Expand your competencies and applied leadership skills to grow as an educational leader for a variety of class and school settings.

Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration

The Educational Doctorate (Ed.D) in Higher Education Administration is committed to preparing and supporting administrative leaders in higher education in their development of research that informs the field and provides service to the practice of higher education. The doctoral program is designed to prepare administrative leaders for positions in community colleges, two- and four-year colleges and universities. Graduates will complete the program with a better understanding of higher education leadership and management, improved research skills, and exceptional multicultural competencies.

instructor leads class in front of adult students

What will the program look like?

The program consists of 54 semester hours beyond the master’s degree inclusive of the dissertation. The Ed.D is a practitioner’s degree designed for the advanced student who wishes to achieve a superior level of competency in his/her professional field with emphasis on practice and leadership in an urban setting. The degree requires students to demonstrate proficiency in independent research in higher education and make original contributions to the body of knowledge related to higher education. The program is structured on a cohort model with admission every three years. Admitted students must take courses as prescribed, in order, to complete the degree in a three-year time frame.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes:

This program will:

    • Prepare students for executive leadership across college and university contexts and for increasingly responsible leadership and service within educational administration.
    • Provide students with increased opportunities to incorporate multicultural competencies, ethical leadership, and organizational skills into their professional practice.Develop students’ understanding of current issues in higher education and their ability to apply research to address challenges.

Following completing of the program, students will:

    • Have a thorough grounding of higher education/student affairs as a field of study
    • Demonstrate mastery of organizational, management, leadership, and supervision theories and issues
    • Evaluate appropriate approaches to research and evaluation
    • Formulate research questions, and design and complete a research project
    • Demonstrate mastery of analysis and synthesis skills
    • Exhibit mastery of ethics in the field and be able to evaluate and construct professional requirements
    • Develop increased self-awareness
    • Develop improved multicultural competencies

Program Faculty

Tiffani Riggers-Piehl
–Assistant Professor, Higher Education
–Coordinator, Higher Education Programs

Michelle Maher
–Professor, Higher Education
–Chair, Division of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations

Application Deadlines:

  • This program admits a cohort of students during the summer semester, every three years. The next cohort will begin summer 2023.  All application materials are due on or before January 1, 2023.


  • Visit UMKC’s Catalog for admissions requirements.
  • The online graduate application and the official transcripts will need to be sent directly to the UMKC Admissions Office. All other supplemental application materials should be sent to:

ELPF Division Office
615 E. 52nd St., Suite #328
Kansas City, MO 64110

Application Procedures

1.) Complete the general UMKC Graduate Application (you will be asked to pay a non-refundable application fee).

2.) Arrange for official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions to be sent to UMKC Office of Admissions. Transcripts are considered official if received in a sealed envelope from the school or sent electronically to the Office of Admissions. Transcripts can be sent via secured mail to umkc-admtranscript@umkc.edu or can be transferred electronically through your academic institution. Sealed official transcripts can also be mailed to:

University of Missouri—Kansas City
Office of Admissions
120 Administrative Center
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

3.) Submit the following materials by electronic or postal mail to Dr. Riggers-Piehl, Program Coordinator (riggers-piehlt@umkc.edu; 615 N. 52nd St. #342, Kansas City, MO 64110 )

  • A letter of intent including a statement of the reason for pursuing a doctoral degree in Higher Education and a brief discussion about the match between the applicant’s needs and the program offering;
  • A vita or resume providing a summary of leadership activities, work experiences, and scholarly activity;
  • Two letters of recommendation are required. At least one letter should be a professional reference. The letters should speak to the applicant’s ability to complete the program successfully. (A recommendation form is provided in the program handbook and may be mailed directly to Dr. Riggers-Piehl.)

4.) Await scheduling of an interview with at least two faculty members as the final step in the admission process. Interview topics will be wide-ranging, including personal goals and objectives, current issues in education, and successful college experiences. The interview is designed to acquire information concerning the applicant’s oral skills and critical thinking skills.