5 Best Online Ed.D Programs in Educational Leadership of 2021

5 Best Online Ed.D Programs in Educational Leadership of 2021

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.

Professionals 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.)

Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

5 Best Online Ed.D Programs in Educational Leadership of 2021

  • Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    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.

    • Graduation rate: 58%
    • School status: Public
    • Number of programs offered: 120+ programs
    • City location: Muncie, IN
    • Admission requirements: Master’s degree
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE not required
    • Contact: 800-382-8540
    • Website
  • Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    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.

    • Graduation rate: 60%
    • School status: Public
    • Number of programs offered: 300+ programs
    • City location: Mount Pleasant, MI
    • Admission requirements: Master’s degree, three letters of recommendation, personal statement, written statement of experience, professional resume
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE not currently required; TOEFL required when English isn’t your native language
    • Contact: 877-268-4636
    • Website
  • Creighton University
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    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.

    • Graduation rate: 78%
    • School status: Private
    • Number of programs offered: 140+ programs
    • City location: Omaha, NE
    • Admission requirements: Master’s degree, three letters of recommendation, professional resume, personal statement
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE not required
    • Contact: 402-280-2700
    • Website
  • University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    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.

    • Graduation rate: 87%
    • School status: Public
    • Number of programs offered: 330+ programs
    • City location: Gainesville, FL
    • Admission requirements: Master’s degree, undergraduate GPA of 3.0
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE required
    • Contact: 352-392-0726
    • Website
  • University of Nebraska
    Location

    Kearney, NE

    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.

    • Graduation rate: 69%
    • School status: Public
    • Number of programs offered: 150+ programs
    • City location: Lincoln, NE
    • Admission requirements: Master’s degree, graduate GPA of 3.0, written personal statement, letters of recommendation, writing samples, professional resume
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE required, TOEFL required if English isn’t your native language
    • Contact: 402-472-3726
    • Website

  • Our Methodology, Explained


    Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.































    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 20%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 40%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 15%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%

    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

Answering Your Questions About an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

  • Can you get an Ed.D educational leadership online?

    You can! Many schools now offer Ed.D programs in educational leadership either fully online or in a blended format with the same quality education that you would get in a brick-and-mortar program on a college campus.

  • What can I do with an Ed.D in educational leadership?

    There are many career paths you can follow with this type of graduate degree. For example, with an Ed.D in educational leadership, you can go on to work as a school administrator, chief learning officer, college president, or find employment in another related capacity.

  • How long does it take to complete an Ed.D in educational leadership?

    The time it takes to complete this type of degree is highly dependent on a number of factors. If you enroll in a program on a full time basis, it will take fewer years to complete. Other factors, like program requirements, etc. will also affect the time it takes to complete this degree. That said, it generally takes about two to three years to complete an Ed.D in educational leadership.

  • Is an Ed.D in educational leadership worth it?

    An Ed.D in educational leadership can help widen your career opportunities and increase your earning potential in this field, which may make it worth the cost of obtaining another degree. To ensure it will be worth it to you, consider your career goals and whether you’re likely to see a solid return on your investment.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Explore Additional Programs.

10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Higher Education Online 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Educational Administration Online 10 Most Affordable EdD in Curriculum & Instruction Online

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Erin Gobler

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Erin Gobler is a freelance writer who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Graduate School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, among others. Her work has been published on sites like Fox Business, Rocket Mortgage, and The Balance.

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Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht is an editor for Grad School Hub. A proud University of Houston alum (go Cougs!), she previously served as an education reporter at Kearney Hub, and an editor at the Dallas Observer and Houston Press. Her writing has appeared in Affordable Colleges Online, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and elsewhere.

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