issues in higher education of interest to the candidate and how they wish to explore that issue further in the SMU Ed.D, or 2) a prior paper or policy report where the candidate is the primary author, which can be from previous coursework.
7. Three letters of recommendation. Letters should be from individuals who can speak to the candidate’s academic and professional skills and potential. 
8. A resume/curriculum vita.

Applicants may be invited to interview with faculty members.

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