Oregon State University's doctoral program in Adult and Higher Education prepares post-secondary education professionals for leadership roles in four-year universities, community colleges and similar institutions.

Effective leadership is a combination of management, vision and commitment to the mission of higher education institutions. This degree program, offered by Oregon State University's College of Education and delivered through OSU's Ecampus, is grounded in OSU’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s leaders guided by the principle that leadership can be learned and enhanced.

A solid foundation for two career options

This program includes foundational courses in areas such as organizational theory, law, ethics and leadership. You will develop skills in communications, resource management, instructional design, organizational strategy, collaboration and an inclusive philosophy emphasizing retention and student success. Ethics and a commitment to social justice are core principles that support all course work.

Two options built on this foundation allow you to examine research that is relevant your area of professional practice and will inform your financial, administrative, operational and ethical decisions.

Community College Leadership (CCL)

The community college leadership (CCL) option, focuses on the role and mission of community colleges in the US. This option will enhance your ability to apply high-quality research related to community colleges and allow you to develop leadership capacities that respond to the challenges and opportunities facing community and technical colleges in the 21st century. 

CCL students will concentrate on developing a dissertation proposal for a research problem or issue related to community colleges. 

Leadership in Higher Education (LHE)

The leadership in higher education (LHE) option is dedicated to focusing on the role and mission of four year colleges and/or comprehensive universities in the US. This option will enhance your ability to apply high-quality research related to colleges and universities and allow you to develop leadership capacities that repond to challenges and opportunities facing four-year colleges (liberal arts, regional comprehensive) or universities (master's and doctoral granting institutions) in the 21st century.

LHE students will concentrate on developing a dissertation proposal for research problem or issue related to bachelor's granting institutions or graduate education.

degree tracks

The AHE Doctoral program offers two degree tracks: EdD or PhD, which have different purposes. The EdD is designed for scholarly practitioners. The PhD is for individuals interested in a research career. 

PhD Degree Purpose: To develop the research competencies of students who are interested in generating new knowledge in the field of higher education.
EdD Degree Purpose: To develop the ability to apply research to practice and for developing practitioner knowledge.

Work directly with program lead Erich N. Pitcher to decide which track is best for you. Contact Erich at 541-737-3574 or email them.

Face-to-face cohort meetings

During the first two years of this program, you will meet and study with a learning cohort both in person and online. Classes are held two weekends per term at a convenient location near Portland, Oregon. Cohort meetings are half-day Thursday, all day Friday, and half day Saturday.  

As a member of an active learning community, you’ll collaborate with working professionals in higher education settings from Oregon, Washington, California and many other states. Sharing real-world experiences and insights is integral to degree excellence and builds lasting relationships that continue throughout your career.


For more information or program questions, contact:

Erich N. Pitcher, PhD
Program Lead