Why This Matters


    According to O*NET, 37% of postsecondary administrators say that a doctoral degree is required for this profession, while an additional 48% recommend a master’s degree.


    Data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that this occupation is projected to grow 4% by 2029.


    Postsecondary administrators earned a median wage of $97,500 per year as of May 2020, according to the BLS. The top 10% of earners in this profession earned more than $199,400.

Our Research

This list features the best doctorate programs with a focus on higher education. We reviewed programs that offer a variety of learning formats and cater to all types of students in order to ensure that this list meets the needs of most people who are interested in an online doctorate in higher education program.

We’ve also ensured that the programs on this list are accredited by institutions such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Higher Learning Commision. Enrolling in these accredited programs is the best way to ensure that your credits are easily transferable should you decide to move to another institution.

  • 51 hours to write this article
  • 78 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 84 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Doctorate in Higher Education Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

When researching your degree options, you may be considering the differences between a master’s degree and a doctorate degree. It’s important to keep in mind that while both degrees can prepare you for a successful career in this field, a doctorate degree is more research-based and helps you develop particularly strong analytical skills.

Regardless of the program you choose to enroll yourself in, it’s vital that you choose a school that’s accredited by an approved organization. You can check a school’s accreditation status by visiting the Office of Postsecondary Education’s accreditation database.

After you obtain your doctorate, there are several professions that you’ll be qualified to enter. That includes college president, provost, academic dean, and professor.

While further licensing and certification isn’t typically required in these professions, you will most likely need to pass a criminal background and vulnerable sector check prior to working in a school setting.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online doctorate in higher education programs:

  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? The timeline for obtaining a doctorate in higher education online depends on your schedule and level of commitment to completing the program quickly. While some are able to finish and obtain their degree in about two years, most students take between six and eight years to complete doctorate programs.
  • Am I eligible for this program? While every school has different prerequisites, most doctorate programs in higher learning require students to have a degree in a similar field of study, such as education.

As you research programs that interest you, make sure to keep track of important application information, including special essays you may need to submit and application deadlines. If you need assistance paying for your degree, also be sure to keep track of financial aid, scholarship, and other funding application deadlines.