50 Best Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online Programs [2020 Guide]

We've ranked the 50 Best Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online programs for 2020. Compare EdD vs. PhD in Educational Leadership schools. Start here!

We’ve ranked the 10 Best Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online programs for 2020. Compare EdD vs. PhD in Educational Leadership schools.

doctorate in educational leadership online

Earning your EdD or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Leadership of Education degree can put you right around the $100,000 per year salary mark. Read on to find out the differences between the two degrees.

Types of Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online Programs

Types of Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online Programs

There are two doctoral degrees for Educational Leadership.

Though similar, they are designed to support different professional goals.

PhD in Educational Leadership

Earning a PhD is generally for those who either want to conduct research in the field or who want to teach at the university level.

As a researcher, you’ll conduct studies on educational practices and theories to better inform professionals in the field. Your curriculum will prepare you to carry out accurate studies and present non-biased findings. This career path will involve quite a bit of professional writing, so your courses will also help to hone your writing skills.


For those who want to teach in a university setting, your course of study will inform you of the latest research findings and teaching techniques to utilize and pass on to your students. It will also prepare you to take up a leadership position in your department.

EdD in Educational Leadership

This degree, on the other hand, is for those who want to lead educational institutions. Your workplace could be anything from a preschool to an elementary school to a high school to a university. You could also work at a vocational training facility, a military training program, or for a specific business teaching employees how to better perform their jobs.

Your course of study will likely focus on the latest research in the field and how to conduct your own studies so that you can make informed decisions for your institution. You’ll also have the opportunity to upgrade your own teaching skills.


If you’d like to step into an administrative role, this is the online education degree for you.

Differences Between a PhD and an EdD in Educational Leadership

group of professionals in a meeting

The difference between earning a PhD and a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership is the career path that the course of study prepares you for. PhD students generally seek tenure as professors at university-level institutions, while EdD graduates enter the professional field via administrative and managerial opportunities.

Salaries are not guaranteed and depend heavily on academic performance, work experience, location, and other factors. That being said, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both variations of this post-graduate community stand to garner more than adequate compensation.

PhD graduates often start off as professors, eventually moving into the role of dean of students and other leadership positions. EdD students usually end up serving as high school principals, district superintendents, and other high ranking administrators.

PhD in Educational Leadership Concentrations

PhD in Educational Leadership Concentrations

Like most other graduate studies, the average PhD in Educational Leadership program allows you to customize your learning experience via concentrations. Some of the most common specializations that refine and focus your learning experience are listed below.

Online PhD in Education Leadership Programs:

  • PhD in Education: Organizational Leadership
  • PhD in Education: Adult Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education: Community College Leadership
  • PhD in Education: Instructional Leadership
  • PhD in Education: K-12 Education Leadership
  • PhD in Education: Leadership, Policy and Change in Education
  • PhD in Education: Leadership in Higher Education

Online EdD in Educational Leadership Programs:

  • EdD – Educational Leadership
  • EdD – Organizational Leadership: Behavioral Health
  • EdD – Organizational Leadership: Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD – Organizational Leadership: K-12 Leadership
  • EdD – Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development
  • EdD – Organizational Leadership: Special Education

Each available track at your target university provides you with the ability to fit your education into a highly valuable niche, thereby ensuring that you stand out among other job applicants who chose to travel down a more generic learning path.

PhD and EdD in Educational Leadership Curriculum

Before you sign up for classes, it’s a good idea to acclimate yourself with the curriculum that comes with this program of study. Specifically, you can expect to encounter coursework in the following areas:

  • Adult Development
  • Applying Cognitive Science to Learning and Teaching
  • Thinking Strategically about Education Reform
  • Behavioral Science and Interpersonal Relationship Development

Most PhD programs require a dissertation, but some universities offer online EdD programs without a dissertation. This is especially helpful for students who want to earn their doctorate degree in education in less time.

EdD in Educational Leadership vs PhD in Educational Leadership Career Outlook and Salary Information

EdD in Educational Leadership vs PhD in Educational Leadership Career Outlook and Salary Information

The career outlook for those graduating with a PhD in Educational Leadership is definitely one of the brighter fields in today’s economy. As the experts at the BLS explain, the projected job growth for this sector stands at a healthy 13% over the next several years.

Aside from an increase in available jobs, PhD graduates also have access to a plethora of well-paying career opportunities. Instructional coordinators make about $64,040 annually, while school superintendents and heads of collegiate departments tally in $137,580 during the same timeframe.

Here are some more job titles and salary information for Educational Leadership doctorate holders.

Job Title (PhD, Educational Leadership) Salary
University President $156,000
Academic Dean $114,000
Professor $81,000
Program Director $70,000
Research Analyst $58,000

Compare these job titles and figures to those for an EdD graduate.

Job Title (EdD, Educational Leadership) Salary
School Superintendent $111,000
High School Principal $93,000
Department Chair $90,000
Academic Dean $88,000
Elementary School Principal $84,000

These degree options offer overlapping career paths, depending on the institution.

Accreditation for Educational Leadership Doctoral Programs

logos of the regional accreditors

Like undergrad and master’s degrees in adult education, the most important accreditation to look for is from that of a regional authority.

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Regional accreditation ensures that your degree will be recognized and respected by other educational institutions.

What Financial Aid Opportunities Are Available for Educational Leadership Students?

screenshot of the Graduate pdf

The first step to determining what financial aid you qualify for is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Yes, the federal government does have money set aside for graduate students, not just undergrads.

You should also look into scholarships and fellowships at your university, as well as scholarships from private organizations and tuition reimbursement programs from your employer.

Questions Related to Earning Your Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have about PhD, EdD, and EdS programs.

What Is a PhD in Educational Leadership?

A PhD in Educational Leadership is a terminal degree designed for those who want to teach or conduct research at the university level. Earning the right to join the rest of the graduates from an Educational leadership PhD cohort requires the completion of 60 graduate-level credit hours. Fieldwork, internships, and other practical training often serve as part of this credit-hour requirement.

Those who plan on researching and teaching others about the latest trends and developments in educational leadership are the most likely individuals to pursue this degree. Like other PhD programs, demonstrating expertise in this field serves as the stepping stone toward a career in academia.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Educational Leadership?

Most Educational Leadership PhD programs take 3 years to complete, plus the time you need to write a dissertation. There are some programs, however, designed to take less time.

An EdD degree takes 1-2 years and may or not require a dissertation.

What Can I Do with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership?

Depending on which type of degree you get (PhD vs EdD), you could take up an administrative role at an educational institution starting from daycare centers all the way up to universities, continue teaching, or move into research. See the lists above for some more ideas of career paths.

Is an Educational Specialist Degree a Terminal Degree?

Yes, an Education Specialist, or EdS degree, is a terminal degree. As a professional degree, however, it is not ranked as highly as a PhD or EdD. Consider your career goals to determine which degree is right for you.

Is a PhD in Educational Leadership Worth It?

Yes, a PhD in Educational Leadership is worth it. There’s no denying that acquiring a PhD in Educational Leadership can be a lucrative career move. After graduation, you could be making an average of $83,000 per year.

Is an ED D Worth It?

Yes, an EdD is worth it. After a year or two of study, you could be earning an average salary of $78,000 in an administrative role at any type of educational institution.

List of Universities Offering a Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online

Rankings Methodology

We’ve included accredited universities that offer online prgorams for a terminal degree in Educational Leadership.

#1  American College of Education

American College of Education campus

The American College of Education is an online college that was established in 2005. The college is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The college offers master’s degrees, doctorates, and specialist degrees.

The university offers a range of EdDs in Leadership, including Health and Wellness, Higher Education. International Education and several others.

These courses are all available to be finished within three years. They are highly flexible and are designed to prepare working professionals to take the next step in their education career.

  • EdD in Leadership – Adult and Continuing Education
  • EdD in Leadership – Curriculum and Instruction
  • EdD in Leadership – Early Childhood Education
  • EdD in Leadership – Educational and Community Organizations
  • EdD in Leadership – Health and Wellness
  • EdD in Leadership – Higher Education
  • EdD in Leadership – International Education
  • EdD in Leadership – Instructional Leadership
  • EdD in Leadership – Online Education
  • EdD in Leadership – Second Language Instruction
  • EdD in Leadership – STEM

American College of Education is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2  Andrews University

Andrews University campus

Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist university that is based in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The university was founded in 1874 and was then known as Battle Creek College.

It is the oldest university started by the Seventh-day Adventists school system, which is the second-largest Christian school system in the world.

The university offers a range of programs, including both an EdD and a PhD in Educational Leadership. The EdD course will help you prepare for roles principles, superintendents, or educational supervisors, while the PhD offers a more research-based approach.

Both of these courses require the completion of a dissertation.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • PhD in Educational Leadership

Andrews University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#3  Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University campus

Appalachian State University is a university that is based in Boone, North Carolina. It was originally founded as a teacher training college but expanded and joined the North Carolina University system in 1971. It has more than 19,000 students enrolled and offers a range of different courses.

It has a range of doctorate programs, including an EdD in Educational Leadership, which offers in-depth research into leadership and opens many potential career options such as being a dean or chancellor.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association.

#4  Aspen University

Aspen University campus

Aspen University is a distance learning university based in Denver, Colorado. The university is owned by Aspen Group Inc, which is based in New York City. The university was established in the 1960s and has undergone various changes since. It officially became Aspen University back in 2003.

The university offers a range of distance learning courses, and it also offers a range of EdDs in Leadership and Learning, including Higher Education Leadership and K-12 Education Leadership.

All of these programs are incredibly flexible and start at regular intervals. They all offer in-depth research into their chosen fields, as well as offering you real-world experience of each of them as well.

  • EdD in Leadership and Learning – Health Care Administration and Leadership
  • EdD in Leadership and Learning – Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in Leadership and Learning – K-12 Educational Leadership
  • EdD in Leadership and Learning – Organizational Leadership
  • EdD in Leadership and Learning – Organizational Psychology

Aspen University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

#5  Ball State University

Ball State University campus

Ball State University is a university that is based in Muncie, Indiana. The university was first founded in 1899 but wouldn’t become an independent university until 1961. Ball State University is classified as an R2 Doctoral University – High Research.

As a result, the university offers a wide range of different doctorates in different areas, including an EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision. This program has a blended learning set-up, allowing you to work online and attend classes once a week.

The course also meets all of the necessary state requirements for superintendent positions.

  • EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision

BSU is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

#6  Carson-Newman University

Carson-Newman University campus

Carson Newman University is a Christian liberal arts university based in Jefferson City, Tennessee. The university was founded in 1851 and is affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Church. The university has around 2,500 students enrolled and offers around 90 different academic programs.

It also offers an EdD in Administrative Leadership and an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership. The course is taught online, and students will learn new research and analysis techniques as they are prepared for jobs in higher educational positions.

  • EdD in Administrative Leadership
  • EdD in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership

Carson-Newman University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#7  Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University campus

Central Michigan University is located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The university was established in 1892, and it is one of the most popular universities in the state. It offers a range of different programs, including master’s, doctorates, and online programs.

It has around 20,000 students registered at the university and around 7,000 online. One of the best programs in their EdD, and this will help prepare students for a career as either a principal or superintendent.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

Central Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#8  City University of Seattle

City University of Seattle campus

City University of Seattle is based in Seattle, Washington, with headquarters located in the Belltown part of the city.

The university was established in 1973 as a city college and has changed over the years, expanding to different locations and becoming a university. It currently has an enrollment of around 6,700, with around 900 staff.

It offers some excellent doctorate programs, including an EdD in Leadership. This program will help prepare graduates for a position higher up in the educational industry. It will equip you with all of the necessary research skills to achieve your career goals.

  • EdD in Leadership

City University of Seattle holds regional institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#9  Clarkson College

Clarkson College campus

Clarkson College is a college based in Omaha, Nebraska. It was established in 1888 and has a student enrollment of around 1,250. It is affiliated with Episcopal Church and Nebraska Medicine and also has a range of online programs.

The college offers a range of programs, including an EdD in Health Care Education & Leadership. The course is designed for experienced health care professionals with prior education and will prepare them to teach, practice, and perform research across health care.

  • EdD in Health Care Education & Leadership

Clarkson College has maintained continuous accreditation with The Higher Learning Commission since 1984 for all programs.

#10  Colorado State University

Colorado State University campus

Colorado State University is located in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is the biggest university in the Colorado University System, with a student enrollment of around 33,000 students.

The university offers a range of different programs, including 40 different fields of study for doctorates. One of its most popular doctorate courses is a PhD in Education and Human Resource Studies – Higher Education Leadership.

This PhD takes place online and helps students develop the competencies required to effectively lead a higher educational establishment. It places a special focus on universities and higher educational institutes.

  • PhD Education and Human Resource Studies – Higher Education Leadership

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

#11  Concordia University – Portland

concordia university portland campus

Concordia University is a Lutheran university located in Portland, Oregon. The university was first opened in 1905 as a university-prep school before adding colleges in the 1950s and then splitting in 1977.

The university has an enrollment of around 5,400 students. It is affiliated with Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Concordia University System.

The university offers a range of doctorates, including EdDs in Administrative Leadership, Higher Education, Instructional Leadership, Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation, and Transformational Leadership.

These EdDs can take place either online, in person, or as a hybrid of both. The programs will delve into the subjects and prepare graduates to take that further step in their career with the help of both shared knowledge and real-world experience.

  • EdD in Administrative Leadership
  • EdD in Higher Education
  • EdD in Instructional Leadership
  • EdD in Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation
  • EdD in Transformational Leadership

Concordia University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#12  Drexel University

Drexel University campus

Drexel University is a university-based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university was founded in 1891 by Anthony J Drexel, who gave the establishment its name. It is a co-educational university, meaning students can spend some of their time there doing paid work in their selected industries.

The university has around 26,000 students and offers a range of programs, including an excellent EdD in Educational Leadership and Management. This online EdD is designed to equip the educational leaders of tomorrow with the necessary tools to run an educational establishment.

It has nine different concentration options and can take either three or five years, depending on whether you are part of full-time.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership and Management

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

#13  East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

East Carolina University is based in Greenville, North Carolina. The university was established in 1907 and has gone on to become the fourth biggest university in the state of North Carolina. The university has an enrollment of around 29,000 students, 23,000 of which are undergraduates.

The university does boast an impressive range of postgraduate degrees and doctorates, including an EdD in Educational Leadership in Higher Education Administration and in Pre-K-12.

These two concentrations are both offered full and part-time and help equip students with the skills to effectively lead an educational institute.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Higher Education Administration
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Pre K-12

East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#14  East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University campus

East Tennessee State University is based in Johnson City, Tennessee and is the fourth biggest university in the state. The university was founded in 1911 and has an enrollment of around 14,000 students.

The university often ranks as one of the best in the country for rural medicine and primary education.

It offers a wide range of different courses, including doctorate programs like EdDs in Educational Leadership in Administrative Endorsement, Higher Education Leadership, and School Leadership.

These disciplines are all online courses and help prepare students for leadership roles within education. They all require that students complete some prerequisites before taking the courses.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Administrative Endorsement
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – School Leadership

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#15  Edgewood College

Edgewood College campus

Edgewood College is a liberal arts college based in Maddison, Wisconsin. The college was founded in 1927 and boasts an impressive liberal arts curriculum, including a range of undergraduate and master’s degrees.

The college offers two doctorate programs, an EdD in Leadership and EdD in K12 Administration leadership. These programs are available online, and there are seminars and lectures held on weekends.

They are designed to prepare education professionals to take the next step up their career ladder, be that as a school principal or even a superintendent.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Higher Education and Leadership Studies
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – K-12 Administrative Leadership

Edgewood College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#16  Florida State University

Florida State University campus

Florida State University is a university located in Tallahassee, Florida. The university is located on the oldest site of education in the state and is one of the most popular universities in the University of Florida system.

The university is often ranked as one of the most popular public universities in the United States and has a student enrollment of 41,500. The university offers a wide range of programs and offers an excellent EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy.

This is the first online doctorate program offered by the university. It is designed for those with experience in the education field and provides them with the necessary analytical and practical skills to take the next step in their career.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy

Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#17  Fordham University

Fordham University campus

Fordham University is located in New York. The university’s main campus is found in the Bronx, and it is the third-oldest university in the state . It is also the oldest Jesuit and Catholic university in the northeast of the United States, having been founded in 1841.

The university has a diverse population and has around 15,300 students enrolled from over 60 different countries. It is a Jesuit affiliated school, and every president for over 50 years has been a Catholic priest.

The university offers an array of diverse courses, and it offers a very strong and well-recognized EdD in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy program.

This online program begins in August every year and takes around 3 years to complete. It is designed to help educational practitioners step up the career ladder. It also has an immersive element where students can get involved in real-world situations.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

Fordham University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#18  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University is a Christian university that is located in Phoenix, Arizona. In fact, it is the largest Christian university in the world based purely on enrollment figures, with a combined total of 90,000 students between its online and campus-based programs.

The university was established in 1949 and is no longer affiliated with a specific church. It boasts an impressive array of different programs spread across a number of campuses.

Its collection of doctorate programs is very impressive with the university offering an EdD in Organizational Leadership in – Christian Ministry, Behavioral Health, Health Care Administration, K12 Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and several other fields of study.

Each of these disciplines will follow the same course structure and will provide you with independent research and practical skills to be able to advance in your career. They are all online courses with a focus on research and contextualizing the role of each position in modern society.

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – Behavioral Health
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – Christian Ministry
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – Health Care Administration
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – K-12 Leadership
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – Organizational Development
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership – Special Education

Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#19  Johns Hopkins University – School of Education

Johns Hopkins University campus

The Johns Hopkins University – School of Education is a part of the larger John Hopkins University system. It separated itself as a separate school in 2007 and is located in Baltimore, Maryland.

The school offers EdDs in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education, Mind, Brain & Teaching, and Urban Leadership. These courses all research the changes that are taking place within each industry and prepare students for key leadership roles within them.

  • EdD in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education
  • EdD in Mind, Brain & Teaching
  • EdD in Urban Leadership

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

#20  Lamar University

Lamar University campus

Lamar University is based in Beaumont, Texas. It is a part of the Texas University System and has been since 1995. It was originally established back in 1923. It has an enrollment of around 15,000 students, 9,000 of which are undergraduates, and the rest are postgraduates.

The university offers several well-respected programs, including an EdD in Educational Leadership. This course takes place over eight semesters and is 100% online.

It allows plenty of time for independent research and helps prepare experienced education professionals for leadership roles within the industry.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#21  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University is a Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The university is one of the world’s largest Christian universities and has an incredibly high enrollment of over 100,000 people when both its students online and on-campus are taken into account.

The university is known for its involvement in Christianity and in politics, particularly the Republican Party.

It has an impressive range of programs spread out across 17 different colleges. It also offers a great EdD in Educational Leadership doctorate program.

The course is 100% online and allows students to explore the ever-changing landscape of the education industry, providing them with all of the necessary tools to lead the teachers and students of the future.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  Maryville University

Maryville University campus

Maryville University is a university located in Town and Country, Missouri. The university was founded in 1872 by the Society of the Sacred Heart and is still affiliated with the congregation today. The university has an enrollment of around 6,000, of which 3,600 of them are postgraduates.

The university offers an excellent EdD in Higher Educational Leadership. This program offers an excellent insight into higher educational leadership theory and prepares students for roles such as head teacher, principal, and superintendent.

  • EdD in Higher Educational Leadership

Maryville University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#23  Morehead State University

Morehead State University campus

Morehead State University is located in Morehead, Kentucky. It was established in 1887 and has a student enrollment of just under 10,000.

The university offers a range of different academic programs, including EdDs in P-12 Administrative Leadership, Adult and Higher Education, and Educational Technology Leadership.

These programs are designed for those who already have either a master’s degree or experience within education. They offer both practical and theory-based lessons that will help students become the educational leaders of tomorrow.

  • EdD in Adult and Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in P-12 Administrative Leadership
  • EdD in Educational Technology Leadership

Morehead State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#24  Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

Northcentral University is an online university that has its headquarters based in San Diego, California. It joined the National University System in 2019 and is classified as a Doctoral/Professional University.

It offers a range of online programs, including EdD in Educational Leadership and a PhD in Educational Leadership.

These programs are offered as distance learning, and they will allow students to research the changes in the modern-day education system, as well as preparing them for leadership roles within the industry.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • PhD in Educational Leadership

Northcentral is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#25  Northwest Nazarene University

Northwest Nazarene University campus

Northwest Nazarene University is a Christian liberal arts university based in Nampa, Idaho. The university was established in 1913 and is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene.

It has a small student enrollment of around 2,000 students, of which around 1,300 are undergraduates.

It offers both a PhD and an EdD in Educational Leadership. These courses are online and are designed to prepare educational practitioners for the next step in their educational careers. The programs last around 26 months and are incredibly flexible in terms of schedule.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • PhD in Educational Leadership

Northwest Nazarene University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#26  Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University campus

Nova Southeastern University is based in Davie, Florida. The university was established in 1964 and is made up of 18 different colleges and schools. It has a student enrollment of over 20,000, with over 16,000 of those being postgraduates.

The university has a high number of research students and offers an excellent EdD in Educational Leadership Program.

This program provides a hands-on approach to educational leadership and is perfect for those who have a master’s in education or who have several years of experience and are looking to make advancements in their career.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#27  Rowan University

Rowan University campus

Rowan University is a university located in Glassboro, New Jersey. It was established in 1923 and is made up of 12 different colleges. Across those colleges, the university has around 20,000 students enrolled, with 16,000 being undergraduates.

The university offers a range of doctorate programs, including EdDs in Educational Leadership in Community College Leadership Initiative, Higher Education, Nurse Educator, and P-12.

These courses are offered either online, in-person, or as a hybrid. They will help prepare educational professionals take the next step in their careers in each of these specific disciplines.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Community College Leadership Initiative
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Higher Education
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – Nurse Educator
  • EdD in Educational Leadership – P-12

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

#28  Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University campus

Saint Leo University is a Catholic Liberal Arts university located in St Leo, Florida. It was founded in 1899 and is affiliated with the Holy Name Monastery, a Benedictine convent, and Saint Leo Abbey, a Benedictine monastery.

It was the first Roman Catholic college to be established in the state of Florida.

It has an enrollment of around 11,000 students, 7,000 of which are enrolled for online courses. The university offers an array of different courses, including an EdD in School Leadership.

The course is entirely based online, though there is the option of a one-week residency at the start. It is designed to help those within the industry prepare for the next stage of their career while also maintaining their social and professional obligations.

  • EdD in School Leadership

Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#29  Samford University

Samford University campus

Samford University is a Christian University located in Homewood, Alabama. The university was founded in 1841 and has around 5,600 students enrolled in programs, a large number of which are from outside the state of Alabama.

The university offers a great array of different courses for both postgraduates and undergraduates. One of its stand out offerings is an EdD in Educational Leadership.

The program is offered in both an online and a blended format and is designed for those who are passionate about education and leadership who already have experience and/or an education in the field.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

Samford is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#30  St Thomas University

St Thomas University campus

St Thomas University is a Catholic university located in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was founded in 1961 and enrolls around 4,000 students.

It also offers an EdD in Leadership and Innovation. The program is designed for those who are passionate about leadership and want to take the next step in their professional career.

The course takes place online and is perfect for those who are already working in their chosen fields who need that extra qualification to go all the way.

  • EdD in Leadership and Innovation

St. Thomas University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#31  Texas A & M University – Commerce

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

Texas A & M University -Commerce is a part of the Texas A&M University System that is located in Commerce, Texas. It is the fourth oldest college or university in the state of Texas, having been established in 1889.

It has a student enrollment of around 12,000 students, the majority of which are undergraduates.

The university offers a range of courses, including a fantastic EdD in Educational Administration. The program is designed for education practitioners and has a focus on K-12 administration in particular. It is one of the only online doctorates in education available in the state.

  • EdD in Educational Administration

Texas A&M University – Commerce is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#32  Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University is located in Lubbock, Texas, and is the main establishment in the Texas Tech University System. It was established in 1923 and is the seventh biggest university in the state of Texas.

The university offers a range of courses, including a PhD program in Educational Leadership Policy. The program is designed for research analysts and educational professionals.

It provides them with the skills required to analyze the current education system as well as being able to take leadership roles within it. The course takes 60 hours and is based online.

  • PhD in Educational Leadership Policy

Texas Tech University is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#33  Trident University

Trident University campus

Trident University is an online university based in California. It was established in 1998 and offers a wide range of different courses for students.

The university’s enrollment is around 6,000, with the majority of those being from the military. It offers a PhD in Educational Leadership as well as a range of other online programs.

This PhD program is 100% online, and it prepares educational practitioners with the required skills to move into higher positions while also continuing to work and gain experience.

  • PhD in Educational Leadership

Trident University is the first 100% online university accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

#34  Union University

Union University campus

Union University is an evangelical Christian university located in Jackson, Tennessee. The university was founded in 1823 and is affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and relates to the Southern Baptist Convention.

It has a modest student enrollment of around 3,000 students and offers a range of different doctorate programs.

The university currently offers EdD programs in Higher Education, P-12 School Administration – Instructional Leadership,P-12 School Administration – Leadership in School Reform, and P-12 School Administration – Teacher Leadership.

These disciplines are all designed to allow working education professionals to move into roles like administrators, teachers, policy-makers, and researchers. It also puts focus on managing smaller educational institutes.

  • EdD in Higher Education
  • EdD in P-12 School Administration – Instructional Leadership
  • EdD in P-12 School Administration – Leadership in School Reform
  • EdD in P-12 School Administration – Teacher Leadership

Union University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#35  University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas campus

The University of Arkansas is based in Arkansas and is the main university in the University of Arkansas System. It was founded in 1871 and is the biggest university in the state. It has a high student enrollment of around 27,000 students and boasts a very diverse student demographic.

It offers a range of excellent courses for both post and undergraduates, as well as an EdD in Educational Leadership.

This course takes place 100% online and is perfect for those who already have experience in education. It also allows for networking opportunities with other doctorate students across the state.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

The U of A has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission without interruption since 1924.

#36  University of Illinois

University of Illinois campus

The University of Illinois is based in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. The university is a part of the University of Illinois system and was established in 1867.

It has a student enrollment of around 51,000, making it one of the biggest universities in the country and the biggest in the state of Illinois.

The university offers a range of well-renowned courses, including both a PhD and an EdD in Education, Policy Organization, and Leadership – Educational Administration and Leadership.

This course is incredibly flexible and is designed to help those within the education industry take the next step in their career. It prepares students for roles such as administrators, principals, teachers, and even policy-makers.

  • EdD in Education, Policy Organization and Leadership – Educational Administration and Leadership
  • PhD in Education, Policy Organization and Leadership – Educational Administration and Leadership

The University of Illinois is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

#37  University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky campus

The University of Kentucky is based in Lexington, Kentucky, It was founded in 1865 and is the oldest and most popular university in the state. It has an enrollment of nearly 30,000, with 22,000 of those being undergraduates.

The university offers a diverse array of programs across its campuses and offers an EdD in Educational Leadership Studies and a PhD in Educational Sciences – Educational Leadership.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership Studies
  • PhD in Educational Sciences – Educational Leadership

The University of Kentucky is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#38  University of Massachusetts – Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell

The University of Massachusetts is based in Lowell, Massachusetts, and is part of the University of Massachusetts System. It was established in 1894 and has about 18,000 students registered.

The university offers a range of well-respected programs, including an EdD in Leadership – Schooling doctorate program.

This course is designed for those who work in the education sector already and helps prepare them for leadership roles, particularly in the K-12 district. It also provides the skills necessary for those looking to take administrative roles.

  • EdD in Leadership – Schooling

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#39  University of Memphis

University of Memphis campus

The University of Memphis is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The university was first established in 1912 and has around 22,000 students enrolled in programs. The university has several campuses and offers a large number of different programs for undergraduates and postgraduates.

It also offers an excellent EdD in Health Care Education & Leadership doctorate program. The course is a detailed program that helps health care and education professionals move into leadership roles. It is coursework based with a dissertation at the end and is heavily research-focused.

  • EdD in Health Care Education & Leadership

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#40  University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University of Nebraska - Lincoln campus

University of Nebraska – Lincoln is a research university located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is the oldest university in the state of Nebraska and is the biggest in the State of Nebraska University system. It is an incredibly popular university, with around 26,000 students enrolled in courses there.

It offers some great options for those looking to do a doctorate as well, offering an EdD in Educational Administration as well as a PhD and an EdD in Educational Studies – Educational Leadership and Higher Education.

These courses are largely based online, and they prepare educational practitioners for more advanced roles within the sector. There are different routes you can take within the course, with one requiring a thesis and the other not.

  • EdD in Educational Administration
  • EdD in Educational Studies – Educational Leadership and Higher Education
  • PhD in Educational Studies – Educational Leadership and Higher Education

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#41  University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The university was founded in 1883 and is the oldest university in the state of North Dakota.

It has a student population of around 13,000 and specializes in a range of subjects, including Aerospace Sciences. It also offers an EdD in Educational Practice and Leadership, which is an excellent doctorate program.

This program is 100% online and will prepare education professionals to take the next step in their careers. It specializes in school leadership, higher education, and special education.

  • EdD in Educational Practice and Leadership

The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#42  University of Southern California

University of Southern California campus

The University of Southern California is located in Los Angeles, California. The university is one of the oldest in the state and was founded in 1880.

It is also one of the most popular in Southern California, with a student enrollment of around 45,000, with 26,000 of them taking part in the university’s extensive postgraduate programs.

The university also offers a great EdD in Educational Leadership. This program takes place 100% online and focuses on K-12 education specifically.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#43  University of St Francis

University of St Francis campus

The University of St Francis is a private university that can be found in Joliet, Illinois. It is associated with the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary group. The university was founded in 1920 and has a small student population of around 4,000.

The university offers a great range of courses, including a great EdD in Educational Leadership program. This program has two specifications, one for superintendent endorsement, and the other for Leadership, Learning, and Stewardship.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

The University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#44  University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands campus

The University of the Cumberlands is a university that is based in Williamsburg, Kentucky. It is a Christian university and was founded by a group of Baptist ministers in 1888. It was formerly known as Cumberland College until it changed its name in 2005.

It has a student enrollment of around 13,000, with over 10,000 of those being postgraduates.

The university offers a very diverse range of courses for postgraduates, including an EdD in Educational Leadership. The program takes place online and opens up a wide array of different career possibilities, including Provost, Department Head, and Principal, among others.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#45  University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia campus

The University of West Georgia is located in Carrollton, Georgia. It is the 7th biggest university in Georgia, with over 13,000 students being enrolled in courses there. The university was first established in 1906.

The university also offers an excellent EdD in Higher Education Administration. The program consists of 60 credits and aims to teach students how to analyze and tackle issues that may arise within education administration.

  • EdD in Higher Education Administration

UWG is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#46  Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University campus

Valdosta State University is located in Valdosta, Georgia. The university was established in 1906 and is one of the four comprehensive universities of the Georgia State University System.

The university has just over 11,000 students enrolled in courses. It offers a wide range of different programs, including an excellent EdD in Leadership.

This program takes place online, and students can specialize in Organizational Leadership, Curriculum Leadership, Technology Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, and Special Education Leadership.

  • EdD in Leadership

Valdosta State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#47  Vanderbilt Peabody College

Vanderbilt Peabody College campus

Peabody College is one of the colleges that make up Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, Tennessee. Peabody College was established in 1875 and is home to around 2,000 students.

The college is one of the highest-rated graduate schools in the United States. It has a number of brilliant options for postgraduates with their EdD in Leadership and Learning in Organizations being a particular standout.

The course takes either three or four years and is designed for aspiring leaders within several industries.

  • EdD in Leadership and Learning in Organizations

Vanderbilt Peabody College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#48  William Carey University

William Carey University campus

William Carey University is a Christian school that is located in Mississippi. The school was founded in 1892 and is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

The university has a student enrollment of just under 5,000, and it offers lots of different under and postgraduate courses. One of its stand out programs is the EdD in Educational Leadership.

The program can be done in person or online, and it is a 63-hour course designed to prepare education professionals to move into leadership positions.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership

William Carey University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#49  William Howard Taft University

William Howard Taft University campus

William Howard Taft University is an online university based in Denver, Colorado. The university was first established in 1976.

It offers students a range of different courses and has two excellent doctorate programs in the shape of an EdD in Educational Technology and Leadership and an EdD in Leadership and Management.

These are both independent study programs that will help students understand the latest developments within the education industry and teach them the necessary skills required to move into leadership positions.

  • EdD in Educational Technology and Leadership
  • EdD in Leadership and Management

William Howard Taft University is institutionally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

#50  Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

Wilmington University is based in New Castle, Delaware, and was founded in 1968. It is one of the most popular universities in the state and is home to over 20,000 students.

As well as offering some brilliant bachelor’s and master’s degrees, it also offers great doctorate programs such as EdD in Educational Leadership, EdD in Higher Education Leadership, and an EdD in Organizational Leadership.

These programs are both very adaptable and will expose students to new and exciting ideas from the industry. They are also available either 100% online or in person.

  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership

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

Take Your Education to the Next Level!

someone graduating with a doctoral degree

The first is to determine which Educational Leadership doctoral degree matches your career goals. If you see yourself teaching in a university or researching educational practices, a PhD is probably the right path. If you’d rather serve in an administrative role, you might be better off with an EdD.

After you determine which degree is the best fit for you, you should look at which schools offer the concentration you’re most interested in. Apply to 3-5 universities and begin researching financial aid opportunities. In 1-3 years, you’ll have your terminal education degree.

Daniel Nguyen
WRITTEN BY
Daniel Nguyen
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