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The best online doctorate degrees in education

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    Why get a doctorate in education?

    A degree in education allows graduates to take control over how students are taught, what they learn, and explore research that continues to shape the education system. Taking the plunge into a doctorate in education program is a great way to advance your academic knowledge and broaden your career options. Whether you’re interested in research, educational leadership, or teaching, a doctorate in education will open up an array of opportunities.

    Best programs for an online doctorate in education

    • William and Mary College

      William and Mary College Williamsburg, Virginia
      William and Mary College

      An Executive Ed.D. in Educational Policy,Planning, and Leadership requires the completion of 51 credits, and typically takes 3 years to complete. It is designed for students who are seeking leadership or administrative roles in educational settings. This program is offered as a hybrid program and begins during the summer, so depending on your concentration you may be required to be on campus for some of the coursework.

      Coursework will cover educational policy, educational planning, leadership in education, data-based decision making, program evaluation, and cross disciplinary perspectives in educational theory, research, and practice. Additional coursework will need to be completed based on the concentration the student has selected. The available concentrations are either offered as hybrid components or fully online.

      • Gifted administration (hybrid)
      • K-12 administration (hybrid)
      • Higher education administration (hybrid)
      • International school leadership (fully online)

      In addition to coursework, a committee approved dissertation will need to be completed and uploaded for publishing prior to graduation.

      Admission Requirements

      Personal essay, admission requirements test, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, EPPL doctoral research paper, in-progress coursework, and an interview.  


      $950.00 per credit hour $950 per credit hour x 51 credits = $48,450 total program cost


      Professional education programs are nationally recognized and accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.

      Scholarships and awards

      Most School of Education scholarships are awarded to new students upon admission.

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    • University of Virginia

      University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia
      University of Virginia

      The Ed.D. in Curriculum &Instruction is a fully online program that aims to promote quality of education in classrooms, school systems, and communities. Students who graduate from this multidisciplinary program will be prepared for leadership roles in a variety of settings. Each student is able to customize their education by selecting courses based on their research interests and professional knowledge.

      • Full-time students typically complete the program in 3 years
      • Part-time students usually complete the program in 4-7 years

      Students are expected to complete core coursework in leadership, professional knowledge, diversity, advanced curriculum, advanced assessment, qualitative inquiry with data management and analysis, and lab practice of qualitative inquiry. An area of emphasis, or concentration, is selected based on the students interests and career aspirations. An additional 12 credit hours will need to be completed to qualify for graduation. The available concentrations are as follows:

      • Curriculum and instruction
      • Instructional technology
      • Gifted education
      • English as a second language
      • Educational innovation
      • Leadership in reading and literacy
      • Social and emotional learning

      Fieldwork, electives, a capstone Project, examinations, and doctoral assessments need to be completed before qualifying for graduation.

      Admission requirements

      A master’s degree from an accredited institution, minimum of 4 years full-time teaching experience, 2 letters of recommendation, and a goal statement. The GRE is not required for applicants applying in 2021.


      • Virginia residents: $23,480
      • Non-Virginia residents $48,600 


      The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

      Scholarships and Awards

      • PreK-12 educators: The UVA School of Education and Human Development provides tuition discounts for all pre-K to 12 educators.
      • Online Students: The online tuition rate is below average and they offer the same rate for both in-state and out-of-state students.
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    • University of Illinois

      University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
      University of Illinois

      Doctorate in Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership (Ed.D.) program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary for employment as academic professionals, college professors, administrative leaders, educational policy analysts, and instructional designers. This university offers 8 different Ed.D. programs online.

      • Diversity and equity in education
      • Global studies in education
      • Human resource development
      • International education administration & leadership
      • Foundations of eLearning education
      • LDL New e-learning
      • LDL Technology specialist
      • Learning design and leadership


      Effective in fall 2020, online tuition programs are $490 per credit hour.

      Admission requirements

      A master’s degree from an accredited institution, minimum of 3.0 GPA, 2 written qualifying exams, doctoral dissertation.


      The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

      Scholarships and Awards

      The University of Illinois offers an array of financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, waivers, and employment opportunities.

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    • New York University

      New York University New York, New York
      New York University

      Doctorate in Leadership and Innovation (Ed.D.) is a rigorous online doctoral program can be completed in 2 years which makes it an ideal choice for working professionals. NYU Steinhardt Ed.D. in leadership and innovation prepares students by working with real-world challenges which require that they formulate innovative solutions to succeed. Graduates use their research, analysis, and critical thinking skills learned in the program to implement change and innovative thinking into the workforce. 

      Coursework for the program includes organizational theory, leveraging partnerships, education policy, leadership, change and innovation, management and data ethics, and applied research methods. This program also requires 2 immersive residencies. The first is a 2-week immersive residency where students learn about notable scholars in the field. This allows students to meet colleagues in their cohort, discuss their professional experiences, and examine challenges. The second is a seminar-style session with presentations from leaders in education.

      Admission requirements

      Bachelor’s and master’s degree transcripts in relevant fields, 3 letters of recommendation, resume with 7-10 years of professional experience, 3 short answer questions to inform the committee of your purpose for applying, 2 essays, and a recent writing sample. The GRE is not required for admission.


      Tuition for the 2020-2021 school year is $1,867 per credit hour, and $1,942 for the 2021-2022 school year. 


      New York State University is accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education which is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

      Scholarships and awards

      New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a funding possibility for students enrolled in a part-time or full-time degree program; $2.7 million was awarded to projects and research scholarships to over 3,000 students.

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    • Harvard University

      Harvard University Boston, Massachussets
      Harvard University

      This Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) is a full-time, 3-year multidisciplinary program that will be offered fully online during the 2020-2021 academic year. It prepares students for work in the education public sector and in leadership positions in high-impact organizations. Upon graduation, students will be qualified for employment in the education sector, state or federal education policy, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, non-profit, and state education leadership roles. During the 3 year program students balance multidisciplinary coursework, practice-based learning, and innovative research.

      Coursework encompasses leadership seminars, education policy, financial resources for nonprofit organizations, education finance and budgeting, educational strategies and policies, racial equality in schools, special education policy, educational innovation, education law and policy, and teaching quality. In addition to traditional coursework, the program includes a paid residency, strategic project, and final written capstone project.

      Admission requirements Transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, GRE scores, and, resume/CV


      Total tuition for a 3-year Ed.L.D. program at Harvard is $244,870. 


      Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

      Scholarships and awards

      Approximately 55% of Harvard students receive need-based aid and 1 in 5 pays nothing to attend. A myriad of scholarships are available to students who qualify that are from endowment funds created by alumni and donors. The preferences of these scholarships involve ancestry, residency, birthplace, citizenship, or academic interest.

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    • Rowan University

      Rowan University Glassboro, New Jersey
      Rowan University

      This Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed. D.) program aims to prepare students for a career as professional leaders able to make reflective decisions, work collaboratively, and initiate innovative change. By combining academic instruction, leadership theory, practical knowledge, and evidence-based research, students are prepared for successful careers in higher education institutions and administrative roles in the public school sector.

      Courses cover leadership theory, quantitative analysis of educational research, changing organizations, diversity in leadership, applied ethics, issues in qualitative research, mixed method research in educational leadership, policy environment, and advanced leadership. Students get the opportunity to advance their knowledge by choosing a concentration that relates to their interests and professional experience, and goals.

      • P-12 education
      • Higher education
      • Community college leadership initiative (CCLI)
      • Nurse educator Admission


      Master’s degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited institution, official transcripts, resume, 3 letters of recommendation, recommended GPA of 3.5, and 3 typewritten essays outlining your goals, characteristics of an effective leader, and pressing issues facing education today.  


      Online doctorate fees for 2020-21 are $866 per semester hour


      Rowan University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

      Scholarships and Awards

      The Rowan Foundation awards more than $2 million in scholarships for continuing students on the basis of academic excellence, financial need, and involvement in on-campus and off-campus activities.

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    • Clarkson College

      Clarkson College Omaha, Nebraska
      Clarkson College

      This Doctorate in Health Care Education and Leadership (Ed.D.) program strengthens experienced healthcare and education professionals by educating students, and conducting research that affects healthcare and higher education. This program focuses on broad-based interdisciplinary education, evidence-based research, and leadership strategies to improve healthcare and higher education settings.

      • Full-time study 8 semesters
      • Part-time study 14 semesters

      Coursework will include learning theories, curriculum and program development, leadership theory, research methods, healthcare law and policy, diversity, organizational behavior, financial management, and issues facing health care and education settings.

      Admission requirements

      • 3.0 to 4.0 cumulative GPA
      • English proficiency


      • $839 per credit hour. 
      • Total tuition is $42,752 for full-time students and $37,408 for part-time students. 
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    • University of North Dakota

      University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota
      University of North Dakota

      Doctorate in Educational Practice and Leadership (Ed.D.) program takes approximately 3 years to complete with a total of 90 credit hours. It enhances knowledge already held by working professionals and those who want to advance their professional development. This program is designed for educators, administrators, and leaders working at all levels of education.

      Coursework will include administration and organizational behavior, issues and trends in education, applied educational research, higher education diversity, higher education policy, and program evaluation. Available concentrations include:

      • Higher education
      • Instructional design & technology
      • School leadership
      • Special education
      • Sport leadership
      • Teacher education

      Admission requirements

      Transcripts from a master’s program, minimum 3.5 GPA, professional resume, 3 letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, original essay, writing sample, teaching credential, 3 years of teaching experience, leadership experience in PK-12 environments, and pass a background check.


      $59.44 per credit hour x 90 credit hours = $50,349.60


      The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

      Scholarships and awards

      UND awards nearly $7.8 million in scholarships each year to more than 2,000 students. Scholarship criteria may be based on financial need, athleticism, cultural diversity, and residency.

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    Top careers with an Ed.D.

    After earning an Ed.D. students will have a deep understanding of the education system. They have developed leadership expertise, strategic planning, and an understanding of educational policies which gives them a business-oriented view of education. Therefore, they are qualified to work in leadership or administrative roles in the education sector at all levels.

    University president

    The university or college president communicates with the school’s board of trustees, plans policies, and directs objectives for their institution. They oversee financial, academic, and operational functions which maintain a clear vision of continuous leadership. The university president must have strong leadership qualities, clear communication, and adequate planning skills. They oversee the operation of the college’s programs and services in compliance with board policies, rules, regulations, and state law.

    Occupational Statistics

    • Average salary: $91,998
    • Job growth rate: 7%
    • Job openings: 13,500

    Chief learning officer

    Business and educational institutions need a chief learning officer (CLO) to formulate a strategy that directs the goals and policies of their institution. The CLO is responsible for budget, administrative tasks, and crafting a learning strategy or adjusting existing assets. They formulate training plans, reskill existing staff, or hire new employees to align with company goals.

    Occupational statistics

    • Average salary: $124,504
    • Job growth rate: 6%

    School superintendent

    The superintendent is responsible for overseeing the operations in their school district. They advise and make recommendations to the Board of Education and implement the school board’s vision. With a clear vision for the district, the superintendent manages central staff, makes decisions about educational programs, and regulates budgets.

    Occupational statistics

    • Average salary: $85,797
    • Job growth rate: 4%

    School principal

    The role of the school principal is to oversee the daily operations of their campus. Principles can work at the elementary, middle, or high school levels. They monitor student achievement, assess teaching methods, budget, evaluate staff, and enforce school policies like discipline and safety.

    Occupational statistics

    • Average Salary: $92,317
    • Job growth rate: 4%

    University professor

    Teaching at the university level means you are considered to be an expert in your field. Professors build course curriculum, teach classes, prepare course materials, and grade student work. They may also conduct academic research in their field, host seminars, and write books.

    Occupational statistics

    • Average salary: $78,749
    • Job growth rate 11%

    Financial aid

    Financial aid opportunities are plentiful for students interested in pursuing an Ed.D. One of the most recognized forms of financial aid is Federal Student Aid. This free federal grant is administered to students at all academic levels based on financial need.

    In addition to federal aid, there are scholarships, grants, and loans available to help students ease the cost of a doctorate program.