Adult Education Leadership Ph.D. Programs

Learn about the requirements to earn a doctoral degree in adult education leadership. Find out the classes available in these programs, and get information about career options for graduates. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in an Adult Education Leadership Ph.D. Program?

Earning a Ph.D. in Adult Education Leadership might prepare you for an administrative position in postsecondary education. You'll examine the challenges of adult instruction; you'll learn how to strengthen your leadership style by applying educational theory and research. You'll also study ethics in teaching and legal ethics for college administrators. Additional courses might include:

  • History of American higher education
  • Student services leadership
  • Educational leadership
  • Adult learning and development
  • Creating online learning communities
  • Administering at community colleges
  • Educational research methods

Doctoral program students are required to complete a dissertation. As part of the dissertation process, you'll need to select a faculty mentor. You'll also choose a unique research topic within the field of adult education leadership.

CourseworkChallenges of adult instruction, educational theory and research, adult learning and development, student services leadership; dissertation also required
Online ProgramsOnline programs are available but typically require some on-campus meetings
Career OptionsStudent services director or admissions director at colleges/universities
Median Salary (2018) $94,340 (for all postsecondary education administrators
Job Outlook (2018-2028)7% growth  (for all postsecondary education administrators)  

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

How Do Online Programs Work?

This Ph.D. program usually takes 3-4 years to complete. Although online programs exist, the majority are available only on-campus. Even online programs have some on-campus requirements, such as monthly residencies. You'll usually need to defend your dissertation in-person.

Online classes can be accessed at any time. A computer with high-speed Internet capability is required. You'll complete the courses at your own pace, though assignments and tests may have specific due dates. You'll usually have access to a school's online library.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

With a Ph.D. in adult education leadership, you might find work as a director of student services or as a director of admissions at a college or university. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a director of student services might supervise social or career counseling programs ( As an admissions director, your duties might include student evaluation and recruitment. Applicants for these positions often have prior work experience as administrative staff members.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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