Best Online EdD Programs: Top 10 Values for 2024

Author: Melissa Maypole
Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
Reading Level: Grade 9
Reading time: 5 minutes, 10 seconds
Original publication date: February 2017
Updates: 4

Teachers pursue online doctoral programs in education for a variety of different reasons. Some may be seeking an advanced position in the field of education for salary advancement purposes. Others may want to enhance their leadership skills to mentor or train fellow teachers. Still, others might want to seek positions as administrators or superintendents. No matter what the specific motive, most educators desire an online PhD program that is not only affordable but flexible as well. This ranking explores the top 10 best value higher education institutions that offer online Ed.D. programs.

Rating Methodology for the Best Online EdD Programs

Tuition Points:

Featured Programs

  • Under $30,000—1 point
  • Under $25,000—2 points
  • Under $20,000—3 points
  • Under $15,000—4 points
  • Under $10,000—5 points

Customization Options

  • Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations)—1 Point Per Option
  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Per Option

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

For this ranking, our editors searched the web for colleges and universities offering online PhD education programs. We started with an initial pool of just over 50 schools. College Navigator provided graduate tuition figures and each school’s website gave us information on program features. What resulted from this research is the following ranking of the best value schools for an online doctor of education.

Ranking of the 10 Best Online EdD Programs

#10 – Texas Tech University

Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education

Lubbock, Texas

Points: 8
Tuition and Fees: $9,518

Texas Tech University’s Worldwide eLearning program offers online PhD education programs in:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Family and Consumer Science Education
  • Special Education

All three of these degrees are delivered fully online, and the descriptions do not indicate any campus visits are required. The degrees are delivered synchronously online. Students also have to follow a specific course sequence. While all of this means students get less flexibility than other online doctorate in education programs offer, the tuition is incredible. Students have three solid programs from which they may choose.


  • Accepts CLEP, IB, dual and AP credits
  • Average student debt after graduation is significantly less than national average


  • A high student-to-faculty ratio
  • TAs teach many of the classes

#9 – University of Florida

Online PhD Education

Gainesville, Florida

Points: 9
Tuition and Fees: $12,737

The University of Florida’s distance learning program offers online PhD education degrees in:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Technology
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Instruction

All of these programs are delivered in a hybrid format, with students visiting campus at least three times. A tuition waiver is available to nonresidents after the add/drop period that cuts the tuition cost down to nearly as cheap as residential tuition. Make sure to confirm this is something you can count on with the admissions department before enrolling.


  • Highly ranked faculty
  • Fantastic networking opportunities


  • Large class sizes
  • A lack of individualized attention

#8 – University of Arkansas

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Points: 9
Tuition and Fees: $12,160

The University of Arkansas offers three online PhD in education programs:

  • Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Adult and Lifelong Learning

The Human Resource and Workforce Development Education program is completely online and trains students to apply a variety of disciplines to customer service, quality management, and management development. The Educational Leadership program requires just three weekend intensives—one per year if you attend full-time—throughout the duration of the program.


  • Great selection of academic programs
  • Fantastic resources


  • Limited diversity in student population
  • Large class sizes

#7 – City University of Seattle

Online Doctor of Education in Leadership

Seattle, Washington

Points: 10
Tuition: $12,167

City University of Seattle’s online PhD education offering is an EdD in Leadership with six concentration options. These concentrations include:

  • Inspired Teacher Leadership
  • Strategic Innovation and Decision Making
  • Nonprofit Leadership
  • Global Leadership

The program can be completed 100% online. However, students may choose to attend the orientation on campus if they wish, and optional residencies can be completed during the summer. This online doctorate in education program is ideal for students who want a good amount of flexibility both in content and in scheduling. The orientation and residencies being optional means students can do what they feel is best for themselves.


  • Military friendly
  • Flexible programming


  • Some difficulties with scholarship availability have been reported

#6 – Boise State University

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Technology

Boise, Idaho

Points: 11
Tuition and Fees: $10,486

Boise State University’s College of Education offers two online PhD education programs. The Educational Technology program is 100% online and primarily asynchronous, although students will have to participate in some synchronous activities. Specialization areas include:

  • Online Teaching and Learning
  • Technology Integration
  • Academic Technology Leadership
  • Innovative Teaching in K-12 and Higher Education
  • Educational Software Development for the Web and Mobile Platforms
  • Educational Games and Simulations


  • Great research opportunities
  • Challenging academic programs


  • Limited program flexibility
  • Lack of student diversity

#5 – Liberty University

Online Doctoral Programs in Education

Lynchburg, Virginia

Points: 11
Tuition and Fees: $8,340

Liberty University offers online doctoral programs in education in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis on organizational leadership. While each of these programs focus on slightly different aspects of school leadership, there is a lot of overlap in the positions that they prepare you for. The curriculum and instruction EdD covers curriculum design for elementary education, middle grades, secondary education, and special education.


  • Strong emphasis on student success
  • Affordable tuition


  • Conservative atmosphere may not be for everybody
  • Lack of diversity

#4 – Capella University

Online EdD

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Points: 12
Tuition: $14,175

Capella University offers eight different online EdD programs. Among these are programs like:

  • Performance Improvement Leadership
  • Adult Education
  • Personalized Competency-based Instruction

These programs are generally similar in format. They are meant to be completed in roughly three years, and most require around 64 credits. However, there are slight variations between them, especially in regard to whether or not they accept transfer credit. One of the most unique parts of this online doctorate in education degree is the capstone project, which allows students to complete a practice-based capstone instead of a traditional dissertation.


  • Regionally accredited
  • Challenging curriculum


  • Lack of enrollment screening
  • Lack of tutor availability

#3 – Concordia University-Chicago

Online Doctor of Education

River Forest, Illinois

Points: 14
Tuition: $10,782

Concordia University-Chicago is unique in that it offers over 10 different online EdD/PhD in leadership concentrations, including:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Community Colleges
  • Gerontology
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Sports Leadership

Most of these require between 60 and 67 credit hours. In all of the university’s online doctoral programs in education, students only take one course at a time in a predetermined sequence. Coursework is asynchronous, so even students with busy or unusual schedules should be able to balance their work, family, and educational responsibilities.


  • Low student-to-faculty ratio
  • Student advisor availability


  • Lack of diversity
  • Strict code of conduct may not be for everybody

#2 – University of West Georgia

Online EdD

Carrollton, Georgia

Points: 14
Tuition: $5,958

The University of West Georgia offers an EdD in School Improvement. Like many other programs in this ranking, students are expected to make one visit to campus for an intensive orientation, but all coursework is available 100% online in an asynchronous format. However, the intensive virtual dissertation prep seminar is delivered synchronously. There are nine concentrations available in this program. These include:

  • School Counseling
  • Educational Leadership
  • Instructional Technology
  • Media Specialist
  • Special Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Reading


  • Affordability
  • Challenging academics


  • A low graduation rate
  • Course offerings are limited

#1 – Northcentral University

Online EdD

San Diego, California

Points: 18
Tuition: $17,998

Northcentral University offers an online EdD with fifteen specializations for students to choose from. Some of the more uncommon specializations include Global Training and Development, International Education, Sports and Athletic Management, and Nursing Education. One unique aspect of this program is that students can enroll virtually any time. Every Monday is a new start date, so even if most other universities have closed off their online doctoral programs in education for the semester or year, you can still start earning your degree at NCU right now.


  • Program flexibility
  • Solid mentorship program


  • Some alleged fraudulent practices in the past
  • Graduation rates are lower than the national average

CVO Staff


This concludes our ranking of the best online EdD programs.