Bellarmine University / Admissions / Graduate / Leadership in Higher Education, Ph.D.

Leadership in Higher Education, Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Leadership in Higher Education is a 60 credit hour program with a leadership, social justice and research themed curriculum designed to prepare graduates to explore, analyze and integrate knowledge into a professional and personal leadership philosophy to lead and serve in an array of higher education settings. Each graduate student will be exposed to a series of courses in strategic planning, finance, legal issues, successful community, state and federal partnerships, assessment, accountability, multicultural theory, student development theory, ethics, governance, administration leadership styles and future considerations in higher education. Graduates will be prepared to assume leadership roles and teach in higher education areas including the more traditional undergraduate and graduate settings, community and technical colleges, non-profit educational services, and government and community agencies. This cohort-based Ph.D. program is designed for working professionals. The course delivery method is designed so that the classes are held on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Students meet six weekends each semester. Coursework is completed in three years (two courses per semester). The dissertation is typically completed in the fourth year.

Doctoral students will study Thomas Merton’s teachings and philosophies during their own quest for self-discovery and development as educators and administrators in higher education. Finding one’s gifts and potential and committing to a lifetime exploration of seeking one’s true self is an important part of the journey as scholars, teachers and leaders in higher education. In keeping with the Bellarmine University mission, our graduates will seek to benefit the public interest, create the future and seek to improve the human condition.

Program Objectives

  1. Acquire a strong foundation in the history, current best practices and future trends in higher education leadership in an array of educational settings.
  2. Gain an understanding and application of management theory and organizational development in higher education administration.
  3. Learn research skills in assessment, qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, statistics and research design.
  4. Learn student development theory and how to apply theory to practice in a variety of institutional settings with students from a wide spectrum of socioeconomic and multicultural environments.
  5. Learn to identify personal and professional traits, skills and competencies that foster leadership strategies for leading in higher education administration.
  6. Learn social justice principles and change theory in higher education and how these theories impact access, opportunity and success for students in diverse higher education environments.

Tuition and Fees

Visit our Graduate Tuition Rates for the most up-to-date tuition and fees information.

Financial Assistance

Degree seeking students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by visiting The Bellarmine School code is 001954. By completing the FAFSA, you may be eligible for student loans. Individuals working for the Archdiocese of Louisville are encouraged to contact the central office for information on the Professional Educators Incentive Program (PEIP) to see if funding is available. Financial aid questions should be directed to the Financial Aid Office at Bellarmine University ( or 502.272.7300).

Contact Information

Jordan Wiehebrink, Graduate Admission Officer
502.272.8245 or

Office of Graduate Admission
502.272.7200 or 1.800.274.4723 x7200 or