Online Schools with a Doctorate in Educational Administration

Students can find several doctorate programs in educational administration from different institutions that offer the majority of the program online. Learn about some of the important considerations when selecting a program, as well as explore a few of the available schools and degree options.

How to Select an Online Educational Administration Doctoral Program

Many schools with online programs offer curricula tailored to licensure for prospective public school principals and administrators. These programs are generally low-residency or hybrid programs, meaning that while the bulk of coursework is taken online, students complete an internship and/or on-campus component as well. Prospective administrators at universities, colleges and other postsecondary institutions can also find online programs, though these positions have no such licensing requirements.

Internship and Fieldwork Requirements

Even when a student chooses an online degree program, most educational administration doctoral candidates are required to engage in as much as 300 hours of professional work. This requirement comes in addition to the dissertation and any on-campus meetings that may be requested. Thus, many online programs require on-site attendance to a summer practicum or as much as six credits of on-campus courses.

Area of Focus

Students will want to consider what aspect of educational administration they wish to pursue. Not all schools maintain the same specializations. Programs at the doctoral level typically emphasize a particular licensure or specialization path, covering K-12 education, post-secondary teaching, or educational leadership. Different types of programs have different requirements, including on-site internships or additional coursework.


It's important that students work with a school that is accredited or recognized by a recognized accrediting agency. Reputable online programs hold recognition from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


Most states have licensure requirements for K-12 school administrators and principals. In choosing an online program, students should find out whether their school meets education requirements for licensure in the state where they want to work. This may be of particular concern to students whose preferred school is in a different state.

List of Online Educational Administration Programs

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration

These doctoral programs last 3-4 years, with varying levels of summer coursework and hands-on experience. A Doctor of Education is a professional degree, best suited for students seeking careers in applied educational administration. Graduates could take on the role of principal, assistant principal or superintendent. Online communication with peers and professors is asynchronous, allowing students to log on at any time to view lectures, speak with classmates or submit homework. However, course deadlines and test dates usually mirror the on-campus environment. Typical curricula cover:

  • Educational decision making
  • Methodology of educational research
  • Statistical methods
  • Tests and measurements

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Administration

While a Doctor of Education program focuses on extending an educator's knowledge into professional practice, the Ph.D. in Educational Administration program prepares students for careers in scholarship and research. The difference between the Ph.D. and Ed.D. is minimal, with both types of programs maintaining similarly rigorous curricular demands. The greatest difference is the Ed.D.'s greater reliance on collection of broad statistical in research, versus experimental research measuring an isolated variable under specific conditions. Course topics can include:

  • Advanced studies in education
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Education and the law
  • School improvement for leaders

Schools With Online Doctoral Programs in Educational Administration

Texas A&M University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration that puts an emphasis on administration in a public K-12 school setting. It is one of the few online doctoral programs in the state, and is also one of the largest programs. This program follows a cohort model, allowing students to interact with their peers.

Capella University provides students with an online Doctor of Philosophy program in leadership in educational administration. This program offers a specialization in school leadership for aspiring principals or district leadership for future superintendents. Each course is approximately ten weeks in length.

Walden University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Leadership, but does not provide licensure. The program does require one face-to-face residency, a doctoral capstone and a doctoral writing assignment.

Online doctoral programs in educational administration are available from several institutions, but usually require some on-campus courses or residencies. When choosing a program students should consider specializations, accreditation, licensure opportunities and more.

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