Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in North Carolina

Updated: April 29, 2024

There are currently three schools in North Carolina where students can pursue a Doctor of Education degree online. Appalachian State University, The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro offer EdD programs that feature completely online coursework and minimal on-campus requirements. A number of degree specializations are available through these universities, including Higher Education Leadership, Organizational Learning and Leadership, PreK-12 Educational Administration, Instructional Technology Leadership, Kinesiology, and more.

Appalachian State, UNC Chapel Hill, and UNC Greensboro are non-profit institutions, regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Appalachian State’s Reich College of Education, UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Education, and UNC Greensboro’s School of Health and Human Sciences are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation (CAEP).

Schools in North Carolina with Online EdD Programs

Located in Boone, Appalachian State University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership through its Reich College of Education which can be pursued online in one of five concentrations: Interdisciplinary Studies, Higher Education, Educational Administration (PreK-12), Literacies in Exceptionalities, and Instructional Technology Leadership. The part-time program is designed for educators interested in high-level positions in organizational leadership, such as dean/associate dean, provost, department chair, or chancellor/vice chancellor. The Higher Education and Educational Administration concentrations also offer dual degree tracks, allowing students to earn an EdS alongside their EdD.

Appalachian State’s Educational Leadership EdD program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours and is comprised of a 33-credit core curriculum, 15 to 18 credit hours of elective/concentration courses, six to nine credits associated with students’ dissertation, and three to six internship credit hours. All students can expect to take courses in areas such as Organizational and Systems Theory, Leadership in Organizations, Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods, Writing for the Professional Educator, Educational Organizations and Technology, and Curriculum History, Theory, and Practice in Educational Organizations. The program uses a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction and includes one mandatory campus residency. Students are only required to visit the Appalachian State campus for a two-and-a-half-day orientation the summer before their first semester.

Note: Students entering with an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree from Appalachian State may be able to waive up to 30 of the 60 credit hours required to earn their EdD.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an online Doctor of Education in Organizational Learning and Leadership through its School of Education and UNC Online. This program has both Master’s to Doctorate and Bachelor’s to Doctorate tracks, and is designed for students who want to lead in organizational settings, using research-based practices to empower teams and optimize organizational cultures through transformational change and resource management. Students of the Bachelor’s to Doctorate track take 54 credit hours divided across 17 collaborative courses that integrate synchronous Zoom sessions held on a weekly basis (students of the Master’s to Doctorate track may be able to waive specific courses; applicants who hold a relevant master’s degree should contact UNC Chapel Hill’s admissions office for more information).

The 17 courses in the program use interactive projects that introduce students to a variety of theories, strategies, and methodologies for organizational improvement, including: principles of diversity, inclusion, and collaboration; data collection and analysis towards understanding and addressing complex organizational problems; and building and managing relationships within an organization as well as with stakeholders and community networks. Students of this program also have the option to attend an annual, in-person immersion every spring semester, during which they can connect with program faculty and engage in leadership and networking activities at the UNC School of Education. Students are not required to attend these immersions to complete the program, however, and can rely on Zoom and other interactive learning and communication technologies to connect with faculty and peers.

The online Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership culminates in a Capstone Project, which provides students with an opportunity to address a problem of practice within their own place of work, utilizing methods, research principles, and other learnings from the coursework in the program. Students prepare for their Capstone Project through a course sequence that spans three semesters, and which provides milestones for students to identify their problem of practice, the research methodologies they want to use to examine it, and the most effective ways in which to solve it. Students benefit from ongoing faculty support in the form of a capstone committee, and report on the results of their research at the end of their project.

At The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, students can pursue a Doctor of Education in Kinesiology online, the first online EdD program in the field in the nation. Offered by the school’s Department of Kinesiology, this program is for students who have a minimum of three years of professional experience in kinesiology or a related field, and want to further their careers as faculty, teachers, coaches, administrators, military consultants, athletic trainers, or more. A total of 54 semester hours are required (42 hours of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation), with the degree designed to be completed in four years. Courses cover topics such as Program Design in Kinesiology and Related Professions, Statistical Methods in Kinesiology, Physical Activity and Health, Professional Ethics in Health and Human Sciences, Online Pedagogy, Curriculum Development, and Program Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice in Physical Activity Programs.

While the majority of the program is delivered online in an asynchronous format, three campus visits are required throughout the course of study. These on-campus residencies take place in the summer, each centered around a different in-person event (orientation, oral comprehensive exam and dissertation proposal, and students’ dissertation defense).

Online EdD Programs in North Carolina

Below is a comprehensive list of online EdD programs offered by schools in North Carolina. To learn more about any of the degree programs described on this page, click the corresponding link below to visit the school’s website.

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: UNC School of Education

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

(Street Greensboro)
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: School of Health and Human Sciences - Department of Kinesiology