35 Best Online Doctoral Programs in Education Without Dissertation

As an educator, one of your greatest joys in life may come from helping others grow in their knowledge. The more education you have, the more equipped you will be to help others learn.

education building on campus

Through a doctoral program in education, you can become an expert in your chosen field.

Online Doctorate in Education Degree

Click on your desired concentration to learn more:

Online education programs, especially those that don’t require dissertations, allow you to pursue doctoral studies through a format that fits your busy life.

Adult Learning

professor teaching doctorate of education student

Although educating children might be the first thing that comes to mind for many people when they think about teachers, adult education is just as important. If you have a passion to equip adult learners with skills and knowledge, then consider an EdD with a specialization in Adult Learning.

Online EdD  in Higher Education and Adult Learning:

Many graduates put this degree to work in higher education settings; for example, you could run programs to help people return to college after a break. Others provide training and education in public health, business or government settings.


Topics of study may include working with groups, providing ethical leadership and understanding learning styles.

Community College Leadership

community college administration meeting with education staff

Community colleges provide many people with access to affordable, convenient higher education. If you have a passion for helping college students succeed in the classroom, then a concentration in Community College Leadership can fuel your professional growth.

Online EdD in Community College Leadership:

Your topics of study may include budgeting, educational technology, policy making, diversity and evaluation methods. You’ll also learn about organizational leadership and discuss how to guide organizations through times of transition. After graduation, you are likely to hold a leadership position in a community college, but you could also work for related organizations, such as a government education agency.

Curriculum & Instruction

doctorate of education student reading in the library

If you’re passionate about education, then you probably want to help students learn in the best way possible. Whether your goal is to work with children or adults, a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction can help you become a more effective teacher or educational leader.

Online EdD in Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment:

In your studies, you’ll learn more about the theories that shape teaching methods, curriculum styles and means of evaluating student progress. You may need to hold a valid teaching license before beginning this program. After earning your doctorate, you might work in school administration, hold a leadership role among classroom teachers, teach in academia or serve as an educational consultant.

Early Childhood Education

doctorate of education graduate teaching elementary students

When you shape children during their early years, you can make a difference that lasts for a lifetime. By studying Early Childhood Education, you will become an expert in working with children up to age eight. This training can be useful in preschool and early elementary settings.

Online EdD in Early Childhood Education:

You can also apply your studies in government agencies or community programs, or you can prepare the next generation of teachers as an instructor at the college level.


You may want to look for a program that is accredited or recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Educational Administration

education administrator sitting at desk talking on the phone

While teachers work in the classroom, administrators are working behind-the-scenes to ensure that high-quality education is being delivered throughout the institution.

Online EdD in Educational Leadership & Administration:

Administrators work at all levels of education. For example, administrators in higher education may be responsible for maintaining a safe and satisfied student body, ensuring that legal regulations are being followed, or determining whether effective instruction and evaluation practices are being used.


With a concentration in Educational Administration, you could become a university’s dean of students, admissions director, academic dean or president. For schools with younger students, you could serve as the principal, special education director or superintendent.

Educational Counseling

educational counseling student meeting with professor

To help others become effective counselors, consider a concentration in Educational Counseling. After earning this degree, you may serve in a supervisory or training capacity over counseling students or school counselors.

For success in this field, you must have a good grasp of counseling practices and well as effective instructional methods. Your curriculum may cover counseling theories, instructional methods, ethical practices and program evaluation. In addition, you may discuss case studies with your classmates and have hands-on opportunities to practice your supervision skills.


After graduation, you could work at a university or a healthcare facility, or you could join a government agency.

Educational Psychology

education counselor meeting with student at university

What factors influence how students learn and how teachers teach? With a specialization in Educational Psychology, you can delve into the psychological factors that play a role in educational processes. Through classes like Human Development, Personality Psychology, Evaluations and Analyses, and Ethical Psychology Practices, you’ll study topics such as motivation, social behaviors, growth and development, and cultural influences.


With this degree, you might decide to work in a school setting or serve as a corporate trainer. To hold a school counselor or school psychologist position, you may need to pursue licensure in your state; additional coursework may be required.

Educational Technology

education student using ipad to study educational technology

In many ways, technology is changing the face of education at all levels. If you want to be on the cutting edge of these educational developments, then you could pursue a concentration in Educational Technology.

Online EdD in Educational Technology:

During your doctoral work, you may study digital media, multimedia presentations and eLearning delivery methods, and you’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these platforms. Your program will also cover planning, implementing and evaluating organizational change.


You may want to look for a program in which the curriculum is aligned with the standards set by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

Higher Education Leadership

education executive sitting at desk writing notes

Being a leader requires being able to navigate change and guide others through the transition process. As a student in the Higher Education Leadership specialization, you’ll study effective means of leading schools and other educational organizations.

Online EdD in Higher Education Leadership & Management:

Your curriculum may cover instructional methods and organizational psychology. Additionally, the doctoral program will address methods of motivating staff and students to implement new, more effective teaching and learning methods.


This specialization can prepare you for an administrative role at a community college or a university. You could also put your degree into practice as a workplace trainer or an organizational change consultant.

Reading & Literacy

doctorate of education student working on laptop at coffee shop

Strong reading skills can make all the difference during the school years and beyond. To help improve reading and comprehension for kids or adults, become an expert in the field with a Reading and Literacy concentration.

Online EdD in Reading, Literacy, & Assessment:

You’ll learn about working through language barriers, assessing literacy skills, applying for grants and implementing reading programs. Your degree program will also cover the various theories behind language and literacy education.


Although this degree can be quite helpful in a classroom setting, you can also pursue this field if you want to become a curriculum writer, a school consultant, a government policymaker or the director of a community program.

Special Education

special education child reading book

Teachers and administrators who work with special-needs students require a unique set of skills and knowledge. A Special Education concentration will hone the work you do among at-risk students, gifted learners, and those with physical, emotional or intellectual disabilities.

Online EdD in Special Education:

The coursework may cover legal issues, data interpretation and program implementation. With a doctorate, you could become the director of an elementary or secondary special education program, or you could teach in the education department of a university.

Of course, you might also choose to work directly with students in the classroom, or you could write curriculum for special-needs learners.

Education Careers & Salary

meeting in conference room lead by a doctorate of education graduate

Earning a doctoral degree in education can open a number of career paths to you. Many of these options are in growing fields that offer promising salaries. From 2018 through 2028, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job-growth rate of 5% for teachers, trainers and librarians. Some doctoral-level positions within the field of education are expected to experience a faster growth rate.

School Principals

Administrators, such as principals, may work at the elementary, middle school or high school levels.

Job Growth:

  • Job Growth: 4%

Average Salary:

  • Average Salary: $95,310

Professors and Other Postsecondary Teachers

In a higher-education setting, you could train future teachers or work with adult learners.

Job Growth:

  • Job Growth: 11%

Average Salary:

  • Average Salary: $78,470

Instructional Coordinator

The responsibilities of an instructional coordinator include overseeing curriculum and teaching methods.

Job Growth:

  • Job Growth: 6%

Average Salary:

  • Average Salary: $64,450

Corporate or Industrial Training Specialist

As a training specialist, you can help employees improve their professional skills.

Job Growth:

  • Job Growth: 9%

Average Salary:

  • Average Salary: $60,870

University Administrator

Student deans, academic deans, admissions directors and college presidents are part of a school’s administrative team.

Job Growth:

  • Job Growth: 7%

Average Salary:

  • Average Salary: $94,340

Accreditation

accredited school of education library

Any college or university that you attend should be regionally accredited. This means that the entire school has received the approval of one of the main regional accreditors, such as the Higher Learning Commission or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Your doctoral program may have additional accreditation from an industry-specific organization. The main accrediting body for schools of education is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Early childhood programs may receive a distinction from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Such accreditations affirm that a program is of the highest quality.

Financial Aid

doctorate of education student working on laptop at desk

The first step to obtaining financial aid for your doctoral program is to complete the free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you’ve taken care of that, you may be able to qualify for financial aid in the form of:

  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Fellowships

Professional Organizations

discussion between two education professionals reviewing information on laptop

Educators know how important it is to learn from one another, so there are many professional organizations available for people in this field. Becoming a member of one or more of these groups may offer you opportunities for networking, support, discounts and professional development.

Professional organizations include:

  • American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
  • American Association of University Administrators (AAUA)
  • Association of American Educators (AAE)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
  • National Education Association (NEA)

frequently asked questions for doctorate in education degrees

Is It Possible to Get a Doctorate Degree Online?

Yes, many schools offer fully online doctoral programs; from beginning to end, you may never have to step foot on campus or meet face-to-face with your faculty advisors. Other schools have hybrid programs that can be completed mostly online but may require some on-campus classes or in-person residencies.

Are There Doctoral Programs in Education That Do Not Require a Dissertation?

In a doctoral program, it’s important for the faculty to assess how much you know about your chosen area of study. A dissertation is one means of conducting that evaluation, but it’s not the only way. Some doctoral programs in education rely on capstone projects or other assessments instead of dissertations.

What Is the Difference Between an ED D and a PhD in Education?

An EdD is a professional doctorate designed for real-world application. It’s most suitable for those who want to continue working in the field.

A PhD may deal more with educational theory and research. It can be best for those who want to conduct original research or teach at the college level.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Education?

In general, a full-time education doctoral program may take three to four years to complete. A select few with accelerated tracks may be doable in just 18 to 24 months. Programs that require dissertations may take longer than non-dissertation doctorates.

Can I Work While Earning a Doctorate in Education?

Working full-time while going to school requires flexibility. Online doctoral programs can be ideal for those who need to balance school and employment. If you find that a full-time class load is too much, consider part-time enrollment.

What is the Biggest Difference Between a Traditional and an Online EdD Program?

Campus-based and online programs cover the same material and produce comparable results, but online EdD programs may offer greater scheduling flexibility. With online classes, you may learn the material through a variety of media, including message boards, textbooks, interactive simulators, live discussions and prerecorded lectures.

35 Best Doctorate Programs in Education Online Without Dissertation

The following universities offer doctorate of education degrees and do not require a dissertation. Under each school listed you will find the specific EdD degrees offered.

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description
1 Barry University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Barry is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist and doctoral degrees.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
2 Baylor University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
  • EdD in Learning and Organizational Change
3 California University of Pennsylvania
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Cal U is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and accredited by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools also accredits Cal U.
  • EdD in Education Administration and Leadership
4 Capella University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • EdD in Adult Education
  • EdD in Curriculum and Instruction
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • EdD in Performance Improvement Leadership
  • EdD in Reading and Literacy
5 Concordia University, St. Paul
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
CSP is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)
6 East Tennessee State University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONTennessee
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
ETSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award Baccalaureate, Masters and Doctoral degrees.
  • EdD in Global Sport Leadership
7 Fordham University
DISSERTATIONDissertation of Practice
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Fordham is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the Middle States Association.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
8 Franklin University
DISSERTATIONDissertation in Practice
LOCATIONIndiana
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Franklin is fully-accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership
9 Governors State University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONIllinois
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Governors State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • EdD in Interdisciplinary Leadership
10 Idaho State University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONIdaho
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
Idaho State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Instructional Design and Technology Concentration
11 Johns Hopkins University
DISSERTATIONApplied Dissertation
LOCATIONMaryland
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
The Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • EdD in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education
  • EdD in Mind, Brain & Teaching
  • EdD in Urban Leadership
12 Liberty University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • EdD in Curriculum and Instruction
  • EdD in Curriculum And Instruction – Elementary Education
  • EdD in Curriculum And Instruction – Middle Grades
  • EdD in Curriculum And Instruction – Secondary
  • EdD in Curriculum And Instruction – Special Education
13 Maryville University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONMissouri
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Maryville University of Saint Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership
14 Morehead State University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONKentucky
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Morehead is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • EdD in Adult and Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in P-12 Administrative Leadership
  • EdD in Educational Technology Leadership
15 National Louis University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONIllinois
ACCREDITATIONHLC
National Louis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership
16 Nebraska Methodist College
DISSERTATIONNo
LOCATIONNebraska
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Nebraska Methodist College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • EdD in Education & Leadership in Healthcare
17 New York University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
NYU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • EdD in Leadership and Innovation
18 Northeastern University
DISSERTATIONDissertation in Practice
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
Northeastern has maintained its status as a member in good standing of the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.
  • EdD in Higher Education Administration
  • EdD in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership Studies
19 Northern Illinois University
DISSERTATIONDissertation in Practice
LOCATIONIllinois
ACCREDITATIONHLC
NIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to award bachelors, masters, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees.
  • EdD in Higher Education – Community College Leadership
20 Nova Southeastern University
DISSERTATIONApplied Dissertation
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, educational specialist, doctoral, and professional degrees.
  • EdD in Curriculum & Teaching
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in Human Services Administration
  • EdD in Instructional Technology & Distance Education
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership
  • EdD in Reading Education
  • EdD in Special Education
21 Texas A&M University
DISSERTATIONNo
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
TAMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university has been accredited by SACSCOC since 1925.
  • EdD in Curriculum and Instruction
22 University of Dayton
DISSERTATIONDissertation-in-Practice
LOCATIONOhio
ACCREDITATIONHLC
The University of Dayton is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • EdD in Leadership for Organizations
23 University of Missouri – St. Louis
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONMissouri
ACCREDITATIONHLC
UMSL is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • EdD in Educational Practice
24 University of North Dakota
DISSERTATIONDissertation in Practice
LOCATIONNorth Dakota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
UND has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1913, when the Association was first organized.
  • EdD in Educational Practice and Leadership (4 specializations)
25 University of South Carolina
DISSERTATIONDissertation in Practice
LOCATIONSouth Carolina
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
The University of South Carolina was most recently accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in 2011.
  • EdD in Curriculum and Instruction
26 University of Southern California
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since March 6, 1949.
  • EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership
27 University of Southern Mississippi
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONMississippi
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the baccalaureate, masters, specialists and doctoral levels.
  • EdD in Education Administration
  • EdD in Higher Education
28 University of Virginia
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
The University of Virginia is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.
  • EdD in Curriculum & Instruction
29 University of West Alabama
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONAlabama
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
UWA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist degrees.
  • EdD in Rural Education
30 University of Western States
DISSERTATIONOptional
LOCATIONOregon
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
University of Western States is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • EdD in Sport and Performance Psychology
31 Vanderbilt University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONTennessee
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Vanderbilt is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees.
  • EdD in Leadership and Learning in Organizations
32 Virginia Commonwealth University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award certificate, baccalaureate, master and doctorate degrees.
  • EdD in Leadership
33 Walden University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Walden has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990.
  • EdD in Community College Leadership
  • EdD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • EdD in Early Childhood Education
  • EdD in Educational Administration and Leadership (Non-Licensure)
  • EdD in Educational Technology
  • EdD in Higher Education (Self-Designed)
  • EdD in Higher Education and Adult Learning
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership and Management
  • EdD in P–20 Education (Self-Designed)
  • EdD in Reading, Literacy, and Assessment
  • EdD in Special Education
34 Wilkes University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Wilkes University is an accredited member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and its graduate and professional programs are approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (3 concentrations)
35 Wilmington University
DISSERTATIONCapstone
LOCATIONDelaware
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
WilmU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership, Learning and Innovation

 

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