Top 10 Online Doctoral Programs in Education

Top 10 Online Doctoral Programs in Education 2016Our list of the Top 10 Online Doctoral Programs in Education is a broad ranking which takes into account accreditation and general reputation. With the increased presence and acceptance of online Ph.D. programs throughout the U.S., prestigious institutions and many state schools are now offering online degrees with more frequency. The doctoral degree in Education has become one of the most popular online doctoral degrees offered throughout the country.


With many emphases being offered at various institutions, it may be difficult to find a degree that suits a students’ purposes. This list provides a list based on reputation that we hope will help guide decisions in picking a top tier school. The schools that made the list were accredited, were non-profit, and had some level of name recognition.

In constructing the list, a number of sites were used for research including U.S. News and World Report, The National Center for Education Statistics, and The Guide to Online Schools.

1. Johns Hopkins University Johns_Hopkins_University's_Academic_Seal

Johns Hopkins University is listed as #1 in our top 50 online PhD programs for 2015-2016. The Doctor of Education program at Johns Hopkins is an innovative program that rotates areas of specialization from year to year. Looking forward, the areas of specialization for 2016-2017 are Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education, Mind, Brain, and Teaching, Technology Integration in K-16 Education. This rotating subject matter provides rare flexibility in a program so that Johns Hopkins’ Ph.D. students will continually be on the cusp of current research and topics in the field. While this specific Johns Hopkins’ program is not yet ranked by U.S. News and World Report, U.S. News ranks JHU’s education programs in general at #1 in the nation and the university overall is ranked at #12 among universities in the nation. While not giving a per credit hour price, JHU states that a year in the online Ph.D. program costs $43,923 at $4100 per course. Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the National council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

2. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University-of-Nebraska-Lincoln-D66C28D9Ranked at #5 in best online education programs by U.S. News and World Report and #103 among universities nationally, University of Nebraska – Lincoln offers Doctor of Education online degrees in both Educational Leadership and Higher Education and in P-12 Education Administration. We have ranked UNL ranked at #14 on our Top 50 Schools Offering Online PhD Programs 2015-2016. Tuition is $257 per credit hour for in-state students and $477 per credit hour for out-of-state students. The Ph.D. requires 6 hours of on campus work while the rest of the program is online. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

3. University of Florida Florida

U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Florida’s online education programs at #13 in the nation and ranks the university #47 overall in the nation. We have ranked University of Florida at #5 in our list of top online Ph.D. programs. In the online Doctor of Education degree, there are specializations in Curriculum and Instruction (Technology or Teaching and Teacher Education), Educational Leadership, or Higher Education Administration. Out-of-state tuition is $690 per credit unit and $449 per credit unit for in-state students. There is also a $39 per credit unit tech fee for distance graduate students. Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of Southern CaliforniaUniversity_of_Southern_California_USC_174423

U.S. News and World Report ranks USC’s education graduate programs at #15 in the nation and ranks the university #25 overall. We have ranked USC’s online doctoral program at #2 in our top 50 list of online Ph.D. programs. The Doctor of Education program at University of Southern California has an emphasis in Organizational Change and Leadership. At the heart of the program is the use and integration of technology systems in teaching and how they can improve upon organizations. Further, the program focuses on ideas surrounding the management and motivation of others and the assessment of organizational focus. The program comes with a price tag at $27,573 per year but the degree comes with the prestige of a USC doctorate. The education department at USC has 20 full time faculty and has a student to faculty ratio of 14:1. USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

5. Indiana UniversityIndianaLOGO

Indiana University is ranked #18 among best online education programs in the nation while ranking the university #75 among schools nationwide. The online doctoral degree in education prepares students to bring together research and the practical applications of instructional technology in classrooms and workplace learning environments. In-state tuition is $338 per credit hour while out of state tuition is $1,222 per credit hour. There are 31 full time faculty along with 56 part time faculty in the graduate education programs at IU. Indiana University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the North Central Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NCCIHE).

6. University of South CarolinaSouth Carolina

Ranked #18 in the top online Education programs in the nation and #108 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report, University of South Carolina provides an online Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. In-state tuition is $465 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition is about $625 per credit hour. The program prepares students to become curriculum specialists in PK-12, higher education institution, or in the private sector. The program has 13 full-time instructors with online delivery of courses with targeted face-to-face sessions, providing a personal element to the program. University of South Carolina is ranked #18 on our Top 50 Schools Offering Online PhD Programs 2015-2016. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is the primary accrediting organization of the professional educator, specialist and administrator preparation program at the College of Education.

7. University at Buffalo – The State University of New YorkUniversity_at_Buffalo-SUNY_428950_i0

Ranked #23 among online education programs and #99 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report, University at Buffalo-SUNY provides an online Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning. Concentrations for the online program include English Education and Math education. UB-SUNY also appears on our Top 50 Schools Offering Online PhD Programs 2015-2016 at #15. In-state tuition is about $452 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition is about $925 per credit hour. The graduate programs in education have 14 full-time faculty serving it. The Ph.D. requires only 6 hours of on campus coursework with the rest of the program being fulling online. There are 14 full-time faculty. In addition to Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) accreditation, departmental accreditations include the Council on Rehabilitation Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

8. Texas A&M UniversityA&M

The online doctoral degree in Education at Texas A&M concentrates on training leaders with expertise in curriculum development. All of the faculty teaching in the program are full-time Texas A&M faculty, providing a high quality faculty for an online degree. The degree is self-paced and is highly affordable at $368 per credit hour for in-state students and $730 per credit hour for out-of-state students. U.S. News and World Report ranks A&M #68 among best online education programs in the nation and ranks the university #70 overall. Students meet in person with advisors, whether virtually or in person. Texas A&M is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

9. University of Alabamaalabama

The Doctor of Education is a blended degree, with only four weeks of residency required per semester. The Doctor of Education has a concentration in Instructional Leadership. Otherwise, the degree is online. There is a large faculty in the education department with 84 tenure and tenure track faculty. Tuition is $339 per credit hour whether one is an in-state resident or not. University of Alabama is ranked #96 among national universities by U.S. News and World Reports and #88 among education programs in the nation. UA also falls at #12 in our top 50 online Ph.D. programs in the nation. The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

10. University of Missourimissouri_1

University of Missouri offers a Doctor of Education program in Educational Leadership. The purpose of the degree is to help educators move into leadership positions such as principle, superintendent, or university vice president. Tuition is $350 for in-state students and $587 for out-of-state students. U.S. News and World reports also ranks UM as have the #94 best online graduate education program and #103 among national universities. We have also ranked Mizzou at #13 in our top 50 online Ph.D. schools. The University’s regional accreditation is through the Higher Learning Commission and programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.