best ed.d. programs in educational leadership

The Best Educational Leadership Doctoral Programs

What They Have to Offer

Educational Leadership doctoral programs provide the instruction, knowledge, and training required for high-level administrative positions in education, at both the K-12 and higher education level. These programs ensure you have the skills to organize and keep schools running efficiently and effectively.

Educational Leadership doctoral programs are geared toward educators who seek to become principals, superintendents, administrators, or higher education professionals.

The best doctoral programs in Educational Leadership will prepare students for a positive career trajectory and outlook after graduation. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for elementary, middle, and high school principals and higher education administrators to grow by eight percent between 2020-2030.

Today, we’ll cover what Educational Leadership is, and what the best doctoral programs have in common. Let’s dive in.

What is Educational Leadership?

Educational Leadership programs serve the needs of schools throughout the nation. Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) programs in educational leadership are ideal for licensed educators looking to further develop their knowledge and skills as well as those seeking positions in school leadership.

Candidates in these programs often want to make a difference in the world through education. They want to train and support educators while running schools positively and effectively.

What can I expect from an Education Leadership doctoral program online?

In addition to core coursework, Ed.D. programs in educational leadership offer concentrations so students can focus their knowledge and skills in a particular area.

Concentrations vary by program, but common options include:

  • Principal Licensure
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Curriculum Development
  • School Leadership
  • Policy and Advocacy

While program and concentration requirements may vary, please note that some Educational Leadership doctorate programs require candidates to complete specified hours in an internship or practicum. Others require a written thesis or action research.  

Unlike other doctoral programs, however, an Ed.D. can be completed in an expedited and convenient way, online. In online Ed.D. programs in Educational Leadership, candidates can complete a doctorate in as few as three and a half years if they pursue their studies full-time.

How do I choose the best doctoral program in Educational Leadership?

There are several important factors to consider when looking for the best doctoral program in Educational Leadership, such as:


One of the most important considerations is cost. Be sure you understand the true program investment and consider additional fees, such as whether you attend a public or private school. In general, attending a public school as a state resident offers the most affordable education path.

Program Format:

As mentioned, completing an online or hybrid Ed.D. program offers maximum flexibility for students. Pursuing an online degree, or a doctorate with online course options, can also widen students’ search radius to schools farther away.


Students should prioritize programs that hold institutional and/or programmatic accreditation. Accreditation confirms that an institution is highly qualified, and meets high standards set forth by a third-party organization.

Student Support:

The best Ed.D. programs offer student support services that help degree-seekers stand out from others. Look for mentorship matching programs and programs with an internship coordinator. Or if you are enrolling in an online program, ask about their online-specific student services.

Additionally, you should also research and consider the following factors when choosing the best doctoral programs in Educational Leadership:

  • Student Faculty Ratio
  • Percentage of Graduate Students
  • Retention Rate
  • Graduation Rate

The Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership at the University of Bridgeport (UB)

The landscape of school districts and college campuses across the country is changing rapidly. Now, more than ever, we need educational leaders with expertise in international education to meet the needs of all students. At University of Bridgeport, we’ve designed our hybrid Ed.D. program to provide doctoral candidates with the skills and experience they need to become effective leaders, policymakers, and researchers in our increasingly global world.

Classes are taught by experts in their fields. Their diverse backgrounds and teaching strategies offer students a deeper understanding of:

  • Administration
  • Management
  • Organizational psychology
  • Information technology
  • Program evaluation
  • Grant writing
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods

We place a strong emphasis on international education. Graduates of our Educational Leadership doctorate program go on to have meaningful and successful careers as school superintendents, administrators, higher education leaders, faculty members, and academic researchers.

Furthermore, our Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership is a hybrid (primarily online) program designed for working professionals everywhere. Students complete all classes online, except for two, one-week doctoral residences which candidates complete during their first two summers in the program.

Our program consists of completing 62 credits in the following strands:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Research and Analysis
  • International Education
  • Dissertation—which students write and defend in their third year

Students also have the option to pursue their 092 and Ed.D. concurrently by taking four additional credits for a total of 66 credits. And students who have completed an accredited Sixth-Year or Education Specialist post-master’s degree can complete the Ed.D. program with as few as 42 credits.

If you are passionate about bettering the educational system in a leadership role, then enrolling in an Educational Leadership doctoral program online, like UB’s Ed.D., is a perfect choice. You’ll collaborate and communicate with peers from all over the world and with our expert faculty through online discussion boards and collaborative assignments.

Check out our Educational Leadership doctoral program online and apply today.