Doctorate in Sciences In Education


The Ed.D. in Adult and Lifelong Learning degree prepares students for employment in programs that provide adult literacy and education, lifelong learning, community and nonprofit organizations, military education, postsecondary education, and continuing professional education. Coursework focuses on the assessment, design, and implementation of educational programs for adult learners at all stages of development.

The doctoral program requires 96 credit hours of graduate coursework, but 42 hours of master's degree coursework can be counted toward the 96-hour requirement.


What can I do with this degree?

Graduates of the Adult and Lifelong Learning program will be able to:

  • Assess the educational needs of adult learners in a myriad of adult and lifelong learning environments.
  • Develop and implement procedures to assess learning needs for adult learners.
  • Create and design instructional programs aimed at meeting the needs of adult learners.
  • Demonstrate leadership and management skills applicable to the organization and administration of adult and lifelong learning programs.
  • Apply problem solving skills in order to research and evaluate the impact of adult and lifelong learning programs on participants.


Admission Process

Admission to the Adult and Lifelong Learning Blended Doctor of Education Degree

The ADLL Program is an executive, cohort-based program that admits new students every two years. ADLL blends online instruction with on-campus meetings. Students progress through the program as a learning community, taking approximately 6 hours (2 courses) together each semester.  Four (4) weekend, on-campus meetings are scheduled during Fall and Spring semesters.

Applicants are selected in the Fall and begin coursework the following Spring. To be considered for the next cohort, all application materials must be in place by: November 1


Admission Requirements


Applicants must meet all requirements as set forth by the Institute, including:

  • A completed master's degree
  • Graduate Record Examination Score (For information on GRE revised General Test Scores and their interpretation, go to
  • The Admission Process
  • Admission to the ADLL doctoral program is a two-step process.  The following steps are provided to guide you:
  • Apply to the Institute. 
  • Be certain to designate your Intended Area of Study on the application form: Adult and Lifelong Learning (ADLL)
  • Apply to the Adult and Lifelong Learning Program.  The ADLL program requires
  • Demonstrated professional interest in adult and lifelong learning assessed by an interview with the department's admissions committee,
  • Evidence of potential to advance the field of adult education through research and professional leadership,
  • Documented work experience,
  • Academic standing.

o   Completed application to the ADLL program 

o   An autobiographical sketch (clic)

o   These should be submitted to the Chancellor of the Institute.


The final step in the process is the candidate interview.  Candidates selected for an on-campus interview with the graduate admissions committee will be notified by the Graduate Coordinator.  All applicants are notified regarding acceptance status within two weeks of the initial interview.

 Course Descriptions and Rotation

Tentative Course Rotation

Semester III:

Quantitative Reasoning in ADLL

Current Issues

Semester IV:

*Educational Statistics and Data Processing

Instructional Adaptation & Innovation

Semester V:

Program Evaluation

Policy & Public Governance

Semester VI:

Qualitative Reasoning in ADLL

Current Issues

Semester VII:

Dissertation Seminar



*Students who do not hold a master's degree in adult education may select electives from coursework applicable to the M.Ed. in Adult and Lifelong Learning or may take courses from related areas of study with consent of their advisor.


Doctor of Education Courses:


ADLL 6413 - Quantitative Reasoning in Adult and Lifelong Learning - Methodologies for designing descriptive, correlational, and experimental studies.  Development of research questions, definition of variables, selection or development of instruments, data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting of research results.

     Discuss theoretical perspectives and orientations associated with quantitative paradigm.

     Identify accepted elements of quantitative research design. 

     Discuss and differentiate the differences among the types of quantitative studies. including descriptive, correlation, and experimental.

     Formulate research question appropriate quantitative research design.

     Evaluate data collection instruments associated with quantitative research questions.

     Analyze quantitative data using appropriate statistical techniques.

     Report research results using appropriate data display techniques.


ADLL 6423 - Qualitative Reasoning in Adult and Lifelong Learning - Methodologies for designing qualitative research studies in adult and lifelong learning settings.  Selection of the appropriate qualitative tradition, selection of research subjects, development of data collection protocols, field work strategies, data analysis, data interpretation and presentation of data results.

     Discuss theoretical perspectives and orientations associated with the qualitative paradigm.

     Identify accepted elements of quantitative research design 

     Discuss and differentiate among the five major types of qualitative research

     Formulate research question appropriate for qualitative research design

     Develop a data collection protocol (i.e. interviews, observations, document analysis) acceptable for use in qualitative research settings.

     Analyze qualitative data using appropriate coding strategies.

     Report research results using appropriate data display techniques


ADLL 6433 - Program Evaluation - Overview of evaluation strategies in adult and lifelong learning programs that include: development of evaluation questions, selection or development of instrumentation, data collection methods, data analysis, and reporting of evaluation results.  Emphasis on practical and ethical issues associated with evaluation processes. 

     Describe and explain differences between program evaluation and educational research.

     Explore various evaluation models germane to diverse populations

     Determine evaluation methodology or instrumentation for evaluating programs across diverse contexts and populations

     Implement evaluation of an adult and lifelong learning program and issue a report of evaluation findings to the program stakeholders.


ADLL 6443 - Adult and Lifelong Learning Dissertation Seminar - Development of dissertation proposal.  Formation of research question, selection of methodologies, development of problem statement, research questions, and identification of research variables, constructs of phenomena.  Identification of data collection and data analysis procedures. 

     Develop, articulate, and justify significance of a research topic appropriate for dissertation proposal

     Design a research strategy using questions or objectives as research guide

     Identify an appropriate theoretical framework which grounds dissertation research.

     Describe site and sample selection for their research

     Describe instrumentation procedures for their research.

     Outline, explain, and defend data collection methods for their research.



ADLL 6113 - Advanced Adult Learning Theory Advanced study of theories and models of adult and lifelong learning with an emphasis on current trends, recent research, and issues affecting the field. Issues covered will include critical theory and advancements in neuroscience and cognition as they relate to adult learning and lifespan development.

     Compare and contrast the contributions of seminal adult education theorists. 

     Discuss and analyze critical theory of adult education.

     Evaluate theories and strategies for developing adult learning programs based upon recently published empirical studies.

     Demonstrate how emerging interdisciplinary research (i.e.  neuroscience, lifespan development)  informs the practice of adult education and how it supports/refutes the contributions of major theorists.


ADLL 6123 - Leadership and Ethics in Adult and Lifelong Learning - This doctoral course focuses on leadership principles and ethical considerations that are critical to developing and sustaining adult education programs that benefit individuals, organizations, and communities. Course content will include case study analysis and lectures from scholar-practitioners from the field.

     Identify and explain personal leadership assumptions and philosophy

     Analyze socio-political and cultural complexities of decision-making and ethical leadership

     Explore and discuss the systemic elements of leadership and change

     Assimilate adaptive leadership framework into practice


ADLL 6133 - Analysis of International Adult and Lifelong Programs Survey of the historical and philosophical events which have shaped adult and lifelong learning worldwide.  Discussion of issues affecting adult education and lifelong learning including globalization, educational access, and variance in national policies.

     Explain the impact of historical and philosophical events which have affected adult and lifelong learning.

     Distinguish how adult and lifelong learning practices differ based upon a nation's political structure, economy, and cultural norms.

     Describe and explain the affect of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Bank on adult and lifelong learning practice.

     Examine how adult education and lifelong learning practices are effected by globalization, the market economy, environment, and health.

     Identify and explain how adult and lifelong learning programs assist marginalized populations and lead to community empowerment.


ADLL 6143 - Instructional Adaptation and Innovation in Adult and Lifelong Learning An overview of teaching and learning methods, styles, and techniques which are applicable when facilitating adult learners across diverse settings. Content to include teaching and learning style assessment, accommodating learning styles, physical and learning disabilities, language differences and cultural norms. 

     Identify and describe different systems of teaching and learning styles.

     Explain how different teaching and learning styles can be applied to adult and lifelong learning settings.

     Identify appropriate teaching styles which address needs for adult learners with physical or learning disabilities.

     Describe the influence of language differences and cultural norms on an adult learner's ability to process and understand.

     Demonstrate the ability to assess an adult student's learning style.


ADLL 6153 - Policy and Public Governance of Adult and Lifelong Learning Programs Policy analysis and public governance issues in adult and lifelong learning with emphasis on state and federal programs.  Discussions of how to evaluate, design, and implement policy focused on promoting adult and lifelong learning activities in a myriad of organizations.  Overview of trends and current issues related to policy and public governance of adult and lifelong learning.

     Examine current state and federal policy and law regarding adult and lifelong learning initiatives.

     Evaluate how federal policy informs practice at the state level and how state level policy informs practice at the local program level.

     Consider policy changes needed to enhance the accessibility and sustainability of public adult and lifelong learning programs.

     Review recent empirical research which should be considered when developing policy related to adult and lifelong learning programs.  Develop recommendations to apply those research findings to practice.


ADLL 6163 - Adult Development and Psychology Focus on adult developmental psychology with emphasis on lifespan development and specific issues related to learning in the various stages of adulthood.  Work-life balance, meaning of work, generational issues.

     Describe adult development and the major themes of adulthood from the psychosocial, sociological, biological and cognitive perspectives. 

     Examine the importance of life stages and aging issues as they relate to adults' personal and professional lives. 

     Analyze the effects of the aging process and lifespan development on cognitive processes and learning. 

     Explore the effects of life transitions and the maturation process as they relate to adult learners' needs and objectives. 

     Apply the theories of adult development and current research to practice in an adult learning setting. 


ADLL 6173 - Current Issues - Exploration and discussion of current issues relative to adult education and lifelong learning.  Focus on the review and application of current research as it relates to practice.  May be repeated twice.


ADLL 6313 - Independent Study - Independent study of topics in adult and lifelong learning.