Doctor of Education in Adult & Higher Education


At the Doctor of Education level, the Adult & Higher Education program offers two specializations:

Higher Education Academics

The EdD Higher Education Academics specialization is intended for individuals who will teach and/or provide academic leadership and support in the area of college teaching and learning within a diverse range of post-secondary settings. Individuals pursuing this option may hold a Master's degree within higher education or another discipline in which they will teach or provide academic leadership.

Higher Education Administration 

The EdD in Higher Education Administration specialization is intended for individuals who will contribute to the administrative leadership and support within a range of diverse post-secondary settings. The primary objective of the degree is to produce informed scholarly practitioners for mid- to upper-level management or administrative positions. These individuals typically manage or direct either academic or student affairs operational functions. 

Program Flow

After acceptance, the student will be assigned a temporary advisor and should then meet with his/her assigned advisor. During the first semester, students will complete the Doctoral Seminar (EDU 600). Coursework will be based on the student's previous academic work and advisor/committee approval. By the third semester of enrollment, the student will identify a graduate committee chair and committee members, establish and submit their program of study to the Graduate School, and clarify plans for the comprehensive examination. 

Near the end of completing course requirements, the student will write the comprehensive exam and will later meet with the committee for the oral defense of the comprehensive exam. If deemed necessary by the committee, the student may be required to take additional coursework to make up identified deficiencies. Toward the end of the program, the student will take 3-credit hours of  Dissertation Seminar (EDU 650) to begin preparation of the proposal. During the proposal preparation, the student will work closely with his/her chair and the readers of the committee with progress being made each semester. The student then presents/defends their proposal, which includes the study introduction, literature review, and research methodology. The student conducts the research and writes the dissertation, with progress being made each semester toward completion. When the committee chair determines the student is ready, the student defends the dissertation.


Each doctoral student's committee must consist of at least four approved members. The chair and one other approved member must be from the Adult & Higher Education faculty. Two other approved members will be selected based upon their ability to contribute to the student's studies leading up to and through the dissertation research. These two committee members must have academic credentials in the area of the student's program of study and be approved by the Head of the Department of Education and Dean of The Graduate School. For information regarding graduate representatives, please refer to the Graduate School policy.


The student should carefully select his/her graduate committee chair after thorough conversations with the approved Adult & Higher Education faculty members that he/she believes might have an interest in their doctoral research agenda and/or the ability to work with them toward generating a defensible dissertation. The chair will give strong leadership and approval regarding the balance of the committee's potential membership. The committee, as a whole, is subject to the approval of the Head of the Department of Education. The chair will facilitate program approval, comprehensive exam planning and clarification, proposal hearing, and dissertation defense. The chair and two other committee members will be the primary "readers" of the dissertation as it is being written. The importance of selecting the right chair cannot be overstated. However, chairs and members of a student's committee are subject to change. In addition, revision to the program of study can be made during the course of study with the chair's approval.

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations are required for completion of all graduate degrees at Montana State University. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of the program of study and the ability to interact with the research in that area. Students should refer to The Graduate School's web page at: The comprehensive exams must be completed by the posted Graduate School deadlines.

Near the end of completing coursework and before the dissertation proposal defense, EdD students will complete a written and oral comprehensive exam. The exam is completed in writing and then orally defended in front of the entire Graduate Committee. Through the comprehensive exam, students will be expected to demonstrate:

  • a competency in the breadth of knowledge covered in their coursework
  • the ability to integrate concepts from courses into a holistic viewpoint
  • the ability to apply material to anticipated real life situations based on the theoretical principles and concepts covered in classes
  • the ability to critically read, analyze, and critique research
  • a readiness to move forward to create their own research

Generally, there will be four primary question areas:

  • Specialization area
  • Foundation of Higher Education
  • Research
    • Read, analyze, and critique a research article
    • Design a project - will be expected to demonstrate a mastery of aspects of both qualitative and quantitative projects (such as sampling, validity, reliability, and data analysis)

However, these areas may be revised according to individual programs.

Additional Doctor of Education Requirements

The Doctor of Education degree must meet the minimum requirements in the For Doctoral Students section on The Graduate School's website.  Additional requirements for the EdD degree beyond these minimums are available through the Department of Education. All EdD degree candidates are expected to be familiar with both The Graduate School's degree requirements listed here: and Department of Education degree requirements listed on each of the three program's websites.

Contact Information

Dr. Tricia Seifert

Dr. Carrie Myers, Program Leader

Dr. Sweeney Windchief

Dr. Bryce Hughes

Application Process for the Doctor of Education in Adult & Higher Education 

Applicants are required to complete the online application and submit the following documentation via the Graduate School Online Application System

  1. Completed Graduate School Application
  2. GPA calculation sheet (The form is provided during the application process).
  3. Resume/Curriculum vitae
  4. Documentation of verbal and quantitative skills needed for the degree: The general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is required. Official scores can be sent to Montana State University (code 4488). There is no minimum score requirement. Applications are reviewed holistically and take into account all elements.
  5. Academic Transcripts: Applicants must provide official transcripts verifying all Bachelors degree and Masters degree course work. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded during the application process. Official transcripts must be sent from the Institution directly to the Department of Education Graduate Programs Office, 215 Reid Hall, PO Box 172880, Montana State University, 59717. Electronic transcripts are also acceptable as long as they arrive directly from the applicants certifying university. Please have electronic transcripts sent to  Transcripts will be evaluated for rigor and academic fit. 
  6. Personal essay: Suggested length is 2-3 pages, double-spaced. The applicant should briefly describe the following:
    1. Background
    2. Prior professional and leadership experience
    3. Why the interest in the EdD program
    4. How the applicant plans to use the degree
  7. Three (3) professional references: The letters should be from individuals qualified to assess the following:
    1. Applicant's ability and potential as a graduate student  
    2. Attest to the applicants work ethic and professionalism
    3. References from relatives are not acceptable.
  8. For International Applicants ONLY: In addition to the above, International applicants will be required to submit the following:
    1.  TOEFL or ACE level 7 – Applicants who are not U.S. citizens and not from countries where English is the official language are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language and score a minimum 213 (paper version- 550, 80 for the iBT). This requirement may be waived if the applicant has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S. For more information on the International application process, see this link:
    2.  International applicants must fill out an International Student Financial Certificate.

Application Deadlines

Below is the deadline by which all of the application materials for the EdD in Adult & Higher Education must be submitted via the online application system. Students matriculate into the EdD program in the fall semester only. Applications to the EdD programs are reviewed once per year at the April 1 deadline. Applications received after the deadline may be reviewed for acceptance on a case-by-case basis.

  • Fall Semester:  April 1st

*An early review deadline of February 1st has been set for those applicants wanting to be considered for Graduate Assistantships. Graduate Assistantships require students to work on campus 19 hours per week. Applications must be complete for an early review.

Contact Information

Micki MacGregor, Graduate Program Assistant
PO Box 172880, Reid Hall 215
Department of Education, Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-2880 
Phone: 406-994-6786 Email: