Best Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Programs

Interested in making a difference in students' lives through education? Read on to learn more about earning an online doctorate in educational leadership.

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by Doug Wintemute

Updated August 16, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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Postsecondary policies, initiatives, and demographics change over time. Trained leaders in schools and school boards help accommodate these changes and develop improved programs and services for the new look student body. A doctorate in educational leadership prepares you for these responsibilities and growing opportunities.

The National Center for Education Statistics projects student enrollment numbers to increase between 2019 and 2029. Furthermore, the top online schools continue to make education more accessible with distance learning. This should lead to more change and development within the educational system and more potential for educational leaders.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Below, we describe online doctorate in educational leadership programs. Learn about the career paths this degree can lead to as you consider your graduate schools options.

What Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program?

When preparing for graduate school, you need to know more about your options to make the best study decisions. A doctorate in educational leadership may feature between 60-120 credits and take students between 3-6 years to complete. While the format may vary, most programs focus on improving educational practices, policies, and learning environments.

A doctorate in educational leadership typically comes in two degree types: an Ed.D. or a Ph.D. These degrees often differ in length, with the Ed.D. running between 3-4 years and the Ph.D. running between 4-6 years. As a professional degree, Ed.D. programs usually focus on the practical applications of knowledge, whereas Ph.D. programs focus on research and theoretical developments.

In addition to choosing a specific degree type, you may also get to choose a specialization. Concentrations may come in many subdisciplines, including K-12 education, performance improvement, educational administration, and curriculum and instruction. Specializations can impact what you study and what postgraduate opportunities you receive.

Depending on your choice of degree and specialization, your training could feature significant research or practical exercises. Many students take on a teaching position during their studies, either in a postsecondary role or an internship role.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Popular Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program?

Contemporary Issues in Education

In this course, students study the history, trends, and challenges in education. The issues they study may change depending on their focus, such as K-12 or higher education. Some possible issues may include funding, access to education, racial and cultural obstacles, and changing student demographics.

Policy Studies

This course examines the structures, individuals, and processes involved with creating and implementing educational policy. Students explore how social issues are built into policies and how they are practiced at the institutional level. They may also look at how policies impact educational practices.

Educational Leadership Approaches

Students in this course study various leadership approaches and frameworks. They also examine what type of impact these methods have on students, educational professionals, and the system. Learners may look at sociocultural and global leadership approaches as well.

Planning and Developmental in Higher Education

This course highlights some possible methods and strategies for implementing change in an educational organization. Students explore approaches for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating changes.

Educational Reform

In this course, learners look at the process of educational reform. They research and examine different organizational improvement strategies and practices and investigate their effectiveness.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program?

The admission requirements for an online doctorate in educational leadership vary by program and school. Prospective students typically need a master's degree for entry, though some schools may also require a specific degree type and grade minimum. The following list provides details on the most common application components, as per our graduate admissions guide.

Application

The application process can look quite different depending on the school and program. In general, prospective students at the doctoral level apply by submitting their materials to their school of choice directly. Some schools may allow applicants to apply via a college application system.

Test Scores

Schools often require applicants to submit college entrance exams as part of their application. These standardized test scores help schools differentiate between similar candidates. Due to the COVID-19 situation, however, many schools have offered test waivers to better accommodate learners in this difficult time.

Letters of Recommendation

The typical college application requires prospective students to submit three letters of recommendation. These personalized letters usually come from former teachers and supervisors and provide insight into the preparedness of the applicant. When asking for letters of recommendation, prospective students should be very clear about their intentions and deadlines.

Resume and Work Experience

Many applications feature a resume requirement. A college application resume can provide details about the prospective student's professional direction and experience. Some programs even set a minimum amount of relevant work experience as an entry requirement.

Essays

Prospective students often need to submit essays as part of their applications. These essays may follow various formats, including personal essays, question essays, and research interests or proposals. We offer tips for writing a grad school essay to help prospective students make the most of the space they have available.

Official Transcripts

Most college applications require applicants to submit official transcripts. These records provide information on what courses the candidate has attempted and completed, what grades they received, and what transfer credits they may qualify for. Prospective students may also receive college credit for life and work experience.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Degree?

Career Outlook

As the student body expands and diversifies across the country, the demand for professionals with advanced educational training will grow. Graduates with a doctorate in educational leadership can access teaching and leadership positions in schools and educational boards. They can also access management positions in educational organizations and impact policy at the research or government level.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10% growth for education, training, and library occupations between 2020 and 2030. The BLS also projects 9% growth for management occupations during that same period. Doctorate-holders qualify for many of the careers in these sectors.

Discover where a doctorate in educational leadership can take you. Learn more about educational leadership careers.

Career Paths

Postseondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers educate college and university students in their discipline. They design their own lesson plans, help develop the curriculum, and conduct research for projects and publications. Teachers also grade papers and tests, provide guidance and advising to students, and participate in department initiatives and committees.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $80,560

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary education administrators manage student services and programs in colleges and universities. They may oversee student affairs, admissions, or student records, along with multicultural affairs and student housing. Administrators aim to improve school operations, as well as the performance and experience of students.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $97,500

Top Executives

Top executives are the superintendents, school presidents, and chief executive officers in the educational world. These professionals oversee the day-to-day operations, school finances, and stakeholder and government relations. They implement protocols and policies, help develop and approve curriculum changes, and allocate resources.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $107,680

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators manage school curriculums and teaching practices. They create and evaluate curriculums, identify appropriate teaching materials and methods, and assess program effectiveness as per the educational standards and regulations. Coordinators may also run teacher and technology training programs.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $66,970

Training and Development Managers

These professionals create and run training and development programs for various organizations. They develop programs to implement policy changes, new technologies, and improved teaching methods. They work with an organization's leaders to make specialized and individualized professional development and continuing education programs.

Median Annual Salary (My 2020): $115,640

Educational Leadership Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

In addition to the many career options, graduates with a doctorate in educational leadership can continue their training in various ways. While a doctorate is the terminal degree in this discipline, they can still pursue training in related fields.

Graduates may, for example, pursue certificates or degrees in business or technology to complement their educational leadership degree. They may also look at specific student group training, such as special education or K-12 programs. Continuing education can help professionals expand their skill set or focus their expertise more intently.

How Do I Choose an Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program?

Cost

Cost plays a large role in the decision-making process for most prospective students. To get the most accurate cost information, applicants should look at the true program cost, which considers any lost income and all required fees. Degree-seekers should also consider comparing online and on-campus program costs, private and public school costs, and in-state and out-of-state program costs.

Program Format

Finding the right program format can make a major difference in a student's educational experience. Prospective online students should compare things like synchronous vs. asynchronous delivery and full-time vs. part-time studies. Through online learning, students should be able to find a program that accommodates their specific scheduling demands.

Location

When choosing online or on-campus programs, prospective students should consider location. On-campus learners need to attend classes, so location plays a very big role for them. Online students may still need to complete residency requirements, so they should also think about how they might satisfy the necessary travel.

Accreditation

According to our college accreditation guide, all prospective students should verify that their school has the appropriate regional accreditation. Without this, schools may be unable to offer federal funding or satisfactory employment opportunities. Program recognition may vary, but accreditation from Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is something to consider.

Student Support

Prospective students can get a strong indication of the support available at a school by reviewing its student services. Things like academic support, career services, mentor programs, and networking opportunities can add great value to an education. Online learners should look at the online-specific programs and services.

Best Accredited Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Ranked the Best Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Programs

We are committed to helping students find the program that best fits their needs, and we know that is different for every student. To help students get started with their search, we feature the top online doctorate in educational leadership programs in alphabetical order. To learn more about our different rankings, read our ranking methodology.

Public Schools with an Docotorate in Educational Leaership

American University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 79%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,898
Out of State | $1,898

Credits to Graduate
40

AU offers an online doctorate in educational leadership for working preK-12 school leaders. Students complete 40 credits of practitioner-focused coursework and research. The program culminates with a dissertation. Enrollees study four key areas: systems change, personal leadership, social justice and anti-racism, and policy and research. 

The cohort-based program blends asynchronous and synchronous online learning. Enrollees meet peers and faculty during three required residencies in Washington, D.C. Admission requires a master's degree or prerequisite coursework for bachelor's degree-holders. Prospective students need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must provide an academic writing sample. 

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Andrews University

School Information
Location Berrien Springs, Michigan
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,386
Out of State | $1,386

Credits to Graduate
60-61

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Berrien Springs, Michigan-based Andrews offers Ed.D. and Ph.D. in higher education administration degrees online. Both programs prepare learners for administrative and policymaking roles. Full-time students can complete either program in about five years. 

Learners complete coursework and a dissertation. They also submit a research-based article to a peer-reviewed publication. Enrollees participate in an international tour of colleges as part of the programs' focus on the globalization of higher education. 

Applicants need a master's degree and a minimum 3.30 GPA.

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Belhaven University

School Information
Location Jackson, Mississippi
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 50%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $595
Out of State | $595

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Belhaven's online doctorate in educational leadership prepares Christian leaders for K-12 schools. Students complete online classes and attend three residency sessions on the main campus in Jackson, Mississippi. Degree-seekers learn how to conduct research and address contemporary educational challenges. 

Enrollees culminate the doctorate in educational leadership with a research dissertation. 

Admission requires a specialist degree in education, minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least three years of preK-12 education experience.

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Bradley University

School Information
Location Peoria, Illinois
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 77%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $950
Out of State | $950

Credits to Graduate
48

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Bradley's online Ed.D. in higher education administration offers a pathway for education professionals who want postsecondary teaching or administrative roles. Students choose one of two focus areas: higher education or community college leadership.

All enrollees take core classes exploring areas like learning in an era of technology and boards and educational governance. Students gain experience during an internship. Action research projects fulfill the program's doctoral research requirement. Applicants need a master's degree and administrative experience.

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Clark Atlanta University

School Information
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $640
Out of State | $640

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

Atlanta, Georgia-based CAU offers an accelerated Ed.D. in higher education leadership that students can finish in two years. Enrollees complete the 60-credit program as part of a cohort that begins in the fall. The program prepares students for leadership roles at colleges and noneducational institutions such as think tanks and government agencies.

The program blends asynchronous and synchronous online instruction with summer residencies. Applicants need a master's degree and professional experience in an educational or nonprofit setting.

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Concordia University-Irvine

School Information
Location Irvine, California
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online and Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,015
Out of State | $1,015

Credits to Graduate
46

Program Information
Program Accreditation | WASC Senior College and University Commission

CUI's doctorate in educational leadership offers a customizable curriculum with three specializations. Students move through the program as part of a cohort. They complete 46 credits in three years. Enrollees choose a specialization in educational administration, special education, or organizational change.

Students apply their knowledge and conduct project research during educational trips. The program's fully online and hybrid formats provide flexibility. All students pay the same tuition. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA and a master's degree in education or a related field.

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Edgewood College

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,072
Out of State | $1,072

Credits to Graduate
54

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Wisconsin's Edgewood College offers a doctorate in higher education and leadership studies that students can complete in three-to-four years. Throughout this 54-credit curriculum, students tackle core requirements, including topics such as finance in higher education, inclusive leadership, and higher education law.

Prospective students must hold a master's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. In addition to a completed application, applicants submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal letter outlining academic and career goals.

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Evangel University

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 56%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $600
Out of State | $600

Credits to Graduate
50

Based in Springfield, Missouri, Evangel University offers an online doctorate in educational leadership. Alongside core requirements, this online track offers career preparation pathways, including K-12 administration, higher education faculty, and curriculum and instruction leadership. Core courses include educational funding, resource management, and data analysis for school improvement.

Evangel University applicants must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students submit a completed application with a writing sample, statement of purpose, and three references.

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Hampton University

School Information
Location Hampton, Virginia
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $695
Out of State | $695

Credits to Graduate
60

Virginia's Hampton University offers an online doctorate in educational management that students can complete in two years. This flexible, 60-credit program includes core classes such as diversity and quality in education, education finance, and techniques and problems in educational research. Degree-seekers can choose between academic specializations in higher education or K-12 education.

Applicants to this online doctorate program must have an academic background in education with a master's GPA of at least 3.0. Those applying without a master's degree must submit GRE scores. 

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Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $595
Out of State | $595

Credits to Graduate
54

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Liberty University is a private Christian institution that plays home to a robust catalog of online degrees. Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online doctorate in educational leadership that degree-seekers often complete in three years. Core courses include topics such as theories of educational leadership, conflict resolution, and advanced learning theory and research.

Applicants to this online doctorate program must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students submit an online application, official transcripts, and all relevant fees.

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Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

School Information
Location Omaha, Nebraska
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 69%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $817
Out of State | $817

Credits to Graduate
44

Based in Omaha and established in 1891, the Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health is home to a 100% online doctorate in education and leadership in healthcare

This flexible program comprises 44 credits, and full-time degree-seekers can graduate in as few as 24 months. Core academic requirements include courses such as leadership in organizations, information technology in healthcare and education, and curriculum planning and evaluation.

Applicants to this online doctorate program must hold a master's degree, preferably in a healthcare-related field. Prospective learners must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official transcripts and an admission essay.

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New York University

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 85%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,020
Out of State | $2,020

Credits to Graduate
42

New York University offers a 100% online doctorate in education leadership and innovation. Full-time learners can complete requirements in 24 months through a blend of both synchronous and asynchronous coursework. 

The curriculum focuses on the operational elements of successful organizational leadership. Students complete classes including organizational theory, leveraging partnerships, education policy, and management and data ethics.

Prospective students must have a master's degree in a relevant field and at least seven years of professional experience in a leadership role. 

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Northcentral University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $976
Out of State | $976

Credits to Graduate
54

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP)

Established in 1996, Northcentral University is a private online institution that offers a doctorate in educational leadership. This 100% online program includes 18 courses, and full-time degree seekers can complete the requisite 54 credits in fewer than three years. Core academic requirements include courses such as development of organizational leadership, educating a diversity of learners, and leadership in instructional technology.

Prospective Northcentral University doctoral students must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit an online application along with official transcripts. 

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Northwest Nazarene University

School Information
Location Nampa, Idaho
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 61%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $625
Out of State | $625

Credits to Graduate
36

The Idaho-based Northwest Nazarene University is home to a flexible doctorate in educational leadership that students can complete in about 26 months. This 100% online program utilizes asynchronous coursework, and students complete core requirements such as introduction to educational research, effective leadership for change management, and advanced data analysis. Before graduation, students also write and defend a dissertation.

Applicants to this online doctoral program must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Prospective students must submit an online application with academic transcripts, a 3-5 page statement of purpose, and a graduate-level writing sample.

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Nova Southeastern University

School Information
Location Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,505
Out of State | $1,505

Credits to Graduate
55

Florida's Nova Southeastern University is a private institution that offers an online doctorate in higher education leadership. This 55-credit curriculum includes foundational coursework and project-based research classes. Some core requirements include courses such as student affairs in higher education, the faces of 21st century higher education institutions, and politics and external relations of higher education.

Prospective students must submit an online application along with official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement outlining academic and career goals. 

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Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $800
Out of State | $800

Credits to Graduate
67

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

A Virginia-based Christian institution, Regent University offers an online doctorate in education focused on K-12 school leadership. Throughout this 67-credit curriculum, students complete core classes, including graduate foundations for education, data literacy for improvement, qualitative data analysis, and school finance and management.

Before graduation, students complete a principal internship and a degree-culminating dissertation. Prospective doctoral students should submit an online application, an admission questionnaire, and all relevant academic transcripts.

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Southwest Baptist University

School Information
Location Bolivar, Missouri
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 46%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes or Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $440
Out of State | $440

Credits to Graduate
30

Southwest Baptist University is a private Christian institution that offers a flexible and affordable online doctorate in education. Throughout this two-year online program, degree-seekers tackle core courses, including nonprofit financial management, leadership in learning, educational advocacy, and leadership and the law. Before graduation, doctoral students submit a degree-culminating research project.

Applicants to this online program must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Prospective learners must submit an online application with official transcripts.

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Southwestern College

School Information
Location Winfield, Kansas
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 42%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $700
Out of State | $700

Credits to Graduate
90

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Southwestern College is a private, Kansas-based institution that offers a doctorate in educational leadership. While degree-seekers complete most coursework online, this program requires two week-long summer residencies. Students base their academic path on two specializations: higher education leadership or PK-12 educational leadership.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Additionally, applicants submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Southwestern College also requires a current resume and an academic writing sample.

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St. Thomas University

School Information
Location Miami Gardens, Florida
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 43%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $777
Out of State | $777

Credits to Graduate
60

St. Thomas University is a Florida-based institution that offers an online doctorate in education with a concentration on leadership and innovation. This flexible degree is ideal for working professionals, and full-time students can complete academic requirements in as few as 36 months.

Throughout this 60-credit program, degree-seekers complete core classes, including public policy leadership, accountability in leadership, managing social media in organizations, and theory and practice of leadership. Before graduation, students research, write, and defend a dissertation.

Applicants to this 100% online doctorate in educational leadership must submit an online application and hold a master's degree with a minimum 2.6 GPA. 

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Union University

School Information
Location Jackson, Tennessee
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $695
Out of State | $695

Credits to Graduate
60

Union University is a Tennessee-based institution that offers an online doctorate in educational leadership with specializations in P-12 administration and higher education. This online graduate program takes a cohort-based approach. Students complete core classes such as organizational decision making, research issues in educational leadership, and research methods and design.

Union University applicants must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.2 GPA. Prospective students must submit an online application with GRE scores, official transcripts, and four recommendations. Applicants typically have at least five years of relevant professional experience.

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University of Dayton

School Information
Location Dayton, Ohio
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,425
Out of State | $1,425

Credits to Graduate
60

Based in Ohio, the University of Dayton offers an online doctorate in education with a specialization in leadership for organizations. Full-time degree-seekers can complete this 60-credit program in 36 months and tackle a curriculum emphasizing social justice and research. Students complete coursework synchronously and asynchronously. They must  complete one in-person immersion experience during the program.

Applicants need a master's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must submit an online application with a resume, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a personal statement.

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University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,137
Out of State | $2,137

Credits to Graduate
43

An elite private institution, the University of Southern California offers an online doctorate in education leadership that students can complete in just three years. Degree-seekers tackle a blend of synchronous and asynchronous classes and core requirements such as foundations in learning, leading for instructional improvement, and education policy and politics.

Prospective students must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution and at least three years of leadership experience in a relevant educational role. Applicants submit an online application with transcripts, resumes, essays, and letters of recommendation.

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Vanderbilt University

School Information
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 93%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,215
Out of State | $2,215

Credits to Graduate
54

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online doctorate of education in leadership and learning in organizations. This 54-credit program uses a synchronous delivery where students engage with weekly live classes. Students also must attend three on-campus learning experiences. 

Throughout this program, students focus on three competencies: leadership and organizational development, data and analytics, and learning and design. Students complete a capstone project before graduation.

Prospective students must submit an online application with official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores.

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Wilkes University

School Information
Location Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $799
Out of State | $799

Credits to Graduate
60

Based in Pennsylvania, Wilkes University offers a 60-credit doctorate in educational leadership program that students complete almost entirely online. Students complete the vast majority of coursework online and attend three, four-day residencies throughout their degree. 

Core coursework includes classes such as introduction to educational research, ethics for educational leaders, and organizational and leadership theory. Before earning their degree, students also write and defend a dissertation.

Applicants must hold a master's degree in education or a related field. Prospective learners submit an application with a resume, two references, and official college transcripts.

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William Carey University

School Information
Location Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $490
Out of State | $490

Credits to Graduate
63

William Carey University is based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and offers an online doctorate in educational leadership. This doctoral program follows a cohort model. Required courses include developing advocacy for the school and community, research in educational administration, and conflict resolution and mediation.

While coursework is entirely online and self-paced, students meet virtually with advisors twice per semester during dissertation work. Prospective students can apply online, and successful applicants typically hold a master's in education or a related field.

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Wilmington University

School Information
Location New Castle, Delaware
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $679
Out of State | $679

Credits to Graduate
51

Delaware's Wilmington University offers an online doctorate in educational leadership that students can complete in as few as three years. This flexible online program relies heavily on asynchronous coursework and only requires one hour per week of scheduled, synchronous coursework.

Core academic requirements include classes such as history of American higher education, advanced academic research and writing, and equity and inclusion in higher education. Before graduation, degree-seekers complete an applied inquiry project.

Prospective students must submit an application with a written statement, three recommendation letters, and a professional resume. Applicants must also complete an admission interview.

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Xavier University of Louisiana

School Information
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $464
Out of State | $464

Credits to Graduate
60

Xavier University of Louisiana is a New Orleans-based private institution that offers a 100% online doctorate in educational leadership. This program prioritizes urban education and school improvements. Through this 60-credit program, students complete core classes such as advanced visionary leadership, advanced educational law, school business management, and education in the urban community.

Prospective learners must hold a master's degree and submit an online application with academic transcripts from all prior institutions. Applicants also include two letters of recommendation and a statement of interest. Xavier University of Louisiana is currently test-optional.

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Private Schools with an Docotorate in Educational Leaership

American University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 79%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,898
Out of State | $1,898

Credits to Graduate
40

AU offers an online doctorate in educational leadership for working preK-12 school leaders. Students complete 40 credits of practitioner-focused coursework and research. The program culminates with a dissertation. Enrollees study four key areas: systems change, personal leadership, social justice and anti-racism, and policy and research. 

The cohort-based program blends asynchronous and synchronous online learning. Enrollees meet peers and faculty during three required residencies in Washington, D.C. Admission requires a master's degree or prerequisite coursework for bachelor's degree-holders. Prospective students need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must provide an academic writing sample. 

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Andrews University

School Information
Location Berrien Springs, Michigan
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,386
Out of State | $1,386

Credits to Graduate
60-61

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Berrien Springs, Michigan-based Andrews offers Ed.D. and Ph.D. in higher education administration degrees online. Both programs prepare learners for administrative and policymaking roles. Full-time students can complete either program in about five years. 

Learners complete coursework and a dissertation. They also submit a research-based article to a peer-reviewed publication. Enrollees participate in an international tour of colleges as part of the programs' focus on the globalization of higher education. 

Applicants need a master's degree and a minimum 3.30 GPA.

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Belhaven University

School Information
Location Jackson, Mississippi
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 50%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $595
Out of State | $595

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Belhaven's online doctorate in educational leadership prepares Christian leaders for K-12 schools. Students complete online classes and attend three residency sessions on the main campus in Jackson, Mississippi. Degree-seekers learn how to conduct research and address contemporary educational challenges. 

Enrollees culminate the doctorate in educational leadership with a research dissertation. 

Admission requires a specialist degree in education, minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least three years of preK-12 education experience.

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Bradley University

School Information
Location Peoria, Illinois
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 77%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $950
Out of State | $950

Credits to Graduate
48

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Bradley's online Ed.D. in higher education administration offers a pathway for education professionals who want postsecondary teaching or administrative roles. Students choose one of two focus areas: higher education or community college leadership.

All enrollees take core classes exploring areas like learning in an era of technology and boards and educational governance. Students gain experience during an internship. Action research projects fulfill the program's doctoral research requirement. Applicants need a master's degree and administrative experience.

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Clark Atlanta University

School Information
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $640
Out of State | $640

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

Atlanta, Georgia-based CAU offers an accelerated Ed.D. in higher education leadership that students can finish in two years. Enrollees complete the 60-credit program as part of a cohort that begins in the fall. The program prepares students for leadership roles at colleges and noneducational institutions such as think tanks and government agencies.

The program blends asynchronous and synchronous online instruction with summer residencies. Applicants need a master's degree and professional experience in an educational or nonprofit setting.

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Concordia University-Irvine

School Information
Location Irvine, California
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online and Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,015
Out of State | $1,015

Credits to Graduate
46

Program Information
Program Accreditation | WASC Senior College and University Commission

CUI's doctorate in educational leadership offers a customizable curriculum with three specializations. Students move through the program as part of a cohort. They complete 46 credits in three years. Enrollees choose a specialization in educational administration, special education, or organizational change.

Students apply their knowledge and conduct project research during educational trips. The program's fully online and hybrid formats provide flexibility. All students pay the same tuition. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA and a master's degree in education or a related field.

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Edgewood College

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,072
Out of State | $1,072

Credits to Graduate
54

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Wisconsin's Edgewood College offers a doctorate in higher education and leadership studies that students can complete in three-to-four years. Throughout this 54-credit curriculum, students tackle core requirements, including topics such as finance in higher education, inclusive leadership, and higher education law.

Prospective students must hold a master's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. In addition to a completed application, applicants submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal letter outlining academic and career goals.

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Evangel University

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 56%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $600
Out of State | $600

Credits to Graduate
50

Based in Springfield, Missouri, Evangel University offers an online doctorate in educational leadership. Alongside core requirements, this online track offers career preparation pathways, including K-12 administration, higher education faculty, and curriculum and instruction leadership. Core courses include educational funding, resource management, and data analysis for school improvement.

Evangel University applicants must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students submit a completed application with a writing sample, statement of purpose, and three references.

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Hampton University

School Information
Location Hampton, Virginia
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $695
Out of State | $695

Credits to Graduate
60

Virginia's Hampton University offers an online doctorate in educational management that students can complete in two years. This flexible, 60-credit program includes core classes such as diversity and quality in education, education finance, and techniques and problems in educational research. Degree-seekers can choose between academic specializations in higher education or K-12 education.

Applicants to this online doctorate program must have an academic background in education with a master's GPA of at least 3.0. Those applying without a master's degree must submit GRE scores. 

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Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $595
Out of State | $595

Credits to Graduate
54

Program Information
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Liberty University is a private Christian institution that plays home to a robust catalog of online degrees. Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online doctorate in educational leadership that degree-seekers often complete in three years. Core courses include topics such as theories of educational leadership, conflict resolution, and advanced learning theory and research.

Applicants to this online doctorate program must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students submit an online application, official transcripts, and all relevant fees.

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Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

School Information
Location Omaha, Nebraska
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 69%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $817
Out of State | $817

Credits to Graduate
44

Based in Omaha and established in 1891, the Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health is home to a 100% online doctorate in education and leadership in healthcare

This flexible program comprises 44 credits, and full-time degree-seekers can graduate in as few as 24 months. Core academic requirements include courses such as leadership in organizations, information technology in healthcare and education, and curriculum planning and evaluation.

Applicants to this online doctorate program must hold a master's degree, preferably in a healthcare-related field. Prospective learners must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official transcripts and an admission essay.

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New York University

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 85%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,020
Out of State | $2,020

Credits to Graduate
42

New York University offers a 100% online doctorate in education leadership and innovation. Full-time learners can complete requirements in 24 months through a blend of both synchronous and asynchronous coursework. 

The curriculum focuses on the operational elements of successful organizational leadership. Students complete classes including organizational theory, leveraging partnerships, education policy, and management and data ethics.

Prospective students must have a master's degree in a relevant field and at least seven years of professional experience in a leadership role. 

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Northcentral University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $976
Out of State | $976

Credits to Graduate
54

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP)

Established in 1996, Northcentral University is a private online institution that offers a doctorate in educational leadership. This 100% online program includes 18 courses, and full-time degree seekers can complete the requisite 54 credits in fewer than three years. Core academic requirements include courses such as development of organizational leadership, educating a diversity of learners, and leadership in instructional technology.

Prospective Northcentral University doctoral students must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit an online application along with official transcripts. 

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Northwest Nazarene University

School Information
Location Nampa, Idaho
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 61%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $625
Out of State | $625

Credits to Graduate
36

The Idaho-based Northwest Nazarene University is home to a flexible doctorate in educational leadership that students can complete in about 26 months. This 100% online program utilizes asynchronous coursework, and students complete core requirements such as introduction to educational research, effective leadership for change management, and advanced data analysis. Before graduation, students also write and defend a dissertation.

Applicants to this online doctoral program must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Prospective students must submit an online application with academic transcripts, a 3-5 page statement of purpose, and a graduate-level writing sample.

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Nova Southeastern University

School Information
Location Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,505
Out of State | $1,505

Credits to Graduate
55

Florida's Nova Southeastern University is a private institution that offers an online doctorate in higher education leadership. This 55-credit curriculum includes foundational coursework and project-based research classes. Some core requirements include courses such as student affairs in higher education, the faces of 21st century higher education institutions, and politics and external relations of higher education.

Prospective students must submit an online application along with official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement outlining academic and career goals. 

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Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $800
Out of State | $800

Credits to Graduate
67

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

A Virginia-based Christian institution, Regent University offers an online doctorate in education focused on K-12 school leadership. Throughout this 67-credit curriculum, students complete core classes, including graduate foundations for education, data literacy for improvement, qualitative data analysis, and school finance and management.

Before graduation, students complete a principal internship and a degree-culminating dissertation. Prospective doctoral students should submit an online application, an admission questionnaire, and all relevant academic transcripts.

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Southwest Baptist University

School Information
Location Bolivar, Missouri
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 46%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes or Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $440
Out of State | $440

Credits to Graduate
30

Southwest Baptist University is a private Christian institution that offers a flexible and affordable online doctorate in education. Throughout this two-year online program, degree-seekers tackle core courses, including nonprofit financial management, leadership in learning, educational advocacy, and leadership and the law. Before graduation, doctoral students submit a degree-culminating research project.

Applicants to this online program must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Prospective learners must submit an online application with official transcripts.

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Southwestern College

School Information
Location Winfield, Kansas
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 42%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $700
Out of State | $700

Credits to Graduate
90

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Southwestern College is a private, Kansas-based institution that offers a doctorate in educational leadership. While degree-seekers complete most coursework online, this program requires two week-long summer residencies. Students base their academic path on two specializations: higher education leadership or PK-12 educational leadership.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Additionally, applicants submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Southwestern College also requires a current resume and an academic writing sample.

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St. Thomas University

School Information
Location Miami Gardens, Florida
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 43%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $777
Out of State | $777

Credits to Graduate
60

St. Thomas University is a Florida-based institution that offers an online doctorate in education with a concentration on leadership and innovation. This flexible degree is ideal for working professionals, and full-time students can complete academic requirements in as few as 36 months.

Throughout this 60-credit program, degree-seekers complete core classes, including public policy leadership, accountability in leadership, managing social media in organizations, and theory and practice of leadership. Before graduation, students research, write, and defend a dissertation.

Applicants to this 100% online doctorate in educational leadership must submit an online application and hold a master's degree with a minimum 2.6 GPA. 

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Union University

School Information
Location Jackson, Tennessee
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $695
Out of State | $695

Credits to Graduate
60

Union University is a Tennessee-based institution that offers an online doctorate in educational leadership with specializations in P-12 administration and higher education. This online graduate program takes a cohort-based approach. Students complete core classes such as organizational decision making, research issues in educational leadership, and research methods and design.

Union University applicants must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.2 GPA. Prospective students must submit an online application with GRE scores, official transcripts, and four recommendations. Applicants typically have at least five years of relevant professional experience.

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University of Dayton

School Information
Location Dayton, Ohio
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,425
Out of State | $1,425

Credits to Graduate
60

Based in Ohio, the University of Dayton offers an online doctorate in education with a specialization in leadership for organizations. Full-time degree-seekers can complete this 60-credit program in 36 months and tackle a curriculum emphasizing social justice and research. Students complete coursework synchronously and asynchronously. They must  complete one in-person immersion experience during the program.

Applicants need a master's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must submit an online application with a resume, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a personal statement.

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University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,137
Out of State | $2,137

Credits to Graduate
43

An elite private institution, the University of Southern California offers an online doctorate in education leadership that students can complete in just three years. Degree-seekers tackle a blend of synchronous and asynchronous classes and core requirements such as foundations in learning, leading for instructional improvement, and education policy and politics.

Prospective students must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution and at least three years of leadership experience in a relevant educational role. Applicants submit an online application with transcripts, resumes, essays, and letters of recommendation.

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Vanderbilt University

School Information
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 93%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,215
Out of State | $2,215

Credits to Graduate
54

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online doctorate of education in leadership and learning in organizations. This 54-credit program uses a synchronous delivery where students engage with weekly live classes. Students also must attend three on-campus learning experiences. 

Throughout this program, students focus on three competencies: leadership and organizational development, data and analytics, and learning and design. Students complete a capstone project before graduation.

Prospective students must submit an online application with official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores.

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Wilkes University

School Information
Location Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $799
Out of State | $799

Credits to Graduate
60

Based in Pennsylvania, Wilkes University offers a 60-credit doctorate in educational leadership program that students complete almost entirely online. Students complete the vast majority of coursework online and attend three, four-day residencies throughout their degree. 

Core coursework includes classes such as introduction to educational research, ethics for educational leaders, and organizational and leadership theory. Before earning their degree, students also write and defend a dissertation.

Applicants must hold a master's degree in education or a related field. Prospective learners submit an application with a resume, two references, and official college transcripts.

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William Carey University

School Information
Location Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $490
Out of State | $490

Credits to Graduate
63

William Carey University is based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and offers an online doctorate in educational leadership. This doctoral program follows a cohort model. Required courses include developing advocacy for the school and community, research in educational administration, and conflict resolution and mediation.

While coursework is entirely online and self-paced, students meet virtually with advisors twice per semester during dissertation work. Prospective students can apply online, and successful applicants typically hold a master's in education or a related field.

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Wilmington University

School Information
Location New Castle, Delaware
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $679
Out of State | $679

Credits to Graduate
51

Delaware's Wilmington University offers an online doctorate in educational leadership that students can complete in as few as three years. This flexible online program relies heavily on asynchronous coursework and only requires one hour per week of scheduled, synchronous coursework.

Core academic requirements include classes such as history of American higher education, advanced academic research and writing, and equity and inclusion in higher education. Before graduation, degree-seekers complete an applied inquiry project.

Prospective students must submit an application with a written statement, three recommendation letters, and a professional resume. Applicants must also complete an admission interview.

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Xavier University of Louisiana

School Information
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $464
Out of State | $464

Credits to Graduate
60

Xavier University of Louisiana is a New Orleans-based private institution that offers a 100% online doctorate in educational leadership. This program prioritizes urban education and school improvements. Through this 60-credit program, students complete core classes such as advanced visionary leadership, advanced educational law, school business management, and education in the urban community.

Prospective learners must hold a master's degree and submit an online application with academic transcripts from all prior institutions. Applicants also include two letters of recommendation and a statement of interest. Xavier University of Louisiana is currently test-optional.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Educational Leadership Programs

Is a doctorate in educational leadership worth it?

A doctorate in educational leadership may be worthwhile for learners who wish to pursue a management role in the educational world. The training equips students with advanced knowledge in educational policy and operations. Graduates can pursue teaching or administrator careers in a very large and important industry.

The ability to choose an online doctorate in educational leadership may provide even more benefits. The value of an online degree varies, but many learners find the scheduling flexibility and limited travel requirements the most rewarding.

What can I do with a doctorate in educational leadership?

A doctorate in educational leadership can lead graduates down many paths. With a Ph.D., graduates can pursue the typical academic career options, such as postsecondary teaching or research positions. With an Ed.D., graduates have access to management and administration roles in colleges and universities.

Educational leadership professionals can also pursue careers with organizations involved in the academic world. They may take on curriculum design or training and development roles. Another option is to continue their training after graduation, such as combining interdisciplinary studies with their advanced degree.

How long does it take to get a doctorate in educational leadership online?

The length of time it takes to get an online doctorate in educational leadership depends on the school, program, and student. In general, these programs take between 3-6 years. Ed.D. programs take approximately 3-4 years, and Ph.D. programs take between 4-6 years.

Some online programs offer time-saving options, such as self-paced asynchronous courses that students can complete at their ideal speed. Some schools allow learners to take heavier course loads or run courses more frequently, which can also reduce overall study times.

How much money can I make with a doctorate in educational leadership?

The available wages for graduates with a doctorate in educational leadership look quite strong, though they can vary significantly. While the median annual wage for postsecondary teachers was $80,560 in May 2020, education teachers made median annual wages of $65,440.

According to the BLS, postsecondary education administrators made median annual wages of $97,500 in that same time period. Training and development managers made median annual wages of $115,640, and top executives made median annual wages of $185,950.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a doctorate in educational leadership?

The highest-paying job for graduates with a doctorate in educational leadership depends on many different factors. Certain locations and employers pay more than others. Still, top executives likely make the most money in this field.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for these professionals in May 2020 was $185,950. The BLS also reports that the annual mean wage for chief executives in elementary and secondary schools was $156,150 in May 2020. The top 10% of top executives made more than $208,000 in that same period.

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