Teach the world a better way to learn. Our online EdD gives you the preparation you need to be innovative as a K12 or higher education leader.

The program is designed for working professionals and features an accelerated course schedule that can be completed in as few as two years of study. Dissertation planning and support is offered to students from the beginning of the program.

About the online EdD program

The online EdD consists of 54 credits of coursework covering academic research skills, education policy, law, administration and pedagogy, as well as dissertation advising and development.

Students can choose from two concentration options that best match their professional interests:

K-12 Leadership – Improve your capabilities in teaching and administration so you can drive improved performance, efficiency and inclusion in K–12 schools.

This concentration also includes an option to pursue certification as a superintendent. *The superintendent licensure is pending approval by the Department of Public Instruction. Candidates will complete an in-field practicum experience, which brings the total number of course credits to 57.

Higher Education Leadership – Drive operational improvement and contribute to student success as a leader in public or private two- and four-year colleges.

Program outcomes

The online EdD is a rigorous program designed to empower you to find your voice as an administrator and leader. As a graduate of this program, you will be able to:

  • Understand trends and developments in education policy and pedagogy, and evaluate them for application to curriculum planning, staff development and community outreach.
  • Describe issues facing the student population in your chosen concentration area

(K–12 or higher education) and propose ways educational communities can provide solutions or support.

  • Make informed decisions through evaluating and conducting research. Critically evaluate findings in academic literature, design and conduct research projects and analyze performance data for actionable insights.
  • Identify your personal style of ethical, transformational leadership.
  • Develop and apply your critical faculties of conceptualization, diagnosis, communication, coordination and inclusive interaction within a leadership context.

In addition to direct service in schools and higher education institutions, the skills and competencies you develop as a student in this program will equip you for policy advocacy, government service, consulting and other roles in the public or private sector.

Online EdD program structure

Our online EdD is an accelerated two-year program. If you are a K–12 Leadership student who chooses to pursue preparation for the superintendency, it may take more time to complete your degree depending on the timing of the practicum experience.

Each year of the program includes three terms: two 16-week semesters in the fall and spring and a 10-week summer term.

Fall and spring semesters include eight-week courses that explore different aspects of educational studies, as well as a 16-week seminar focusing on the dissertation and research. Summer terms include only eight-week courses from the doctoral core and your area of concentration.

Summer terms include content courses — from the doctoral core and in your concentration area.

If you pursue a superintendency practicum or require additional time to complete your dissertation, there is an option to take a seventh semester after completing all other coursework.

Curriculum for the online EdD: Rigorous preparation for advanced leadership

Coursework in our online EdD is divided among the doctoral core, dissertation preparation and your area of concentration.

Doctoral core curriculum

Courses in the doctoral core include advanced theory and practice in organizational leadership with an emphasis on change management, communication, ethical practice and fostering inclusion and equity.

  • EDD 801: Principles of Responsive and Transformational Leadership
  • EDD 803: Ethical Organizational Leadership
  • EDD 812: Equity in Diverse Educational Settings
  • EDD 814: Scholarly Communication
  • EDD 850: Transformational Leadership: Practice and Impact

Research and dissertation development

Our online EdD gives you support for developing, completing and defending your dissertation starting from the  beginning of the program.

  • EDD 800: Dissertation Advisory I
  • EDD 802: Research in Educational Contexts
  • EDD 804: Research Methods
  • EDD 810: Dissertation Advisory II
  • EDD 811: Statistics and Data Analysis
  • EDD 813: Advanced Research Methods and Data Analysis
  • EDD 820: Dissertation Advisory III
  • EDD 830: Dissertation Advisory IV
  • EDD 840: Dissertation Defense and Dissemination
  • EDD 860: Dissertation V (Optional)

K–12 Leadership concentration courses

Courses in this concentration focus on leadership for K12 schools and school districts.

  • EDD 821: Leadership, Educational Law and Policy Leadership
  • EDD 822: LEA Governance, Management and Finance
  • EDD 823: Assessment, Technology and Data for School Improvement
  • EDD 825: The Superintendency: Climate, Personnel and Supervision
  • EDD 826: Superintendency Practicum

Higher Education Leadership concentration courses

In this concentration, your coursework focuses on the complex needs of institutions of higher learning, from community colleges to research universities.

  • EDD 831: Higher Education Legal Issues and Accreditation
  • EDD 832 Higher Education Curriculum and Assessment
  • EDD 833: Assessment, Technology and Data in Higher Education Settings
  • EDD 835: Higher Education Roles, Responsibilities and Leadership

Admissions requirements and how to apply

To apply to the online EdD, you should be an active professional in education or administration, with at least three years of relevant experience as well as a master's degree.

If you choose to pursue the K–12 Leadership concentration, you must also hold a clear, renewable teaching license in your state.

Application materials

To apply to the online EdD program, you must:

  • Submit official undergraduate and graduate transcripts showing completion of a master’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, which was earned from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Submit a professional resume detailing at least three years of experience in education.
  • Submit three letters of reference from individuals in leadership roles in the applicant’s chosen area of concentration attesting that the applicant has the ability to engage in studies at the doctoral level and to conduct research.
  • Complete a personal interview with a member of the graduate faculty representing the applicant’s preferred area of concentration. If distance is a factor, an electronic medium may be used for the interview.
  • Submit a written statement of your professional goals and potential topic of research interest.
  • Provide a 750–1500-word writing sample.

If you are a student whose first language is not English, you must provide official TOEFL examination scores, demonstrating a minimum score of 550 (written), 213 (computer) or 79 (Internet).

Become the leader today’s schools need

Find your voice as an educational leader with Alverno College. Contact us about the Online EdD today!