Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in Massachusetts

Updated: September 28, 2022

There are four schools in Massachusetts that offer Doctor of Education programs online. Bay Path University, Boston College, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell have EdD degrees that students can pursue through almost entirely online study, making only a few trips to campus for required residencies. A number of EdD concentrations are available through these universities, including Higher Education Administration; Organizational Leadership Studies; PK-12 Leadership in Schooling; Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership; Nonprofit Management Studies; and Organizational Leadership Studies.

Bay Path, Boston College, Northeastern, and UMass Lowell are all non-profit institutions, regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). In addition, Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development has earned accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). To learn more about these schools’ online EdD options, continue reading below.

Schools in Massachusetts with Online EdD Programs

Bay Path University, located in Longmeadow, offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership with two concentration options in Higher Education Leadership & Organization Studies, and Transformative School Leadership (K-12). The curriculum for Bay Path’s EdD in Educational Leadership is comprised of five components: 15 course credits of Signature Core or Leading Change Seminars, six course credits of Doctoral Studies Seminars, nine course credits of Research Design and Execution classes, and 12 course credits of Action-Focused Dissertation work. Through the curriculum, students learn how to manage change in diverse organizational contexts, build the capacity for different types of leadership, provide leadership development and coaching, design qualitative and quantitative research studies, and implement action-research methodologies. There are three mandatory on-campus intensives that students attend (one per year that they are enrolled), during which they connect with their faculty mentors and also engage in key milestones for their action-focused dissertation. For their dissertation, students of this program take four action-research focused dissertation courses that guide them through the process of examining an educational or organizational challenge and how to solve it through research and data analysis.

In addition to its traditional EdD in Educational Leadership, Bay Path University also has 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 and want additional intensive support to finish their research and earn their Doctorate in Education.

Boston College in Chestnut Hill offers an online EdD in Higher Education that focuses on preparing students for leadership roles in educational and organizational transformation that promote social justice, innovative education design, and mission-driven academic leadership. This program partners with Boston College’s Center for International Higher Education in order to help students integrate course content with international education contexts. Students of this program also have the option to concentrate in Catholic Higher Education. While this program features 100% online courses, it does require students to attend one week-long campus intensive every year, during the summer term. Students of this program take core classes such as Law, Policy, and Politics of Higher Education in the (Inter)National Context; Social Justice and the Foundations of Higher Education; Data Literacy; Managing Change in Higher Education; Leading Teaching and Learning; and Data-Driven Decision-Making.

Students who elect to pursue the Catholic Higher Education concentration take many of the same courses, with the addition of classes such as Catholic Higher Education and Catholic Higher Education: Administration and Leadership. As their culminating experience in the program, students complete a capstone group project, which is similar to a dissertation in that it is comprised of formal chapters including the literature review, research methodologies, data analysis, and conclusions. Through their capstone project, students investigate a specific, practice-based issue in higher education, and receive guidance from their capstone advisor during their group and individual work.

At Northeastern University in Boston, students can pursue their Doctor of Education online in one of four concentrations: Higher Education Administration, Innovative Teaching and Learning, Transformative School Leadership, Workplace Learning, and Integrative Studies. Available through the College of Professional Studies, this EdD program requires 60 credit hours and is designed to be completed in three to four years of study. While all coursework is delivered online, students must attend a total of two on-campus residencies (in their first and second years of the program), either at the main campus in Boston or satellite locations in Charlotte, North Carolina or Seattle, Washington.

The curriculum in Northeastern’s EdD program is comprised of three required foundation courses that cover the foundations of doctoral study, leadership for social justice, and the foundations of collaboration, leadership, and change. Students also take four required courses in fundamental and advanced research design, foundational research principles, and a dissertation in practice seminar. For their dissertation work specifically, students take two supporting courses that guide them through the proposal, action, and evaluation sets, as well as action research results interpretation, analysis, presentation, and dissemination. Each concentration in this program is comprised of four specialized courses. For example, the Higher Education Administration concentration offers courses in Global and Historical Perspectives on Higher Education, Organizational Systems and Institutional Governance, The Legal Environment of Higher Education, and Strategic Management in Higher Education, while the concentration in Workplace Learning has courses in Designing Workplace Learning, The Dynamics of Workplace Learning, Leading the Learning Strategy, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Workplace Learning. Students also have 15 credit hours they can devote to electives to further personalize their course of study. Topics covered in electives include experiential learning assessment and reflection, urban education, comparative global higher education, contemporary community college issues, and organizational consulting.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers a Doctor of Education in Leadership in Schooling online through their College of Education. The cohort-based program has a focus on PreK to 12th grade education, designed for professionals who want to pursue leadership roles in primary school districts, or as instructors in a college or university’s education department. Students must complete a total of 42 credits beyond their master’s or educational specialist (EdS) degree, taking two courses each semester in order to finish in three years. Courses in the program cover such topics as Applied Research Design; Organizational Learning; Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis; Strategic Partnering with Families and Communities; Systems Leadership; Program Evaluation; and Law, Policy, and Finance. There is also an optional STEM Education degree track, which includes courses in Foundations of Student Learning in STEM Fields, Leadership and Research in STEM Education, and Education Reform in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In additional to their online coursework, students must attend a weeklong campus residency each summer.

Prospective students who are interested in earning their EdD in a different specialization than the ones described above, such as Special Education, Education Technology, or Education Policy Leadership, may want to consider pursuing an online program based out of state. Many colleges and universities nationwide offer online EdD programs that accept applications from residents of Massachusetts. Some of these programs can be completed entirely online, while others require one or more on-campus residencies or other in-person activities to enhance students’ learning. To learn more about EdD specialization options and browse available programs, check out our Online EdD Program Specializations page.


Online EdD Programs in Massachusetts

The following is a list of schools in Massachusetts where students can pursue a Doctor of Education online. To learn more about any of the EdD programs described on this page, click on the corresponding link below to visit the program’s website.