Online EdD Programs in Education Administration and Leadership

Online EdD programs with a concentration in Education Administration and Leadership prepare students to assume leadership positions at a variety of academic and education-related institutions, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, post-baccalaureate training programs, school districts, education non-profits, and government organizations. This program concentration focuses on organizational leadership (coordinating amongst different parties within a system to ensure the delivery of quality education), educational program evaluation and improvement, promoting diversity in academic settings, conducting education-related research, and using research findings to inform programs to improve education outcomes.

Curriculum for Online EdD Programs in Education Administration and Leadership

EdD programs typically require the completion of 40-70 course credits over the course of 3 to 5 years of study. Programs are generally comprised of a set of core courses followed by specialization courses, electives, and dissertation-related classes. Core courses for EdD programs cover the foundations of teaching and learning, including concepts in learning theory, educational program development, educational assessment, and principles of communication and community-building. Examples of these courses may include:

  • Foundational Concepts in Teaching and Learning: A discussion of the various definitions and types of learning. Visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic learning styles and the role each plays in a student’s academic development. The ways in which a student’s environment affects his or her learning, and how to create a supportive community around student learning and progress.
  • Education Systems and Policies: An overview of the American education system at the K-12, post-secondary, and graduate levels, and the standards of educational attainment at these levels. The economic and political factors at the community, state, and national levels that affect students’ access to quality education.
  • Structural Inequality in Education Systems: An exploration of the common challenges that K-12 students face in their education system, including a discussion of these challenges’ history and origins. How socioeconomic, racial, political, and other structural issues affect students’ education outcomes and access to the resources and support they need to progress.
  • Strategies for Education Reform: A discussion of how teachers, school administrators, and other leaders in education can improve educational outcomes at the individual, group, and systemic levels. How to identify the causes of problems in educational accessibility and quality and address them. This course may consist of a combination of lectures and case analyses where students are presented with a specific school dilemma and are asked to diagnose the problem and identify opportunities for improvements.

Following their completion of the foundational classes in their program, students progress to the coursework that focuses on education administration and leadership. Specific course titles and content may vary somewhat from program to program, but examples of typical concentration classes include:

  • Organizational Leadership in Educational Settings: The methods of educating individuals and groups within a larger organized system, and the research and theories underpinning these methods. Teaching as a form of leadership, and how to engage different groups (ex. young students, adult students, working professionals, etc.) in learning initiatives, establish educational benchmarks, and meet these benchmarks.
  • Education Program Evaluation and Improvement: How to create and modify educational programs for students of all age groups by evaluating learning needs, developing curricula and educational materials, seeking and obtaining funding, addressing staffing needs, and assessing learning outcomes.
  • Creating and Managing a Culture of Learning: How to create and manage a community that is invested in learning through data-driven improvement processes, student advocacy, identification of learning outcome goals, and the development of programs and processes that aim to support across different academic and professional contexts.
  • Education Leadership Practicum: Students complete an internship experience that allows them to apply the concepts they have learned in classes to real work with students or professionals while under the supervision of a mentor. Students must select an internship site that allows them to work in organizational and/or educational leadership.

In addition to concentration coursework, some EdD programs give students the option of taking education-related elective courses that are outside of their specific academic focus, but which are relevant to their desired profession post-graduation. These classes may be from a different EdD concentration at the same program, or be education-related courses from an entirely different department. Examples of these courses may include:

  • Diversity and Multiculturalism: The importance of diversity and multiculturalism in educational settings, and how to promote an environment that welcomes multiple cultures and perspectives through diversity education, anti-discrimination programs, and other initiatives.
  • Collaboration and Communication: The methods and principles of effective communication for both instructors and students. Team and group dynamics and the necessary skills for effective collaboration and communication in a variety of settings.

In the final terms of their program, most EdD students are required to complete a dissertation, which is a capstone research project that investigates a problem in the educational system and seeks to find potential causes and solutions to this problem. Students receive academic credits for their work on their dissertation, often in structured courses and through their own individual work under the supervision of a research mentor.

For more information about the dissertation component of EdD programs, please refer to our Dissertations and Research Requirements for EdD Programs page.

To learn more about online EdD programs, we also have pages dedicated to the Structure of Online EdD Programs and Admission Requirements for Online EdD Programs, for students who want more information.

Career Paths for Graduates of EdD Programs in Education Administration & Leadership

EdD programs in Education Administration and Leadership provide students with a diverse set of skills in organizational leadership and an in-depth knowledge of the educational system and how to optimize learning outcomes for students at different grade levels. Examples of jobs for graduates of these types of programs include but are not limited to:

  • College and University Deans: College and university deans oversee the daily operations of a college or university department. For academic departments, a dean’s responsibilities may include supervising the development and implementation of academic programs within that department, overseeing faculty research and instruction, and managing non-curricular programming for students and teachers within the department.
  • College and University Directors: College and university directors typically manage non-academic departments at an institution of higher education, such as the Office of Admissions, Career Services Department, the Office of Financial Aid, or the Office of Education Accessibility. Academic directors may fulfill such operational responsibilities as coordinating admissions interviews, managing career education and counseling services, overseeing the review of financial aid applications, or working to ensure school campuses are compliant with the American Disabilities Act.
  • Primary or Secondary School Principals: School principals oversee the daily operations of the school(s) under their supervision. They coordinate teacher schedules and curricula, manage the performance and professional development of teachers and other school personnel, manage school budgets in collaboration with other office staff, and seek to uphold district and state educational standards. Principals also work to ensure that school campuses remain safe, accessible, and positive learning environments for all students.
  • School District Superintendent: School superintendents are the heads of their school district, which is typically comprised of a school board and other staff that oversee the operations and performance of several schools in a region. School superintendents work with principals, teachers, parents, and education advocates to monitor and maintain the quality of education at their schools. They manage school district budgets, supervise updates to school facilities, and oversee the development of and updates to educational programs.