The 20 Best Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) and Administration Graduate Schools in 2023

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Earning a Doctor of Education Leadership and Administration (EAL) degree isn’t just about bragging rights, although there’s a certain sense of pride. Instead, educators who pursue it want to take on leadership and administrative roles in schools, colleges and universities, and other settings. 

The roles vary in scope, too, depending on the specific degree earned (i.e., EdD or Ph.D.), previous work experience, and specific setting. These can range from teacher leaders, division chairs, and principals to superintendents, central office administrators, and policymakers. Note that most, if not all, general EAL programs are non-licensure tracks. 

But is it worth the cost in time, commitment, and money? The typical program requires between 60 and 66 credits with tuition per credit ranging from $350 to $750 and up. Additional costs include orientation, conferences, textbooks, and the costs of traveling between work, home, and campus. 

Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Admin Grad Schools - fact

While it isn’t for everyone, a doctorate can be well worth the cost if you enjoy its benefits! If you’re looking for career advancement, increased compensation, and greater influence, then you must consider earning it. Since it’s among the most recognized and respected credentials in the education industry, you will qualify for more opportunities in the public and private sectors. 

With your leadership position, you will exert greater influence toward positive change in the industry and its stakeholders. Your original research may become a catalyst for change, perhaps even have direct applications to the principles and practices of education. Indeed, the opportunity to become a thought leader is irresistible for many educators pursuing this doctorate! 

Colleges and universities may offer either educational administration or educational leadership programs but may mean the same thing. While it’s quite common for these terms to be used interchangeably, these aren’t the same per se. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Is Educational Leadership? 

Educational Leadership refers to the decisions and actions directly impacting the educational processes in the K-12 sector, even in colleges and universities. Their practitioners may be involved in management decisions, such as teacher hirings, budget preparations, and school-wide policy-setting. But their main role is in the advancement of education through the application of their leadership skills. 

Programs in educational leadership focus on these areas: 

  • The development and achievement of an educational institution’s mission, vision, and objectives;  
  • The cultivation of a positive and progressive culture among teachers, students, and other stakeholders; 
  • The effective planning, implementation, and evaluation of educational policies and practices; and 
  • The emphasis on transformational leadership is partly toward improvement in academic and other measures of performance. 

What Is Educational Administration?

Educational Administration refers to the principles and practices necessary in the management of resources in educational settings. The resources include human resources, such as teachers and non-teaching staff, and quantifiable and non-quantifiable assets like cash, property, and goodwill. Professional and personal networks, community involvement, and communication processes are considered assets and, thus, must be managed well. 

The typical curriculum includes courses on: 

  • Human resource management 
  • Finances in educational setting including policies and practices 
  • Curriculum supervision 
  • Supervision of instruction 
  • Psychology and sociology as these areas of study related to educational settings 
  • Educational laws, policy, and ethics 
  • Leadership 

Students learn the nuts and bolts, so to speak, of what makes an educational institution tick and what will make it better. 

What are their similarities and differences? 

Educational Leadership and Administration programs require students to complete capstone projects, thesis research, and internships or practicums. Every program is different. Some colleges may only require a dissertation and not an internship. 

These programs may also take between three and four years to complete on full-time enrollment, longer if on a part-time basis. Note that many universities have a six-year cap for completion of all academic requirements. 

While each program has its unique requirements, particularly in the specific graduate GPA and GRE scores, these programs share these common aspects: 

  • A relevant master’s degree with a satisfactory GPA (Varies between colleges and universities) 
  • A satisfactory GRE score 
  • A professional resume with details on relevant work experience 
  • Personal essays 
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Completed application form 

Selective colleges and universities also conduct an interview or a series of interviews to determine each candidate’s suitability and commitment to the program. 

Of course, every program has a unique curriculum. There’s also the fact that the curriculum for an educational leadership program will have a different emphasis from an educational administration program. Think of it this way: Educational administration involves a more scientific approach emphasizing standardization and measurement. Educational leadership is more of an art focusing on creating ideas, inspiring people, and seeing the future. 

What roles can you assume in the future with a doctorate in these programs?

The specific roles that you can assume will depend on the type of doctorate earned. Educational Administration graduates are more suitable for the professor, principal, assistant principal, and district supervisor roles. Educational Leadership graduates will find positions as chief learning officers, college presidents, and academic deans as their forte. 

What’s the best fit for You? 

Ask yourself these questions to determine the best fit for your current needs and future aspirations!

  • What roles do you want to play within the education system? Go for an administration degree if you want to be directly involved in school management. Choose the leadership track if you’re looking for higher leadership positions. 
  • What’s your forte – practice or research? If it’s practice, then a Doctor of Education (EdD) is your best choice. If it’s research or a tenured professorial position, then go for a Ph.D. 

Be sure to consider the courses and their descriptions, learning outcomes, and graduate outcomes before making your choice in a post-graduate program. The tuition fee and other financial costs will likely be your first consideration but take into account the dissertation and internship requirements, too. These will have not only financial commitments but also demand significant time and effort. 

METHODOLOGY

The 20 programs listed here are mostly on-campus programs with a few hybrid programs (i.e., on-campus residency requirements and online courses). Each program was chosen based on the following criteria: 

  • Has valid accreditation for the entire university (Many also have programmatic accreditation) 
  • Known for its academic excellence in its post-graduate programs in education in particular 
  • With qualified professors, preferably with advanced or terminal degrees and extensive work experience 
  • Offers satisfactory student support services for academic success 
  • Has an up-to-date curriculum and courses that reflect current trends in EAL 
  • Provides financial assistance packages, where applicable

20 BEST DOCTOR OF EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION GRADUATE SCHOOLS  

Harvard University

Harvard University

: 13 Appian Way, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
: 617-495-1000

EdD in Leadership

Harvard University, an Ivy League and private research university isn’t just the oldest university in the United States but also it’s most prestigious. Such is its world-renown that its alumni are sought-after by top corporations and organizations worldwide! This is true for the alumni of its Ed.L.D. program, which harnesses the talents and skills of leaders with diverse backgrounds toward effective change in the education system. 

  • Students must commit full-time to the three-year program with its cohort model. 
  • Every cohort has a maximum of 25 students, with each student receiving a full-tuition financial package and stipend. 
  • Multidisciplinary coursework features foundational content areas in the first year, electives in the second year, intensive workshops, paid residency, and strategic and capstone projects in the third year. 
  • Students master the areas of learning and teaching, politics and policy, and organizational change and leadership. One-on-one executive coaching and practice-based learning characterize the first year, too. 
  • Paid residencies are conducted across diverse settings, including non-profit organizations, corporate entities, philanthropic organizations, and educational institutions. 
  • Strategic and capstone projects are designed to push the students out of their intellectual comfort zone and implement projects for positive change. The capstone project is a written project highlighting your contributions to the strategic project and your professional development. 

Standout Features: 

Harvard emphasizes the transformation of visionary ideas into practical applications in the real world. Students must adopt a multidisciplinary approach to thrive in the program and make significant contributions to education in the process. Capstone projects also reflect the interdisciplinary approach, with past capstones tackling educational equality and entrepreneurial education issues. 

Did you know?

Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library, not to mention that its Widener Library is the country’s second-largest library. Students have plenty of traditional and digital sources for their research, the fact that its doctorate population appreciates. Scholarship opportunities also abound due to Harvard’s multi-billion-dollar endowment, the largest in the world too.  

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Vanderbilt University 

Vanderbilt University

: 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, Tennessee 
: 615-322-8407

EdD Educational Leadership and Policy Curriculum (K-12)

Vandy, a private research university, is a top-ranked national university that’s as well-known for its academic standing as its non-academic aspects. Vandy is also cited for being among the best campuses in terms of physical beauty, quality of life, and smart and happy students in the US! The Peabody College of Education, where the EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy Curriculum (K-12) program is administered, is also in the country’s top five education schools.

  • This is an 84-credit degree program with a single starting date – the summer term – during the academic year. Of the 84 credits, at least 30 credits must be transferred from a master’s degree earned from a regionally accredited institution. The 54 credits come from the program itself. 
  • Students learn as a cohort, with each cohort consisting of 20-25 learners only. 
  • The program has a 36-month or three-year design with students meeting during the weekends. Every academic year has three semesters – summer, fall, and spring. Students then attend six weekends of classes every semester. 
  • On-campus classes are held at Peabody College from Friday evening until Saturday evening. Students can then maintain their full-time work while earning their doctorate. 
  • There’s a greater emphasis on leadership in the K-12 and higher education settings. Courses include social context, law, and leadership in the school setting, and leadership for transformative change. Comparative and international education courses are also in the curriculum. 
  • Students complete a capstone experience during their final year in the program. This is a year-long research project that every student undertakes as part of a group project. Skills in teamwork, communication, and analytic abilities are put to the test. 

Standout Features: 

Candidates come from diverse backgrounds in education, from K-12 settings to non-profits, foundations, and government agencies involved in education. This is an on-campus program that considers candidates without a K-12 background!  Students become equals in the classroom. 

Did you know?

Kiss Vanderbilt’s statue on your first on-campus visit at night, and you may well get lucky! Watch out for the squirrels! Vanderbilt also has a national arboretum designation for its abundance of plants and trees. 

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George Washington University

George Washington University

: 2136 G Street NW, Washington, DC 
: 202-994-9283

Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration

GWU, a private research university with a federal charter, has abundant internship and research opportunities that make it among the best for post-graduate students. No wonder then that its Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration program attracts both practitioners and researchers! Plus, it’s among the most politically active universities in the country, meaning academic freedom is valued here. 

  • Emphasis is on advancing student academic achievement through a problem-solving mindset, teacher mentoring, and data analysis. Students prepare for diverse leadership positions in school settings through a combination of academic coursework, research projects, seminars and workshops, and self-directed activities. 
  • Students complete at least 48 credits distributed across core courses (24), research coursework (9), and pre-dissertation and dissertation courses (15). Passing the comprehensive examination is a must to earn the degree.
  • Coursework includes educational statistics, educational planning, and organizational theory and leadership for core courses. Students also take on courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as effective dissertation writing.  
  • Start dates are for the fall and spring terms. Cohorts are admitted at both the Alexandria and Ashburn campuses. 
  • Candidates must hold a master’s degree in a relevant field and submit a statement of purpose, a resume, and letters of recommendation. A scholarly writing sample is required for consideration.
  • Official transcripts are a must, but standardized test scores are optional. 

Standout Features: 

The admission process isn’t just selective with a limited number of students accepted per cohort, but it’s also a rigorous program designed for future education leaders. Principals, deans, and program directors are among the job titles that its graduates assume after completion. 

Students, however, benefit from a convenient schedule designed for working professionals. Faculty members provide support services, too, for academic success, and their extensive credentials make them among the best in the field. 

Did you know?

GWU makes the student experience memorable with its residence halls, which are described as having palace-like amenities. Not only is it among the world’s wealthiest universities, but it has also produced millionaires and billionaires! 

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Fordham University 

Fordham University

: 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, New York City, New York 
: 718-817-1000

EdD GSE Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

Fordham University, a private research university with a strong Jesuit tradition, is cited for being a Hidden Ivy because of its academic excellence and renown at par with the Ivy League schools. Candidates to its EdD GSE Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy have large shoes to fill, indeed! Students are among the smartest, too, based on their average SAT scores, while many of its alumni are notable leaders in business, politics, and education. 

  • Students earn 50 credits in the program and learn advanced concepts and skills vital toward their success as K-12 leaders, such as assistant superintendents and superintendents. The main goal is to prepare them for a career as transformative leaders whose innovative solutions, scholarly mindset, and moral practices result in positive change. 
  • Learning outcomes include a commitment to the highest educational standards in the K-12 settings, effective use of research and science in educational improvements, and use of problem-solving skills in making effective responses to issues. 
  • Students learn the program’s four core areas – leading teaching and learning; organizational change and educational leadership; policy and advocacy; and engaging and improving schools. 
  • Scholarly inquiry and research, social justice and ethics, and problem-solving and design are the three pedagogies that underline the academic coursework and dissertation process.  
  • Students are encouraged to use improvement science to achieve these goals. 
  • Aside from general university requirements, candidates must meet programmatic requirements to be considered for admission. These include a master’s degree, at least three years of PreK-12 leadership experience, and demonstrating leadership potential. MAT or GRE test scores are required, too.  

Standout Features: 

Students complete four practicum experiences, known as Laboratories of Practice (LoP), during their first two years. The LoPs are in professional learning; policies for improvement, transforming schools, districts, and communities; learning, change, and organizational learning. 

During their third year, students complete the Dissertation of Practice. This is a culminating experience that demonstrates the student’s competence in conducting a scholarly inquiry. 

Did you know?

Aside from Donald Trump, who stayed for two years, Fordham’s alumni read like a Who’s Who of the country’s best people! Alan Alda, Vince Lombardi, and Denzel Washington are among its famous alumni. Edgar Allan Poe may not have been alumni, but he may have been inspired to write “The Bells” when the University Church’s bells would ring 11 times at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings. 

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Florida State University 

Florida State University

: 1114 W. Call Street, Tallahassee, Florida
: 850-644-6885

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Administration 

FSU, a top-tier public research university, is among the oldest members of the State University System of Florida. Such is its intensive focus on research that it’s home to the Large Hadron Collider, High-Performance Materials Institute, and other research institutions! Even the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program has its fair share of breakthrough research in educational subjects. 

  • On-campus Ph.D. students work with their peers and faculty members to conduct original research on their approved topics. Emphasis is on the mastery of topics related to educational leadership that, in turn, will result in opportunities for research positions. Many alumni also become involved in teaching, particularly in tenured professorial positions. 
  • Students must be involved in the Scholarly Engagement aspect, where their skills in acquiring, evaluating, and communicating knowledge will be tested. The engagement includes satisfactory completion of the student’s preferred benchmark activity or observable progress toward its completion. 
  • Admission is on a highly selective basis. Candidates must meet high academic standards and demonstrate full commitment to the program and its learning objectives. 
  • Application requirements include a master’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA, satisfactory GRE test scores less than five years, and official transcripts from all colleges attended. Applicants must also submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume that will be considered, along with an academic record. 

Standout Features: 

Students master theoretical knowledge and their professional applications in educational leadership and administration through a series of research-intensive courses. Both basic and applied research as these apply to leadership are emphasized, too. The program is also designed according to the Florida Principal Leadership Standards. 

Did you know?

FSU’s diverse graduate programs include an acting program, so if it doesn’t work out in the education sector for you… There’s Hollywood! Entertainment options are aplenty at FSU, too, with a bowling alley, a movie theater, and club sports on campus. 

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The University of Texas at El Paso 

The University of Texas El Paso

: 00 West University Avenue, El Paso, Texas 
: 915-747-5000 |

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration

UTEP, an R1 public research university and a University of Texas member, takes pride in its large Mexican American student body and is second only to its sister university at Rio Grande Valley. Such a majority Hispanic population is also reflected in its doctoral programs, including its well-recognized Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration program. 

  • The minimum requirement is 60 credit hours distributed to core courses, field-based learning, capstone, and dissertation courses. 
  • Students prepare for leadership positions in three main settings – first, at schools and in central offices; second, in colleges and universities; and third, in organizations involved in policy analysis and evaluation. Their advanced knowledge and skills, combined with their extensive work experiences, make them qualified for these positions. 
  • Students accepted into the program will formulate a preliminary degree plan consultation with a faculty advisor and the program director. 
  • Transfer of credits is allowed but only up to six credit hours. Specialist degree-related credits aren’t accepted, only post-master’s credits. 
  • Students will undergo an interim review after their first year to evaluate their progress and determine their continued enrollment.  
  • Learners take a capstone course before undergoing the dissertation process. 
  • Candidates must submit an application packet, including an online application with a corresponding application fee; GRE official report, resume; three letters of reference; and a statement of purpose. A master’s in educational administration or leadership, or a related or equivalent field, is a must for admission. 

Standout Features: 

Students learn about the unique issues that affect educational leadership and administration in the U.S.-Mexico border region. With UTEP hosting a robust Hispanic community, its program also emphasizes possible solutions through research and applications. Students must be sensitive and aware of these issues’ cultural, social, and linguistic contexts and their possible solutions. 

Did you know?

UTEP has such a strong Bhutan feel that many of its buildings are in the Dzong architectural style! It has also published the world’s largest published book – and, not surprisingly, it’s about Bhutan! The UTEP community even celebrates Bhutan Days. 

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Mississippi State University 

Mississippi State University

: 75 B. S. Hood Rd, Mississippi State, Mississippi 
: 662-325-0969

EdD in Educational Leadership

MSU’s status as an R1 public land-grant research university is bolstered by its multimillion-dollar research and development budget, the largest in The Magnolia State. Students in its doctoral programs benefit from the said budget in their action research activities, too. The EdD in Educational Leadership program is among its exceptional post-graduate programs for scholar-practitioners. 

  • Learners must satisfy the academic requirements for 57 credit hours: major courses (36) and concentration courses (21). 
  • Course titles include Public School Finance, Law and Ethics in Educational Leadership, Human Resources Administration in Education, and Introduction to Research in Educational Leadership. Students also take courses in action and survey research, as well as complete a doctoral capstone project. 
  • Completion rate is between three and three-and-a-half years depending on course load and availability of courses. 
  • Students attend a hybrid program with most face-to-face classes conducted on Saturdays. The rest of the classes are conducted online. 
  • Transfer of credits from a post-master’s credential is allowed, but official transcripts are necessary for the process. 
  • Candidates must demonstrate a keen interest in the advancement of P-12 schools aside from possessing a master’s degree and meeting other eligibility requirements. 
  • Admission evaluation is done holistically with the candidate’s academic record and other requirements taken into consideration. Candidates must have at least a 3.40 GPA on their master’s degrees. Also required are reference letters, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Evidence of past and current administration experience and a valid administrator’s license is also required. Candidates should be willing to submit to an interview. 

Standout Features: 

Students prepare for leadership positions in the P-12 sector through a combination of extensive academic coursework and action research. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical thinking skills are a must for success in a competitive program. 

Did you know?

Interested individuals can participate in one of MSU’s several summer orientation sessions to become acquainted with the university and its facilities, programs, and people. MSU offers excellent value for the money, too, thanks to its affordable tuition, exceptional job placement rate, and higher average starting salaries for its graduates. 

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University of Delaware 

University of Delaware

: 113 Willard Hall Education Building, Newark, Delaware 
: 302-831-8695

EdD in Educational Leadership

UDel, a public research university and the largest in The Diamond State, is known for its academic excellence and its active community engagement and service on the institutional level. Every Blue Hen is encouraged to share their knowledge, skills, and expertise in addressing the challenges in their communities, too. This applies to post-graduate students in its respected EdD in Educational Leadership program, which welcomes practitioners from schools, colleges, universities, and districts. 

Due to the post-graduate degree being considered the pinnacle of scholarly attainment, students are encouraged to become transformative leaders in their fields. Learners are expected to tackle complex issues and provide viable solutions in and out of the classroom and well after their graduation.  

  • Most courses are offered on-campus, while a few may be offered online. 
  • Students complete 27-credit core courses with educational improvement, leadership skills, and decision-making based on evidence at their core. 
  • Learners can customize their degree through 15 credits of electives. (Six of these credits can be earned via the internship component.) 
  • Every student formulates an Individual Program Plan complete with a spreadsheet for course schedules. 
  • The Education Leadership Portfolio (ELP) is required for graduation among all students. This serves as the capstone project that demonstrates the application of theory into practice. 
  • Admission is competitive, with candidates evaluated based on academic qualifications, work experience and accomplishments, and leadership potential, among other factors. There’s no guaranteed admission even for qualified candidates. 

Standout Features: 

The program’s rigorous academic standards were developed following the Educational Leadership Program Standards. Students who want to earn the School District Personnel and Assistant Superintendent/Superintendent certificates complete the 6-credit K-12 School Leadership Internship component. But the program doesn’t qualify students for the principal and assistant principal certificate. 

Did you know?

President Joe Biden isn’t just a famous alumnus – he’s actively involved in UDel’s community, too! He has launched the Biden Institute, among other activities here. But he’s not the only famous alumni either – three of its original class of ten were signers of the Declaration of Independence. 

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Washington State University

Washington State University

: Pullman, Washington 
: 360-546-9075

EdD (Educational Leadership) K-12 Administration 

Wazzu’s academic track record is among the best in The Evergreen State and the US, thanks in part to its status as one of the oldest land-grant universities. The Cougars also benefit from Wazzu’s R1 status, meaning that it has very high research activities, particularly in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and animal health. But that doesn’t mean that other fields of study suffer in the process, and the EdD in Educational Leadership is proof of it. 

  • The on-campus program is offered in five different campuses – Pullman, Everett, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, and Spokane. But students residing 50-plus miles from any Wazzu campus can attend synchronous online classes via Zoom. 
  • Some courses may also be conducted using videoconferencing and other online modes, but the general mode of delivery is on-campus with face-to-face interactions. 
  • Working professionals can enroll on a part-time basis. Evening classes – once a week only – are the norm during the fall and spring semesters. Summer classes use the hybrid method. 
  • The modified cohort program accepts only one cohort during the fall term. 
  • On average, the completion rate is 2.5 years for the academic coursework among students enrolled in two courses every semester. But many students complete it between four and five years due to their professional and personal obligations. The maximum time limit for completion is ten years. 
  • Students complete 72 semester credits, which include 42 credits (14 classes) of graded academic coursework. This is followed by a preliminary exam, a performance tool used in determining the student’s suitability for the dissertation phase. 

Standout Features: 

This is a statewide program that welcomes practitioners and scholars from all levels in educational institutions. The curriculum is a blend of scholarly emphasis and practical applications that, in turn, encourage students to find solutions for current and emerging issues. Each student must submit a dissertation that addresses a specific contemporary issue in K-12 schools through the lens of educational leadership. 

Did you know?

Wazzu has more than 560 study abroad programs on all seven continents and comprises more than 70 countries – yes, even in Antarctica! But students do not need to venture far to find educational and entertainment options. Wazzu’s Pullman campus has more than 260 student organizations, several student centers, and numerous intercollegiate sports. 

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Seton Hall University 

Seton Hall University

: 400 South Orange Ave., New Jersey
: 973-761-9000

Doctorate in Education K-12 School Administration

SHU, a private Roman Catholic university, is the country’s oldest diocesan university that, through its 165-year run, has developed a reputation for academic excellence in diverse fields of study. The Doctorate in Education K-12 School Administration program is among its respected programs that welcome aspiring and current administrators in the K-12 and higher education settings. 

  • Students earn 54-57 credits in coursework covering foundational courses, interdisciplinary studies, and administration courses. Every course has three credits. The program has a research component for graduation purposes. 
  • The program has an 11-semester design, with students taking 15 credits every academic year. There are three semesters in the academic year – fall, spring, and summer. 
  • Students learn statistical methods, curriculum ideology and policy, data and policy analysis, and organizational decision-making. The three research courses are intermediate statistics, advanced qualitative methods, and qualitative research seminars. There are a series of leadership institutes and dissertation seminars too, as well as a superintendent internship.  
  • Learners meet for two full weekends every semester except for the three-weekend courses in research and statistics. On-campus classes with an interactive and conducive environment are the norm. 
  • Most of the courses are co-taught by two faculty members. Independent work assigned by professors and conducted between weekends is also common. Students learn as a cohort, too. 
  • Admission requirements include a master’s degree, superior academic record, and MAT or GRE scores not older than five years. A resume, a letter of intent, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation are also required for consideration. 
  • Students receive a 25% discount as tuition support. 

Standout Features: 

Faculty members are notable experts in their field and actively engaged in their schools and communities. Their extensive professional experiences are imparted to their students, while students can also share their own experiences. Interdepartmental collaborations are encouraged, too. 

SHU has small class sizes – about 1:14 faculty-to-student ratio – so personalized education comes naturally. Internship opportunities for post-graduate students abound. 

Did you know?

SHU has a vibrant student body that has an abundance of educational and entertainment options available on campus! There are more than 20 Greek letter organizations, acapella groups, and sports clubs. SHU students and alumni are known as Pirates now, with former nicknames being Villagers and White & Blue. 

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University of Florida 

University of Florida

: PO Box 117042, Gainesville, Florida
: 352-392-0726

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership 

Among the country’s public research universities, UF actively encourages cross-disciplinary collaborations in research – and it’s $942 million in 2020 research expenditures is proof of it! Students in the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program will benefit from the research-centric curriculum and gain the skills vital for success in post-secondary research. Faculty members also emphasize the importance of research in policy analysis, an area that Ph.D. holders also venture into. 

  • The curriculum consists of 90 credits with 30 credits for major courses, 22 for research methodologies, 14 for elective courses, and 24 for doctoral dissertation. Credits from a recognized master’s degree may also be transferred into the program. 
  • Only one start date – the fall term – between 10 and 15 students are accepted into the selective program. 
  • Students may enroll either part-time or full-time every term, and this will affect their time of completion. It is a program designed for completion in four years.  
  • Learners must pass the 9-hour doctoral qualifying exam. This can be taken in one of two ways – first, a full day of six hours and a half-day or three hours; and second, three half-days of three hours each. Afterward, an oral exam will be conducted. Pass or fail status will then be determined. 

Standout Features: 

Candidates must pass the scholarly paper requirement before being considered for admission. This is a 21-page, maximum paper that demonstrates the candidate’s current writing ability and potential for success in the post-graduate program. The topic must cover K-12 or higher education teaching and learning, including leadership issues and citations. 

Students are expected to develop their writing skills and higher faculty skills as they progress through the program. 

Only GRE scores are accepted. 

Did you know?

UF’s seal is also the State of Florida’s seal, emphasizing its crucial role in the state. Gatorade, the famous sports drink, was developed by Robert Cade as a hydration drink for the Gators football team. Both UF and the Gatorade Trust continue to benefit – financially – from the invention. 

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University of New Orleans 

University of New Orleans

: 2000 Lakeshore Drive New Orleans, Louisiana 
: 888-514-4275

Ph.D. in Educational Administration

UNO, an R2 public research university, is a popular choice among graduate and post-graduate students because of its conviction in the importance of research in the development of society and its individuals. This philosophy is strongly implemented in its Ph.D. in Educational Administration program, where research courses are emphasized. 

  • The required coursework is 52 hours divided into 22 hours of major courses and 30 hours of research courses. The 30-hour credits for research consist of 21 hours of academic coursework and nine hours for dissertation research. 
  • Candidates without a master’s degree in higher education or educational administration may qualify for admission but must complete 12 hours of concentration courses. 
  • Students must maintain their continuous enrollment from their first semester of admission until their graduation. However, enrollment during the summer term is optional, while enrollment in the fall and spring semesters is compulsory.  Leave of absence isn’t allowed unless under extraordinary circumstances and must be filed appropriately. 
  • Students must pass the general exam and qualifying exam, typically in their last year in the program. 
  • Academic integrity is taken seriously at UNO, and students who violate it may be penalized. 
  • Students must fulfill the residency requirements, including two consecutive semesters of enrollment with at least nine hours of residence. 
  • The time-to-degree restrictions are nine years after admission into the program and six years after the general examination date for the coursework. 

Standout Features: 

The selective program emphasizes educational administration in urban settings and the development of transformative education using reflective practice. Students train in the best methodologies of inquiry into current and emerging issues in educational administration. 

Did you know?

When it was opened in 1958, UNO was the pioneering public university in terms of racial integration. Racial equality has since then been a goal among university officials, students, and stakeholders. 

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Arcadia University

Arcadia University

: 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, Pennsylvania
: 877-272-2342

EdD in Educational Leadership 

Arcadia University,  a private university with an international perspective, boasts a 76-acre campus with a National Historic Landmark, the Grey Towers Castle. Students from anywhere in the world enroll at Arcadia for its international thrusts, such as its international peace and conflict resolution program. Such diversity is also reflected in its respected EdD in Educational Leadership program, designed for scholars and practitioners involved in any education sector. 

  • The cohort-based program requires at least 53 credit hours to earn the degree. Students progress through the coursework with a cohort model, which encourages collaboration, cohesiveness, and continuity. But students may also be allowed to enroll part-time in case of significant life events, thus, resulting in a modified cohort model. 
  • The courses are ideally taken in sequential order for three years, which translates to eight consecutive semesters. Students, however, may choose to make their dissertation within three years (i.e., coursework + dissertation) or in their fourth year after coursework completion. 
  • The instruction delivery method is a combination of face-to-face classes and online courses. There are two in-person courses every semester, usually on Thursdays. 
  • Up to six credits from doctoral-level coursework may be transferred into the program. 
  • Completion of the academic requirements doesn’t lead to administrative certification. 
  • Admission requirements include a graduate application, a master’s degree with a minimum of 3.5 GPA, and three letters of recommendation. 

Standout Features: 

Students acquire advanced skills in doctoral-level research through a combination of didactic coursework and a completed dissertation. The main thrust is for students to become effective scholar-practitioners dedicated to advancing educational leadership in all levels of education. Educational diversity and inclusiveness are emphasized alongside social responsiveness and globalism. 

Did you know?

Arcadia’s campus is dotted with the flags of countries worldwide, making it easier for students to locate each other! Just mention the flag of the country where you’re nearest to, and voila! Students also use Haber Green as a hangout spot and enjoy the various entertainment options, from the Haunted Castle to the Knight Madness. 

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Southeastern Louisiana University 

Southeastern Louisiana University

: 500 W University Ave, Hammond, Louisiana
: 985-549-5714

EdD in Educational Leadership

Southeastern, a public university, is the third-largest university in The Pelican State and its programs reflect the depth and breadth of its mission. The EdD in Educational Leadership produces leaders with the skill sets to advance educational improvements and promote positive change. 

  • The program has a cohort model, meaning students learn from their admission until graduation. At least ten students will be accepted, but qualified applicants will determine the number of students per cohort. 
  • Students earn 60 semester credits divided into 18 credits for research, 30 credits for educational leadership courses, and 12 for dissertation. 
  • Educational leadership courses cover leadership theory and practice, supervision in educational settings, and fiduciary management, among others. Course titles in research include Quantitative Methods and Qualitative Methods in Educational Leadership, Writing for Research, and Research Practicum. There’s also an internship course. 
  • Up to six hours of credits may be transferred. 
  • Retention requires maintaining at least 3.0 in all courses. Only two courses with a “C” grade may be considered for degree completion. 
  • No administrative certification will be issued upon completion of the program. 
  • Candidates without a relevant master’s degree may be required to comply with prerequisite coursework in educational administration between three and nine credit hours. This can be accomplished before admission into the program or as a doctoral student. 
  • Admission requirements include GRE scores, official transcripts, master’s degree, and professional resume. 
  • Faculty members with tenure at a university and a rank above instructor aren’t accepted into the program. 

Standout Features: 

Southeastern offers graduate assistantships or fellowships to students with a six-credit-hour course load every semester. Continuous enrollment – fall, spring, and summer terms – is required, as is the residency requirement. Students must meet the degree requirements within six calendar years from the date of admission. 

Did you know?

Fanfare is a month-long event that attracts artists from all over the country and the world. Established in October 1986, it also has an educational outreach component. 

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Kean University Of New Jersey 

Kean University Of New Jersey

: 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, New Jersey 
: 908-737-5326

EdD in Educational Leadership

While Kean has a long history, its university status is only in its 24th year! Today, it’s among the largest universities in The Garden State, with five undergraduate colleges and a graduate college. Research is also dear to the university’s heart, and it’s evident in the numerous research centers on its campus. 

Among its research-heavy programs is the EdD in Educational Leadership program, which has an intensive dissertation requirement. Students develop their leadership skills in a conducive environment with accessible student support services. 

  • The program only has a single start date – the fall term. (There are no spring admissions) 
  • The 90-credit program only considers the admission of candidates who have a master’s degree in educational administration or leadership. But provisional acceptance may be granted to candidates without an approved graduate degree provided that prerequisite coursework will be completed. The prerequisite coursework consists of graduate-level courses in educational leadership, which are stated on the provisional acceptance letter. 
  • The curriculum consists of 18 courses, with each course credited for three credits. Students who have completed the 54 credits must maintain their matriculated status until the completion of their dissertation. The matriculation continues through enrollment in Dissertation Continuation EDD 7103, a 2-credit course. 

Standout Features: 

Students must complete and get approval for their dissertation and complete an extensive internship in an educational setting of their choice. Their comprehensive and rigorous training is based on interdisciplinary coursework that combines academics and hands-on experiences. Graduates can seek state certification either as a school or district administrator. 

Did you know?

Kean has a campus in Wenzhou, China, and it’s called Wenzhou-Kean University. The English-speaking campus boasts a 500-acre land area. 

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Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit

Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit

: 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
: 412-396-6000

EdD in Educational Leadership

Duquesne may have started 143 years ago as a small school with just six teachers and 40 students, but it has become a respected R2 private research university. Within its 49-acre Pittsburgh campus are ten colleges that host a 9,300-strong student body, most from Pennsylvania while others are from abroad. Many are enrolled in the university’s robust EdD in Educational Leadership program, encouraging sharing experiences and insights. 

  • The program is based on a cohort learning model where groups of professionals with diverse backgrounds progress. There’s no typical student profile since diversity is encouraged, resulting in unique cohorts of non-profit leaders, school leaders, and entrepreneurs. Teachers, administrators, and principals are welcome, too. 
  • This is a three-year (or 36 months) program consisting of 54 credits. 
  • Classes are conducted on campus with the day and duration depending on the term. Fall classes are eight full-day sessions on Saturdays. Spring classes are also eight full-day Saturday sessions. Each July, students attend eight full-day seminars on weekdays. 
  • The selective program only accepts up to 10 students, with candidates are chosen based on their academic and professional credentials and potential. The applicants are evaluated based on their application packets. The admissions committee prefers candidates with at least five years of relevant educational and professional experience. 
  • Minimum admission requirements include a relevant master’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA, cover letter, professional resume, two essays, and three letters of recommendation. Group interviews will also be conducted among shortlisted candidates. 

Standout Features: 

Post-graduate students can apply for assistantships and financial aid packages, including federal aid. The program is offered at the dedicated Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership, with classes conducted by full-time faculty. The curriculum is designed for relevance and responsiveness to the ever-evolving issues in educational administration and leadership. 

Did you know?

Duquesne is the only institution of higher education with affiliations to The Congregation of the Holy Spirit. The Spiritans are a male-only religious congregation within the Roman Catholic Church. 

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University of St. Francis 

University of St. Francis

: 500 Wilcox St., Joliet, Illinois
: 800-735-7500

EdD in Educational Leadership

USF, a private Catholic university, has a 3,900-strong student body in its 70+ programs, including the EdD in Educational Leadership program. Practitioners and scholars with diverse academic and professional backgrounds consider it the best in Illinois due to its academic rigor, research focus, and experiential learning emphasis. 

  • The foremost degree requirement is the completion of 60 semester hours, of which 24 hours are for core courses and 36 hours are for concentration courses. 
  • The core courses include a two-course series on qualitative and quantitative research followed by a four-course dissertation experience. There’s a course dedicated to the preparation of the presentation and publication of dissertations, too. The Servant Leadership course caps the core sequence of courses. 
  • Students have a supervising faculty member who provides mentorship, guidance, and other forms of assistance to complete their dissertation. 
  • Admission requirements include official transcripts, at least 3.0 GPA for a graduate degree, letter of recommendation and application, and resume. 
  • Transfer of credits from a previously earned doctoral program will be considered. 

Standout Features: 

Students choose from two concentrations: 

  • The 60-credit Leadership, Learning, and Stewardship track trains students in organizational leadership with a holistic perspective encompassing educational, political, and social aspects. Students learn through hybrid or online modes. 
  • The 60-credit Superintendent Endorsement track has the approval of the Illinois State Board of Education to grant administrative endorsement for its graduates. Educators with a Principal or General Administrative endorsement on their license are welcome to apply. Students learn via in-person and online classes. 
Did you know?

Every classroom at USF is equipped with multimedia capabilities, and the university offers enhanced virtual support, including access to high-speed Wi-Fi all over the campus. There’s a Career Success Center, too, which offers a wide range of career services from advising to internship fairs.

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St. Cloud State University 

St. Cloud State University

: 720 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, Minnesota
: 320-308-0121

EdD in Educational Administration and Leadership

SCSU, a public university, is one of the foremost universities in Minnesota’s state colleges and universities system with its 16,000-strong student body. Its Higher Learning Commission accreditation offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including the EdD in Educational Administration and Leadership. 

  • Students must complete 72 credits to earn the doctoral degree. Up to 27 credits can be transferred as electives subject to approval, and it can be a combination of 12 credits from a graduate degree and other credits from a post-graduate degree.  
  • In-person classes are held every Saturday, while synchronous online classes are held on Friday evenings. The in-person classes are offered at the St. Cloud or Brooklyn Park campus. The format means students attend six-weekend classes every semester except for the summer term, where courses may be accelerated over a week. 
  • Students can take two courses per semester. 
  • Learners choose their topic for their dissertation, with faculty members guiding every step of the process. 
  • The degree can be earned within three years of full-time study, and it’s broken down into two years of didactic coursework and one year on the dissertation. 
  • The fall admission period is on a rolling basis until August 15. 

Standout Features: 

Student assistants enjoy financial benefits, such as tuition reimbursement and a yearly stipend. These benefits can be enjoyed by on-campus and off-campus post-graduate students, too, and can be as high as $9,000+ of yearly stipend or $15,000. 

The student body in this program consists of more than half in the 40 years and above age bracket. Most of them, about 61%, are women. More than a quarter of them are students of color. Regardless of age, race, and gender, students benefit from the expertise of accomplished faculty members. 

Did you know?

“Mainstreet” is the annual event conducted at the start of the academic year where students and student organizations, faculty and non-teaching staff, and campus services showcase their programs. Students have over 250 student organizations and Grek letter fraternities to choose from. 

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Lewis & Clark College 

Lewis & Clark College

: 615 S. Palatine Hill Road, Portland, Oregon 
: 503-768-7000

EdD in Leadership 

Lewis & Clark College is known for its active engagement in community development and social justice, a college-wide principle underlined by its robust liberal arts tradition. The EdD in Leadership program, offered in its Graduate School of Education and Counseling, is also influenced by the abiding principle. Scholars and practitioners agree that this college is one of Oregon’s best in imparting transformational leadership skills to students. 

  • The 60-credit program starts during the summer term only. Students are admitted as a cohort, so their learning process becomes a collaborative effort, with independent work as the main goal. 
  • Students may earn the degree in three years, even on part-time enrollment. Academic advisors are on hand to guide course sequence and other related matters.  
  • All classes are conducted on an in-person basis at the Lewis & Clark campus. 

The program offers two concentrations. First, the PK-12 Concentration is targeted toward professionals who want to improve education at the P-12 level. Students can complete the degree requirements in about three years with weekend and evening classes; summer classes in July are also the norm. 

Second, the Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA) Concentration is a rigorous program that challenges students and even takes them out of their comfort zones. Students challenge not only themselves but the assumptions regarding higher education and its principles and practices. Preferred candidates are either professionals seeking career advancement through a terminal degree or individuals with a master’s degree whose experiences are in student affairs, P-12 education, and volunteer work. 

Standout Features: 

Aside from community involvement and social equity themes, there’s a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge directly impacting education. 

Did you know?

Lewis & Clark was originally intended to cater to the Presbyterian community in Willamette Valley. Through the years, it has evolved to become a liberal arts institution also known for its use of wind power in powering all of its electricity needs. According to Money magazine and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, the college is also considered a more selective institution that provides the best value education.

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Georgia Southern University 

Georgia Southern University

: 1332 Southern Drive, Statesboro, Georgia
: 912-478-4636

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

GSU’s status as a respected public research university may not be widely known, but it’s certainly on our list of the best-hidden gems! Academic excellence, active community engagement, and a comprehensive array of degree programs are its hallmark attributes. The EdD in Educational Leadership is also known for these attributes and, thus, it’s a popular program among education professionals looking for career advancement and positive impact. 

  • Students are enrolled as a cohort, so their learning experiences are characterized by collaboration, networking, and a sense of community. Independent learning is a must. 
  • During the Tier II phase, blended learning consists of 25% on-campus classes at Statesboro and 75% online.  
  • The 69-credit program consists of 60 credits of didactic coursework and at least nine credits for dissertation-related coursework. 

Students choose from two concentrations. First, the P-12 Administration track accepts applicants with a master’s degree and an L-5 certification into its 36-credit Tier I program. Note that completion doesn’t result in an L-6 certification or an ED.S. degree. The Tier II phase has a series of core courses totaling 30 credits, while the Tier III phase has a 9-credit dissertation course. 

Second, the Higher Education Administration or Teacher Leadership track doesn’t require leadership certificates for candidates. 

Students must choose a concentration since the admission and degree requirements will depend on their specific choice. All candidates, however, have to submit a writing sample and undergo an interview as part of the admission process. 

Standout Features: 

Students prepare for leadership positions in diverse settings through intensive coursework and applied research in the form of a dissertation. Skills in decision-making, problem-solving and other aspects of leadership are developed in the course of the program for this reason. 

Did you know?

GSU’s Statesboro campus has a menagerie of animals in the Lamar Q Ball Jr. Raptor Center and the Center for Wildlife Education. Aside from the bald eagle mascot, these centers have a wide assortment of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. GSU also manages the 1,400-acre Effingham Wetlands. 

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor