Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in Minnesota

Updated: May 1, 2024

There are eight schools in the state of Minnesota that offer Doctor of Education programs online. Bethel University, Concordia University-St. Paul, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, The College of St. Scholastica, the University of St. Thomas, and Winona State University all have EdD degrees students can complete online, with limited or no required visits to campus. A total of 11 online programs are available through these institutions, in specializations ranging from Higher Education Leadership and K-12 Administration to Music Education, Organizational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Evaluation and Assessment, and Leadership in Student Affairs.

All eight schools listed on this page are nonprofit universities regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Minnesota State University Moorhead has also chosen to pursue programmatic accredtiation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Schools in Minnesota with Online EdD Programs

Located in St. Paul, Bethel University offers two different EdD programs online through its Graduate School: a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership and a Doctor of Education in K-12 Administration with optional tracks in Special Education, Superintendent, and Principle licensure. Both degrees require a total of 61 credits and can be completed in as few as three years. Students of the EdD in Higher Education Leadership take courses in areas such as organizational leadership in higher education, curriculum design and instructional management in higher education, leadership in a complex and pluralistic society, leadership of academic and support systems in higher education, institutional assessment, strategic leadership, and legal issues in higher education. Students of the EdD in K-12 Administration take courses on the principles of organizational leadership, meeting the needs of K-12 education stakeholders, measurement and assessment, personnel administration and institutional operations, resource management in K-12 education, administration of essential education programs, and initiating and managing change as a school administrator.

Bethel’s two EdD programs are delivered almost entirely online, except for an annual weeklong intensive that takes place on the Bethel campus each year. Students in the K-12 Administration program can also select a track in Principal, Superintendent, or Special Education licensure; these tracks involve students fulfilling an advanced internship in their desired area of licensure. Bethel’s Administrative Licenses Program is approved by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators and can be completed as part of the EdD program without any extra required courses. However, earning licensure is not guaranteed and entails submitting an application independently of completing the EdD in K-12 Administration.

Concordia University-St. Paul offers an online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program through its College of Education. A total of 64 credit hours are required to earn the degree, with students focusing their studies on three main areas: exemplary leadership models and ethics, how to produce and evaluate research aimed at improving organizations, and their own unique doctorate field experience and dissertation work. The curriculum in the program includes courses such as Organizational Theory, Influences and Assessment of Public Policy, Data and Quantitative Analysis, Solutions Based Leadership, Strategic Advancement, Leadership and Scholarship Coaching, Qualitative Research Methods, and Research Design. While the majority of coursework takes place online, students are required to attend two five-day on-campus residencies. The first, titled Leadership and Problems of Practice, centers on advancing students’ “personal equity journey as a leader,” helping them shape their specific passion into a potential dissertation topic. During the second residency, students further refine their dissertation plan, research methodology, and associated leadership skills, before devoting much of their remaining time in the program to completion of the project.

St. Cloud State University offers an online EdD in Higher Education Administration that is 100% online, and which prepares students for advanced administrative roles in higher education settings. This 72-credit program features eight and 16 week course sequences. Students take a Higher Education Core that includes courses such as College and University Leadership, Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education, Community Building, Higher Education Law, Organizational Theory in Higher Education Administration, and Planning and Change in Higher Education. Students also take several key Research Core Courses that train them in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, as well as research design and evaluation. Electives in the program include Curriculum and the Academic Program in Higher Education, Governance and Policy Development in Higher Education, Organization and Administration of Student Affairs, College Student Development Theory, and Special Topics in Higher Education. As their culminating experience, all students are required to complete a dissertation, wherein they design their own research study around a problem of practice that is directly relevant to the field of higher education administration. All students receive guidance and support from a dissertation chair and committee during their work on their culminating experience.

Minnesota State University Moorhead offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership with areas of study in P-12 Leadership and Higher Education Leadership. This 72-credit program prepares P-12 and post-secondary educators for leadership roles that involve fostering diverse, social justice-oriented, and technologically rich learning environments. Students take core courses such as Quantitative Methods in Educational Research; Qualitative Methods in Educational Research; Educational Law and Policy: Historical, Political, and Global Perspectives; Fiscal Management for Educational Growth and Change; Instructional Models for Learners and Leaders; Emerging Issues in Supervision and Administration; and Strategic Assessment and Accountability in Education. After their core courses, students can take electives such as Social, Cultural, Political, and Community Dimensions of Education; Curriculum, Instruction, & Learning Theory; Instructional Models; College Student Development; Introduction to Student Affairs and College Counseling in Higher Education; Personnel, Supervision, and Staff Development; and various seminars in Community Education, Special Education Director, Athletic and Activity Director, and other areas.

Students’ culminating experience in the program is a dissertation through which they investigate a problem of practice that affects their professional arena, and find ways to address this problem. Students are also required to attend two one-week summer residencies. For the first residency, which is entitled Building a Compassionate Community of Scholars, students engage in discussions about the meaning of compassionate leadership, and how empathy comes into play when fostering productive relationships with various stakeholders in the development of effective learning systems. For their second summer residency, students focus on the first three chapters of their dissertation under the guidance of their dissertation chair, and present their proposal defense before their dissertation committee.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN) in Winona has an online EdD in Leadership with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership. Offered through their Graduate School of Education, the program consists of 61 credits and is designed to be completed in less than four years. Students begin by taking an orientation course, then delve into a 12-credit Organizational Leadership core comprised of courses in Leadership Theory, Organization Development, Organizational Effectiveness, and Ethical Dimensions in Organizational Leadership. The curriculum also includes a 15-credit Education Core, with courses such as Communication and Power in Learning Settings, Theories of Adult Learning, Instructional Strategies & Techniques for Adult Learners, and Systematic Instructional Design, and a 12-credit Inquiry Core, focusing on topics such as Advanced Research Writing, Techniques for Research, and Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design and Methods. Students round out their studies by choosing nine credits of electives relevant to their professional interests, and subsequently complete 13 credits associated with their dissertation and comprehensive capstone examination.

SMUMN’s EdD in Leadership program combines synchronous and asynchronous online instruction with three annual weekend residencies, which take place over five days during each summer semester (typically in mid-July).

The Graduate School of Education at SMUMN also offers an online Executive Doctor of Education in Leadership program designed for professionals with ten or more years of professional experience in fields such as healthcare, technology, finance, sales and government. The Executive EdD curriculum is comprised of 39 credits and can be completed in two years, roughly the half the time it takes to complete the school’s online EdD in Organizational Leadership program. Students in the program are required to complete a project-based capstone rather than a dissertation. The curriculum focuses on the application of organizational leadership theories to practical decision-making, assessments, and adult learning. Students complete a 12-credit leadership core, 15 credits of education coursework, and six credits of required courses that focus on writing and research. In addition, students choose two electives from Graduate School of Education offerings in topics such as knowledge development, creativity and innovation, social justice, and Lasallian leadership traditions. The Executive EdD program is fully online and does not require students to attend a summer residency session or any other campus visits.

University of St. Thomas, Minnesota in Minneapolis offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Learning online through its School of Education. Students can choose to pursue their degree in one of five concentrations: PK-12 Administration, Higher Education Administration, Music Education, Leadership in Student Affairs, Adult Learning, or Learning Technology Leadership and Innovation. Each track requires the completion of 66 credits, including a dissertation, and takes roughly four years to finish. Along with electives in their particular concentration, all students take core courses such as Education Leaders and Learners, Scholars and Researchers in Education, Leadership for Social Justice in Education, Research Paradigms in Education, Classic and Contemporary Readings in Education, Quantitative Research Methods, and Qualitative Methods of Research and Evaluation, as well as a number of credits associated with their dissertation work. All of the coursework in this cohort-based program can be completed online; however, students are required to attend a Summer Residency on campus each year of their studies, during the summer.

St. Thomas also offers a number of other opportunities for online students to gain hands-on training while completing their degree, such as a Leadership in the Global Contexts of Ghana overseas trip, real-world field experiences in a variety of professional areas, and community partnerships with local organizations such as the Northwest Suburban Integration District, Center for Academics and Sports, FAIR School, and the Collaborative Urban Educators program.

The College of St. Scholastica offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership with a curriculum that is rooted in social justice scholarship and action. This 60-credit program is comprised of core courses that cover topics such as Foundations for Equitable Leadership; Equity and Social Justice in Action; Contemporary Learning Science; Leadership for Social Change; and Systems Thinking and Innovation for the Social Sector. Students also engage in a required Laboratories of Practice course where students must identify a social justice or equity challenge and design a solution in a real professional environment using transformational theoretical frameworks. The College of St. Scholastica offers students nine Elective Strands that incorporate coursework from other departments to provide students with interdisciplinary training in their area of interest within education leadership and social change. These Elective Strands are in the following areas: Applied Data Analytics, Change Leadership, Chemistry, Computer Science Education, Culturally Responsive Practice, Educational Technology, Literacy Instruction, Project Management, and Special Education. Students are also able to tailor their elective choices to their individual interests, as long as they discuss their course plans with their academic advisor.

The College of St. Scholastica’s EdD program features an embedded dissertation, wherein students identify problems of practice in their place of work early on in their enrollment, and work with faculty through a capstone project to achieve several dissertation milestones even as they complete their courses. Finally, students attend four residencies on the College’s Duluth campus—one during each of the summers that they are enrolled in the program.

Winona State University offers an online EdD with suggested Emphasis Areas in Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, Organizational Leadership, Evaluation and Assessment, Instructional Technology, and K-12 Licensure/Educational Leadership (though students can also shape their own emphasis area in consultation with program advisors). This program, which is comprised of 57 semester hours, prepares educators at the P-12, community college, and higher education levels to use data-informed strategies to improve academic programming and education systems, evaluate programs effectively, and cultivate inclusive learning environments across different academic contexts. Students of this program take courses such as Transforming Education Through Technology; Multiple Perspectives of Teaching and Learning; Policy, Politics, and Change; Current Trends and Issues; Multicultural Perspectives in Community and Educational Practices; Program Evaluation; Qualitative Research Methods; and Quantitative Research Methods. They also have the option of taking a wide variety of electives according to their interests and goals, selecting nine semester hours of electives in consultation with their faculty advisors. Once students have completed their content courses, they progress to their dissertation, wherein they work on answering a research question that is of direct and practical import to their field of practice. While this program is offered online, students must attend an academic residency for two consecutive summers while enrolled in the program, during which they participate in scholarly activities with their cohort peers and also engage with faculty to build their skills in scholarly inquiry, their mastery of research techniques, and their development of professional insight.

For those who wish to earn their EdD in a different specialization than the ones described above, such as Adult Learning and Leadership, Nursing Education, and Community College Leadership, there are many out-of-state online EdD programs that accept students who are residents of Minnesota. Some of these programs can be completed entirely online, while others require limited campus residencies, during which students meet course faculty and classmates for hands-on learning and networking. To learn more about EdD specialization options and browse available programs, check out our Online EdD Program Specializations page.

Online EdD Programs in Minnesota

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

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Department: Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, CAEP
Department: College of Education & Human Services - Department of Leadership & Learning

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Department: Graduate School of Education

St. Cloud State University

(St. Cloud)
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Department: School of Education - Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education