Top 14 Online PhD’s in Educational Administration

Earning a Ph.D. or Doctorate in Educational Administration can qualify for you for advanced leadership positions in education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for higher education administrators is expected to grow 10% by 2026, which is faster than average job opportunity growth and is driven by the increasing number of students enrolling in colleges and universities. PayScale estimates the average salary for someone with a Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership Degree to be $80,000. The Top 14 Online Ph.D. & Doctorates in Educational Administration can prepare you for well-paying, in-demand jobs in the education field. 


This online Ph.D. and Doctorate programs are designed with working professionals in mind, and many require applicants to have a master’s degree and have at least three years of experience in education or in a leadership position. Because program applicants will be working professionals, the online delivery of these degrees offers flexibility in both scheduling and location. Some of these degrees can be completed entirely online with no on-campus time required, while others require students to only come to campus occasionally for brief intensives. Many of these programs offer asynchronous online course delivery, allowing you to log in and complete your coursework when it’s convenient for you. 

In choosing the program that’s right for you, you’ll want to look for a school that offers your intended area of specialization. A dissertation is required in most of these programs, and it can give you another chance to tailor your education to focus on an area of interest. Consider the amount of time that you can devote to your education while also meeting your work and family obligations. Some of these programs allow part-time study so that you can take additional time in completing your degree. Don’t forget to consider the amount of time and money that you will need to invest in traveling if you’re considering a program that requires on-campus intensives or sessions. The right program for you is out there, and finding it is the first step in progressing your career. 


While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. To be featured on our annual rankings online doctorates must satisfy four coinciding requirements: accreditation, research and scholarship doctorate certification, NSF recognition, and institutional association with peer-reviewed academia. 

Each degree is then ranked using information provided — primarily — through the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The data collected is scored through a series of weighted categories to represent seven crucial aspects of what makes an online doctorate valuable to future students. Online program quality and presence are joined by industry salaries, student reviews, degree exclusivity, costs, and completion rates to determine the best online doctorates available. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.


Liberty University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education Administration that can be completed entirely online in an average of three years. This degree program consists of eight-week-long courses that allow students to quickly progress through their courses, and students are able to transfer up to 15 credit hours toward this degree. During this program, students develop the leadership and research skills needed to work in colleges and universities. Students will complete coursework in educational law, administration, and collegiate training, and must write a dissertation. Program graduates will be qualified for a variety of careers, including working as university professors, curriculum specialists, educational consultants, and more. 

Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia and was founded in 1971. This accredited evangelical liberal arts institution offers comprehensive degrees in more than 550 different programs of study. Over 100,000 students attend Liberty University’s 16 colleges and schools. In addition to its on-campus offerings, Liberty University offers more than 250 programs online to students all over the world. Not only does the university make education accessible, but it also makes it affordable, too; Liberty University has frozen tuition rates for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students over the past four years. Students may also be able to receive credit for previous training, job experience, and military service, reducing the number of credits they need to complete to earn a degree. 

Format: Online


At Indiana State University, students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Administration with a specialization in School Administration degree. This program requires 72 credit hours of post-bachelor degree coursework, and students must complete a dissertation. Much of the coursework is delivered online, though students must attend four in-person sessions each semester in Indianapolis, Indiana. Students progress through the program in cohorts of 25 to 30 students. Each semester, students take two courses, and students enroll continuously (even during summer sessions) for a two-year period. Students must complete their degree within nine years after being admitted into the program. 

Indiana State University offers almost 300 academic degrees for both on-campus and online students. Because classes average just 20 students in size, students can develop relationships with faculty and receive individualized attention and support. At this university, students can choose from over 250 student organizations. Indiana State University is also home to almost 30 sororities and fraternities. The Princeton Review has included Indiana State University in its rankings of the best institutions in the Midwest for 14 years, and Forbes has recognized the university as being one of the top colleges in America for quality and value. 

Format: Online


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration with an area of study in P-12 School Leadership degree program. This degree program is offered online, though students must attend summer on-campus seminars during the first three years of the program. Students have the chance to gain firsthand experience in their focus administration area through internships, preparing them for their profession. Students are also expected to complete a dissertation and work with their peers on collaborative projects. This program includes courses such as Risk Management for Sport Facilities, Foundations of Human Resource Development, and Higher Education in America. 

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a land grant university and home to the first undergraduate psychology laboratory in the country. In 2017-2018, the university awarded over 4,000 bachelor’s, 900 master’s, 280 doctoral, and 140 professional degrees. The Princeton Review has recognized the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a “Best Value School,” and the university is also one of the Military Times’ best colleges. Nine colleges, including the College of Education & Human Sciences and the College of Architecture, make up the university. Today, the university is a research leader and its 249-acre Nebraska Innovation Campus connects the university with private businesses. 

Format: Online



At Texas Tech University, students can pursue a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration degree predominantly online. Students may choose a Community College Administration or Higher Education College/University Administration emphasis. Each Fall, students enter the program in a cohort. They complete all of their coursework online and attend three on-campus professional development sessions in the summer, as well as residential new student orientation. Program applicants should have full-time experience working in public or private higher education institutions, or in a higher education state or federal agency.

Located in Lubbock, Texas Tech is a public research university that was founded in 1923. When Texas Tech first opened as Texas Technical College, it consisted of six buildings and only began offering graduate instruction in 1927. From its initial enrollment of 914, the university has grown to support the enrollment of over 38,000 students. Today, Texas Tech offers 150 undergraduate, 100 graduate, and 50 doctoral degrees. Students may choose from over 450 clubs and organizations and in 2017-2018, over 1,300 students participated in study abroad programs. Students may also participate in the university’s 17 varsity sports teams. 

Format: Online


Ball State University’s Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration and Supervision degree program is offered as a hybrid program. Students complete coursework online but also attend monthly in-person classes on Thursday afternoons. This 90 graduate credit program is intended to satisfy Indiana school superintendency licensing requirements, but students also have the ability to design the program to fulfill their specific needs. Students accepted into the program may be eligible for a limited number of doctoral assistantships; students accepted into an assistantship will receive a remission on their tuition and graduate course fee, as well as an out-of-state fee waiver. 

Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University educates over 22,000 students each year. Students from all 50 states as well as 68 countries attend the university, which was founded in 1918. Today, Ball State University consists of seven academic colleges and The Princeton Review has recognized Ball State University as one of the best universities in the Midwest for 14 years. The university is one of 26 schools to be included in The Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll, and Viqtory has named the university a Military Friendly School for a decade. 

Format: Online


Sam Houston State University’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Developmental Education Administration degree program is offered online, making it ideal for working professionals or students who live far from campus. This 60-credit-hour program may be delivered online, but program graduates will receive the same diploma and transcript as on-campus SHSU students with no “online” distinction. SHSU students enjoy small classes that allow them to interact with talented professors, and around the clock support keeps students connected and engaged, even when they’re at a distance. Students may also be eligible for a variety of scholarship opportunities to help them finance their education. 

SHSU was founded in 1879 as a teacher training school. Today, the university educates over 20,000 students across its seven academic colleges. Students can choose from over 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are all available entirely online. SHSU Online degrees give students convenience and flexibility, saving students money on gas, travel, and time. While SHSU’s campus is in Huntsville, Texas, SHSU allows students to pursue their education no matter where they happen to live. The U.S. News & World Report ranked SHSU’s online graduate education programs among the top 50 in the country. SHSU’s online graduate criminal justice program was ranked third in the country, while its online graduate computer technology programs were ranked 28th. 

Format: Online


East Carolina University offers an Educational Specialist (EdS) in Education Administration and Supervision degree program available entirely online. Students can pursue this degree with a Superintendent Concentration or a Dual Language Immersion Administration Certificate. This degree program is designed to prepare students to hold leadership positions in district educational facilities. During the program, students will explore project-based learning within their school districts, providing them with hands-on, specialized experience and knowledge. Students enter the program in cohorts of approximately 14, then study for two years. Program applicants should have a master’s degree in an area related to education, as well as educational leadership or supervisory experience. 

Located in Greenville, North Carolina, ECU offers a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, including 120 degree programs offered online. As of Fall 2018, over 28,000 students representing 48 states and 44 countries attended ECU. The university employs over 2,000 faculty and is home to over 475 student clubs and organizations. Student-athletes may participate in the university’s NCAA Division I athletic teams. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked ECU in the top 10 percent of online education graduate programs. The Princeton Review has also recognized ECU in its Best Business Schools, Best Medical Schools, Best Business Schools, and Green Colleges rankings. 

Format: Online


Texas A&M University-Commerce offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration degree program designed for K-12 school practitioners. This program is one of the only online doctoral programs in Texas and is also one of the largest such programs. Two cohorts are admitted to the program each year, and program applicants should be aware that admission to the program is competitive. This 60-credit-hour program is designed to include writing courses early on, so students are prepared to write their dissertations. Program applicants should have a minimum 3.40 GPA for master’s level coursework and must have administrative experience. Students must complete the degree program within 10 calendar years of their date of admission. 

A&M-Commerce was founded in 1889 and now has locations in Commerce, Dallas, Corsicana, Mesquite, McKinney, Midlothian, and Rockwell, Texas. It is the fifth oldest university in Texas and today, it offers 144 different undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs of study. Students can choose from 120 different clubs and organizations. Through A&M-Commerce’s Honors College, 50 students receive scholarships that cover their tuition costs, and students in the Regents’ Scholars Programs receive a four-year scholarship that helps to cover housing and tuition costs. The university campus features many highlights including a planetarium, alumni center, and new residence halls. 

Format: Online


At Carson-Newman University, students can pursue a Doctor of Education with Administrative Leadership Concentration degree program online. Students can complete this 57-credit-hour program in about three years but must complete the program within seven years of admission. Students complete one three-credit course every eight weeks in the fall and spring and can complete up to four courses during the summer. This program is offered entirely online with online assignments, discussions, and group activities. Program applicants must have at least three years of experience teaching in the PreK-12 classroom levels. Any students who wish to pursue the Administrative Licensure Specialization must work in a Tennessee school. 

Located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Carson-Newman University is a nonprofit university that offers postgraduate degree programs online, as well as Master of Education programs in hybrid formats. This university is “teacher-friendly,” offering a number of financial benefits for teachers. In addition to financial aid and “pay as you go” plans, Carson-Newman University allows students to defer their loan payments until they have completed their degree program. For teachers who teach in low-income schools for at least five years, loan forgiveness up to $5,000 may be available. Additionally, students who are earning a degree in high-need fields may be eligible for the TEACH Grant Program, which provides students with grants of up to $4,000 each year. 

Format: Online


West Virginia University offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration degree program in a hybrid format. Students may take some of the classes entirely online, while others are offered as hybrid or entirely in face-to-face formats. The face-to-face courses are held on nights or weekends, so students who are balancing their education with a full-time career and who may have to travel can still attend the classes. This degree program is available with four specialization options: Curriculum, Assessment, and Academic Affairs; College Student Development; Administration, Organizations and Policy; or Individual Studies in Higher Education Administration. 

West Virginia University opened in 1867 as a land grant institution and as of Fall 2018, nearly 30,000 students attended WVU. The WVU system consists of three campuses in Morgantown, Beckley, and Keyser, West Virginia. Many WVU students have earned prestigious scholarships, and WVU’s student body has included 25 Rhodes scholars, 24 Truman Scholars, 45 Goldwater Scholars, and more. The faculty are also highly recognized, including 19 Carnegie Foundation Professors of the Year. Students may choose from over 450 student organizations as well as intramural and club sports; WVU offers 18 varsity sports. In 2016-2017, students were awarded a total of $320 million in financial aid through the WVU System and received $87 million in scholarships from WVU Morgantown.

Format: Online


Through New Mexico State University’s Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education in Educational Administration degree. Students can complete the 63-credit-hour Doctor of Education program in approximately three years; the Doctor of Philosophy program in a 78-credit-hour program. The degrees are delivered in a combined format, making them ideal for working professionals. Approximately 20 percent of the degree is delivered as a hybrid online asynchronous format, while the remaining 80 percent of the coursework consists of online synchronous and on-campus face-to-face meetings on weekends. Students progress through the program in cohorts and must have a master’s degree to apply to the program. 

NMSU offers more than 70 academic programs, including certificates, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees through its campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Dona Ana, Grants, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Additionally, over 500 courses are available online through NMSU Online. Some degree programs can be completed entirely online, while others are delivered in hybrid formats. NMSU Online students do qualify for scholarships, and may also be qualified to receive federal and New Mexico state grants. NMSU is a military and veteran-friendly university, offering military members, veterans, and their families numerous benefits, including priority registration, transferable military credits that can be applied toward degrees, and more. 

Format: Online


The University of West Georgia’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education degree program is available entirely online. Students must attend a 2 and ½ day on-campus orientation every summer, but all coursework, discussions, written work, and more are then available online. Program applicants must have a master’s degree and, among other requirements, need to submit three letters of recommendation and GRE scores. Students can expect to take courses including Governance in Higher Education, Enrollment Management, and Values and Ethics in Higher Education Leadership. The program culminates in a dissertation during the third and fourth years. 

UWG was founded in 1906 as an agricultural and mechanical school, becoming a four-year college in 1957. Today, UWG is the sixth largest university in Georgia consisting of six colleges and one school. In Fall of 2018, nearly 14,000 students attended UWG. The university offers 87 different programs of study ranging from bachelor’s to doctoral programs, as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificates. Students from 38 states and 73 countries attend UWG where they can study both on-campus and pursue online education opportunities. The U.S. News & World Report recognized UWG as one of the top universities in the country in 2018, and in 2018, the Princeton Review honored UWG as a Best Regional College. 

Format: Online


East Tennessee State University offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree with a concentration in Administrative Endorsement. This 66-credit-hour program includes coursework such as Educational Statistics, Leadership Studies, and Implementation Strategies. Students also complete 12 semester hours of dissertation work and at least 10 residency activities. Program applicants should have at least three years of teaching or administrative experience. This degree is offered on-campus and online; online learners enjoy online residency activities such as online book clubs. Students can also participate in internships located within their local school systems. Online students are able to access and download recorded faculty lectures and engage with faculty and their peers through online meetings. 

ETSU is located in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was founded in 1911 as the East Tennessee State Normal School and has grown to support over 14,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The university consists of 11 different schools and colleges, including the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, and Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education. In addition to its main campus, ETSU has campuses in Kingsport, Elizabethton, and Sevierville, and a new campus will open soon in Kingsport. Students can participate in 17 different sports at ETSU. There are 54 “Smart” classrooms throughout the 350-acre main campus, as well as in off-campus locations. 

Format: Online


At the University of Florida, students can pursue a Higher Education Administration Ed.D. program delivered via a hybrid model. The program prepares students to hold careers as college and university administrators, deans, presidents, and professors. The blended format incorporates both online courses and in-person learning opportunities. Students spend two or three weekends each semester at the University of Florida; these in-person sessions also rotate through additional colleges within Florida. Cohorts are admitted in the Spring semester each year, and students take an average course load of six credits per semester. Classes average between 20 and 25 students in size, and students can complete the program within about five years. 

Located in Gainesville, Florida, UF offers an Honors Program with over 3,400 student participants. More than half of UF students start and graduate with no student loan debt and 96 percent of first-time freshmen students at UF continue on to their second year of college. UF employs more than 5,000 faculty, including two Pulitzer Prize winners. Sustainability is a major focus on campus; 34 academic departments offer sustainability-related courses, and the campus’ water-saving laundry initiative has saved almost 7 million gallons of water to date. UF is also home to 36 national championship-winning sports teams. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked UF eighth among public universities in the United States. 

Format: Hybrid