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About the Program

Core Values

APU’s Department of Higher Education programs are driven by these core values:

Program Format

The Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership program meets on campus full time for two weeks each July and two weeks each January. At each visit, students conclude two courses and begin two new ones. Between sessions on campus, faculty and students are in communication with one another and assignments are submitted electronically. This schedule enables working professionals from the U.S. and abroad to participate in the program.

The APU Experience

APU’s doctoral programs in higher education are intensive programs for the working professional. As such, there are distinctive features of these programs that make the APU experience a life-changing one for our students.

The Cohort Model

Students are admitted to the intensive program as part of a cohort. Cohorts are typically 15–18 students who are employed full-time in higher education or a related field. They take courses in a carefully designed sequence and stay with their cohort throughout the program. This model affords students the benefit of a network of professional colleagues with whom to study and conduct research. Our students report that their fellow students are one of the highlights of being in the intensive program.

Course Schedule

In the intensive program, students come to APU twice a year for two weeks each time. Morning classes are offered 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m. and afternoon classes meet 1:30–5 p.m. Two courses are offered each term. Each class consists of five days in July and five days in January; each term, two classes are starting and two classes are concluding. In between terms, students are working online on course assignments and attending professional conferences with their research teams.

Registration and Books

Students register for classes online. Payment for doctoral courses is due each term. A textbook list is sent in advance to students. Doctoral students are expected to complete some assigned reading in advance of each session.


Because housing is not available on campus during the intensive class sessions in January and July, the department has arranged for a specially negotiated group rate at the Best Western Glendora located three miles from campus. All housing arrangements are made with the department for ease of payment; housing costs typically average $600 per person (double occupancy) for each intensive.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership program are expected to be able to:

  1. Conduct and disseminate research that answers meaningful questions and makes a difference to campus practice or to the field of higher education.
  2. Lead effectively, collaboratively, and with vision.
  3. Competently effect change at the campus level through creative interventions and program design.
  4. Articulate and evaluate a strengths-based approach to teaching, learning, and leadership development.
  5. Articulate and evaluate a Christian perspective on effective leadership in higher education.
  6. Relate effectively to diverse populations, communicate competently in a global and multicultural context, and appropriately confront personal and institutional injustice and marginalization in higher education settings.
  7. Demonstrate a commitment and ability to foster student learning within individuals and institutions.


A unique feature of the Ed.D. program is that students in the dissertation phase of the program are clustered into thematic working groups for support and multiple perspectives on key issues facing practitioners in higher education. Students write individual dissertations, but partner with other Ed.D. students who share the same dissertation chair and area of interest. Guided by a faculty member who chairs the dissertations of all students in the same working group, students are able to share insights and recommendations about the literature and methodology in their area of interest, as well as support one another and hold each other accountable. Dissertation groups are initiated by faculty on an annual basis; each July the faculty publish the list of topics from which students may choose.

Note: This information is current for the 2013-14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.