Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in Alabama

Updated: January 3, 2024

There are currently two schools in Alabama that offer a Doctor of Education program online: Samford University and The University of West Alabama (UWA). Samford University offers an EdS to EdD in Educational Leadership program that has completely online coursework, but which requires two campus visits. UWA has an EdD program that focuses specifically on Rural Education, and gives students the choice between two concentration tracks: Teaching and Learning or Organizational Change and Leadership. The UWA program can be completed through entirely online study, with no required campus visits.

Both Samford University and The University of West Alabama are non-profit institutions that are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Both universities are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). To learn more about their online EdD programs, continue reading below.

Schools in Alabama with Online EdD Programs

Based in Birmingham, Samford University offers an EdS to EdD program with a focus in Educational Leadership. This 36-credit program prepares students for advanced education leadership roles requiring expertise in education policy issues and infrastructure, organizational administration, research-informed practice, and value-based change leadership. As an EdS to EdD program, this doctorate degree requires students to hold an EdS from an accredited institution in order to qualify for admission. Samford University offers an EdS program in Instructional Leadership and the option to apply to their EdD program after students complete their EdS.

Samford University’s EdD in Educational Leadership features a set sequence of 12 courses, including Educational Policy Development and Analysis, Leadership Planning, Organizational Dynamics, The Emerging School Superintendency, Foundations of Qualitative Inquiry, Ethical Issues in Education, Research Design, and Foundations of Quantitative Statistics. After completing their main coursework, students progress to their dissertation, for which they assemble a committee and identify a research question that is pertinent to their work setting and professional goals. Students are required to visit campus to defend both their dissertation proposal and their final dissertation results.

Located in Livingston, The University of West Alabama (UWA) offers its EdD in Rural Education online through the school’s Julia Tutwiler College of Education. As mentioned above, the program has two concentration tracks to choose from. The Teaching and Learning track is designed to help teachers gain practical skills suited to addressing the specific needs of rural students, while the Organizational Change and Leadership track is intended for instructional leaders, program directors, and other education professionals looking to drive innovation and enact positive change in rural education systems. Both require 60 to 66 credits, with an estimated completion time of three to four years. Courses run for eight weeks and are delivered in a flexible online format. Students are not required to visit the UWA campus at any point during their studies. Additionally, many instructors in the program use open educational resources (OER) which can be accessed digitally from anywhere, saving students the cost of purchasing traditional textbooks.

The curriculum, developed with help from partner schools and experienced superintendents, is broken down into three sections: 21 credit hours of Professional Courses, 27 credit hours of concentration track coursework, and 12 credits related to students’ applied dissertation. All students complete the Professional Courses section of the program, which contains an orientation to doctoral studies, as well as courses in Leadership for Enhanced Student Achievement, Challenges in Rural Education, Evaluating Theory and Practice, Family Engagement and Partnership Development in Rural Education, and Advanced Qualitative and Quantitative Research.

As part of the concentration coursework, both tracks include courses in Strategic Planning in a Rural Setting, Benchmark Cases in Rural Education, The Politics of Education in a Rural Setting, Building a Strong Culture and Climate in a Rural Setting, Place Based Education and Service Learning, and Independent Development Design. Students in the Organizational Change and Leadership track then take courses in areas such as Ethical Leadership, Organizational Finance and Management in a Rural Setting, and Critical Issues in Administration and Supervision, while the Teaching and Learning track contains courses in Technologies and Creative Learning, Leading Classroom Diagnostics and Interventions, and Teaching, Learning, and Leading in a Rural Setting. For their capstone, students in either track must complete a dissertation identifying a problem currently facing rural education and proposing a potential solution.

In addition to the programs offered by Samford University and The University of West Alabama, students in Alabama may want to explore online EdD programs offered by schools in other states, including the neighboring states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Students can also find additional programs categorized by specialization on our Online EdD Program Specializations page.

Online EdD Programs in Alabama

Below are links to Samford University and The University of West Alabama’s websites, where students can find more information about the online EdD programs described on this page.

Samford University

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: Orlean Beeson School of Education
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: Julia Tutwiler College of Education