Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in Kentucky

Updated: May 1, 2024

The state of Kentucky is home to six schools that offer Doctor of Education (EdD) degrees online. Morehead State University, Murray State University, Spalding University, the University of Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands, and Western Kentucky University each have an EdD program students can complete through online study, with little or no campus-based requirements. A wide range of degree specializations are available online through these institutions, including Higher Education Leadership, PreK-12 Leadership, Organizational Leadership, STEM Leadership, Agriculture Education, Counselor Education/Supervision, and more.

All six schools listed on this page are nonprofit universities regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Certain programs or departments detailed below may also be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)*.

Schools in Kentucky with Online EdD Programs

At Morehead State University (MSU), student can pursue a Doctor of Education online in one of five specializations: Adult and Higher Education Leadership, Career & Technical Education Leadership, P-12 Administrative Leadership, Educational Technology Leadership, and Exceptional Child Leadership (Special Education). Offered by the school’s College of Education, the program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours total, with the curriculum in each track consisting of an 18-hour Program Core, 18 hours of Applied and Capstone Courses, 12 hours of specialization coursework, and 12 hours in an Alternative Area of Emphasis. The Program Core, which all students complete, includes courses in Principles of Leadership; Understanding and Conducting Research; Analysis and Synthesis: Problem Framing and Problem Solving; Action Research and Grant Writing; Educational Change: Change Theory, Futuring and Creative Planning, and Legal and Ethical Issues: The Exercise of Judgement in Education.

Along with courses in their chosen specialization, students must choose an additional emphasis area that aligns directly with their long-term professional goals. For example, the Adult and Higher Education Leadership track offers students the chance to further specialize in areas such as Community College, Teaching ESL, Legal and Policy Studies in Adult and Higher Education, or Global Adult and Higher Education. While the majority of MSU’s EdD program is delivered online, the degree does require some on-campus residencies, determined by the school on an annual basis.

Murray State University offers an online Doctor of Education in P-20 and Community Leadership through its College of Education and Human Services. The 60-credit program offers students the choice to specialize in pK-12 Leadership, Postsecondary Leadership, STEM Leadership, or Agriculture Education. All four concentrations include the same 42-credit core curriculum, comprised of courses in Advanced Educational Research, Foundations of P-20 Education, Development of P-20 Leaders, Individual Leadership Development, Organizational Leadership, Educational Entrepreneurism, and more. The remaining 18 credits consist of coursework in one’s specialization area, as well as related electives. The Postsecondary Leadership track, for instance, requires students to complete courses in Academic Program Management and Evaluation, Postsecondary Instructional Support Systems, and Organization and Operations in Postsecondary Education, along with nine hours of approved electives.

Murray State’s P-20 and Community Leadership EdD program is fully online, with no campus visit requirements. It also offers an EdS to EdD bridge option, which allows individuals who already possess an Educational Specialist degree to transfer up to 30 post-master’s credit hours toward completion of their doctorate.

Spalding University offers an online EdD in Leadership through its College of Education. This 60-credit program features a set curriculum with courses in leadership theory, systems theory and leadership, academic writing and research, ethical leadership, innovative leadership and creative change, identification and analysis of organizational challenges, and doctoral research methodologies and problem solving. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to analyze both historical and modern issues in educational leadership, education access, and organizational innovation. The culminating experience for this program is a Leadership Capstone, which is the equivalent of a doctoral dissertation.

The University of Kentucky in Lexington offers an online EdD program in Educational Leadership featuring 46 credits of completely online courses that incorporate a mix of asynchronous and synchronous instruction. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership prepares students to step into advanced education leadership roles and to enact meaningful education systems improvements through their training in mixed methods action research, organizational change strategies, and leadership principles. Classes that students take include Leadership in Educational Organizations, Leadership for Organizational Learning, Design Thinking in Education, Introduction to Action Research, Research in Educational Leadership, and Leadership for Creative Problem Solving. While a substantial portion of the program’s course content is delivered asynchronously, students must engage in synchronous online activities 5-6 times per year. After completing their content courses, students progress to their dissertation work, assembling a committee of faculty mentors and presenting a research proposal on a problem of practice in their field. During their third and fourth years in the program, students focus primarily on their dissertation, culminating in a final defense.

Located in Williamsburg, the University of the Cumberlands offers a Doctorate in Educational Leadership online, designed for working educators and administrators who want to develop advanced practitioner and strategic problem-solving skills. Available through their School of Education, the program entails a total of 60 credit hours and can be completed in less than three years. Students can choose to pursue their EdD in one of ten Specialty Areas: Criminal Justice, Education, English, Health Professions, Health Science, Mathematics, Missions and Ministry, Nursing, Student Personnel Services (Higher Education), and Instructional Technology. Students of this program take core courses in The Politics of Organizational Decision-Making, Program Planning and Assessment, Higher Education in America, Leadership in Theory and Practice, and The Change Process. They also take Professional Research courses such as Inferential Statistics in Decision-Making, Qualitative Research, Advanced Research Methods, Professional Writing and Proposal Development, and a Dissertation Seminar. After these foundational courses, students take classes specific to their Specialty Area; examples of specialty-specific classes include Corrections Administration, School Program Improvement, Foundations of Instructional Technologies, and Theoretical Basis for Advanced Nursing Practice.

Finally, Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership through its College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. This 60-credit program is designed to be completed in three years, with cohorts starting each Spring. Students begin their studies by taking an orientation to the doctoral program, followed by courses in Leadership Theories and Ethics, Change Theory and Practice, Leading the Organization, Research Methods and Design for Educational Leaders, Individual and Group Issues in Leadership, Program Evaluation for Educational Leaders, and Measurement and Survey Methods for Educational Leaders. In addition, students take several research courses, including Qualitative Research in Education, Field Methods for Qualitative Research, Intermediate Statistics and Design, and a Seminar in Advanced Research Methods. All students are required to complete an Educational Leadership Doctoral Program Internship in addition to their work on their dissertation. For their electives, students can choose between courses in Strategic Leadership and/or Leading Innovation, Creativity, and Change, and may select other courses in consultation with their program advisor.

WKU’s online EdD program in Educational Leadership requires two weeklong summer residency experiences, where students connect with classmates, learn from faculty in person, and attend lectures from nationally recognized guest speakers.

Online EdD Programs in Kentucky

The following is a list of all the schools in Kentucky that offer EdD programs online. To learn more about any of the degrees described above, click on the corresponding link below to visit the program’s website.

Murray State University

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP

Spalding University

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: College of Education

University of Kentucky

Accreditation: SACSCOC
Department: College of Education - Department of Educational Leadership Studies
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

*The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredits master’s and doctoral programs in counseling and counseling education.