Doctorate of education in organizational change and leadership (Ed.D.)

HomeTeaching and educationDoctorate of education in organizational change and leadership (Ed.D.)

Doctorate of education in organizational change and leadership (Ed.D.)

If you have completed an undergraduate and/or graduate program, yet still strive to deepen your knowledge of organizational learning, change, and leadership then a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Change and Leadership program is worth your consideration. This program will teach students to become leaders who can problem solve, advocate for policy, commit themselves to social justice, and influence scholarly research to improve the science behind leadership. After completing this program, you will be prepared to work in executive and professional careers facilitating, leading, and organizing school or corporate settings. You will have the options of dedicating your professional and academic career to innovations aimed at improving educational institutions. During this program you will look into research-based science, qualitative studies, educational history, ethical leadership, and conduct your own research for your dissertation.


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  • Baylor University

    Baylor University

    Baylor University – Doctor of Education (EdD) Online in Learning and Organizational Change




    If you hold a master’s degree, you can earn your doctorate in as few as 3 years from a top Texas-based university. No GRE required. Influence change in education systems and beyond with the accredited EdD in Learning & Organizational Change online program from Baylor. Build the credentials to spearhead change in your organization. Apply today.

  • University of Dayton

    University of Dayton

    The University of Dayton – Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership for Organizations




    Master’s holders, earn your Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations online from the University of Dayton in as few as 3 years 3.0+ GPA required to apply. Graduate prepared to lead effective organizations and promote change and social justice through servant leadership.

  • University of Southern California

    University of Southern California

    USC Rossier School of Education – Online EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership (EdD OCL)




    Earn an EdD from the top-ranked USC Rossier School of Education, without relocating or leaving your job. 3.0+ GPA required to apply. Designed for leaders with 6-10 years of experience, the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online program prepares leaders across industries to influence meaningful change in their organizations. Accelerated track available.

  • Vanderbilt University

    Vanderbilt University

    Vanderbilt University – Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Learning in Organizations




    Pursue an Ed.D. online from top-ranked Vanderbilt University Peabody College. Master’s degree or 30 credit hours of graduate-level study required. In as few as 3 years, build advanced leadership skills and become a voice for innovation in education. This program features exclusive professional networking opportunities, as well as personalized student support and career services from enrollment to graduation.

What do I need to apply?

To be considered for a doctorate program, the first requirement is official transcripts with a minimum of a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA. Although some programs will only require a bachelor’s, others may require the completion of a master’s program. Next, 3 letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak on behalf of your scholarly abilities and potential for success. Thirdly, you will need a statement of purpose. This is an important part of the application process because it showcases why you are pursuing this degree and how the research for your dissertation sheds light on an specific aspect of education. Finally, you will need to submit valid GRE scores, a resume showcasing professional experience and, depending on the school, an academic writing sample or video interview.

Online vs. on-campus

Many universities offer online options, and there are several reasons why an online doctorate program may suit you better. Online programs work better for people who have limited daytime availability and need to be flexible with their study commitments, students who live far from campus, or those who prefer to limit exposure to people due to COVID-19. Luckily, there are many accredited universities that offer fully online doctorate programs, or hybrid options. A doctorate program can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years depending on your dissertation and coursework. Due to this, and the fast pace that life can move, many students opt for the online doctorate.

Does my doctorate program need to be accredited?

Accreditation is an important component to any academic program. Earning a degree from an accredited university allows you to be eligible for academic advancement, credential/licensing, and the gainful employment you deserve. Before you apply for a doctorate program, make sure it is accredited by searching for it in the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. This search engine is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Financial aid

Pursuing a doctorate degree can be expensive, so be aware of the financial aid options available to ease the stress of a costly academic program. The Federal Student Aid office of the U.S. Department of Education provides information on all types of student financial support and directs students to complete the FASFA (Free Application for Student Aid Form) which assesses eligibility for federal aid. There are also corporations, organizations, agencies, and associations that offer scholarships. These vary by state and depend on what you are studying. For example, the American Educational Research Association offers a dissertation award called the Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research. This is for U.S. citizens pursuing a doctorate in education and who are from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in higher education.

What will I learn?

In addition to conducting your own research for your dissertation, you will also be required to complete coursework. The amount of coursework will depend on the university and the specific program you are attached to. Coursework will provide you with knowledge about organizational change, leadership, research methods, instructional design, ethics, and issues in diversity.

Organizational structure and theory

When students examine organizational structure they begin to understand its influence on organizational success. You will learn about organizational structures and methods to modify them.

Ethics in leadership

You will learn about the ethical dilemmas, principles, and theories that apply to leadership. This course examines the ethical decision-making process and discusses how ethical behavior is important for successful leadership.

Qualitative research and data analysis

This is an in-depth look at qualitative research and data analysis. It will teach you about the strengths and limitations of qualitative research, research design, and statistical techniques. You will look at major components of research and learn how to critically appraise them.

Educational policy and law

This course will teach students about the development and influence of political, social, and legal contexts which impact organizations. As you learn about policies at the national, state, and local levels, you can develop political insight.

Diversity and equity

A course in diversity will provide students with knowledge about the challenges, opportunities, and complex structures of diversity on a global scale. It will teach you how to communicate with diverse audiences, lead diverse organizations, and to successfully implement organizational reforms.

Program concentrations

Depending on the institution, there may be an opportunity to choose a concentration within your doctorate program. This will give you additional knowledge about a specific area in education and be the content-specific subject of your dissertation. This can be chosen by you based on your interests, career goals, or academic plans. Some institutions may require relevant professional experience to be considered to acceptance to a specific concentration.

Educational psychology

This concentration is designed to educate students about the research and theory behind educational psychology. You will gain assessment skills and an advanced understanding of developmental psychology, cognition, diversity, and how they can be applied to learning settings.

Higher education administration

This concentration is designed for prospective or experienced administrators who want to expand their knowledge of higher education and student affairs. Students will learn about laws related to higher education, organizational theory, inclusion policies, and statistical methods in education.

Leading instructional change

For people who support teachers and faculty, this concentration is designed to prepare you to implement changes to achieve the highest level of instruction. You will learn about culturally responsive leadership, curriculum and instructional leadership, and interdisciplinary assessment.

K-12 leadership in urban school settings

This concentration gives you the skills and knowledge needed to be successful leaders in classrooms, schools, and school districts. It will focus on how to celebrate diverse students, increase student achievement, and implement leadership practices that will create high performing schools. Schools in urban areas have been affecting by learning loss, but educated teachers are working to minimize learning loss and maximize academic recovery.

Career options

The dean of student affairs is responsible for ensuring that the needs of the student population are met at the college or university. They coordinate student-related programs, direct admissions, collaborate with the different departments of a university, and plan social programs for students. They use organizational planning to create and improve the university learning environment.


PayScale reported that the average salary for a dean of student affairs was $89,011.

The athletic director acts as the administrator for athletic programs at universities, colleges, larger high schools, and middle schools. They oversee the athletics department including the coaches and athletes. Athletic directors are in charge of hiring coaches, budgeting, and facility management.


According to PayScale, the average salary for a college or university athletic director is $87,985.

An important role within a company, a human resources director is responsible for the operations of the human resources department. They provide consultation to management, work on budgets, and help determine salaries for specific positions.


A report from PayScale stated that the average salary for a human resources director is $89,766.

This is an advanced mathematical and analytical job that requires individuals to solve complex issues in business, logistics, healthcare, or other fields. They use mathematical statistics and other methods to solve business problems.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an operations research analyst was $86,200 in 2020.

National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

This association enhances and promotes the education of athletic programs through administrative professional development. They provide resources, leadership training, certification, and workshops to athletic administrators.

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education

This organization aims to make higher education inclusive through institutional reform. They provide information on public policy, webinars, current news, and laws. They also have a search engine feature on their website to search for careers to connect users with employment opportunities.

National Human Resources Association (NHRA)

This association is focused on providing career development, networking opportunities, and information for individuals in human resources. They work to develop instructional programs and tools, and offer conferences and seminars for professionals in human resources.