Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education

The Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) will prepare you to make significant contributions to your organization and will help you become a transformational leader in higher education. The program is designed for current and aspiring leaders working in two- and four-year colleges and universities and community and technical colleges who seek to be a catalyst for meaningful change within their organization.

The curriculum for the Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education focuses on contemporary leadership theories with a strong foundation in research. A broad understanding for the complex nature of higher education is woven throughout the curriculum, but the primary focus of the program is to prepare you to lead your organization through meaningful change and transformation. Rather than simply building your knowledge of higher education theory, you will learn to become a leader who will function effectively within your organization to create positive change.


Courses Are Available

Face to Face

Program Details

●  Coursework Credits (Ph.D.): 59
●  View Tuition and Fees

Courses meet one weekend per month during the academic year and during the Summer Institute in June.

Leadership: Leading individuals and groups – Effectively engages in processes and practices to influence others toward achievement of a goal.
Learning: Facilitating learning among individuals and groups – Effectively engages self, others, and systems in (research-based) processes that promote the acquisition of knowledge, skill, and dispositions that support the achievement of a goal.
Service: Effectively engages the transformation of self and systems to serve the needs and aspirations individuals, organizations, and society.
Research: Designs and engages in valid research processes that allow for accurate analysis and understandings to make appropriate decisions.
Applies understanding of leadership, learning, service, and research to inform efforts to build the capacity of self and others in higher education settings.
Overall Program Outcome: Values the relationship between leadership, learning, service, and research to on-going personal and professional efforts to improve the capacity of self and others.

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Application Process and Requirements

Academic and Professional Requirements

Prior Education
  • A master's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in master’s coursework is required, but a lower GPA can be considered on an individual basis. 

Admissions Application and Transcripts

Complete the Admissions Application
  • Submit the admissions application which is free to complete online. Applications for this program are reviewed on a rolling basis so allow sufficient time before the start of your program to be considered for admission.

Request Transcripts
  • Have official transcripts from each college or university you attended delivered directly to the Office of Admissions. Cardinal Stritch University alumni and current students should inquire with the admission counselor about locating transcripts already on file.
  • Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States require a course-by-course evaluation with GPA. Request the official report from ECE or WES to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Allow time for the evaluation to be completed since it could take up to 4-6 weeks to be created.

Information for International Students
  • If your prior education was not conducted in English, you must demonstrate proficiency with acceptable scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or an ESL program. Review the language and academic requirements to know if you are prepared for studying at Stritch. We can also help you obtain an F-1 student visa.

Three Letters of Recommendation with Reference Forms

Three letters of recommendation and reference forms are required. Two letters should be submitted from professionals in your field, and one from a representative of a college or university. References should include their letters of recommendation with the reference forms.

Curriculum Vitae

Applicants should send a current Curriculum Vitae which includes:

  • Information on your formal education, major schools attended, degrees obtained, and dates.
  • All professional positions held.
  • Any relevant programs or additional informal education.
  • Any published professional articles (in journals, school/agency publications, organizational newspaper, etc.); include title, date, journal, page number, etc., and attach a copy.
  • Any presentations made to organizations, associations, etc.
  • Honors/awards received.
  • Membership in professional and other organizations: offices held, dates of membership.
  • Significant/relevant experiences.
  • Community Service. 

Formal Essay

The formal essay is an essential aspect of the admission process. Follow the guidelines carefully, addressing all items. The essay will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Content relevance to topic proposed
  • Clarity of presentation
  • Maturity of style
  • Maximum of six double-spaced pages

Section 1 – Leadership and Change
Define and describe leadership.
  • Give an example of how you have functioned as a leader in your position.
  • Describe how you have participated in change. Describe inhibitors and facilitators of change as you perceived them.

Section 2 – Learning
  • Describe your interest in creating a "learning organization."
  • Describe what you have done to contribute to the creation of a "learning organization."

Section 3 – Service and Organizational Transformation 
  • Define what you feel is the relationship among leadership, learning, and service.
  • Describe how your service has been applied to the transformation of an organization.

Section 4 – Goals for Doctorate in Leadership 
  • Identify goals and expectations for pursuing a Doctorate in Leadership.
  • Describe how the attainment of this degree will enhance your ability to lead and transform organizations.

Send Application Materials to Admissions

Submit the application online and have additional materials sent to:

Cardinal Stritch University
Graduate Admissions
6801 N. Yates Road, #516
Milwaukee, WI  53217-3985

Funding Your Education

Counselors in our Financial Aid Office know how to help doctoral students identify all options available for funding their education.


Alumni Network

More than 38,000 Stritch alumni are recognized worldwide for their leadership roles in businesses, health care organizations, corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profit organizations. Responsive to the needs of their communities, Stritch graduates are critical thinkers, ethical decision-makers and lifelong learners.

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