Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs in Tennessee

Updated: May 1, 2024

There are nine schools in Tennessee that offer Doctor of Education degrees online. Austin Peay State University, Carson-Newman University, East Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, Middle Tennessee State University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Union University, University of Memphis, and Vanderbilt University all have EdD programs students can pursue primarily or entirely online. A total of eleven online programs are available through these universities, in specializations ranging from P-12 School Administration or Higher Education Leadership to Instructional Design and Technology, Adult Education, School Improvement, Educational Leadership, Global Sport Leadership, and Assessment, Learning, and Student Success.

All of the schools listed on this page are nonprofit institutions, regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Every department discussed below is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Schools in Tennessee with Online EdD Programs

Austin Peay State University in Clarksville offers an online EdD in Educational Leadership with concentrations in K-12 Leadership, Higher Education Administration, Literacy Studies, Nurse Educator, and Socioscientific Studies through its Eriksson College of Education. This 60-credit program is designed to apply advanced research methods to the identification and solving of complex problems in education-related spaces. Students also learn how to foster professional development for themselves and their peers within their organizations while also supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Core classes in this program include Theories of Leadership, Contemporary Approaches to Educational Problems, Organizational Development, Team-Building and Group Dynamics, Multicultural Leadership, Program Planning and Evaluation, Strategic Planning and Decision Making, and Research Design.

From there, students take courses according to their concentration, which can include classes such as Schoolwide Interventions and Inclusive Practices, Supervision of Curriculum and Instruction, Higher Education Administration, Designing Effective Professional Learning, The Nurse Educator, Advanced Clinical Decision Making and Concepts for Doctoral Students, Theory and Practice of Literary Education, Critical Literary Practices in Schools and Communities, Socioscientific Issues in Education, and Leading Integration of STEM Instruction. As their culminating experience in the program, students complete a five-chapter dissertation through which they study an educational challenge, examine how to address it, implement an intervention, and monitor progress or improvement at the organizational and/or systemic level. During their work, students receive support and mentorship from faculty.

Located in Jefferson City, Carson-Newman University’s Department of Adult and Graduate Studies offers a Doctorate of Education that students can pursue online in one of two concentrations: Administrative Leadership or Curriculum and Instruction Leadership. Both tracks require 57 semester hours beyond a master’s degree and are designed to be completed in roughly three years. All students take a core curriculum consisting of courses in Foundations of Leadership, Educational Leadership Theory and Policy Analysis, Organizational Leadership, and Ethical, Social, and Spiritual Leadership Principles, as well as a research core focused on quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis.

Those who choose the Administrative Leadership concentration can expect to complete additional coursework in topic areas such as Legal and Ethical Issues, Professional Learning Communities, Financial Planning and Responsibilities, Management of the School, and Emergent Educational Leadership Topics and Trends, while the Curriculum and Instruction Leadership track contains concentration classes in Curriculum and Instruction Strategies, The Teacher as Leader, Evaluation for Continuous Improvement, and Diversity and Exceptionality Practice and Theory. Carson-Newman’s Educational Leadership EdD program is delivered entirely online, with no campus residency requirements. However, students must complete a mentored internship worth three credit hours.

East Tennessee State University in Johnson City has two different Doctor of Education programs available for online study. The first, offered by their Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, is an EdD in Educational Leadership, with concentrations in Higher Education Leadership, School Leadership, or Administrative Endorsement. Each degree track requires a minimum of 66 credit hours, including an internship experience. Besides this, the program is fully online. Coursework is delivered through asynchronous instruction, meaning there are no specific log in times to view lectures or participate in class discussions. Instead of a traditional on-campus residency, students take part in various technology-enhanced residency activities throughout their studies, such as blogs or online book clubs hosted by program faculty.

Along with this program, East Tennessee State offers a Doctorate of Education in Global Sport Leadership online through its School of Graduate Studies. This 60-credit EdD helps prepare students for high-level management roles in academic or professional sports, with a focus on internal operations, external operations, research, and analytics. Courses cover topics such as Strategic Thinking and Planning for Global Sport Leaders, Interpersonal Relationships in Sport, Sport Branding and Marking, Organizational Behavior for Sport Leaders, Effect of Global Governing Bodies on Sport Leadership, Interpreting and Applying Analytics in Sport, and Law and Negotiation for Sport Leaders. While coursework is delivered entirely online, the program includes global study abroad components, such as a two-week field trip and attendance at an international sporting event. In lieu of a traditional dissertation, students complete a Doctoral Capstone digital portfolio as their culminating experience in which they outline their personal leadership philosophy, compiling work from throughout their studies to support their unique set of leadership principles and best practices.

Lipscomb University in Nashville offers an online Doctor of Education in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change, designed for K-12 or higher education professionals who want to advance their expertise in educational leadership, theory, research, practice, collaboration, innovation, and more. Available through the College of Education, this faith-based program consists of 54 credit hours and is designed to be completed in three years. The curriculum includes a particular focus on organizational change, ethics, and global perspectives on learning, with courses in areas such as Organizational Theory and Practice, Change Management, Brain-Based Research, Comparative and International Education, Strategic Planning and Assessment, Ethical Behavior in Education, and Legal and Political Issues in Leadership. Three on-campus intensives are required, held Thursday through Saturday at different points throughout the program. Additionally, there is a 10-day international experience that takes place during the summer semester at the end of the first year. Online students are also required to travel to campus at the end of the program to defend their capstone research results.

Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro offers an online EdD in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success with concentrations in both Higher Education and School Improvement through its College of Graduate Studies. This program is 100% online and is comprised of 60-72 credits, depending on how many credits students must devote to their dissertation work. Students of the Higher Education concentration complete 12 credits of core courses such as Educational Statistics, Qualitative Research Methodologies, and Application and Research Seminars in Student Learning, Student Success, and Assessing Student Learning. Other required courses include Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education, The Ethics of Higher Education, Studies in Leadership, Legal Issues in Higher Education, Instructional Development in Higher Education, and Evaluation in Higher Education. After their required coursework, students can choose two electives, which can include a College Teaching Practicum, Online Course Development for Higher Education, Issues in Higher Education, and/or a Seminar in Educational Foundations.

Students of the School Improvement concentration take four themed course sequences. The first is a Student Learning Core that includes courses in Cognitive Learning Theory and Student Achievement; Implementing a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum; and Teacher Observation, Evaluation, and Improvement. Students are also required to take a Research Methods sequence, consisting of courses in Educational Statistics, Qualitative Research Methods, and their choice of either Advanced Quantitative Research Methodologies or Advanced Qualitative Research Methodologies. Following this, students fulfill an Assessment Core that features courses in Assessment Literacy; Formative Assessments and Improved Student Learning; and Data Analysis, Learning, and School Improvement. Finally, students complete a Research-Based School Improvement Core, with courses such as Highly Effective Schools and School Districts, Schools as Professional Learning Communities, and Collaborative Teaming and Effective Schools.

In addition to successfully passing their classes, students of the EdD in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success must complete a research article and submit it to a peer-reviewed professional journal, present research at a regional or national educational conference that has been approved by the program director, and pass a comprehensive examination that reflects their mastery of the overall coursework in the program. Their culminating experience in the program is the dissertation, which consists of a research problem that is pertinent to students’ work context, and one which they want to address through the research methodologies they have learned in the program.

In Nashville, Trevecca Nazarene University’s School of Education has an online Doctor of Education in Leadership with Tracks in Higher Education, Consulting and Coaching, Enterprise Leading and Managing, Health Care Administration, Pre-K-12 District Leadership, and Professional Practice. Students can complete this 57-credit program in about 27 months. Core courses in this program cover Scientifically Based Practice, Strategic Policy and Planning, Transformational Learning, Cultural Influences, Applied Leadership, Ethical Leadership, Intrapersonal Effectiveness, Collaborative Teamwork and Team Development, Creating Effective Organizations, and Technology Based Statistics. From there, students take track-specific coursework. For example, students of the Higher Education track take classes in Higher Education Leadership and Administration, Teaching in Higher Education, and a Teaching Practicum, while the Health Care Administration track features courses in Change Management and Negotiation Strategies, The Culturally Competent Healthcare Leader, and Quality Systems Management and Regulatory Affairs. Trevecca’s EdD in Leadership is offered 100 percent online, with no in-person requirements. Courses are delivered asynchronously using the Blackboard learning management system, and students engage with their cohort classmates and instructors through email and weekly online discussion posts.

At Union University in Jackson, students can pursue a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online with a focus on either P-12 School Administration or Higher Education. Both specializations are offered by the university’s School of Education, and feature a blend of theory and practice based on both classic knowledge and current research. The P-12 School Administration degree option has three areas of concentrations to choose from: Instructional Leadership, Teacher Leadership, or Leadership in School Reform. The Instructional Leadership track offers students the opportunity to earn licensure while completing their degree, while the other two options are non-licensure tracks, for those who already have a license or significant leadership experience. Each is fully online and designed to be completed in three years. The Higher Education specialization, on the other hand, requires a two-week summer residency and takes around three and a half years to finish. Students who choose this focus can expect to study a range of topics related to managing postsecondary institutions, such as Higher Education Law, Strategic Planning and Marketing for Higher Education, Higher Education Finance, The American College Student, Curriculum Design and Evaluation in Higher Education, and Higher Education Policy and Assessment.

The University of Memphis (UofM) has two EdD programs students can complete entirely online, making no visits to campus during their studies. The first is a Doctorate of Education in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a focus on Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) offered by their College of Education’s Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership. This 54-program helps students become experts in the development and implementation of instructional methods and materials, teaching them how to effectively analyze and improve all sorts of learning environments. UofM also offers a Doctorate of Education in Higher and Adult Education online, available through the College of Education’s Department of Leadership. Students can choose to concentrate in either Adult Education or Higher Education, depending on their professional goals. The Higher Education track is designed primarily for those interested in senior-level administrative positions at public or private colleges or universities, or other higher education-related agencies, boards, or commissions. The Adult Education track may also lead to these types of roles, but focuses specifically on the cognitive development of adult students and unique challenges inherit in teaching this demographic.

Finally, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, located in Nashville, offers a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations online through its Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. The program includes a 54-credit curriculum, but a total of 84 credit hours are needed in order to graduate. This means students will need to transfer 30 credits toward the 84 required to graduate. (Students who hold a master’s degree or those with a bachelor’s and at least 30 graduate-level credits are both eligible to apply.) Coursework in the EdD program focuses on three key competency areas: Leadership and Organizational Development, Data and Analytics, and Learning and Design. Examples of course topics include Leadership Theory and Practice, Organizational Theory and Behavior, Psychological Perspectives on Learning, Research Design, Applied Statistics, Economics of Human Resources, and Public Policy and Administration. Instruction is delivered synchronously, through weekly online classes held live via webcam. There are also three on-campus residency sessions, which give students the chance to meet with their peers and professors in person and collaborate on hands-on projects and creative problem-solving activities.

Online EdD Programs in Tennessee

The following is a comprehensive list of Doctor of Education programs offered online by schools in Tennessee. To learn more about any of the EdD tracks discussed on this page, click the corresponding link below to visit the program’s website.

Carson-Newman University

(Jefferson City)
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP

East Tennessee State University

(Johnson City)
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: School of Graduate Studies

Lipscomb University

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP

University of Memphis

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: College of Education - Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership
Department: College of Education - Department of Leadership

Vanderbilt University

Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP
Department: Peabody College - Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations