Top 25 Best Online PhD in Education Programs


At colleges and universities throughout the United States, professors who earned an online Ph.D. in education train the next generation of teachers while contributing valuable research to the field. In addition to a Ph.D. in education online degree, these professionals possess extensive experience in education, often from working as K-12 educators.

Students beginning a Ph.D. in education can expect a strong job market when they graduate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for postsecondary teachers to grow 9% between 2019 and 2029 -- much faster than the national average growth rate for all occupations.

Top 10 Ph.D. in Education Programs

Rank School
1 Liberty University
2 Indiana State University
3 Concordia University Chicago
4 University of Arkansas
5 University of the Cumberlands
6 Lamar University
7 University of Nebraska — Lincoln
8 Regent University
9 Texas Tech University
10 Florida State University

What is a Ph.D. in Education?

A Ph.D. in education prepares degree-seekers to teach at colleges or universities. In class, learners hone skills relating to quantitative and qualitative research, policy analysis, and structural practice. Like bachelor's and master's degrees in education, Ph.D. programs may offer one or more concentrations. Typical concentrations include education policy and program evaluation, human development and learning, and culture and society.


"Typical concentrations include education policy and program evaluation, human development and learning, and culture and society."

Graduates can explore different career paths, depending on their concentration. Some may pursue tenure-track teaching positions at colleges or universities, while others might work as advisors to elected officials or start education nonprofits.

Why Get a Degree in Education?

  • New Career Opportunities: An online Ph.D. in education opens doors to new careers, such as postsecondary teacher or college dean. Many colleges restrict these and other positions to professionals with a doctorate.

  • Influence Education's Future: As a professor or researcher, Ph.D. in education alumni can discover new teaching best practices. These practices can positively impact K-12 education around the world.

  • Mentor Aspiring Teachers: College and university professors who earned an online Ph.D. in education mentor aspiring teachers by passing on invaluable knowledge and skills.

  • Salary Increase: The BLS reports postsecondary teachers in the United States earned a median annual salary of nearly $80,000 per year as of 2019. This salary would allow professionals to live comfortably in most U.S. cities.

  • Personal Fulfillment: Earning a Ph.D. requires learners to invest a significant amount of time and energy. No matter their career goals, alumni take pride in their accomplishment.

FAQ

Question Answer
How long does it take to get a Ph.D. in education? Degree-seekers with a bachelor's degree may need four or more years to earn a Ph.D. in education. Students who enter a program with a master's may require less time.
What is the difference between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in education? A Ph.D. qualifies graduates to attain a tenure-track teaching position at a college or university. An Ed.D. trains students to succeed as a K-12 principal or a district-level administrator.
Is a Ph.D. more prestigious than an Ed.D.? The degrees confer the same amount of prestige, as both convey that a graduate earned a terminal degree. The degrees' primary difference concerns which careers graduates can pursue.
What jobs can I get with a Ph.D. in education? Professionals with an online Ph.D. in education can work as postsecondary teachers, researchers, or advisors. Once workers gain experience in academia, they can become college presidents or deans.

Accreditation for a Ph.D. in Education

As an online Ph.D. in education asks learners to invest a considerable amount of time and money, prospective students should ensure that their desired program possesses regional accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education charters six regional accreditation agencies to review colleges and universities throughout the country. Schools with regional education meet or exceed specific academic standards.

Online Ph.D. programs in education also need national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The DEAC compares a school's on-campus programs with its online programs. If the two offer the same curriculum, rigor, and learning outcomes, the school receives national accreditation.

Lastly, some programs also attain programmatic accreditation. A programmatic accreditation agency focuses on one academic subject. Employees possess extensive field experience and evaluate a program's curriculum and graduation requirements. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation website lists all reputable programmatic accreditation agencies.

Courses for a Ph.D. in Education

Throughout an online Ph.D. in education program, students hone essential skills they can use to earn good grades and succeed in a career in academia. Vital skills include research, writing, and communication, all of which play a role when degree-seekers start the dissertation process. Additionally, students can sometimes choose electives. A program may offer free electives or tie them to learners' concentration.

The five courses below include both introductory and advanced topics, as well as electives. Some programs may use a different curriculum, and even if a course at two universities uses the same name, textbooks and assignments may differ. Please contact individual schools to learn more about their specific programs.

Leading the Future of Education

This course introduces degree-seekers to academic success tools, scholarly writing skills, and different concentrations. Some programs enroll Ph.D. and Ed.D. students or allow learners to choose a specific degree after the course. Assignments include case studies and discussion, and students collaborate either synchronously or through a discussion board. Degree-seekers gain a clear idea of their academic and career goals.

Research Theory, Design, and Methods

Research and writing comprise most of the work students complete in an online Ph.D. in education program. In this course, learners examine different research methods, the qualitative and quantitative research's differences and uses, and data collection best practices. Degree-seekers also explore research's ethical implications, as education research can involve children. Additionally, academic requirements can include creating an annotated bibliography, a key step in writing a dissertation.

Tools for Doctoral Research Success

Performing research for a dissertation and writing the final product represents a multiyear undertaking. Students take this course to gain a deeper understanding of the dissertation-writing process' many steps. Learners examine different dissertations and research methodologies. This course may also require degree-seekers to use university resources, such as librarians' assistance or the writing center. After passing this course, learners work with an advisor to start the dissertation process.

Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation in Higher Education

Postsecondary administrators use numerous skills to ensure that employees feel valued and college degree-seekers receive the best education possible. In this course, students learn how to react to different situations, make policy adjustments at the micro and macro levels, and foster collaboration among faculty, staff, and administrators. Much of the course involves examining different challenges that postsecondary administrators face and trends that might impact schools' futures.

Creating Digital Media

This course appeals to degree-seekers concentrating in educational technology and design. Students explore different forms of visual media and gain proficiency in each. Learning outcomes also include the ability to identify digital media that complements instructional design and improves student learning outcomes. Additionally, coursework can involve a series of projects that learners complete independently or in a small group.

How Much Do Education Majors Make?

According to BLS median annual salary data, postsecondary teachers make approximately $40,000 more per year than the average worker in the United States. Those with significant experience can earn upwards of $175,000 per year. Salaries vary among junior colleges, private colleges, and public colleges.


"Tenured postsecondary teachers can achieve additional career and salary advancement by pursuing administrative roles as department heads, academic deans, or college presidents."

Postsecondary teachers can increase their salary potential in multiple ways. First, they can gain promotion by earning tenure, which requires professional experience and publishing research. Colleges and universities may have additional requirements, such as a probationary period, a time when a tenure committee evaluates a candidate's teaching and research output.

Tenured postsecondary teachers can achieve additional career and salary advancement by pursuing administrative roles as department heads, academic deans, or college presidents. Although these positions have multiple application requirements, obtaining one does not involve earning a state-issued license or professional certification. However, candidates can strengthen their resume by publishing well-received research or leading a professional organization.

Career and Salary Outlook for Education Majors

A graduate's career path depends on multiple factors, such as concentration, geographic location, and years of professional experience. Many graduates find fulfilling careers as postsecondary teachers, instructional coordinators, postsecondary education administrators, or principals. These careers feature a healthy projected growth rate.

Please use the embedded links to learn more about how to attain each career, typical job duties, and related professions online Ph.D. in education alumni can explore.

  • Postsecondary Teacher: These professionals instruct undergraduate and graduate students. Typical job duties include mentoring learners, grading assignments, and developing curricula with other teachers. Educators in tenure-track positions perform original research, publish articles, give presentations at conferences, and write research grant proposals. Additionally, postsecondary teachers with significant experience can work as department heads or lead a school improvement committee.
  • Instructional Coordinator: In primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, instructional coordinators create new curricula, analyze testing data, and instruct teachers on the latest instructional best practices. They also mentor new teachers and choose the best instructional materials that lead to improved student learning outcomes. Some employers call these professionals curriculum specialists.
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator: These professionals work at colleges and universities. Their specific job title depends on their school's size, as larger institutions need numerous administrators to lead different departments, such as admissions and student affairs. Some of these professionals work directly with students to ensure that they meet graduation requirements. Many administrators possess either significant teaching experience or management expertise.
  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal: Principals manage their school's activities, develop schedules, and ensure that teachers' instruction aligns with academic standards. Typical day-to-day activities include evaluating teachers in the classroom, making budget decisions, and meeting with parents and community stakeholders. The career requires both teaching experience and a state-issued license.
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Postsecondary Teacher $79,540 9%
Instructional Coordinator $66,290 6%
Postsecondary Education Administrator $95,410 4%
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal $96,400 4%

Source: BLS

Scholarships for a Ph.D. in Education

Although typical online programs allow learners to save money compared to on-campus degrees, online Ph.D. programs in education still require a significant financial investment. Fortunately, degree-seekers can explore scholarships and fellowships to reduce costs and avoid debt. Each of the following scholarships includes an embedded link that leads to additional information.

AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship
Who Can Apply: The American Educational Research Association (AERA) awards funding to graduate degree-seekers writing their dissertation. The fellowship limits applicants to members of a racial minority. The award has four parts -- a stipend, travel support, a research presentation, and an invitation to the AERA career development workshop. Fellowship recipients also benefit from a mentor working in academia.
Amount:$20,000

Esther Katz Rosen Fund Grant
Who Can Apply: The American Psychological Association accepts applications from education, school psychology, and child psychology doctoral degree-seekers specializing in gifted or talented education. Both Ph.D. and Ed.D. students can apply. Application materials include a seven-page detailed dissertation proposal, a current resume, and two recommendation letters by the March 1 deadline.
Amount: $1,000-$50,000 per year

Hollis L. Caswell Laureate Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, awards this scholarship to Ph.D. in education degree-seekers specializing in curriculum and instruction. The one-time scholarship requires a current resume, one recommendation letter, transcripts, and a 750-word essay. Additionally, candidates should join Kappa Delta Pi before applying.
Amount: $2,000

Richard M. Weaver Fellowship Program
Who Can Apply: Full-time doctoral degree-seekers training for a career as a postsecondary teacher can apply to the Richard M. Weaver Fellowship Program. Candidates must join the Intercollegiate Studies Institute before applying, and application requirements include a biography, academic writing sample, resume, transcripts, and three recommendation letters. The fellowship does not renew.
Amount: $5,000-$15,000

Women in Geographic Education Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) awards funding to women earning a master's or doctorate in geography education. NCGE requires that applicants possess a minimum 3.5 graduate GPA and have already completed nine geography credits at the graduate level. Other application materials include two recommendation letters.
Amount: $800


Top 25 Online Ph.D. in Education Programs


1. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Liberty University’s Online Doctor of Education degree program is offered entirely online, but students also have the option of choosing to participate on-campus at the university’s Central Virginia campus. These optional intensives allow students to interact with their classmates and professors on a face-to-face basis, and during the intensives, students participate in hands-on training that enhances the education they’ve received online. This 60-credit-hour program can be completed in approximately three years, thanks in part to the fact that the doctoral dissertation is integrated into the course material. Program graduates will be prepared for a variety of careers, including holding positions as educational administrators, faculty members at universities, educational policymakers, and more.

Although Liberty University’s campus is located in Lynchburg, VA, the university’s online degree programs make a Liberty education accessible to students all over the world. Liberty first explored the world of distance education in the mid-1980s, and today distance students use state-of-the-art technology to connect with their peers and faculty. This Christian university offers a quality education while keeping tuition rates low - today, Liberty’s tuition is in the bottom-third of the top online schools and is one of the lowest rates in the nation. The university offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs entirely online with no set log in times, giving students the flexibility they need to pursue their education.

Format: Online

2. INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

Indiana State University offers a Ph.D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership degree program. This online degree program is intended for professionals already working in higher education and offers the flexibility professionals need to accommodate their family and work commitments. During this program, students explore a variety of class-based, practicum-based, and internship-based experiences, and during the internship, students gain experience and familiarity within a higher education setting. This program follows a cohort model, with students enrolling in and progressing through the degree at a full-time pace with their cohorts. This program can be completed with five consecutive terms over a period of two years, and the program schedule includes a summer semester.

Founded in 1865, Indiana State University is located in Terre Haute, IN. Today, ISU offers over 100 undergraduate, 75 graduate, and more than 70 online programs. The ISU student body represents all 50 states and more than 65 countries, and over 13,000 students attend the university each year. All of ISU’s degree programs require experiential learning, and the university boasts an impressive 94% job placement rate. Forbes has recognized ISU as being one of the top colleges in the country for quality and value, and the Princeton Review has recognized ISU in its Best in the Midwest ranking for the past 14 consecutive years.

Format: Online

3. CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO

At Concordia University Chicago, students can pursue a Ph.D./Ed.D. in Leadership with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction. This program prepares students to become leaders who can both manage and implement changes in K-12 school curriculums and programs. The Ed.D. program consists of 61 credit hours, and the Ph.D. program consists of 67 credit hours. Both programs are offered online and on-campus and include a comprehensive examination and a dissertation.

Founded in 1864, Concordia University Chicago was originally a college for teachers. Today, CUC offers a liberal-arts-based education to 4,300 graduate students. CUC is a private university based in the Lutheran tradition and offers an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio for a personalized, supportive education. Ninety-percent of CUC students are employed or are in graduate programs within six months of graduating from CUC. CUC also offers a tuition guarantee in which students who pursue their education without interruption will enjoy the same tuition rate for the entire time that they are enrolled at CUC.

Format: Online

4. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

The University of Arkansas offers an Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree program intended for students who wish to pursue careers as supervisors in public and private schools, superintendents, federal and state government officials, and more. Students begin this program during a summer semester, and while most of the program is offered online, students also participate in three intensive weekend seminars. These seminars focus on a theme that connects theory with practice and serves to build relationships. During the seminars, students will meet leaders in the field and participate in hands-on learning. Year three of the program focuses on structured exercises to prepare students to present their dissertations.

Located in Fayetteville, AR, the University of Arkansas was established in 1871 as the first public university in the state. Since then, the university has grown to encompass 10 colleges and schools offering over 200 programs, including 39 doctoral programs. Over 27,000 students attend the university where they learn from the university’s over 1,400 faculty. The university’s Senior Walk features over four miles of sidewalks imprinted with the names of its graduates. The University of Arkansas is among the 2.7% of universities in the country to be recognized as having the highest level of research activity by the Carnegie Foundation.

Format: Online

5. UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS

The University of the Cumberlands offers a Doctorate in Educational Leadership degree program online. This program is designed to accommodate the scheduling needs of working professionals and can be completed entirely online. Students can complete the 60-credit-hour program in three years and also have the option to attend on-campus on Saturdays. Program faculty are highly experienced in research, public service, professional activity, and more, allowing them to share their experience and knowledge with students. During the program, students will develop their specialty knowledge and acquire valuable skills that will allow them to lead educational institutions upon graduating.

The University of the Cumberlands’ history dates all the way back to the 1888 founding of the Williamsburg Institute. The school became known as Cumberland College in 1913, then became the University of the Cumberlands in 2005. Today, the university offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs to over 2,000 undergraduate and more than 9,000 graduate students each year. Students from 36 states and 38 nations attend the university. UC offers accelerated eight-week bi-terms that allow students to quickly complete their degrees. The university’s programs have been recognized by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UC as No. 115 in its "Best Online Graduate Education Programs" ranking, and as No. 31 in its "Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans" ranking.

Format: Online

6. LAMAR UNIVERSITY

At Lamar University, students can complete a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadershipdegree program entirely online. This degree program begins during the summer and is structured so that students can still meet all of their professional responsibilities even while earning their degree. This 60-credit-hour program can be completed in eight semesters, including summer sessions. The program is research-based and practitioner-driven and helps to prepare students to become leaders in the field of education. Students will complete courses such as Global Communication, Dynamics of Leadership, and Leadership in Higher Education Administration as they progress toward completing this program.

Located in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar University offers over 100 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Over 15,000 students attend LU, and over 2,500 students live on campus. The university offers small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio that allows for a personalized education, giving students the chance to build relationships with faculty. LU emphasizes hands-on learning, and undergraduate students have opportunities to perform research. The campus is home to more than 100 student clubs and organizations, and because of LU’s close location to Houston, students have the opportunity to easily travel to the city.

Format: Online

7. UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN

The Doctorate in Educational Administration - P-12 School Leadership program is delivered almost entirely online. Offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the program is designed for professional practitioners who wish to earn their credentials in P-12 education. Students must attend one-week, on-campus residencies during the first, second, and third summers during which they are enrolled in the program, but they can take all of their other coursework online. Five faculty members currently act as advisors for the program, and each faculty member has individual scholarly interests. Students considering this program are encouraged to contact the faculty to learn about their areas of interest and ability to take on new students given their current advising loads.

Chartered in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a land-grant university and is one of the first institutions to award doctoral degrees west of the Mississippi River. Nebraska is recognized as one of the leading teaching institutions in the country and is home to the Prairie Schooner literary magazine as well as the University of Nebraska Press. Nebraska regularly earns national recognition for the quality and value of its programs. In 2018, the Fiske Guide to Colleges deemed Nebraska a Best Buy School, and Kiplinger’s included the university in its 2016 ranking of the Best Values in Public Colleges. The >U.S. News & World Report also included Nebraska in its A-Plus Schools for B Students ranking.

Format: Online

8. REGENT UNIVERSITY

Regent University’s Online Ph.D. in Education program is ideal for students who wish to pursue a career in academia or research. This degree is research-intensive, and students must pass a candidacy examination and present and defend a dissertation during this program. Students may choose from a variety of concentrations in areas such as Adult Education, Character Education, Christian Education Leadership, Educational Technology & Online Learning, K-12 School Leadership, Special Education, and much more. This 75-credit-hour program is delivered in eight-week sessions, and more than 850 program graduates have gone on to earn Teacher of the Year titles.

Regent University was founded in 1977 in Virginia Beach, VA, and its first class consisted of 77 students. Today, the university has grown to offer associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees across its seven schools and two colleges. Regent is a Christian university and has undergone a 14% growth rate during the last two years, making it one of the fastest-growing schools in America. In addition to offering on-campus degrees, Regent offers online degree programs and international study opportunities in a number of locations, including Russia. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Regent’s Online Ph.D. in Education program as the fourth-best online education degree program in Virginia.

Format: Online

9. TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

Texas Tech University offers a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership degree program for students who aspire to hold careers as leaders in the P-12 education field. This 60-credit-hour program includes 12 credits of dissertation research. While most of the coursework is delivered via distance instruction, students must attend one-week intensives in the summer semesters, as well as fall and spring weekend cohort events scheduled each year. Program applicants must currently hold positions in the P-12 school environment that allows them to perform action research and make small-scale changes in the institution. Applicants must submit a variety of supplementary materials, including a personal statement of interest, GRE scores, and three professional recommendations.

Founded in 1923, Texas Tech University is located in Lubbock, Texas. Today, TTU offers 150 undergraduate, 100 graduate, and 50 doctoral degree programs through its 12 colleges and schools. The TTU campus houses over 450 student clubs and organizations, and students can participate in over 1,300 study abroad opportunities. The campus is also home to seven different libraries. At TTU, students receive a quality education from talented faculty, and 40 faculty members have been recognized as Fulbright Scholars during the last decade. In 2018, the U.S. News & World Report ranked TTU as one of the top public universities in the country.

Format: Online

10. FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

Florida State University’s online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy program was the first online doctoral program that FSU offered. This program is intended for working professionals who already hold a master’s degree and equips students with the professional and analytical skills they’ll need to address problems in the education field. Students begin this program in the summer, and while most courses are offered online, students also complete a face-to-face summer seminar during three consecutive summers. Students also progress through their online courses in cohorts and can complete the degree program in three years.

Located in Tallahassee, FL, FSU offers more than 275 undergraduate, doctoral, professional, and specialist degree programs through its 16 colleges. FSU also offers quality online learning opportunities that incorporate engaging lectures and interactive learning. The university’s online learning features smaller classes, and students receive mentoring from world-renowned faculty. During the recent years, FSU students have earned highly competitive national awards including Rhodes and Truman scholarships, as well as almost 50 Fulbright fellowships. The U.S. News & World Report ranked FSU’s College of Business No. 13 in its 2019 ranking of the Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans.

Format: Online

11. SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY

Sam Houston University offers a Doctor of Education in Developmental Education Administration program online. This program prepares students to step into careers where they will need to both develop and administer programs for underprepared college and university students. The program is designed to emphasize original research, preparing leaders within the field of developmental education. The 60-credit-hour program has a summer enrollment, and students will enjoy small class sizes that allow for a personalized education with support from faculty. Students who complete this online degree program will receive transcripts and diplomas that make no “online” designation; these will be the same diplomas and transcripts that traditional SHSU students receive.

Founded in 1879 as a teacher training school, SHSU is the third-oldest educational institution in Texas. With the main campus in Huntsville, SHSU has grown to encompass multiple campuses, supporting a student enrollment of 20,000. The university offers over 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can be earned online throughout its seven academic colleges, as well as over 80 bachelor’s, 50 master’s, and six doctoral degree programs. SHSU’s online degree programs give students the scheduling flexibility that they need to pursue a degree while meeting family and professional commitments. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education has classified SHSU as a Doctoral Research University.

Format: Online

12. BALL STATE UNIVERSITY

Ball State University’s Ph.D. in Educational Studies program is available with concentrations in curriculum, educational technology, and cultural and educational policy studies. Courses are delivered in online, blended, and on-campus formats, both on the Muncie, IN, campus and throughout the greater Indianapolis area. The 91-credit-hour program includes 10 hours of dissertation coursework, and most students complete the degree within four years but must complete it within seven years of starting the program. After speaking with the doctoral committee, students may be able to transfer credits from a previously earned master’s degree. Many students choose to incorporate additional graduate certificates into the program in areas such as diversity studies, institutional research, and computer education.

Ball State offers about 120 majors across its seven colleges, and nearly 22,000 students attend the university each year. Classes average just 24 students in size, and 92% of classes are taught by faculty. Ball State’s 790-acre campus is home to over 400 student clubs and organizations and 19 NCAA Division I sports teams. Students at Ball State can choose from the university’s 205 study abroad programs, and the university’s focus on immersive learning helps students to build skills and experience that will serve them well in their careers. Approximately 80% of Ball State students qualify for financial aid, and the university offers one of the most competitive tuition rates that you’ll find in the Midwest.

Format: Online

13. EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY

At East Carolina University, students can pursue a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program that is delivered in a hybrid model. This degree program prepares students for careers in senior-level leadership within PreK-12 and higher settings. Courses are delivered both face-to-face and online, and face-to-face meetings take place at off-campus partner locations such as schools and community colleges. Students enter this program in cohorts that are typically between 15 and 18 students, and they can complete this 60-credit-hour program in three years. Students enroll in two courses each semester, which are held in the evenings. Approximately 40% of the course time is spent in face-to-face meetings, with 60 percent of the coursework being offered online.

Located in Greenville, NC, ECU offers 84 bachelor’s, 71 master’s, 13 research doctoral, 5 professional doctoral, and 120 online degrees and certificate programs. As of Fall 2018, the university’s enrollment was over 28,000 students, with students representing 48 states and 44 countries. ECU offers a quality education that’s also affordable, and ECU medical graduates have 33%-less debt than their national peers. The ECU campus is home to more than 475 student clubs and organizations and over 2,000 events and programs. The U.S. News & World Report ranked ECU’s online graduate programs in education among the top-10% of similar programs, nationally.

Format: Online

14. UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO

The University at Buffalo’s Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning Ph.D. program is available both online and on-campus. This 62-credit-hour program can be completed within four to five years, and students have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research. Students may choose from concentrations in elementary education, English education, math education, reading education, and science education. Program graduates will be prepared to hold a variety of career positions, including corporate trainers, curriculum specialists, instructional coordinators, research specialists, and educational consultants. Among other requirements, program applicants must submit their GRE or MAT test scores, contact information for two individuals who will provide a letter of recommendation, and an academic writing sample.

The University at Buffalo has three campuses and is part of the 64-campus State University of New York system. Founded in 1846, UB is a research-intensive public university that offers more than 125 undergraduate degrees and over 320 graduate, professional, and certificate programs. UB has established partnerships with 90 universities all over the world, and students can choose to participate in one of UB’s more than 1,000 study abroad opportunities. At UB, students have the chance to learn from faculty who have won prestigious awards, including Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and more. Over 31,000 students attended UB in the fall of 2018, including nearly 10,000 graduate students. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked UB as one of the 40 top public universities in the country.

Format: Online

15. CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY

Creighton University offers a Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership program that is offered almost entirely online, offering students excellent scheduling flexibility. Students do travel to campus for an orientation and for their dissertation defense but complete all coursework online. With eight-week courses, students focus on just one course at a time and can complete this 60-credit-hour degree in three to four years. Program applicants must submit a variety of materials including a resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a response to the Ed.D. writing exercise. Students may also be asked to complete a personal interview in-person or virtually. Program graduates have held careers as school administrators, educators, marketing and sales leaders, and more.

Located in Omaha, NE, Creighton University was founded as Creighton College in 1878. Today, Creighton offers an education grounded in Jesuit, Catholic values. Over 8,900 students attend Creighton and 98% of Creighton students are employed or are in graduate school within six months of graduating. Creighton offers an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and students have access to many opportunities to perform hands-on learning, access service learning, and even to study abroad. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Creighton as the top regional university in the Midwest for 16 years in a row. Creighton has also gained recognition from The Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Format: Online

16. OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Oregon State University’s Doctorate of Education program is delivered through the OSU Ecampus. In addition to completing online coursework, students meet with their learning cohorts in-person two weekends each term at the Portland classroom building. These meetings take place during the first two years of study. Students can choose to pursue a Community College Leadership or a Leadership in Higher Education option. The Community College Leadership option focuses on the challenges facing community colleges and equips students with skills to help them apply research, best practices, and leadership within the community college setting. The Leadership in Higher Education option focuses on how students can apply research, best practices, and leadership when helping four-year colleges and universities navigate the unique challenges that they face.

Located in Corvallis, OR, OSU has two campuses and 11 colleges, as well as 14 experiment stations and 36 extension offices. This public research university educates over 32,000 students each year, and the student body represents all 50 states and 100 countries. Fifty-six-percent of students are from Oregon state, and students have an average entering GPA of 3.56. Students can choose from over 200 academic programs, and OSU is home to forestry, oceanography, mycology, and marine biology programs that are among the top in the world. This university has a 150-year history of providing quality education programs, and through its OSU Ecampus, OSU makes education accessible to students who couldn’t otherwise complete on-campus degree programs.

Format: Online

17. NORTH GREENVILLE UNIVERSITY

North Greenville University offers a Doctor of Education program that prepares students to hold leadership positions in K-12 or higher education environments. This 60-credit-hour program features two start dates every year, allowing students to begin their education without delay. Classes are eight-weeks long and all classes follow a hybrid format combining both on-campus and online learning. Students also attend two week-long seminar courses that are held on campus. Students can choose from a K-12 Leadership or a Higher Education Leadership concentration, depending on their intended career paths. Unlike many other education doctoral programs, this degree program does not require students to have any previous teaching experience.

NGU is a Christian university that is home to 2,500 undergraduate, graduate, and online students. The graduate school campus is located in Greer, SC, while the main campus is in Tigerville, SC. NGU offers 51 degree programs in 62 fields of study, as well as 32 minors. The university employs over 450 faculty and staff, and classes average just 14 students in size, allowing for a supportive learning environment. NGU’s full-time tuition and room & board fees are lower than similar universities in the area, and 64 percent of NGU students live on-campus. In 2017, Christian Universities Online ranked NGU as No. 5 in both its 25 Best Christian Colleges and Universities in the South and its 50 Best Value Christian Colleges and Universities rankings.

Format: Online

18. UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA

The University of West Florida offers an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction online degree program that prepares students to face the situations that educators encounter daily. Students can choose to focus in Administration and Leadership Studies or in Curriculum and Assessment. With two start dates each year, students don’t have to wait to take the next step in their education or their careers. This online degree program is available to students who already hold a master’s degree and who have a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA. During this 36-credit-hour program, students complete one capstone course in their area of focus. Most courses are eight-weeks long, though the summer session courses are reduced to seven weeks.

The University of West Florida has a 1,600-acre campus in Pensacola, FL, as well as a second historic campus in Pensacola and an office in Fort Walton Beach. As of Fall 2018, 12,850 students were enrolled at UWF, including over 3,000 graduate students. To date, UWF has awarded over 100,000 degrees across its more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs. The Princeton Review has included UWF in its Best Regional College - Southeastern rankings from 2003 through 2019, and Military Times has recognized UWF as a Best for Vets College in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Format: Online

19. UNION UNIVERSITY

Union University’s Doctor of Education program is offered entirely online, making it accessible to students who don’t necessarily live near campus. This program prepares students to hold both leadership and teaching roles in a variety of environments, from schools and universities to government and business settings. Students can choose to concentrate in Instructional Leadership, Teacher Leadership, or Leadership in School Reform. The Instructional Leadership concentration is a licensure track, while the other two options are non-licensure tracks. This degree program combines both theory and practice, and students learn about current research, classic knowledge, and analysis and synthesis.

Union was founded in 1823 and is the oldest Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated educational institution in existence today. This private Christian university is based in the liberal arts and offers more than 100 different programs of study. The main campus is located in Jackson, TN, with additional campuses in Hendersonville, Germantown, and Memphis. At Union, students enjoy a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 85% of faculty hold the highest degree in their field, making for a quality education. All incoming freshmen receive financial aid. The Princeton Review has included Union in its Top Schools in the Southeast ranking.

Format: Online

20. UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA

The Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration program at the University of West Georgia is offered entirely online. Students must attend a two-and-a-half-day orientation in the summer, but all coursework and the program’s dissertation requirement are offered entirely online. This degree program equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate and solve problems in higher education and focuses on topics including leadership, organizational frameworks, data decision making, and financial management. Program applicants must have a master’s degree and a minimum graduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. Applicants should also have at least 3 to 5 years of supervisory or budgetary experience in a full-time professional position in higher education.

UWG was founded in 1906 as an agricultural and mechanical school. Since then, the university has grown into a four-year institution and the sixth-largest public university in Georgia. Nearly 14,000 students attended UWG in Fall of 2018 where they could choose from 87 different fields of study. UWG offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and specialist programs across its six colleges and single school. The university has campuses in both Carrollton and Newnan,GA,  and students from over 38 states and 73 countries attend UWG. The U.S. News & World Report recognized UWG as one of the top colleges and universities in the country in 2018, and The Princeton Review also recognized UWG as a Best Regional College for 2018.

Format: Online

21. NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

Northeastern University’s Doctor of Education program equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to incorporate practice-based research into their professions. All of the program’s courses, except for the hybrid courses, can be completed online, but students must attend in-person residencies each year. During their first and second years, students can attend residencies in Boston, Charlotte, NC, or Seattle. This program follows a quarter system as opposed to the traditional semester schedule, making for a faster pace. Because students start working on their dissertation at the beginning of the program, the program’s design leaves students well-prepared to complete all of the requirements within three to four years.

Northeastern University has campuses in many thriving cities throughout the country and Canada, including Boston, Charlotte, NC, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto. The university offers more than 100 majors and concentrations across its nine colleges and schools. Northeastern highly values experiential learning, and in 2016-2017, the university placed students into experiential learning opportunities in 136 countries. In fact, Northeastern has over 3,300 corporate partners in 90 countries, which helps to create research and educational partnerships. Over 13,960 graduate students from 99 countries are enrolled at Northeastern.

Format: Online

22. UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

The University of Memphis offers a Doctorate of Education in Higher and Adult Education with a Higher Education concentration. This degree program is intended for students who plan to hold mid- and senior-level administrative positions in higher education or related settings. The program is offered entirely online, giving working professionals the flexibility they need to earn a degree while still meeting work and family commitments. Students who complete this program receive a diploma and transcript that are identical to those that traditional on-campus students receive.

At the University of Memphis, students can choose from more than 250 areas of study and over 40 nationally-ranked programs. Today, the University of Memphis campus in Memphis, TN, is a spacious 1,607 acres, housing 239 buildings. This university has a student body of 21,000 students that represent 72 different countries. Over 4,000 graduate students attend the university. The University of Memphis offers seven bachelor’s degrees in 250 areas, master’s degrees in 54 subjects, and doctoral degrees in 26 disciplines. The university consists of 14 schools and colleges, including the College of Education.

Format: Online

23. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

At the University of Southern California, students can pursue a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership degree. This three-year program culminates in a dissertation. Because the program has start dates in January, May, and August every year, students can quickly begin their education without delay. Program applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also have leadership experience, particularly in leading a team or organization, and must submit three required personal essays. Additionally, program applicants must submit at least three letters of recommendation supporting their admission to the program.

USC accepted its first class of 53 students in 1880 and has since grown to educate over 47,500 students in 2018, including 27,500 graduate and professional students. This private research university is located in Los Angeles and consists of 21 academic schools. USC offers more than 400 graduate programs through its Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, as well as through its professional schools. During the 2017-2018 year, USC students received $570 million in financial aid, and the university is responsible for generating $8 billion in economic activity in the region every year. Each year, USC is home to $764 million in sponsored research.

Format: Online

24. DREXEL UNIVERSITY

Drexel University’s Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management degree program is offered entirely online. Students can choose from nine different concentrations, including Athletic Administration, Creativity and Innovation, Education Policy, Human Resource Development, and Learning Technologies. Students enter the program in a cohort that provides valuable networking and community support, with no residency requirement, and can complete all of the coursework online. Students who study full-time can complete the program in three years, but students also have the option to study on a part-time basis and complete the program in five years. This flexibility allows students to work full-time while studying on a part-time basis if they choose.

Founded in 1891, Drexel University is located in Philadelphia. This global research university offers more than 200 degree programs throughout its 15 colleges and schools. More than 24,000 students, including over 8,000 graduate and professional students, attend the university. Drexel began pioneering online education in 1996, and through Drexel Online, the university offers internet-based degrees. Students who pursue a degree through Drexel Online have access to 24/7 tech support. They can also access Drexel’s W.W. Hagerty Library, Writing Center, and Steinbright Career Center. Drexel offers virtual students access to study abroad opportunities, a valuable experience that most other universities don’t offer to their online students.

Format: Online

25. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-STOUT

The University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Doctorate of Education in Career and Technical Education degree program builds on what students have already learned in their professional careers. This program has an applied research focus, and it prepares students to hold leadership roles in the secondary and postsecondary education fields. Students enter the program in cohorts ranging from between 12 and 18 students in size, and students are an average of 39 years old. While much of the coursework is delivered online, students also participate in limited face-to-face coursework that takes place on the weekends. This degree is designed so that students can work full-time and yet still earn their degrees in just three years.

Located in Menomonie, WI, UW-Stout is a polytechnic university that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to prepare students for industry, commerce, education, and human services careers. At Stout, students can choose from 50 undergraduate, 22 graduate, and three advanced degrees. Stout hosts some of the largest career fairs in the Midwest, and with 1,500 employers recruiting Stout students, 98% of the university’s graduates have found employment within six months of graduating. All of Stout’s programs have advisory boards, ensuring students get the most out of their education and are well-prepared for their professional careers.

Format: Online