Affordable online doctor of education in educational leadership programs pave convenient avenues toward highly satisfying careers in academia, government, nonprofits, and private industry. These EdD and PhD programs are designed for full-time working professionals, allowing students to complete their degrees fully or predominately online while providing the same high-quality academic instruction traditionally reserved for on-campus students.
Types of degree programs covered in this ranking include the following:
- Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
- Online Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership (EdD)
- Online Doctor of Education in School Leadership (EdD)
- Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership (EdD)
- Online Executive EdD in Educational Leadership
Outcomes include rewarding and lucrative positions as human resource managers, training and development specialists, school superintendents, principals, instructional coordinators, and more. In this ranking, we rank the top 30 most affordable educational leadership doctorate degrees online. Looking for more information on online doctorates in the field of education? Take a look at our online doctorate in education ranking here.
Rating and Ranking the Most Affordable Online Doctorate Programs in Educational Leadership
To develop this ranking of the most affordable online doctorate of educational leadership programs, our editors began with an initial pool of 44 accredited colleges and universities offering this terminal degree via distance education. We then applied a tuition filter, eliminating any program with a tuition cost of over $20,000 per year. The remaining schools were ranked by affordability, using tuition data from College Navigator.
EdD Education Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 2,136
Samford University offers a versatile and affordable online educational leadership doctorate through its Orlean Beeson School of Education. The program is offered in three different formats: predominately online, face-to-face, and a blended format. It is important to note that even students enrolled in the online program are required to meet twice a semester on campus. The curriculum for the program follows the NCATE guidelines and addresses the following topics: Organizational Leadership, Strategic Leadership, Political and Community Leadership, and Field-Based Research. Specific course titles include The Learning Organization, The Art and Practice of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and Organizational Dynamics: Creating the School of the Future, and Educational Policy Development and Analysis: The Political Dimension of Schooling. U.S. News & World Report has named Samford one of the top 5 regional universities in the South.
In-State Tuition: $19,058
#29—University of New England
Online Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 3,858
The affordable doctorate educational leadership offering from the University of New England is both highly flexible and accelerated. Degree requirements can be met entirely online with no required visits to campus, and students can complete the program within three years. The prescribed curriculum for the 51-credit hour program emphasizes transformative leadership and includes course titles such as Technology and Organizational Transformation, Using Theory to Guide Research, Enacting Transformative Leadership Through Research, and Diagnosing Organizational Dynamics, for instance. A formal dissertation is also required, and students must complete the program within five years. No GRE is required for admission to the program. The University of New England is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education, and U.S. News & World Report has ranked its online graduate education programs in the top 100 nationwide.
In-State Tuition: $17,501
Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 2,216
The affordable online doctorate in educational leadership from Benedictine University is an accelerated program that can be completed in three and a half years. The curriculum for the program is interdisciplinary and features foundational courses for research and inquiry such as Introduction to Research in Educational Leadership and History and Trends in Education. The remainder of the curriculum encompasses three distinct areas: Organizations and Their Development, Learning and Accountability, and Administering and Accountability. This coursework includes specific course titles such as Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy, Organizational Strategy and Student Services, Ethical Foundations of Leadership, and Politics and Educational Policy. Students enrolled in this affordable online doctoral program in educational leadership are advised to spend between eleven and twenty hours per week on their studies. Benedictine University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
In-State Tuition: $16,888
Online Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 4,399
Creighton University offers an affordable online doctorate in educational leadership program through its Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. The program is designed to be completed in three to four years with students taking one 8-week course at a time. Both fully online and hybrid formats are available. Core courses comprising the curriculum for the program include Leadership Styles and Reflective Practice, Administration and Policy Leadership Issues, Seminar in Interdisciplinary Leadership, and Strategic Planning and Management. Some research classes are also required, including Research Design and Professional Inquiry, Leadership Seminar: Analysis and Application of Scholarly Literature, and Research Design and Data Analysis. Students can also choose from elective offerings like Leadership in School Improvement, Human Resources Leadership and Management, Women and Leadership, and Financial and Legal Leadership Issues, for instance. Creighton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and it has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top colleges in the Midwest.
In-State Tuition: $15,300
#26—City University of Seattle
Online EdD in Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 1,271
The affordable online EdD in educational leadership offering from the City University of Seattle features three concentration options: Organizational Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, and Specialized Study. Those students who opt for the Specialized Study track can choose from designated focus areas such as inspired teacher leadership, entrepreneurship, non-profit leadership, adult education and online learning, and teacher leadership, for example. All students will take core leadership courses such as Cultural Competence in a Diverse Society, Socially and Environmentally Responsible Leadership, Strategic Thinking, and Leading Organizational Change as well as research courses like Research Fundamentals, Research Design, and Advanced Research Topics. Both a comprehensive examination and a doctoral dissertation are required as are three different residencies. The City University of Seattle is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) to award this affordable online doctorate in education leadership.
In-State Tuition: $15,264
#25—University of Massachusetts- Lowell
EdD in School Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 4,303
The affordable online EdD in educational leadership from the University of Massachusetts- Lowell is a cohort-based program designed to be completed within three years. The curriculum for the program requires 42 credit hours beyond the master’s credential and includes courses titles such as Qualitative Data Analysis for Practitioner Leaders, Developing Inclusive School Contexts, Strategic Partnering with Families and Communities, and Applied Research Design. An optional concentration in STEM learning is also available. Students pursuing this concentration will take additional courses such as Foundations of Student Learning in STEM, Leadership and Research in STEM, and Education Reform in STEM, for example. UMass- Lowell’s College of Education is NCATE- accredited and is also a member of The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. This affordable educational leadership doctorate is also recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best online graduate education programs in the nation.
In-State Tuition: $14,590
St. Louis, Missouri
Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 4,506
The affordable online doctor of education in educational leadership offering from Maryville University is a highly accelerated program that can be completed in just 32 months. The program is also highly flexible and convenient; there are no visits to campus required as even the residency requirement can be completed online. Unlike many of the other programs in this ranking, Maryville’s online EdD allows students to work on their dissertation while completing their other coursework. Required courses comprising the curriculum for the program include The Competitive Context of Higher Education, Strategic Change and Innovation, Learning in a Complex Environment, and Reflective Leadership Practice and Inquiry. Students who complete their affordable online doctorate in ed leadership through Maryville are qualified for careers as college and university presidents, dean of students, provosts, admissions directors, and chief academic officers, for instance. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
In-State Tuition: $14,346
Online EdD in Education Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 1,257
The affordable online EdD in education leadership from Argosy University features concentrations in both Higher Education Administration and K-12 Education. Students in both tracks will take core courses such as Leading and Managing Change in a Diverse Society, Educational Leadership in Theory and Practice, Managing Human and Fiscal Resources in Education, and Critical Analysis of Problems and Issues in Education. Those pursuing the Higher Ed Administration concentration will take additional classes like Higher Education in the United States, Organizational Communications and Systems, and Internship Seminar while those in the K-12 Administration concentration will study Administrative Theory and Practice, Education Law: The District, and Instructional Technology Planning and Management. A formal doctoral dissertation is also required at the culmination of the program. Argosy University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
In-State Tuition: $13,482
Glassboro, New Jersey
Online EdD in Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 3,083
Rowan University’s affordable online EdD in educational leadership is a customizable offering featuring four optional tracks: Higher Education, P-12, Nurse Educator, and Community College Leadership Initiative. The curriculum for the program is built upon core courses such as Diversity in Educational Leadership, Mixed Methods Research in Educational Leadership, Leadership Theory, and The Policy Environment. The program can be completed predominately online, but a hybrid option is also available. It is important to note that even online students are required to attend three different campus residencies for the purposes of orientation, examinations, and dissertation preparation. Rowan Global Learning & Partnerships offers nearly 50 online graduate programs in addition to certificate and endorsement offerings and undergraduate degree completion options, also available via distance education. Rowan University is a public research university and is nationally accredited to award this affordable online doctorate in educational leadership.
In-State Tuition: $13,266
#21—Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Online EdD Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 5,453
The affordable online doctor of education in educational leadership from Central Michigan University is a comprehensive offering that prepares students to take on leadership positions in PK-12 or higher education environments. Offered through the university’s Global Campus and the Department of Educational Leadership, the program consists of a blend of synchronous and asynchronous elements. Specifically, students should expect to log on for real-time discussions and instruction every other Saturday. Summer meetings on campus are also required. The 63-credit hour curriculum is comprised of academic core courses such as Organizational Theory in Educational Institutions, Ethical Leadership, and Organizational Culture and Change in Educational Institutions. CMU’s online graduate education programs have been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report. The university itself is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
In-State Tuition: $12,870
#20—University of Kentucky
Online EdD in Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 7,040
The University of Kentucky’s affordable online doctoral degree in educational leadership program is an executive EdD offering that prepares students to apply doctoral-level research in real-life settings as a practitioner. The curriculum for the program is comprised of a leadership core, research method courses, and elective classes. Standout course titles include Leadership for School, Family, and Community Engagement; Introduction to Action Research; Politics of Educational Leadership; and Leadership for Creative Problem Solving. Typically, students finish their coursework and doctoral dissertation within four years. An annual-week long colloquium on campus is required. The University of Kentucky is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the College of Education holds separate accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
In-State Tuition: $11,363
#19—Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
Online Executive EdD in Education Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 727
The affordable online doctorate in ed leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University is an accelerated executive EdD program that requires a minimum of 54 credit hours. Offered through the university’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies, the program offers three different concentration options: PK-12 Schools and School Districts, Leadership in Special Education, and Leadership in Higher Education. Despite which concentration they choose, all students will take required core courses such as Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Educational Leadership, The Ethics of Educational Leadership and Policy, Global Educational Policy and Practice, and School Boards and School District Governance. In addition, students must make trips to campus for three required residencies. Those who complete the program and receive their affordable online EdD in educational leadership are qualified for high-level careers in education such as superintendent of schools, college dean or administrator, educational policy analyst, and state board of education official, for example. GWU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
In-State Tuition: $10,507
#18—Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
Online Doctor of Education in School Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 3,428
Saint Leo University offers a convenient and affordable online educational leadership doctoral degree program through its College of Education and Social Services. The program follows a cohort model and can be completed within just three years. Coursework can be completed entirely online, but there is a single summer residency. Required course titles include Technological Innovation and Diffusion, Power of Teacher Leader Innovation, Equitable Leadership, and Action Research. Students will also fulfill a 15-credit hour directed research requirement leading to the doctoral dissertation. The university provides an array of student services to its online learners, including career services, student advising, and even opportunities to participate in student life. Saint Leo is a top-ranked Catholic liberal arts university. Its online graduate education programs have been ranked as some of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
In-State Tuition: $9,990
#17 –Florida State University
Online EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy
Graduate Enrollment: 8,354
The first doctoral program offered online by Florida State, the affordable online doctorate in educational leadership and policy program is a cohort offering designed to be completed within three years. Courses required for the program include Educational Administration and Organizational Practice, Literature Review for Educational Practitioners, Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, and Introduction to Policy Studies. Although coursework can be completed entirely online, students are expected to attend a three-day learning seminar on campus in Tallahassee during the summer of each year of the program. Additionally, most of the courses comprising this online EdD in educational leadership offering are asynchronous, but students can expect some synchronous elements, meaning there may be required log-on times. Florida State University is regionally accredited to offer this and other undergraduate and graduate degree programs (both online and on-campus) by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university’s mission is to make student-centered higher education experiences accessible to all students.
In-State Tuition: $9,684
#16—Northwest Nazarene University
Online EdD in Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 688
Northwest Nazarene University offers two affordable online educational leadership doctoral programs: an EdD and a PhD. Both programs are accelerated and enable students to finish their degrees in as few as 22 months. Although the programs vary in focus, they include much of the same coursework, including classes like Policy Influence and Development, Advanced Qualitative Research: Analysis and Methods, Professional and Ethical Leadership, and Effective Leadership for Change Management. The PhD program requires additional courses in advanced research methods while the EdD offering emphasizes real-world application and practitioner skills. Both programs follow a cohort model and include a two-week on-campus residency for the purpose of research and dissertation preparation. Northwest Nazarene University has received national recognition for its traditional and online programs. Its affordable online doctorate in educational leadership enjoys full accreditation.
In-State Tuition: $9,639
#15—Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
PhD in Higher Education Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 3,922
The affordable educational leadership doctorate online offering from Colorado State University is an online PhD in Education and Human Resource Studies with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership. The curriculum for this unique degree program is mostly prescribed and includes course titles such as Student Development in a Collegiate Context, Analyzing Education Literature, Theory and Practice of Change, and Professionalism in Education and Leadership. CSU boasts a 95% retention rate amongst its distance education students, and cohorts are kept to a 10-12 student minimum. Graduates of this affordable online PhD educational leadership program are prepared for advanced roles in higher education administration, including student services, enrollment management, housing and auxiliary services, and more. As a distinguished research university, CSU offers graduate programs taught by faculty members who are also active scholars in the field of educational administration and higher education leadership.
In-State Tuition: $9,000
#14—University of Missouri
Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 7,045
The University of Missouri offers a 46-credit hour affordable online doctorate educational leadership degree through its College of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Although predominately online, the four-year program requires a single visit to campus for the purposes of orientation. In addition, synchronous online meetings are held once a week, making this online EdD slightly less flexible than some of the other offerings in this ranking. Courses include Organizational Analysis for Educational Leadership, Qualitative Tools for Applied Research in Educational Leadership, Content and Context of Learning, and Research in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. This affordable EdD in educational leadership online program does not lead to licensure or certification. The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its College of Education is approved by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
In-State Tuition: $8,640
#13—Ball State University
Online EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision
Graduate Enrollment: 5,509
The affordable online educational leadership doctorate program from Ball State University is technically a blended program as it requires monthly on-campus meetings. Sample courses comprising the curriculum for the program include The Educational Administrator and Public Relations, Fiscal Management of Educational Agencies, Statistical Methods in Educational and Psychological Research, and Ethnographic Research in Education. Courses are taught by the same expert faculty members who teach on campus, and some doctoral assistantships are available for qualified students. Ball State provides an array of student services to its distance learners, including technology support, library services, tutoring, and writing assistance. The university was the first in the nation to earn the Learner Support Program certification by Quality Matters, and today it offers over 70 different online programs.
In-State Tuition: $8,554
#12—William Carey University
Online Doctor of Education Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 1,742
William Carey University offers a highly flexible, fully online affordable educational leadership doctoral program. The degree requires 63 credit hours beyond a master’s credential, and cohorts begin each summer. Although some face-to-face meetings are required for the program, distance learners can attend via Skype. The curriculum for the program features an advanced leadership core, featuring classes like Data Analysis for Instructional and Performance Improvement, Developing the Culture of Learning, Using Conflict Resolution and Mediation, and Developing Advocacy for the School and Community. In addition, students will take research courses such as Research in Educational Administration, Advanced Applied Research, and Descriptive Statistics and Survey Design. William Carey University is a Christian University accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and its College of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. It has been named a “Best Value” school by U.S. News & World Report.
In-State Tuition: $8,400
#11—East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, Tennessee
Online EdD School Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 3,030
East Tennessee State University offers an affordable online doctorate in educational leadership through its College of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. The program is broad and prepares graduates to work in a variety of educational settings, including private and public PK-12 schools, community colleges, and four-year universities, for example. Enrolled students will take EdD core courses such as Theories of Administration, Research in Educational Leadership, Educational Statistics, and Leadership studies as well as classes in the School Leadership concentration like Leadership for Lifelong Learning, Law for Organizational Leaders, and Policy Analysis. A doctoral dissertation in educational leadership is also required. ETSU students may encounter a blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses on their path to an affordable online EdD in educational leadership. However, no campus visits are required.
In-State Tuition: $8,244
EdD in Educational Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 29,290
Liberty University offers a highly flexible and affordable online EdD educational leadership program. While the program can be completed entirely online, optional intensives are available for students who desire more face-to-face interaction. The curriculum for the program emphasizes the practical application of skills in real-world settings and features course titles such as Advanced Learning Theory and Research, Educational Leadership and Public Relations, Conflict Resolution, and Theories of Educational Leadership. A pioneer in distance education, Liberty hires and trains only the most experienced faculty members to deliver course content and has received numerous national accolades for its online programs. Its affordable online educational leadership doctorate enjoys programmatic accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Accreditation (NCATE) through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
In-State Tuition: $8,217
Online Doctor of Education in PK-12 Administration: Leadership in School Reform
Graduate Enrollment: 1,196
The affordable online educational leadership EdD degree offering from Union University is a Doctor of Education in PK-12 Administration program with a concentration in Leadership in School Reform. The curriculum for the program is founded in Christian values and principles of leadership and marries theory and practice in the field of educational leadership and school reform. Featured course titles required for the degree include Accountability for Greater Student Learning, The Changing Superintendency, Purpose and Plan for Action Research, and Faith and Ethics in Educational Leadership. Students must complete a number of exit assessments prior to receiving their degree, including a qualifying paper, a comprehensive examination, and a doctoral dissertation. Union University is a top Christian university and has received numerous national accolades for its online undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of business, education, nursing, and ministry. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award this educational leadership doctorate online.
In-State Tuition: $8,000
#8—University of Arkansas
Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 4,514
The accelerated, affordable online EdD in educational leadership program from the University of Arkansas takes just three years to complete. Like many of the other programs in this ranking, it does have a residency requirement—one weekend per semester—but all other requirements for the degree can be fulfilled online. The 42-credit hour curriculum for the program includes advanced classes such as School Finance, Effective Leadership, Topics in Educational Research, Analytic Decision Making, and Research for School Leaders. Offered through the College of Education and Health Professions, the program takes advantage of educational partnerships throughout the state to inform and enhance instruction. Some scholarship opportunities may be available for eligible online doctorate educational leadership students. The University of Arkansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Over 3,000 students are currently enrolled exclusively online, and nearly 12,500 students are enrolled in at least one online course. The school’s affordable online EdD in educational leadership program is also NCATE-accredited.
In-State Tuition: $7,563
#7—University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Online EdD in Educational Administration
Graduate Enrollment: 5,125
The University of Nebraska- Lincoln offers two low-cost online doctorate in educational leadership degree programs: an EdD in Educational Administration: P-12 Administration and an EdD/PhD in Educational Studies: Educational Leadership and Higher Education. The P-12 Administration degree is a 96-credit hour offering and is considered a blended program since three summer seminars are required on campus while the remaining degree requirements can be completed online. Courses for this program’s curriculum include Cross-Cultural Leadership Studies, Business Management of Schools, Foundation of Research and Methods of Inquiry in Educational Administration, and Issues in Governance of Educational Institutions. The EdD/PhD in Educational Leadership and Higher Education is a fully online offering that features classes like Finance in Postsecondary Education, Leadership in Educational Organizations, Educational Law, and Law and Higher Education. Formal doctoral dissertations are required for both programs. The University of Nebraska- Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has named it a top public school and a best value school and has ranked its online graduate education programs in the top 15 nationwide.
In-State Tuition: $7,518
EdD Educational Leadership Online: Global Educational Leadership
Graduate Enrollment: 5,238
The affordable online educational leadership EdD program from Lamar University is offered through the university’s College of Education and Human Development and the Center for Doctoral Studies. The program is both accelerated and flexible; it’s designed to be completed within just eight semesters and requires no campus visits. The 60-credit hour curriculum features required core courses such as Global Educational Leadership and Policy, Trends and Issues in Multicultural Education, Dynamics of Leadership, and Organizational Change as well as research courses in both qualitative and quantitative methods. A doctoral dissertation is also required. Lamar’s affordable online doctorate educational leadership program is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. The university itself is associated with the Southern Regional Education Board and is a member of the Online Learning Consortium.
In-State Tuition: $6,174
Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 2,611
The 60-credit hour affordable online educational leadership doctoral offering from Trident University features two concentrations: PK-12 Administration and Higher Education Leadership. Core courses comprising the curriculum for the program include Communication for Education Leaders, Strategic Planning for Education Leaders, and Applied Research and Dissertation. Those students enrolled in the PK-12 concentration will take classes like Dimensions of Teacher Leadership, School Reform, and Current Issues in PK-12 Education. Students pursuing the Higher Education concentration, on the other hand, will take courses such as Higher Education Administration, Student Development Theory, and Current Issues in Higher Education. In addition to this online EdD offering, the university also offers an affordable online PhD program in educational leadership. Trident University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission.
In-State Tuition: $6,120
#4—Texas Tech University
Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration
Graduate Enrollment: 6,259
Texas Tech University offers a three-year online doctor of education in educational leadership program with cohorts beginning each spring. The 60-credit hour curriculum for the program is comprised of 48 credits of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation preparation. Prospective students will hold a master’s degree in education and a current leadership position in a PK-12 educational setting. It is important to note that although coursework can be completed online, multiple one-week campus intensives are required. Enrollees can expect to take courses such as Issues in Educational Leadership: Curriculum, Assessment, and Interventions; Organizational Behavior and Change in Education; School District Resource Allocation and Deployment; and Educational Policy and the Law. The program will accept up to 12 transfer credits. Texas Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges and has received the “highest research activity” classification from the Carnegie Institute.
In-State Tuition: $5,724
#3—University of the Cumberlands
Online EdD Educational Leadership in Counseling Education & Supervision
Graduate Enrollment: 6,782
The affordable educational leadership doctorate online offering from the University of the Cumberlands is a unique EdD program in Counseling Education & Supervision. Students enrolled in the program will fulfill a 27-credit hour core, featuring course titles such as Leadership & Advocacy in Professional Counseling, Online Teaching and Learning in Counselor Education, Multicultural Issues in Counselor Education and Supervision, and Neuroanatomy and Behavioral Medicine for Professional Counseling. In addition, students will also take classes in one of five available specialties: Addiction, Advanced Counseling, Leadership, Assessment, and Christian Ministries. Depending on the chosen focus area, these classes may include Politics of Educational Decision Making, Spirituality and Values in Counseling, Cognitive Assessment, and Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment, for instance. An 18-hour research foundation culminating in a doctoral dissertation is also required, as is a clinical practicum. The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award this affordable online educational leadership EdD.
In-State Tuition: $5,670
#2—Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina
Doctor of Educational Leadership Online
Graduate Enrollment: 1,794
Appalachian State University offers a 60-credit hour, part-time affordable online doctor of education in educational leadership program. The program is highly versatile with predominately online and hybrid formats as well as concentration options in Educational Administration, Interdisciplinary Studies, Higher Education, Instructional Technology Leadership, and Literacy in Exceptionalities. Sample course titles comprising the curriculum for the program include Organization and Systems Theory, Concepts and Constructs in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Organizations and Technology, and Writing for the Professional Educator. It is important to note that even students enrolled in the online program will need to attend two on-campus residencies. Appalachian State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award this affordable educational leadership doctorate online. Its online programs have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as some of the best in the nation, and Kiplinger has named it a “Best Value” college.
In-State Tuition: $4,839
#1—Texas A&M University-Commerce
EdD Educational Administration Online
Graduate Enrollment: 4,750
The affordable online EdD in educational administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce emphasizes K-12 public school administration. The 60-credit hour curriculum for the program features core courses such as Examining the Dynamics of Change and Conflict Resolution in Educational Systems, Educational Program Evaluation for School Leaders, Ethics and Philosophy of Educational Administration, and School District Instructional Leadership: Curriculum. Students begin work on their formal doctoral dissertation during the first year of the program, and a comprehensive exam is required prior to graduation. Interested students may also pursue an optional Superintendent certification over the course of the program. Two cohorts are accepted into the program each year, and admission is competitive. Texas A&M University-Commerce is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has named it a top national university and has ranked its online graduate education programs in the top 200 nationwide.
In-State Tuition: $3,630
Types of Affordable Doctoral Degrees in Educational Leadership Online
Students interested in embarking on the rigorous academic journey that is an affordable online doctoral program in educational leadership serve themselves well by considering all of their options. This includes deciding which type of doctorate they’ll pursue. Generally speaking, there are two basic options to consider: a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Leadership. Although coursework for these two types of degrees are similar and may even overlap, the scope and approach of an EdD versus a PhD do differ. In essence, an EdD is a practitioner degree, meaning it approaches topics from a more practical standpoint, emphasizing real-life applications. On the other hand, a PhD program is rooted in theory and encourages students to analyze and conduct research in the field for the purposes of discovery. PhD in educational leadership students focus more on contributing to the field’s knowledge base rather than actually applying knowledge in a real-world setting. Low-cost online PhD programs in educational leadership are ideal for those who plan to teach at the university level while affordable EdD in educational leadership programs are better suited for those whose career prospects include school administrators, instructional coordinators, superintendents, and the like.
Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Educational Leadership Doctoral Programs Online
Undertaking a doctoral program of any kind equates to a giant investment of your time, energy, and money, so it’s natural that you’ll have some questions. In this section, we’ll attempt to address some of the most common inquiries associated with low-cost educational leadership doctorates online.
Q: What are the requirements for an affordable online doctorate degree in educational leadership?
A: Requirements for an affordable online doctorate in educational leadership will vary from program to program, but in general, degrees of this kind require advanced coursework in educational leadership topics as well as research methods in the field. They also typically require a doctoral dissertation. Campus visits are sometimes required for the purposes of networking, instructional workshops and seminars, and dissertation defense.
Q: What does an affordable online EdD educational leadership cost?
You may be wondering what type of financial investment you’ll need to make when enrolling in an online educational leadership doctoral program. The answer is—it depends. The price tag associated with these programs (even those considered cheap online doctorates in ed leadership) can vary quite a bit from program to program. In this ranking, for example, you’ll find degrees with tuition costs less than $6,000 and those over $20,000. Keep in mind too that many of these programs offer financial aid and even scholarship options to help fund your education.
Q: Can I complete an affordable online doctorate in educational leadership online, or are campus visits required?
A: Most of the affordable online doctorates in educational leadership programs in our ranking require some visits to campus, whether for a single weekend or for annual week-long seminars. It is possible, though, to find such a program that can be completed entirely online. Before opting for 100% online programs, be sure to weigh the convenience against any benefits of these campus immersions, such as increased engagement and networking opportunities, for instance. If such advantages are particularly attractive to you, you might consider a partially online, hybrid, or blended program.
Affordable Online Educational Leadership Doctoral Degree Programs: Available Concentrations
Some low-cost online doctor of educational leadership programs allow students to concentrate their studies in a sub-area of educational leadership. In this section, we’ll discuss some of these specialization options.
Affordable online educational leadership doctorate degree programs with concentrations in organizational leadership prepare students to lead educational initiatives outside of academia such as within government agencies, business, and nonprofits. To give you an idea of what you would learn in such a program, we’ve listed some sample course titles below:
- Leading In a Global Environment
- Organizational Design and Culture
- Managing Complexity in Organizations
- Collaborative Coaching
Higher Education Leadership
Students who opt to enroll in a low-cost online doctor of educational leadership with a concentration in higher education leadership learn to lead within postsecondary institutions such as community colleges and universities, for example. The curricula for these programs typically feature courses like the ones listed below.
- The Future of Higher Education
- Student Populations and Experiences
- The Adult Learner
- Higher Education Finance
An affordable doctor of educational leadership online program with a concentration in K-12 Education prepares students for advanced leadership positions within the elementary and secondary school environment. These positions may include school principals, assistant principals, superintendents, school board members, and more. Courses typical of these programs include the following:
- Curriculum Design and Administration
- Supervision and Staff Development Training
- History and Politics of K-12 Education
- Building a K-12 Community
Low-cost online doctoral programs in educational leadership with concentrations in special education prepare students for supervisory, management, and leadership roles within the area of special education. These positions may include director of special education, special education consultant, director of therapeutic recreation, disabilities and mental health services manager, and special education coordinator, for example. Students pursuing this concentration can expect to take classes like those listed below:
- Financing Special Education
- Supervision in Special Education
- Designing Intervention and Measuring Outcomes in Special Education
- History of Education Reform
Other Concentration Options for Low-Cost Online Educational Leadership Doctorate Students
Although we’ve discussed some of the most common online educational leadership doctoral program concentrations, there are still others to consider. It’s best to select a concentration that’s most closely aligned with your career goals. Here are some other options:
- Counselor Education and Supervision
- P-12 Administration
- Specialized Studies
- Community College Leadership
- Administration and Supervision
- Educational Policy
- Leadership and Instructional Practice
- Human Development and Education
- Culture, Communication, and Education
- Instructional Technology Leadership
- Reading and Literacy
Career Questions About Affordable Doctorate in Educational Leadership Online Degrees
Q: What career paths will an affordable online educational leadership doctorate prepare me for?
A: The specific career paths you’ll qualify for upon receiving your online doctorate in educational leadership will depend upon the specific program you’ve chosen as well as the concentration (if any) you opt to pursue. Some examples include school principal, assistant principal, dean, instructional coach, superintendent, and more.
Q: What will I make after graduating from a low-cost online doctorate in educational leadership?
Individuals who graduate from affordable educational leadership doctoral programs online typically earn very respectable salaries. Exactly what that salary will be will depend on a number of different factors, including the specific career path you choose to pursue as well as your particular employer. To give you a general idea, we’ve listed a few of the occupations associated with online doctorates in educational leadership along with their mean annual wages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Postsecondary Administrators (General): $92,360
Postsecondary Administrators (Colleges and Universities): $94,320
Postsecondary Administrators (Community and Junior Colleges): $87,520
Instructional Coordinators: $63,750
Q: What professional organizations can I join with an affordable online doctoral degree in educational leadership?
There are numerous professional organizations available for educational leadership students and graduates. Joining these organizations opens up doors for endless networking and professional development opportunities. Below, you will find some of the more popular options associated with educational leadership:
- National Education Association (NEA)
- American Educational Research Association (AERA)
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
- National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
- National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
- National School Boards Association (NSBA)
- American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
Most Frequently Searched Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership
Drexel University—Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management: Drexel University offers a highly versatile online doctoral program in educational leadership with nine distinct concentration options. The program can be completed in three to five years on a part-time basis.
University of Missouri—Online EdD in Educational Leadership: The University of Missouri offers an affordable online EdD in educational leadership program. The program is technically a blended offering in that it includes synchronous and on-campus elements.
University of the Cumberlands—Online Doctorate of Educational Leadership: The unique, affordable educational leadership doctorate online from the University of the Cumberlands can be completed entirely online but includes optional campus visits. The program is also accelerated, enabling students to earn their degrees in less than three years.
Creighton University—Online EdD in Interdisciplinary Leadership: Creighton University offers an affordable doctorate in educational leadership online program available in both a 100% online and hybrid format. The program is typically completed in 3-4 years.
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