Why This Matters

  • PREPARE FOR SEVERAL DIFFERENT CAREER PATHS

    Individuals with an EdD can go on to work as post-secondary teachers, fill administrative roles like superintendent or chief learning officer, or work in training and development in industries other than education.

  • ADMINISTRATION JOBS WILL RISE 10% BY 2026

    As more students enroll in two- and four-year colleges and universities, these institutions will need to hire an estimated 18,200 new administrators to oversee curriculum, student life, information technology and more in the next few years.

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 197,800 COLLEGE PROFESSORS

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of part-time and full-time post-secondary teachers will rise 15% by 2026, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Our Research

A Doctor of Education, or EdD, degree can be obtained in several different areas of focus, including educational leadership, organizational leadership, or instruction and curriculum. Your personal career goals will determine the area of focus of your degree program.

Our list consists of regionally accredited programs, ensuring that they meet a high standard of quality for post-secondary education. This list also includes programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), an accrediting body specifically for education programs.

We reviewed the reputation, course strength, cost, and flexibility of each program on our list. Using this information, we calculated each program’s Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best Doctorate in Education are affordable, flexible, and highly regarded. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 61 hours to write this article
  • 137 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 335 education programs we compared

The Top 60 Doctorate in Education Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

At the doctoral level, students have two options – a Doctor of Education (EdD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). While both are terminal degrees representing the highest level of study in a particular subject, there are key differences. An EdD is a professional doctorate, meaning the curriculum focuses on developing research and practical skills meant to be applied in real-world settings. Your professional goals will help determine which type of degree is right for you.

Faculty support is also a significant consideration at the doctoral level. Students work closely with faculty on research and their dissertation. While there are other factors that come into play, such as schedule, completion time, and cost, when selecting a doctoral program, be sure to review the program’s faculty list, and what kind of faculty support is available. You may want to select a program with faculty whose academic interests and areas of expertise align with yours.

Regardless of whether you choose an online, in-person or hybrid program, earning a doctorate is a major commitment of time and energy. The coursework is intellectually rigorous, and demands focus and innovative thinking. For working adults, especially those who have been out of school for several years, starting a doctorate program is a big life change that requires preparation and planning.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Doctorate Education programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? As a terminal degree, EdD programs typically have stringent eligibility requirements that can include a master’s degree and professional experience in education or a related field. Be sure to review the program’s eligibility requirements before applying, to confirm that you meet the minimum qualifications for admission.
  • Does the program have any in-person requirements? Even if all of a program’s coursework is available online, it may have requirements for in-person orientations, seminars, or dissertation defenses. Review the curriculum and talk to advisors to find out what, if any, attendance expectations there are to confirm they will fit into your schedule and budget.

As part of your research process, find out what the program’s admission requirements and deadlines are. This will help your application process go smoothly. This information is typically available on the program’s website, or by contacting the school’s admissions department.

Financing your education is another important consideration. Many doctoral programs offer assistantships and stipends, although they may come with work requirements. Talk to program representatives and financial aid counselors to find out what your options are for paying for your doctorate program.