Universities Offering Online Doctorates

The School Administrator has identified 14 higher education programs nationwide that run doctoral programs leading to degrees in education. As the summary below indicates, some of the Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs require short residencies.

All are accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education as well as a regional body as noted.

Abbreviations used below for accrediting bodies are: DETC, Distance Education and Training Council; NCACS, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission; SACS, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; and WASC, Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.

Argosy University: This private, not-for-profit school based in Phoenix, Ariz., is accredited by NCACS. Argosy offers Ed.D. degrees in organizational development and educational leadership. A residency of 9 to 11 weeks is required.

Aspen University: Accredited by DETC, the Denver, Colo.,-based school offers an Ed.D. in leadership and learning.

California Coast University: Founded in 1973 in Santa Ana, Calif., this private school offers Ed.Ds. in educational administration and organizational leadership. No on-campus time is required by this DETC-accredited school.

Capella University: This for-profit institution based in Minneapolis, Minn., offers both a Ph.D. and Ed.D. in educational leadership and management. Founded in 1991, Capella is accredited by WASC. Ph.D. students have no residency requirement, but Ed.D. students must attend a weekend residency in one of several cities.

Fielding Graduate University: Founded in 1974 in Santa Barbara, Calif., Fielding offers an Ed.D. in educational leadership and change. The private, nonprofit school is accredited by WASC. The doctoral program requires a five-day orientation on campus and optional national seminars and regional meetings.

Grand Canyon University: This private, for-profit Christian university was founded in 2007 in Phoenix, Ariz. It is accredited by NCACS. It offers an Ed.D. in leadership, specializing in effective schools, instructional leadership or organizational development. Two residencies of four days each are required.

Harrison Middleton University: Founded in 1998 in Tempe, Ariz., this distance education program revolves around Great Books authors. Students confer with professors four times during each course. The DETC-accredited program leads to an Ed.D. in education.

Nova Southeastern University: Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this private, nonprofit school offers an Ed.D. in educational leadership, organizational leadership and instructional leadership. It also offers a Ph.D. in education, with a specialization in curriculum or K-12 educational leadership. Accredited by SACS, Nova uses a blended, on-site and online format with three meetings on weekends.

Northcentral University: Founded in 2001 in Prescott Valley, Ariz., this private, for-profit school offers Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in educational leadership and organizational leadership. No on-site requirements exist at Northcentral, accredited by NCACS.

Regent University: A private, Christian university in Virginia Beach, Va., this SACS-accredited school, founded in 1978, offers Ph.D. and Ed.D. degrees in education. Students must spend one week on campus each summer for three years.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Based in Lincoln, Neb., this public university, accredited by NCACS, offers a joint Ed.D. in educational administration in collaboration with University of Nebraska at Omaha. No on-campus time is required.

University of Phoenix: Founded in 1976 and accredited by NCACS, this private, for-profit university offers an Ed.D. degree in educational leadership. 

Walden University: This for-profit school in Minneapolis, Minn., is accredited by NCACS. Founded in 1970, Walden grants Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in education. Residency requirements include one to three days for the Ed.D. and 20 days for the Ph.D.

William Howard Taft University: Founded in 1976 in Santa Ana, Calif., and accredited by DETC, this private, independent school offers an Ed.D. in leadership and management. No on-campus time is required.

Compiled by Marian Kisch