Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in California

Updated: February 27, 2024

There are currently eight schools in California that offer EdD programs online: California Baptist University, California State University Channel Islands, Fresno State, Loyola Marymount University, National University, San Jose State University, the University of Massachusetts Global Campus in Irvine, and the University of Southern California. Students who are interested in earning their EdD online from a school in California can choose from programs that focus on areas such as Organizational Change and Administration, Educational Leadership for Equity and Justice, Organizational Innovation, and Organizational Change and Leadership. Additionally, depending on the program they select, students can also select further specializations or concentrations like K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings, Sport and Athletic Management, Learning Analytics in Higher Education, International Education and Globalization, and Community College/Higher Education Leadership.

All of the schools listed on this page are non-profit universities regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Schools in California with Online EdD Programs

California Baptist University, located in Riverside, offers an online EdD in Organizational Change and Administration through its Department of Online and Professional Studies. This program is comprised of 56 credits and follows a cohort model, with 100% online classes spanning eight weeks. The curriculum for the online EdD in Organizational Change and Administration focuses on organizational strategy and leadership, human resources management, data-informed program planning and innovation, fostering multiculturalism and diversity, contemporary organizations and their structures, and advanced qualitative and quantitative research. After completing their main courses, students progress to their dissertation work, where they examine a research question that is relevant to their place of work and desired impact on educational and/or organizational settings. There is no residency requirement for this program.

California State University Channel Islands has an online EdD in Educational Leadership for Equity and Justice with specialization options in P-12 Leadership and Community College Leadership. This program is delivered almost entirely online, though students are required to attend one-week residencies every summer during their enrollment. Students must complete 60 semester credits to complete this doctoral program, with 18 credits of foundational core courses that cover diversity, equity, and inclusion; social justice; leadership for transformational change; equitable assessments and using program evaluations for accountability; and equity-focused educational reform. There are also 19 credits of required research methodology courses, followed by specialization courses that students choose in consultation with their advisors, but which can include classes on disabilities studies, human resource administration, educational technology, early childhood education leadership, community college administration, and higher education fiscal planning. For their culminating experience, students create and present an e-portfolio before embarking on a dissertation through which they examine a problem of practice relevant to their professional interests.

California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) offers an Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership through its Kremen School of Education & Human Development. The program can be pursued in one of two specializations: PK-12 Educational Leadership or Community College/Higher Education Leadership. A total of 60 units are required to earn the degree, which is designed to be completed in three years of full-time study. The curriculum is comprised of nine core courses, seven specialization courses, and 12 hours of dissertation units, and students complete their course of study in cohorts of 10 to 12. While the majority of coursework is delivered online through the Canvas learning management system, the program does include three on-campus residencies on the Fresno State campus, each approximately one week in length.

Loyola Marymount University offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, which can be completed 100% online and is designed to be completed within three years of full-time study. This program is comprised of 46 credits, and includes courses that cover topics such as leadership for social justice in educational settings, transformational leadership for improving student achievement, education policy, fiscal and human resources management, and research for educational improvement. In their third year of the program, students focus on their dissertation, through which they examine a social justice-focused problem of practice and receive guidance and support from faculty through research and dissertation seminars, as well as a doctoral colloquia.

National University in La Jolla offers an Online EdD in Organizational Innovation through its Sanford College of Education and Center for Advanced Graduate Studies. This program features 100% online coursework that utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous components. There is a mandatory three-day summer orientation that students are strongly encouraged to attend in-person; however, students who are unable to travel for the orientation can request to complete their orientation synchronously through Zoom. The nine-course, 81-unit curriculum is designed to prepare professionals with the advanced knowledge necessary to facilitate innovation and enact positive change in any organization, and includes courses in areas such as theories and methods of inquiry, knowledge management, innovation in education, emerging issues and trends, and collaboration and ethical practice. Students can expect to finish the program in three years, but have up to seven years to complete their required Culminating Project.

National University also offers three EdD programs online through its School of Education. The first is a Doctor of Education with 17 different specialization options, including Curriculum and Teaching; Early Childhood Education; E-Learning; English Language Learning; General Education; Instructional Leadership; International Education and Globalization; Leadership in Higher Education; Learning Analytics in Higher Education; Learning Analytics in K-12 Education; Nursing Education; Organizational Leadership; School Safety, Security, and Emergency Management; Social-Emotional Learning; Special Education; Sport and Athletic Management; and Trauma-Informed Educational Practices. The fully online program boasts weekly start dates (every Monday), asynchronous instruction, no group assignments, and no campus visit requirements. Each degree track consists of 16 courses (48 credit hours) and is designed to be completed in 40 months. This online program also features an All But Dissertation (ABD) option for students who have completed most or all of their EdD coursework at another institution, but who have not completed their dissertation. This ABD track gives students intensive support and an accelerated sequence of classes that help them get back on track with their dissertation and earn their doctorate degree.

National University’s School of Education also offers an online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and an online Doctor of Education in Instructional Design. Both are comprised of 54 credit hours and require the completion of 18 courses. The online EdD in Educational Leadership is a 45-month program, for those interested in obtaining advanced knowledge and skills related to leading in a variety of educational settings, from the PK-12 system to corporate learning environments. The Instruction Design program, which takes 36 months to complete, helps prepare students to develop and manage advanced educational or training programs for schools, businesses, government, the military, and more. Both programs are delivered entirely online, and students are not required to visit campus at any point during their studies. In addition, both the online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and the Doctor of Education in Instructional Design have ABD tracks for qualified applicants.

San Jose State University has an online EdD in Educational Leadership that prepares students to promote collaborative learning and equity-oriented decision-making in educational organizations and other learning communities. This program consists of 60 units, which students can complete over the course of three years or 9 semesters of full-time study. Courses in this program cover topics such as organizational behavior and change, educational policy and school reform, assessment and evaluation, education and leadership in global contexts, communication for educational leadership, and systems thinking for leadership in complex contexts. Upon completing their content coursework, students embark on research methodology courses that cover qualitative and quantitative methods before they delve into several proseminars that are designed to prepare them for their dissertation work. The dissertation consists of 12 credits of independent research under the supervision of a faculty chair and committee, wherein the student investigates an education issue or problem and develops, implements, and evaluates a tactical solution. While this program is delivered online, students have the option to engage in a two-week global experience that is designed to expand their perspective on education structures, customs and cultures, access, and equity.

The University of Massachusetts Global Campus, which formerly operated as Brandman University and whose administration is located in Irvine, California, offers an Online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. This program is comprised of 57 total course credits, with students taking classes in organizational communication, conflict management, team management, transformational leadership, strategic thinking, education assessment and accountability, diversity and multiculturalism in leadership, innovative and sustainable change, assessment and accountability in education, and educational and organizational resource management. In addition, students take advanced qualitative and quantitative research courses to prepare them for their work on their dissertation. The program requires two in-person immersion sessions on the Irvine campus and has both virtual and in-person cohorts that meet two times per term. In-person cohorts are formed throughout California near University of Massachusetts Global Campus’s campus locations depending on the number of students.

The University of Southern California’s (USC) Rossier School of Education, located in Los Angeles, offers a total of three EdD degree tracks online. The first option is a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings. Comprised of 43 units, this primarily online program is designed to be completed in three years, and includes one two-day immersion on the USC University Park Campus, where students attend orientation events and meet their classmates and instructors face to face. After that, they begin a 15-course curriculum, featuring courses in topics such as Foundations of Urban Education, Resourcing Schools for Equity and Excellence, Leadership Enactment, Education Policy and Politics, Advanced Research Methods, and Leading for Instructional Improvement.

USC’s other online offering is an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership (OCL) with two different program tracks: one that requires a master’s degree and one that only requires a bachelor’s (although applicants must have significant professional experience in leadership roles). Students entering the program without a master’s degree can expect to complete their EdD in four years, taking the full 60-unit OCL curriculum. Those already possessing a master’s are admitted to the program with advanced standing status, and are only required to take 43 units over three years in order to earn their degree. Both pathways include courses such as Creativity and Innovation, Leadership, Diversity, Accountability, Education Performance Problems, Using Communication to Facilitate Organizational Change, and Evaluating and Assessing System Outcomes. While the majority of the OCL program is delivered online, it does include one mandatory two-day orientation event on the USC campus.


Online EdD Programs in California

Below is a list of all the online EdD programs offered by schools in California. To learn more about any of these degree programs, click on the corresponding program name below to visit the school’s website.

California Baptist University

(Riverside)
Accreditation: WSCUC
Department: Online and Professional Studies
Programs:
Accreditation: WSCUC
Accreditation: WSCUC
Accreditation: WSCUC, CAEP
Department: School of Education
Programs:

National University

(La Jolla)
Accreditation: WSCUC
Department: Sanford College of Education - Center for Advanced Graduate Studies
Programs:
Department: School of Education
Programs:
Accreditation: WSCUC
Department: Connie L. Lurie College of Education
Programs:

University of Massachusetts Global

(Irvine)
Accreditation: WSCUC
Department: School of Education
Programs:

University of Southern California

(Los Angeles)
Accreditation: WSCUC, CAEP