Whether you’ve been teaching for many years or you’re looking for an exciting new challenge, earning a Doctor of Education degree will certainly take you to new heights. Pursuing a doctorate degree is no easy feat, but if you’re passionate about learning and teaching others, then you’ll surely push through and meet your greatest career goals! Online learning is the way of the future, and you’ll find that the 40 schools below make earning a flexible and affordable PhD in Education accessible to working professionals.
What kind of Education degree should you get?
The type of degree you get depends on your level of education and where you are in your career. If you’re just starting out and don’t yet have a teaching license, you’ll want to look into bachelor and master’s programs in teaching. However, if you already hold a master’s degree in education and you have some work experience under your belt, you may be looking for a new challenge. If that’s the case, a PhD in Education may be the perfect choice for you!
If you currently have a job that you’re not willing to give up in order to earn a degree, don’t worry! Many people feel the same way – many college programs now are cater to folks like you with flexible and affordable online options. In fact, many online programs now offer 24/7 tech support and asynchronous classes. If you’re looking for more online options, we’ve ranked the overall Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with an Education degree?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much you’ll make after earning a PhD in Education. Your past experience and where you decide to work afterwards will have a great impact on your salary. According to PayScale, a school superintendent with a PhD can earn upwards of $163,000 per year, while a professor and associate dean can rake in close to $125,000 annually.
While elementary, middle, and high school teachers notoriously make low annual wages, earning a PhD in Education will bump you into a new level. Working on the administrative level and even as a professor in higher education will send your salary soaring. Of course, many educators are purely passionate about what they do and the salary is just a bonus!
What can you do with a PhD degree in Education?
As mentioned above, there are plenty of paths you can take with a PhD in Education. This is not a degree meant purely for teachers. In fact, you may dream of becoming a dean, provost, school superintendent, or executive director of a university – all of these career paths are possible with a PhD in Education.
While many careers in education are attainable with just a master’s degree, a PhD will allow you to do more research and really hone in on your individual passions. From there, you can spread your knowledge to others and create a better educational experience for all students.
What are the requirements for a PhD degree in Education?
Most of the below PhD programs require applicants to hold a master’s degree in education or a related field. It is also expected that you’ll have at least a few years of teaching experience, or related industry experience, prior to applying. Once admitted, students will be expected to complete required coursework in addition to researching, writing, and defending a dissertation. Some of the below programs also require internships or other field experiences. While these degrees can be earned online, many of the below programs do require in-person summer residencies.
What are the best Education degrees?
Here at College Choice, we take our ranking seriously. We know that pursuing a PhD is a huge investment and we’ve compiled a list of the 40 Best Online PhD in Education degrees just for you! The best degrees aren’t just found at Ivy League schools…in fact, some of the best are offered through close-knit, small colleges and universities. You’ll get more bang for your buck and a more convenient and flexible schedule as well! The list below ranges from small schools to larger ones.
We’ve found that the best degrees are those that offer fair not only fair prices, but ample flexibility and convenience as well! To find the best degrees for you, we look at the best schools in the country based on reputation, student satisfaction, program quality, and return on investment. Then we review the bottom line – just how much is this going to cost? Check out our methodology page for a more in depth description of our data.
Once we determine all of the above, we curate a list of stellar schools for you! These not only represent the best degrees you can get, but also ones that will fit your budget. Check out our picks below!
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 100
The University of Southern California is a private research university home to nearly 30,000 graduate and professional students. The university now offers a three-year, online Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership through the Rossier School of Education.
Not just for teachers, this program is ideal for any organizational leaders who may work for a university, the government, a nonprofit, etc. Those with a master’s degree may pursue the 43-unit curriculum, while those without must complete 60 units. Required courses may include:
- Economics of Organizational Change and Learning Environments
- Framing Educational Leadership in a Global Context
- Human Lifespan Development
- Power, Equity and Inclusion
- Instructional Design
All students must also complete a capstone consisting of a dissertation and a reflective self-assessment. Additional deliverables from other courses may be included in your capstone portfolio as well.
The University of Southern California offers three start-dates per year for this program in January, May, and September. This program is extremely competitive and students must have above-average academic records to apply. USC does offer scholarships and financial aid packages for students in this program as well.
Florida State University
College Choice Score: 99.56
Tuition: $5,656 / $18,786
Founded in 1851, FSU is located in Tallahassee, Florida and is home to students from all 50 states as well as those from around the world. Florida State University is a highly-acclaimed public research university with many entrepreneurial students. Now, interested students may pursue an online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy.
This is the university’s first online doctoral program and is intended for professionals who already hold a master’s degree. This three-year, 69-credit program includes 24 dissertation hours. Required courses may include:
- Foundations of Education
- Introduction to Policy Studies
- Applied Quantitative Methods
- Literature Review for Educational Research
- Professional Learning for Educational Practitioners
Students may transfer in up to six semester hours for this program. Additionally, while this is an online program, all graduate students must participate in a three-day learning seminar in Tallahassee. This will take place in June of the year that you are enrolled.
Graduates of this program typically go on to pursue careers as policymakers, senior-level educational leaders, and researchers. Florida State University offers distance learners many of the same benefits that those on-campus receive. Online students will have access to testing support, online programs support, and more.
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
College Choice Score: 99.20
Tuition: $8,978 / $24,098
Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, UNL is not only home of the huskers, but is also the state’s oldest university. Founded 150 years ago, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is a land-grant university that is known for its high level of research activity. Now, graduate students may pursue a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration, P-12 School Leadership.
Offered through the university’s College of Education and Human Sciences, this doctoral program is for those looking specifically to work within an educational system. Students must compete 45 semester hours and courses may include:
- Data for Decision Making
- Business Management of Schools
- Cross-Cultural Leadership Studies
- Issues in System Level Administration
- Leadership in Educational Organizations
While most of the coursework in this program can be completed online, all students are required to attend one-week residencies in Lincoln during their first three summers of enrollment.
Applicants to this program should have a valid teaching certificate as well as two years or more of full-time teaching experience. This doctoral program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is highly competitive. Prospective students should take proper care to prepare their application. All applications for this program must be submitted by February 1.
Indiana State University
College Choice Score: 98.38
Tuition: $8,916 / $19,452
Located in the city of Terre Haute, Indiana, this public university was founded in 1865 and now offers over 75 graduate and professional programs. Indiana State Online is an excellent choice for busy professionals looking to earn an advanced degree. In fact, the university now offers an online Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration with a specialization in Leadership in Higher Education.
This program requires students to complete 15 courses in addition to 18 dissertation hours. Most graduate students can complete this program in just five semesters. Required courses may include:
- School and Society
- Higher Education in the United States
- Academic Leadership in Higher Education
- The School Principal: Leadership for Changing Schools
- Advanced Leadership Theory, Governance, and External Relations
Additionally, all students must complete three weeks of residency in Indiana during the summer. Only those who reside in the United States and Canada may apply for this online program.
Indiana State University offers this program as a cohort group where all students move through the program with the same group. Students must be enrolled full-time and all coursework is delivered through both online learning platforms, as well as on-campus workshops. The required on-campus residency takes place between the student’s first and second academic year.
Concordia University Chicago
College Choice Score: 97.99
Located in River Forest, Illinois, Concordia University Chicago is a private university that’s made up of five unique colleges. Originally founded in 1864 as a teachers’ college, Concordia now offers a wide selection of degree programs. Check out the university’s online doctoral program in Leadership with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction.
This program is ideal for teachers who wish to obtain leadership roles in either private or public schools. Students must complete 61-67 credits in this program, depending on your chosen path of study. Required courses may include:
- Organizational Change
- Mixed Methods Research
- Curriculum Theory and Design
- School/District Improvement Data Analysis
- Global Perspectives on Curriculum and Instruction
All graduate students are expected to complete a comprehensive exam as well as a dissertation. International students are welcome to apply but, if accepted, must complete an additional three-credit seminar in higher education.
Concordia University Chicago has been ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools and Best Midwest Universities by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, the university has been praised specifically for its online graduate education programs. Concordia offers both scholarships and financial aid packages to eligible students as well.
Texas Tech University
College Choice Score: 97.68
Tuition: $8,860 / $18,652
Texas Tech University is home to over 5,500 graduate students who may choose from over 100 graduate degrees and more than 50 doctoral degrees. In fact, Texas Tech now offers an online Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership through the university’s College of Education.
This three-year program includes 48 hours of coursework as well as 12 hours of dissertation research. Required courses may include:
- Educational Policy and the Law
- Research in Educational Leadership
- Organizational Behavior and Change in Education
- Social Justice and Equity in Educational Leadership
- Issues in Educational Leadership: Curriculum, Assessment, and Interventions
Applicants must already hold a professional position in a PreK-12 school to be considered for admission into this program. Additionally, prospective students must note that this program includes several required face-to-face learning intensives.
Texas Tech University is a very competitive university and is consistently ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report. TTU is also one of just 120 universities and colleges named in Carnegie’s Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s “Very High Research Activity” category. Additionally, students at Texas Tech may apply for scholarships and financial aid packages.
Indiana University Bloomington
College Choice Score: 96.96
Tuition: $10,533 / $34,845
Indiana University Bloomington is a top-ranked public research university and is home to over 40,000 students. Founded in 1820, the university now boasts over 200 research centers and institutes. Now, the university offers an online EdD in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education for interested students. The online option is only available in the Fall semester.
This 60-credit program is structured as a cohort and is intended for working professionals with teaching experience. Most graduate students complete this program in three years, but you’ll have up to seven years to finish your degree. Required courses may include:
- Strategies for Educational Inquiry
- Issues in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education
- Theoretical Issues in the Study of Language and Literacies
Additionally, all graduate students must complete a master’s thesis, dissertation, and seminar to earn their degree. For online courses, non-residents of Indiana must pay a higher rate of tuition than those in-state.
Indiana University Bloomington has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the nation’s Top Public Schools, Best Value Schools, and Best Colleges for Veterans. The university is also ranked among the Top 50 Best Online Graduate Education Programs in the nation. With flexible degree options and plentiful scholarships and financial aid packages, it’s no wonder so many choose Indiana University.
College Choice Score: 96.61
Home of the Huskies and located in the heart of Boston, Northeastern University is a top-tier research university. Founded in 1898, Northeastern is home to nine unique schools and colleges with more than 90 major and concentration offerings. Now, Northeastern’s School of Professional Studies offers an online Doctor of Education degree.
Graduate students may complete this program on either a part-time or full-time schedule. Most students take three to four years to complete all required coursework. The following concentrations are offered within this program:
- Higher Education Administration
- Organizational Leadership Studies
- Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Within the Organizational Leadership Studies concentration, students may also opt to specialize in Sports Leadership. While most of the coursework is intended to be completed online, all students must attend a residency in their first and second years. Northeastern has a campus not only in Boston but also in Charlotte and Seattle as well. Students may complete their residency in any one of the campuses.
Unlike other programs, students at Northeastern will begin work on their dissertation from the beginning of their studies. Not only that, but all students are assigned a faculty advisor to assist with their Dissertation in Practice. While Northeastern is one of the pricier schools on this list, students may apply for the MacFarland Scholarship, which is specifically for those who seek careers in education.
East Carolina University
College Choice Score: 96.60
Tuition: $7,143 / $23,420
East Carolina University was founded in the early 1900s and is located in Greenville, North Carolina. With over 70 master’s programs and 13 research doctoral programs, East Carolina is consistently ranked among the Top Public Schools in the United States. Now, interested students can earn a Doctor of Education degree through the university’s College of Education.
Students in this program may choose a concentration in either K12 Administration or Higher Education Administration. This 60-credit program is typically completed in three years. Other things to note about this program include:
- Students take two courses per semester.
- Program starts at the end of June each year.
- Offered as a cohort with just 15 to 18 students.
While much of this coursework can be completed online, this program does require some face-to-face time as well. If you cannot commit to meeting in-person several times throughout the semester, this may not be the right program for you.
East Carolina University’s online doctorate in educational leadership is a fairly new program. In fact, this program is a testament to the university’s drive for continued innovation and student success. Both flexible and affordable, it’s easy to see why so many educators choose ECU for their advanced degrees.
University of Arkansas
College Choice Score: 96.49
Tuition: $9,062 / $24,308
The University of Arkansas is a public land-grant and doctoral research university located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. With nearly 30,000 enrolled students, this university is the largest in the state. Now, interested students may earn an online Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership. Admitted students may start in only the summer terms.
This program is ideal for those who wish to work as school principals, school supervisors/administrators, and in other educational leadership positions. Offered through the university’s College of Education and Health Professions, required courses in this 42-credit program may include:
- Problems of Practice
- Educational Policy and Change
- Intro to Qualitative Research
- Advanced Qualitative Research
- Statistical Literacy for Educational Leaders
Additionally, all students must complete at least 18 semester hours of dissertation credit. All applicants must submit GRE scores and hold at least an Education Specialist degree or equivalent, as well as a valid teaching license. Most admitted students finish this program in three years.
Consistently ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools and Top Public Schools, the University of Arkansas is a top choice for many educators. While this doctoral program is offered online, all students must meet face-to-face once a semester. This experience is meant to strengthen the bond within your cohort and includes discussion groups, lectures, and lively debates.
College Choice Score: 95.53
Located in Malibu, California, Pepperdine is a private research university with over 70 unique degree programs offered across five schools. Now, through its Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine offers an online hybrid Doctor of Education in Leadership, Administration, and Policy. Start dates are offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
Admitted students typically complete this program in three to four years. All students are required to take a trip to Washington, D.C. to experience policy development at the federal, state, and/or local level. Required courses may include:
- Law and Dispute Resolution
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Virtual Learning and Collaboration
- Organizational Change, Innovation, and Creativity
- Ethics Leadership, Equity, Cultural Proficiency, and Social Justice
This program culminates in a comprehensive exam as well as a doctoral dissertation. Applicants are required to have a master’s degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition to a required orientation in August, students are expected to meet face-to-face several times throughout this program.
All online students will have access to Pepperdine’s Career Services Center which is specifically dedicated to the field of education. Not only that, but the program’s cohort model and small class sizes give students ample opportunity to forge connections with other professionals within the industry. While Pepperdine is an expensive school, more than 75 percent of students receive some type of financial aid.
College Choice Score: 95.01
Liberty University is known for its ample research opportunities and a creative student body. Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, this private university offers plenty of graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral programs. In fact, Liberty is now home to an online Doctorate in Education degree, offered through its School of Education. This 60-credit hour program can be completed in just three years.
Students in this program may transfer in up to 15 credit hours. You may choose from one of the following areas of specialization:
- Educational Leadership
- Curriculum Instruction
Within the Curriculum Instruction concentration, you can further specialize your degree to specifically study elementary, middle school, secondary, or special education. While most other programs require some type of on-campus residency, Liberty offers optional on-campus intensives for interested students. All students must complete a final dissertation project.
Liberty University is unique in that the doctoral dissertation research is actually integrated within the course material itself. This means that you can complete your degree more quickly and spend less money doing so. Liberty offers several scholarships and financial aid packages, as well as plentiful military benefits for service members, veterans, military spouses, and DoD employees.
Texas A&M University
College Choice Score: 94.13
Tuition: $11,234 / $36,606
Founded in 1876, Texas A&M is a highly-ranked public research university with over 100 unique doctoral degree program offerings. Every student at Texas A&M is lovingly referred to as an “Aggie” and the university’s yearbook is aptly named “Aggieland.” Now, students interested in becoming a part of this community may pursue an online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.
Students in this program are admitted as members of a cohort. All applicants must have a master’s degree as well as at least five years of teaching experience. This is not a self-paced program and students are only admitted during the spring semester. Required courses may include:
- Curriculum Theory
- Urban Schools and Communities
- Grant Writing for Professional Development
- Professional Development Strategies for Teachers
- Program Evaluation in Curriculum and Instruction
All doctoral students have seven years to complete this degree, however most complete it in just three or four years. In addition to completing 64 credit hours, all students are required to complete an internship experience.
Doctoral students at Texas A&M University must be available for several face-to-face orientations throughout the course of their studies. These meetings allow students to get to know both their professors and members of their cohort on a more personal basis.
Northwest Nazarene University
College Choice Score: 93.80
Located in the city of Nampa, Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University is a small, private liberal arts school with a wide variety of degree program offerings. Ranked as a top value school, Northwest Nazarene offers small class sizes and over 60 areas of study. Now, NNU is home to a comprehensive PhD or EdD in Educational Leadership that can be completed online.
This flexible cohort program can be completed in just 26 months. New students may only be admitted during the spring semester. Required courses may include:
- Dissertation Writing and Defense
- Policy Influence and Development
- Professional and Ethical Leadership
- Effective Leadership for Change Management
- Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Educational Research
Students in the Ed.D. program must complete 36 credits, while those in the PhD program must complete 41 credit hours.
Prospective students should note the difference between the EdD and PhD programs prior to applying. The EdD curriculum is more research-focused on particular practices and/or policies affecting state or regional schools or school systems within the US. The PhD focuses more on large-scale trends and practices in education, both in the states and internationally.
Ball State University
College Choice Score: 93.72
Tuition: $9,774 / $25,942
With students from every US state and over 65 countries, Ball State is consistently ranked among the best universities in the midwest. In fact, the university offers nearly 150 graduate programs across seven unique schools and colleges. Check out Ball State’s Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Educational Studies.
This 91-credit program includes 10 dissertation hours and must be completed within seven years. All students must choose a specialization in either Curriculum, Educational Technology, or Cultural and Educational Policy Studies. Required core courses may include:
- Philosophy of Education
- Evaluation of Educational Programs
- Ethnographic Research in Education
- Research on Impacting Student Learning
- Curriculum Integration of Learning Technology
Many PhD students also pursue additional certificates in diversity studies, computer education, college and university teaching, and more.
The above program is blended, meaning that not all courses are offered online. In fact, many courses are held on Ball State’s main campus in Muncie as well as in the greater Indianapolis area.
College Choice Score: 93.57
Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union University is a private, liberal arts school with an enrollment of just over 3,000 students. Founded in 1823, Union has since grown to be ranked among the top regional universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report. Now, the university offers a fully-online Doctor of Education degree program.
The Doctor of Education program offers an online Leadership in School Reform track for those in need of a flexible schedule. This cohort program may require the following courses:
- Research Methods and Design
- Politics, Policy, and Instruction
- Entrepreneurial School Leadership
- Research Issues in Educational Leadership
- Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Education
This program does require all students to complete a dissertation as well. This non-licensure track is ideal for those looking to work as leaders and teachers in schools, universities, government agencies, and various businesses.
Graduates of this program include the Assistant Vice President for Student Success at Belhaven University, as well as the Principal of Kirby High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Applicants should have a current teaching license, as well as a GPA of at least 3.0 and GRE scores. An online interview is also required prior to being admitted.
College Choice Score: 93.17
Regent is a private research university with Christian roots, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Founded in 1977, Regent now offers over 130 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. With 8- and 15-week course offerings, online learning is flexible and affordable at Regent. In fact, students at Regent may pursue an online Doctor of Philosophy in Education.
While this is an online program, a four-day residency is required on the Virginia Beach Campus. Additional residencies may be required depending on your specific program. Offered through Regent’s School of Education, required courses may include:
- Analysis of Variance
- Regression and Correlation
- Structure and Reliability Analysis
- Advanced Research Design and Analysis
- Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation
Graduate students may also choose from a variety of concentrations, including adult education, character education, special education, educational psychology, higher education, and more. All PhD candidates must also present a comprehensive research-based dissertation.
Graduates of this program typically go on to pursue careers as superintendents, school administrators, principals, and more. Regent University has been ranked among the nation’s Top 100 Best Online Graduate Education Programs. Regent is also consistently named a top school for veterans.
College Choice Score: 92.42
Clarkson is a private college located in Omaha, Nebraska. What started as a school of nursing in 1888 is now a college with an abundance of degree offerings. In fact, Clarkson College now offers an exclusive online Doctor in Health Care Education & Leadership program. This program is unlike any other on this list and can be completed on either a part-time or full-time schedule.
This 44-hour program offers a start-date in August of each year. Required courses may include:
- Healthcare Policy and Law
- Organizational Systems and Behavior
- Curriculum and Program Development
- Trends and Issues in Health Care Education
- Healthcare Economics and Financial Management
Additionally, all students must complete a doctoral seminar as well as a final dissertation which will be defended in an open forum to a special committee. Online students will have access to Clarkson’s technology services, writing lab, academic advising, and more.
Clarkson College has been ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Best Online Programs by U.S. News and World Report. Admissions are rolling and students are encouraged to apply throughout the year. Clarkson also offers a bounty of scholarships and financial aid packages for eligible students.
University of West Georgia
College Choice Score: 92.23
Tuition: $6,226 / $17,010
Located in the small city of Carrollton, the University of West Georgia is home to Wolfie the mascot and over 11,000 students. With over 85 areas of study across seven unique colleges and schools, many graduate students are choosing UWG for their advanced degrees. In fact, students can now earn a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Administration.
This fully online program includes a mandatory 2.5-day orientation for new students each summer. Required courses may include:
- Values and Ethics in Higher Education Leadership
- Critical Issues and Trends in Higher Education
- Governance in Higher Education
- History of Higher Education
- Enrollment Management
Additionally, all graduate students must complete a dissertation to earn their degrees. Students typically spend one year working on the dissertation, after two years of coursework. Applicants should have at least three years of relevant work experience to be considered for acceptance into this program.
Online courses at the University of West Georgia are taught by the same full-time faculty who teach on-campus. Another perk of attending UWG is that online tuition is the same for all students, regardless of residency. The university has been ranked among the nation’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report.
University of Houston
College Choice Score: 90.86
Tuition: $9,706 / $22,066
The University of Houston was founded in 1927 and has since grown into a bustling university with over 12 unique schools and colleges. With nearly 200 graduate degree programs, many professionals choose UH for their advanced studies. Interested in education studies? Check out the university’s Executive Doctor of Education in Professional Leadership, with an emphasis in Literacy Education.
Offered through the university’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, this 51-hour program can be completed entirely online. Required courses in this cohort program may include:
- Issues in Urban Education
- Foundations of Education
- Learning and Development
- Reading, Social Studies/Social Education
All students may choose one area of specialization, including Literacy Education or Social Studies/Social Education. Additionally, all students must complete an EdD Doctoral Thesis.
The University of Houston has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report. The university also ranks among the Top 20 Best Online Graduate Education Programs. In addition to education, other popular majors at the University of Houston include management, business, psychology, and engineering.
New Mexico State University
College Choice Score: 90.75
Tuition: $6,461 / $21,022
New Mexico State University is a public school that was founded in 1888 and is located in the city of Las Cruces. This land- and space-grant, research university is home to over 11,000 students. Now, those seeking an advanced education degree can apply to NMSU’s Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.
Students applying to this cohort program must hold a master’s degree. This degree can be completed either as a Doctor of Education or a Doctor of Philosophy, depending on your specific career goals. Required courses may include:
- Higher Education Law
- Organizational Theory
- Evaluation Design in Education
- Concepts of Leadership in Education
- Foundations of Educational Administration
Additionally, all students must complete an advanced internship as well as a doctoral dissertation. Prospective students should note that this is a hybrid program and 80 percent of coursework is actually completed in-person. If you’re looking for a program offered entirely online, this may not be the right fit for you.
Students who choose the Doctor of Philosophy degree may choose from a variety of cognate areas, including communication, child and family development, research methods, and more. Earning a PhD requires the completion of 78 credits, while the EdD requires just 63 credits. New Mexico State University has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools and Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report.
University at Buffalo
College Choice Score: 90.68
Tuition: $9,828 / $27,068
The University at Buffalo is part of the State University System of New York. In fact, it’s been ranked as the top public school in New York State and offers more than 450 unique degree programs. Now, SUNY Buffalo students can complete a Curriculum, Instruction, and Science of Learning PhD entirely online.
This highly-customizable program allows students to choose a concentration of English, math, or science education. This 72-credit program typically takes four to five years to complete. Required courses may include:
- Literature for Young Adults
- Teaching Exceptional Learners
- Technology as a Social Practice
- Child Development and Learning
- Science, Technology, and Human Values
Unlike other programs on this list, teaching and research experiences are optional at SUNY Buffalo. However, all graduate students must complete at least 10 hours of work towards their dissertation and over 25 hours of research. All applicants must submit either their GRE or MAT scores to be considered for admission.
Non-residents who are exclusively enrolled in online courses may be eligible for discounted tuition rates. The University at Buffalo offers a variety of scholarship and financial aid packages as well. SUNY Buffalo has been ranked among the Best Value Schools and Top Public Schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 90.44
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University is a small, private university that was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1878. With an 11:1 student-faculty ratio and nine unique colleges and schools, many working professionals are choosing Creighton for their advanced degrees. Creighton now offers an online Doctorate of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership.
This 60-credit cohort program consists of eight-week courses that are taken just one at a time. Most students complete this degree program in three to four years. Required courses may include:
- Leadership, Public Relation, and Stakeholder Engagement
- Leadership Styles and Reflective Practice
- Quality and Accountability Issues
- Leadership and Applied Ethics
- Toxic Leadership
Additionally, a dissertation is required of all students in this program. All applicants must have already completed a master’s degree.
Creighton University is unique in that its Doctorate of Education program is bookended with two on-campus residences. This means that you’ll not only visit the Omaha campus at the start of your program, but you’ll do so at the end as well. This serves as a great opportunity to get to know your peers as well as your professors. Once you’ve completed your research, you’ll return to Omaha and defend your dissertation.
College Choice Score: 90.40
Tuition: $8,314 / $18,274
Lamar University is a public school located in Beaumont, Texas. With over 100 degree programs to choose from and its close proximity to Houston, it’s no wonder so many choose LU for their studies. Interested in an advanced education degree? Check out Lamar’s Doctor of Education program in Educational Leadership.
Lamar University has partnered with the Online Learning Consortium to offer a fully-online, accelerated doctoral program. With no residency requirements, this program is ideal for working professionals and full-time educators. Each class is just eight weeks long and required courses may include:
- Cultural Influences
- Global Communication
- Dynamics of Leadership
- Global Educational Leadership and Policy
- Trends and Issues in Multicultural Education
This 60-hour program also includes a mandatory dissertation for students to research, write, and defend. Applicants must submit their GRE scores and have some type of educational leadership experience. Each new cohort begins in the summer.
Most students complete the above program in just eight semesters. This globally-focused program is unlike any other on our list. Lamar University has been ranked among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 89.50
Founded in 1891, Drexel is a private university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Home to the dragon mascot, Mario the Magnificent, Drexel is an innovative research university with over 13,000 students enrolled. Drexel is known for its flexible degree programs and now offers a unique online EdD in Educational Leadership and Management.
This online cohort program can be completed on a part-time basis in just three to five years. With no residency requirement, students can continue to work full-time while tailoring this degree to their specific career goals. In fact, Drexel offers nine concentration options within this program. Required courses may include:
- Educational Leadership and Change
- Creative Strategies for Educational Leaders
- Using and Integrating Learning Technologies
- Transformative Leadership: Finding One’s Source
- Writing for Research, Publication and Funding in Education
All students must complete a Doctoral Seminar and Doctoral Dissertation as well; again, these requirements can be completed entirely online. Students will take courses in four 10-week quarters per year. Concentration options include athletic administration, educational policy, higher education, and more.
Applicants must hold a relevant master’s degree in order to be considered for admission into this program. Prospective students should also note that, while Drexel’s three-year program is eligible for financial aid, the five-year program is not. Military members and full-time faculty may receive substantial breaks on the rate of tuition.
University of the Cumberlands
College Choice Score: 89.08
University of the Cumberlands is an innovative private college located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Now, the university offers over 20 unique graduate programs along with various areas of emphasis. Interested in earning an advanced education degree online in under three years? Check out the university’s 60-credit-hour online Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.
Unlike many other doctoral programs on this list, there is no residency requirement for students in this program. Required courses may include:
- The Politics of Organizational Decision-Making
- Program Planning and Assessment
- Leadership in Theory and Practice
- Learning in Adulthood
- The Change Process
Students may also choose from one of the following specialty areas: business, criminal justice, English, health science, history, information systems, math, nursing, psychology, or religion/ministry. In addition, students may choose to concentrate in either administration and supervision, or counselor education and supervision. All doctoral candidates are expected to complete a dissertation as well.
The University of the Cumberlands offers the same low tuition rate for all students, regardless of residency. Online courses meet at set times and are offered in eight-week bi-terms. Graduates of this doctoral program have gone on to pursue careers as principals, provosts, superintendents, school presidents, and more.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 88.62
Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is a very prestigious, private research university located in Baltimore, Maryland. With over 24,000 students enrolled across its nine schools, Johns Hopkins University offers more than 250 unique programs. Now, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education offers an online Doctor of Education degree program.
Prospective students looking to apply for this program should hold at least a master’s degree to be considered for admission. Admitted students will join a cohort and must complete between 48 and 54 credits at JHU. Required courses may include:
- Mind, Brain, and Teaching
- Technologies and Creative Learning
- Power, Politics, and Policy in Education
- Leadership in Educational Organizations
- Multiple Perspectives on Learning and Teaching
Students may choose one of the following specialization areas as well: Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education; Mind, Brain, and Teaching; or Instructional Design in Online Teaching and Learning. This program typically takes three years to complete, including an applied dissertation.
Though not mandatory to attend, this doctoral program does include three-day summer residencies for each year of the program. Other than that, all coursework is offered online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. It’s possible for students in this program to take courses on a part-time basis and maintain a full-time job.
Sam Houston State University
College Choice Score: 88.46
Tuition: $8,062 / $18,022
Founded in 1879, Sam Houston State University is a prestigious public school located in Huntsville, Texas. Home to six unique doctoral programs, SHSU is uniquely classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education as a “Doctoral Research University.” Looking for a flexible online degree? Learn more about Sam Houston’s Doctor of Education in Developmental Education Administration below.
This 60-credit, online program is ideal for working professionals looking for an advanced education degree. SHSU offers small class sizes and 24/7 support for online students. Required courses within this cohort program may include:
- Methods of Educational Research
- Student Non Cognitive Development
- Teaching Strategies for Developmental Mathematics
- Advanced Learning Theory in Developmental Education
- Strategies for College Reading in Developmental Education
Additionally, all doctoral students must complete a dissertation proposal development course, as well as a dissertation preparation course. Applicants should have a master’s degree and should be prepared to submit their GRE scores for consideration into this program.
Each student in this program is matched with an academic advisor who will help guide them throughout. Doctoral distance students will meet with their advisors at least three times a year via telephone or video chatting. Sam Houston State University has been ranked among the nation’s Top 50 Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report.
University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 88.02
Tuition: $11,862 / $31,962
What started as a single building in 1805 is now a sprawling university headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, with seven other campuses across the state. Now, students can earn an online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Curriculum Studies Concentration.
This 60-unit program can be completed in just 36 months. Required courses may include:
- Applications of Learning Principles
- Organizational Change in Education
- Principles of Curriculum Construction
- Gender Diversity in Schools and Communities
- Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the Curriculum
Additionally, all doctoral students must successfully research, write, and defend a dissertation in order to earn their degrees.
The University of South Carolina is consistently ranked among the nation’s top schools. In fact, U.S. News and World Report has ranked USC among the Top Public Schools, Most Innovative Schools, and Best Value Schools. Additionally, USC is ranked among the Top 35 Best Online Graduate Education Programs in the United States.
College Choice Score: 87.79
Originally founded as Howard College in 1841, Samford University is a private Christian university in Birmingham, Alabama. Samford is home to more than 5,500 students and boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of just 13:1. With 10 unique schools, including the Brock School of Business and the Orlean Beeson School of Education, Samford offers a variety of degree options. In fact, students can now earn a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
This online cohort program is made up of a 66-hour curriculum. Required courses may include:
- The Learning Organization
- Foundations of Educational Inquiry
- The Art and Practice of Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
- Organizational Dynamics: Creating the School of the Future
- Ethical Issues in Education: The Moral Dimension of Schooling
Unlike other programs on this list, students at Samford will first complete a 30-credit educational specialist program. Once completed, students will begin their 36-credit EdD degree. All admitted students will begin in the fall semester.
Tuition at Samford University is the same for all distance students, regardless of residency. The university offers financial assistance as well. Samford has been ranked among the nation’s Most Innovative Schools, Best Value Schools, and Best Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report.
Oregon State University
College Choice Score: 87.78
Tuition: $10,797 / $10,967 / $29,457
Founded in 1868, Oregon State is a top public research university with students from across the US and the world. OSU has two campuses, over 10 unique colleges, and is one of only two land, sea, space, and sun grant universities in the United States. With stats like that, it’s no wonder many professionals are seeking advanced degrees from OSU. In fact, the university now offers a unique Doctorate of Education program in Adult and Higher Education.
This online cohort program is not a teacher licensure program and requires the completion of 108 to 120 credits. Required courses may include:
- Ethical Practice
- History of Higher Education
- Legal Issues in Higher Education
- Higher Education Administration
- Organization Theory-Higher Education
Students can choose one of two concentrations – Community College Leadership or Leadership in Higher Education. Applicants should have both a master’s degree and professional teaching experience to be considered for admission. A new cohort is admitted each fall semester.
For the first two years of this program, students will meet face-to-face for two weekends each term. After that two year period, no face-to-face meetings are required. Through the OSU Ecampus, distance learners have access to many of the same resources as those studying on-campus.
University of Wisconsin-Stout
College Choice Score: 87.36
Tuition: $9,456 / $17,423
Located in the city of Menomonie, Wisconsin, this public university was founded in 1891 and is now home to more than 9,000 students. The University of Wisconsin-Stout offers over 20 unique graduate programs with an average class size of just 24 students. Students at UW-Stout can now pursue a unique Doctor of Education in Career and Technical Education.
This cohort program is designed for those with full-time careers and can be completed in just three years. This 60-credit curriculum can be completed online, with some courses exclusively offered face-to-face. Required courses may include:
- Education Policy and Leadership
- Quality Improvement in Education
- Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation
- Educational Leadership in Career and Technical Education
- Social and Economic Issues in Career and Technical Education
Students in this program must complete a dissertation to earn their degree. Prospective students should already hold a master’s degree and have relevant experience as an instructor or staff leader within the industry.
The University of Wisconsin-Stout offers a variety of financial aid options, including student loans, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. With a flexible, hybrid schedule, students in this program don’t have to give up their day jobs to attend classes– saving both time and money. UW-Stout has been ranked as a Top Public School and Best Value School by U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 86.70
Endicott College is a small, private college located in Beverly, Massachusetts. With a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 90 percent employment rate for graduates, Endicott makes it easy to succeed. Endicott now offers a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education Program through its Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies.
This cohort program requires students to complete 51 credit hours. Required courses may include:
- Ethical Leadership in Education
- Leading in a Technological World
- History and Administration of Small Colleges
- Theories and Practice in Academic Leadership
- Teaching, Learning, and Institutional Culture in Higher Education
While most coursework in this program can be completed online, there are some in-person learning components. In fact, Endicott offers an apprenticeship experience for students to further strengthen their skills before graduating. With its close proximity to Boston, students have tons of options to choose from. Graduates of this program typically go on to work for universities, colleges, nonprofit agencies, etc.
All students at Endicott College pay the same rate of tuition, no matter their state of residency. Endicott also makes it easy for adult learners to apply for financial aid and create a flexible schedule to maintain their full-time careers while taking classes. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Endicott among the nation’s Top 25 Best Regional Universities in the North.
Boise State University
College Choice Score: 86.61
Tuition: $7,326 / $22,642
Founded in 1932, Boise State is a public university with more than 200 unique areas of study to choose from. With more than 25,000 students from all 50 states and over 60 countries around the world, Boise State University is a hub of activity and growth. BSU offers 11 doctoral programs as well, including the Doctor of Education in Educational Technology.
Unlike many other doctoral programs, this one can be completed entirely online. There are no in-person or on-campus requirements at all. This 66-credit program admits one cohort each year which is made up of just 12-15 students. Required courses may include:
- Research in Educational Technology
- Leadership in Educational Technology
- Project Management in Educational Settings
- Emerging Trends in Educational Technology
- Global and Cultural Perspectives in Educational Technology
Graduate students are expected to complete a comprehensive exam as well as a dissertation in order to earn their degree. Students may choose to take classes on a part-time schedule and most complete this program in 3.5 to 4 years.
Another unique point about Boise State University is that applicants for this program are not required to have a master’s degree in EdTech or any experience in teaching. Of course, this program is very competitive and the more experience you have, the better your chances may be. Admitted students may transfer in coursework as well, saving both time and money in earning this advanced degree.
Columbus State University
College Choice Score: 86.07
Tuition: $6,134 / $16,920
Founded in 1958, Columbus State is a public university that’s located in Columbus, Georgia. CSU is home to seven unique schools and colleges, including the Schwob School of Music and the College of Education and Health Professions. Now, through CSU’s Department of Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership, students can earn a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership.
This 63-credit cohort program is for those who wish to work as teachers, school administrators, district personnel, and in other related careers. Students will choose one of three specialization areas, including Curriculum, Educational Leadership, or Higher Education. Required courses may include:
- Leading for Change
- Current Issues in Higher Education
- Mixed Methods Research in Education
- Policy and Politics of Higher Education
- Trends and Issues in Curriculum Studies
Twelve hours of this program will be dedicated to developing and defending your dissertation. Students in this program will not only have classes online but will meet face-to-face as well. Applicants must hold a master’s degree and submit GRE scores from within the past five years.
Columbus State University boasts one of the lowest tuition rates on this list of PhD programs. CSU has also been named among the nation’s Most Innovative Schools and Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report. The university is also recognized as having one of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs.
College Choice Score: 85.91
Tuition: $13,422 / $21,890
Founded in 1923, Rowan University is a public research school located in Glassboro, New Jersey. Rowan is made up of many schools and colleges, including the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering and the School of Earth and Environment. Rowan also offers six doctoral degree programs, including a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
Students in this 60-credit program will choose from one of the following tracks: higher education, P-12, nurse educator, or community college leadership initiative (CCLI®). Required courses may include:
- Leadership Theory
- Changing Organizations
- Current Issues In Higher Education
- Diversity in Educational Leadership
- Issues In Qualitative Analysis In Educational Research
Students may choose to earn this degree entirely online; however, even with this option there will be three mandatory in-person residency meetings. A dissertation is also required of all students. Applicants should have a master’s degree and a GPA of at least 3.5 to be considered for admission into this program.
Rowan’s online programs are highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the university was recognized as having one of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs as well.
University of Missouri
College Choice Score: 85.68
Tuition: $9,787 / $26,506
Popularly known as “Mizzou,” the University of Missouri is a public, land-grant research university that was founded in 1839. Located in Columbia, Missouri, Mizzou is the state’s largest university with over 25,000 students enrolled. Mizzou offers a variety of doctoral programs, including an online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
Offered through Mizzou’s College of Education and Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, this 46-credit program does require some on-campus visits. Required courses may include:
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Content and Context of Learning
- Team Building and Group Dynamics
- Organizational Analysis for Educational Leadership
- Qualitative Tools for Applied Research in Educational Leadership
Mizzou only admits cohorts every two years for this program, so it’s best to plan ahead if you decide to apply. Of the 46 credits in this program, 12 hours will be dedicated to your dissertation. Graduates of this program have gone on to pursue careers as directors, principals, superintendents, university administrators, and more.
Graduate distance learners at the University of Missouri qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency. In addition, Mizzou Online offers plenty of tuition discounts, including a 10 percent tuition reduction for eligible students. It’s no surprise that Mizzou has been ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools by U.S. News and World Report.
East Tennessee State University
College Choice Score: 85.46
Tuition: $8,679 / $26,463
East Tennessee State is a public university located in Johnson City, Tennessee. ETSU is home to 11 schools and colleges, including the College of Nursing, the Quillen College of Medicine, and the School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach. Now, through the College of Education, students can earn an online Doctor of Education degree.
This 66-credit degree is intended for those who already hold a master’s degree and wish to further their educational leadership skills. ETSU offers many concentration areas for this program, including Higher Education Leadership, Administrative Endorsement, Classroom Leadership, or School Leadership. Required courses may include:
- Leadership Studies
- Educational Statistics
- Law for Educational Leaders
- Leadership for Lifelong Learning
- Theories of Educational Administration
In addition to a dissertation defense, all students must also complete a 150-hour internship as well as a comprehensive exam.
ETSU’s Office of eLearning provides distance learners with all the resources they need to succeed. Students may take asynchronous courses and can choose convenient, local internships to fulfill their degree requirements. Graduate students in the above program may choose whether or not they’d like to be part of a cohort.
University of West Florida
College Choice Score: 85.28
Tuition: $6,360 / $19,241
Home to mascot Argie the Argonaut, the University of West Florida was founded in 1963 and is located in Pensacola. With over 12,000 students and five unique colleges, UWF has a degree option for everyone. The university offers just one doctorate degree and it happens to be the Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Applicants should already hold a Master of Education degree to be considered for admission to this 36-credit program. Required courses are eight weeks long and may include:
- Educational Research
- Human Performance Improvement
- Philosophical Foundations of Education
- Research on Emerging and Innovative Technology Systems
- Psychological Foundations for Education: Cognition, Curriculum, and Instruction
Students may choose to specialize in Instructional Design and Technology, Administration and Leadership Studies, or Curriculum and Instruction. Rather than a dissertation, students in this program complete a capstone course in their specific area of focus.
The University of West Florida is an excellent choice for working professionals not only for its affordability but its flexible programs as well. In fact, the school’s acronym, “UWF,” doubles as a motto for its students: “You Will Finish.” The University of West Florida has been ranked as a Top National University by U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 85.26
Hampton University offers 98 unique programs and is home to just over 4,000 students. Students may pursue one of the university’s nine doctoral programs, including a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management. This program is offered through Hampton U Online.
This 66-credit accelerated degree program offers specializations in Higher Education, Pre-K-12 Education, STEM Leadership, and Special Education. Each course is nine weeks in length and most students complete the program in just 2.5 years. Required courses may include:
- Current Issues in Education
- Assessment, Evaluation, and Accountability
- Techniques and Problems in Educational Research
- Leadership Theory and Practice in Educational Organizations
- Dynamics of Innovation and Change in Educational Systems
In addition to their online coursework, all PhD candidates must attend two separate two-week long summer residency experiences. A dissertation is also required and your defense of it will take place on campus as well.
All distance students at Hampton University pay the same rate of tuition no matter their state of residency. It’s no surprise that U.S. News and World Report included Hampton on their ranking of Best Value Schools in the nation. Hampton University is also among the Top 30 Best Regional Colleges in the South.