Online Ed.D in Educational Leadership - Curriculum & Instruction Degree

Get info about online doctorate degree programs in educational leadership. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Students can find a wide variety of online Ed.D. programs in educational leadership with a curriculum and instruction focus. Much of the coursework can be completed online; however, the majority of schools offering these programs require that students participate in on-campus residency courses in order to interact with peers and work with faculty members on their dissertation. These residencies usually last for about a week and typically must be completed once per school year.

These programs are designed to help practicing teachers and school leadership professionals improve their leadership skills in relation to their staff or students. A master's degree is required, though not necessarily in education, and it is expected that students already be employed in the education field.

Online Availability Generally hybrid format
Important Prerequisites Master's, education related experience
In-Person Requirements Campus residencies

Common Coursework

The courses in these programs focus on both educational leadership and research. Topics such as policy, communication, decision-making, research processes and curriculum leadership are often covered in the program's classes. Below are examples of some of the course content that a student may encounter in these programs.

Educational Perspectives

The coursework in this type of class may include an analysis of philosophical and historical ideas regarding educational practice and theory, the study of educational movements and ideas and understanding of global educational trends.


These classes focus on two aspects of curriculum, the design and implementation. Case studies, the theory behind curriculum evaluation and program development may be subjects of discussion.

Qualitative Research

Because doctoral degree programs require students to write a dissertation, research courses such as this are included. Students in this class would likely study the construction and implementation of different styles of research and the tools associated with them.

Learning Environment

This type of program takes as many as 4-6 years to complete. Course content is delivered through textbook reading, online lectures via video or audio files and class discussion through online discussion boards. Coursework includes written projects and assignments, reading assignments and online assessments.

In order to access the online classroom utilized by many of these programs, schools require students to use computers outfitted with certain hardware or software that connect to the Internet through a high-speed connection. Technical requirements include updated operating systems, speakers and DVD player.

Career Information for Graduates

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not give data specific to educators and education administrators who hold doctoral degrees. However, they did project that between 2012 and 2022, K-12 teacher positions would increase 6-12% ( According to the BLS's 2014 data, K-12 teachers earned a yearly average of about $54,940 to $59,330. That same year, the BLS estimates education administrators earned an average of $91,780 annually.

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