Typically taking three to four years to complete, doctoral programs in education are rarely offered through completely online, though hybrid format are available as well. On-site requirements -- including presentations, in-person instruction, internships, dissertations, and short residencies -- are common. Professional experience and/or a master's degree in a related field may be required.
Graduates of online Doctor of Education programs are able to seek upper-level leadership positions within education, such as superintendent, principal or college instructor. Some online doctorate programs do not satisfy state-specific licensure requirements for public school teachers or administrators, so students seeking licensure should research the requirements for the state in which they wish to teach.
Liberty University's Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) candidates can choose to concentrate in either educational leadership or curriculum and instruction. Students in both concentrations take online core coursework that includes the following:
- Research methods
- Educational psychology
- Leadership theories and principles
- Foundations of education
- Professional writing
Liberty University's online doctoral education program offers a rolling admissions format, with eight different start dates throughout the year. Applicants must have a master's degree in education or a related area to be eligible for admittance. Although the 60-credit-hour program is mainly conducted online, there are three intensive classes that must be taken on campus, in addition to an on-site defense of a 6-credit-hour doctoral dissertation.
New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University (NMSU) offers prospective online doctoral students the choice of a Doctor of Education program (Ed.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership (Ph.D. or ELDP) program.
The ELDP is run via a hybrid system, incorporating in-person classes and the online learning management system called Blackboard. Both an advanced internship and dissertation are required in these programs. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program are required to complete 78 credits, while those in the Ed.D. program must fulfill 63 credits. Coursework topics explored in these programs include the following:
- Qualitative and quantitative research
- Education financial management
- Higher education law
- Education administration foundations
- Evaluation design
- Education funding
Candidates seeking entry into the ELDP program at NMSU are required to hold a bachelor's and a master's degree, in any academic subject, from an accredited institute of higher learning. They must also have experience as a higher education professional, K-12 teacher or K-12 administrator.
A small number of fully online educational doctoral programs exist, though not all meet the requirements for state licensure. Education doctoral programs typically include emphases in areas such as research methodology, leadership, psychology, financial management and school law.