In this ranking, we explore the top online doctoral programs in educational leadership. These programs often run under names like online Ed.D and Ed.D. degree online.

These are the top 5 online EdDs in educational leadership. These programs allow educators to advance their careers by gaining the skills and knowledge needed to lead others in roles such as principal or superintendent. Most doctoral programs of any type require some amount of residency on campus, and online programs tend to resolve this through required intensive periods, so few such programs will be exclusively online. This is something to keep in mind while you’re looking for the right online EdD in leadership for you. This listing can get you started in the process of finding a program, but there is a lot of information that you need to track down for yourself. These schools are among the top rankings because they are willing to help you get the information you need in order to make an informed decision about where to study.

Grad School Hub - Online Educational LeadershipProfessionals in educational leadership roles are people who work to do more than simply manage and complete administrative tasks. They are leaders who are educated in the most effective ways to improve educational systems as well as drive and institute better educational policies. Those individuals who earn their online Doctor of  Education (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership are typically found working as school principals, superintendents, departmental chairpersons or academic deans. Although online doctoral programs in educational leadership are a relatively new phenomenon, these ten programs stand out as the best of many. (For more information about how we selected these programs, see the methodology.)


Ranking Top 5 Best Online Ed.D Programs in Educational Leadership


#5 – Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

The Global Campus

Points: 9

Central Michigan University offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership in a structured cohort model in which groups of students follow the same set schedule of classes through the entire program. Courses are mostly asynchronous, with a synchronous meeting every other Saturday. Students must also attend four face-to-face meetings with their cohort, one each summer of the program, though the details of each meeting are tailored to the cohort. Students must complete comprehensive exams as well as 15 credits of dissertation research followed by an oral defense of their research. Applicants must hold a master’s degree and professional education experience.

US News and World Report 2015 Ranking of Best Online Graduate Education Programs:

Additional US News and World Report Ranking:

US News and World Report #194 Best National University

US News and World Report #110 Top Public School

Degree Options:

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

More Information on Central Michigan University


#4 – Creighton University – Omaha, Nebraska

The Graduate School

Points: 11

Creighton University offers a Doctorate of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership which can be completed almost entirely online. Students must attend on-campus orientation at the beginning of their program, and complete their dissertation defense there as well, but otherwise all coursework is delivered online. Courses are eight weeks long, and students take one at a time, completing the required 60 credits in 3 to 4 years. The dissertation is practice-focused, with the intention that research can impact coursework as well as prepare the student for their post-graduate career. Applicants to the program must hold a master’s degree or equivalent professional degree.

US News and World Report 2015 Ranking of Best Online Graduate Education Programs: #11

Additional US News and World Report Ranking:

US News and World Report #1 Best College or University in the Midwestern Region of the United States

US News and World Report #3 Best Value School

Degree Options:

Doctorate of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership

Learn more about Creighton University


#3 – Ball State University – Muncie, Indiana

The Department of Online and Distance Learning

Points: 11

Ball State offers this online EdD in educational leadership in a blended format, with online classes and monthly Thursday afternoon meetings on-campus. The program meets the requirements for Indiana school superintendency, and so is particularly well suited to students living in that state. Students can tailor the program to meet their needs however, such as taking into consideration different licensing requirements for the state where they work. Applicants must hold a master’s degree in order to enroll, and students must complete at least 48 of the 90 required credits through courses at Ball State, including 10 credits of dissertation research.

US News and World Report 2015 Ranking of Best Online Graduate Education Programs: #8

Additional US News and World Report Ranking:

US News and World Report #173 Best National University

US News and World Report #97 Top Public School

US News and World Report #86 Best Graduate Program in Education

Degree Options:

Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision

Learn more about Ball State University


#2 – University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

The College of Education

Points: 14

The University of Florida’s Leadership in Educational Administration Doctorate program is blended, meaning that it contains both online and on-campus aspects. Most of the program an be completed online, but students are required to attend Saturday sessions on campus or at other locations as many as three times per semester. The program is offered in a cohort structure, where students follow a predetermined course load of two classes per term. This allows them to complete their coursework in three years, and complete their dissertations during the fourth year. Applicants to the program must already hold at least a master’s degree.

US News and World Report 2015 Ranking of Best Online Graduate Education Programs: #13

Additional US News and World Report Ranking:

US News and World Report #48 Best National University

US News and World Report #14 Top Public School

US News and World Report #30 Best Graduate Program in Education

Degree Options:

Leadership in Educational Administration Doctorate

Learn more about University of Florida


#1 – University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Nebraska

The Office of Online and Distance Education

Points: 16

This EdD in Educational Administration with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education is a practice oriented degree. Within this specialization, students also develop a concentration, based on a selection of courses covering topics such as finance, law, and planning in education. The program requires 96 credits to complete, though credits earned as part of a master’s program may be counted among these. Students must complete at least 48 of their credits through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including 12 credits of dissertation research. Students in the EdD program must complete a dissertation which addresses some problem of educational practice.

US News and World Report 2015 Ranking of Best Online Graduate Education Programs: #5

Additional US News and World Report Ranking:

US News and World Report #99 Best National University

US News and World Report #45 Top Public School

US News and World Report #48 Best Graduate Program in Education

Degree Options:

EdD in Educational Administration with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education

Learn more about University of Nebraska

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