The 20 Best Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership
|1||University of New England||Biddeford, Maine|
|2||Vanderbilt University||Nashville, Tennessee|
|3||Oregon State University||Corvallis, Oregon|
|4||University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida|
|5||Ball State University||Muncie, Indiana|
|6||University of Arkansas||Fayetteville, Arkansas|
|7||Indiana State University||Terre Haute, Indiana|
|8||Drexel University||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|9||Liberty University||Lynchburg, Virginia|
|10||Regent University||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|11||Colorado State University-Fort Collins||Fort Collins, Colorado|
|12||University of San Francisco||San Francisco, California|
|13||Grand Canyon University||Phoenix, Arizona|
|14||East Tennessee State University||Johnson City, Tennessee|
|15||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Lincoln, Nebraska|
|16||University of Bridgeport||Bridgeport, Connecticut|
|17||Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion||Marion, Indiana|
|18||Creighton University||Omaha, Nebraska|
|19||University of the Cumberlands||Williamsburg, Kentucky|
|20||Rowan University||Glassboro, New Jersey|
Successful Student has ranked the 20 Best Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership in the U.S. This ranking is designed for online students pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership to make informed college and degree decisions.
For students to learn, teachers must be able to work efficiently and have the freedom within the classroom to adapt as needed. A school that is well managed by administrators who listen to and understand the needs of the teachers is vital to the success of the students.
The more leadership tools an administrator has, the more well managed the school. A Doctorate in Educational Leadership is the highest, most comprehensive degree able to provide the most effective leadership tools and strategies to those administrators.
One particular example of skilled educational leaders are those administrators who oversee the services provided by institutions of higher education. These post-secondary education administrators may work in admissions, student life, registry, financial aid, and many other areas.
For online degrees that teach Higher Educational Leadership:
- Liberty University offers the Online PhD in Higher Education Administration: Educational Leadership
- Grand Canyon offers the Online Ed.D in Organizational Leadership: Higher Education Leadership
Next Step: Request More Information
This Best Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership ranking was created using Successful Student's ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school's ranking placement:
- Retention rate
- Desirability (number of applicants)
- Percentage of students who are fully online
- In-district average tuition for full time graduates
- In-state average graduate tuition
- Academic influence
University of New England
The online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at the University of New England offers a holistic and comprehensive approach to serving community through effective communication, supportive transformation, and collaboration. This degree is comprised of three cohorts:
- Spring A term
- Summer A term
- Fall A term
This 51 credit hour program take three years to complete with no residency requirement. All courses are completely online including the dissertation which is reviewed and presented in an online format. Courses for this degree include:
- Preparation for Transformative Leadership
- Managing Change
- Diagnosing Organizational Dynamics
- Ethical Leadership
There is no GRE requirement for admission.
Vanderbilt University offers the online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Learning in Organizations. There are four key competency areas available within the degree:
- Organizational Development
- Learning and Design
- Data Analytics
All of the tracks focus on improving operations within the workplace. In total this degree requires 80 credit hours, however 30 of those may come from an approved Master’s degree.
Students typically are able to complete the remaining 54 required credit hours within three to four years. Each year an on-campus portion is required for immersion courses. The program will conclude with a comprehensive capstone project.
Oregon State University
The Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program in Adult and Higher Education at Oregon State University requires a total of 108 – 120 credits. A maximum of 36 of the total credits may be transferred in from an approved Master’s degree.
This program offers two areas of concentration:
- Community College Leadership program
- Leadership in Higher Education program
Credit requirements include:
- 36 credits of core courses, comprised of 27 credits foundation courses and 9 credits research courses
- 12 credits for the chosen concentration
- 6 credit internship
- 24 credits dedicated to the thesis
An on-campus one-week intensive summer course is also required.
University of Florida
The Leadership in Education Administration Doctorate at the University of Florida is offered in an online/blended format with three on-campus weekend meetings per semester. GRE scores are required for admission which is available on a two year cycle. Students will typically take two classes, or six credits, per term. Credit requirement consist of:
- 36 credits department courses
- 15 credits research courses
- 24 credits dissertation hours
- 15 credits electives or transfer courses
There are 90 total credit hours required for graduation. The majority of students will complete all coursework within three years and the dissertation in the fourth year.
Ball State University
Ball State University manages the Department of Educational Leadership which offers the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Administration and Supervision. Students must complete a total of 90 semester credit hours of graduate work, with a prior Master’s degree required, for graduation.
Credit requirements include:
- 15 credits research
- 40 credits minimum graduate work
- 10 credits dissertation
- Educational Decision Making
- Ethnographic Research in Education
- The Educational Administrator and Public Relations
- Fiscal Management of Educational Agencies
University of Arkansas
To apply to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Arkansas, students must already have a valid teaching license, an Ed.S. degree or equivalent, and current GRE scores to submit. Once accepted to the program students can expect all coursework to be available completely online, however students will be required to attend one on-campus seminar per semester.
These intensive weekend events will center around a theme within Educational Leadership presented through mini-lectures, facilitated discussion groups, and debates of critical issues. Students must complete 42 credits of coursework for graduation, including the required dissertation. The average time of completion for this degree track is three years.
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
At Indiana State University, the Department of Educational Leadership offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration with a specialization in Leadership in Higher Education. A total of 90 credit hours is required for the completion of this degree, however prior Master’s coursework is applied to the curriculum.
As such, students will be required to complete an additional 45 credits, or 15 courses, and 18 dissertation hours on top of the Master’s requirements to fulfill the requirement. During the summer students will participate in a three week residency program. Students can complete this degree in five consecutive terms by enrolling in three courses, or nine credit hours, per semester.
Drexel University’s School of Education offers a Doctor of Education with nine concentrations to choose from:
- Athletic Administration
- Creativity and Innovation
- Educational Administration
- Educational Policy
- Global and International Education
- Higher Education
- Human Resource Development
- Learning Technologies
- Special Education Leadership
The total required credits will range from 60.5 to 61.5 depending on the concentration. Courses are organized into four 10-week quarters per year with the majority of students completing the degree program in three year’s time.
Core courses for all concentrations include:
- Educational Leadership and Change
- Creative Strategies for Educational Leaders
- Using and Integrating Learning Technologies
- Transformative Leadership: Finding One’s Source
Liberty University offers the Online PhD in Educational Leadership.
The Educational Leadership track requires a total of 60 credit hours for graduation. Up to 50% of the total credit hours may be transferred in to the program from an accredited and un-conferred degree.
Course work will include classes such as:
- Educational Leadership and Public Relations
- Organizational Analysis and Problem Solving
- Conflict Resolution
- Issues and Trends in Educational Leadership
Liberty also offers the Online PhD in Higher Education Administration: Educational Leadership for students who want to work at universities. This program accepts up to 50% of the degree total to be transfer credits. Students learn how to manage and grow universities, which includes instruction such as managing different departments and how to increase student enrollment.
- Policy Analysis
- Teaching the College Student
- Assessment and Accreditation
- College and University Administration
Liberty is a non-profit, private university.Get Information
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership and Management offered at Regent University requires a total of 75 credits for graduation. Available through the School of Education, classes are presented in an online format while two on-campus summer residencies are required. Each residency is worth two credit hours and are held on the Virginia Beach campus for four days.
Other courses may include:
- Analysis of Variance
- Regression and Correlation
- History and Contemporary Issues in American Higher Education
- The Law and Governance of Higher Education
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
The School of Education
Fort Collins, Colorado
The School of Education at Colorado State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Human Resource Studies.This 60 credit degree requires:
- 30 credits of higher education administrative courses
- 30 credits of research
- Oral and written comprehensive exams
- Juried publication submission or presentation
Course examples include:
- Higher Education Administration
- Student Development in a Collegiate Context
- Analyzing Education Liturature
- Theory and Practice of Change
- Higher Education Law
The majority of students will complete this program within five years. Upon graduation the transcript will include a specialization in higher education leadership.
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
The Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Organization and Leadership at the University of San Francisco is offered through the School of Education. This program requires 60 additional credits beyond a Master’s degree. Credit requirements are comprised of:
- 12 credits general education courses
- 9 credits department courses
- 21 credits specialization and professional interest courses
- 9 credits electives
- 9-12 credits dissertation development
Student may choose from several focus areas within the degree, including:
- K-12 and Administrative Services Credential Program
- 21st Century Leadership
- Higher Education Leadership
Additionally, possible classes include:
- Organizational Theory: Applications and Implications
- Race, Diversity and Higher Education
- Mentoring and Networking Skills
- International Development and Leadership
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies’ offers a comprehensive Ed.D in Organizational Leadership: Higher Education Leadership.
This program has two research tracks, from which students may choose: Qualitative Research, or Quantitative Research. Qualitative Research is oriented for determining factors such as motivations, behaviors, and ideas behind trends and patterns in organizations. Whereas Qualitative Research is data-driven and looks at numerical statistical data for trends and patterns.
There are a total of 60 credit hours required for graduation. Students may transfer credits into the program.
Some core courses may include:
- Progressions in Leadership Thought
- History and Politics for Higher Education
- Leading Across Cultures
- Governance and Structures in Higher Education
The majority of courses in the program are eight weeks in duration. Enrollment in each class is kept small to encourage more in-depth dialogue between professors and students.Get Information
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, Tennessee
The College of Education at East Tennessee State University manages the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. This department further offers the comprehensive Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree. There are three concentrations for students to select from:
- Administrative Endorsement Concentration
- Post-secondary and Private Sector Leadership Concentration
- School Leadership Concentration
There are a total of 66 required credits beyond an accepted Master’s degree necessary for graduation, 18 of which may be dedicated to guided electives. Some sample courses and activities may include:
- Educational Statistics
- Leadership for Lifelong Learning
- Theories of Educational Administration
- Internship in Educational Leadership
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Geared towards professionals with a prior Master’s degree with a desire for an administrative position in higher education, the University of Nebraska offers a comprehensive Ed.D. in Educational Studies with specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education. Current GRE scores are required to apply. Once accepted to the program, students are required to complete a total of 96 credits.
Core Courses include:
- Administrative Theory
- Educational Finance
- Finance in Postsecondary Education
- Law and Higher Education
- Leadership in Educational Organizations
University of Bridgeport
At the University of Bridgeport’s School of Education students can enroll in an accelerated online Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in International Education. This comprehensive 62 credit degree program is typically completed in four years, three years for course work and the fourth year for the dissertation. On average students will attend classes twice per week and are required to participate in tow one-week residencies. The curriculum emphasizes educational leadership, research, and analysis. Examples of possible courses include:
- Organization Management
- Grant Writing
- Evaluation of School Effectiveness
- Ethical Issues in International Education
- Culture, Society, and Education in International Contexts
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion
Indiana Wesleyan University provides a Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Organizational Leadership program. Both online and on-campus coursework is required to complete the 60 total credit hours needed for graduation.
Some course examples include:
- Leadership and Personal Development
- Organization Theory and Design
- Change, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
- Ethics and Leadership
- Advanced Global Leadership
Students must also participate in an on-campus residency which may be completed by attending three of the one-week long Summer Institutes provided by the University. This degree may be completed in as little as 40 months, or approximately three years.
The online Doctor of Education Program in Interdisciplinary Leadership at Creighton University requires a total of 60 credit hours for graduation which are comprised of:
- 21 credits of core courses
- 15 credits of electives
- 6 credits of research courses
- 14 credits of pre/dissertation courses
- 4 credits of core seminars and practicum
There are also two required on-campus residencies. The first is a four day orientation and the second is the concluding dissertation defense. Courses will run for eight weeks with the majority of students taking one class at a time. At this pace students can complete all the requirements in three and a half years.
University of the Cumberlands
The Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership at the University of the Cumberlands is a 60 post-Master’s credit hour degree program which students typically complete in less than three years. The credit hours are comprised of:
- 27 credit hours Administrative Leadership Core Curriculum
- 15 credit hours Professional Research
- 18 credit hours Specialty Area Content
There are seven specialty areas as follows:
Some examples of class topics include:
- Learning in Adulthood
- Higher Education in America
- Strategic Planning and Decision-Making
- Educational Program Evaluation
- Leadership in Theory and Practice
Glassboro, New Jersey
The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at Rowan University offers four tracks for students to select from:
- Higher Education
- Nurse Educator
- Community College Leadership Initiative
All classes for the first three tracks may be taken completely online, however students will be required to attend three on-campus residencies. Each track is comprised of three consecutive phases. Students must pass a Benchmark review at the end of each phase before moving on to the next. By graduation students will have completed a total of 60 graduate semester hours including:
- 36 semester hours of core courses (required for all tracks)
- 12 semester hours of the chosen track courses
- 12 semester hours for the dissertation
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for post-secondary education administrators in 2020 was $97,500.00 per year. The minimum education requirement is a master’s degree. The growth rate is 4%, adding 7,100 additional positions by the year 2029.