Online EdD - PhD in EducationThere are two types of doctoral degrees in the field of education. These are the Doctor of Education or EdD and the Doctor of Philosophy in Education which is the Ph.D. Both types of programs will be represented in this article. Both of them are useful in different ways. With a PhD in Education, you will have learned a more theoretical approach to education. You could apply this type of degree in doing educational research, working as a professor or in administration, or you could even use it to work in a government or corporate setting. A Doctor of Education is the result of a more practical approach, with a heavy focus on the skills and strategies required to manage an educational organization. This type of degree is more often used to work in secondary schools as a teacher, or in the administrative sphere at the school or district level. With an EdD, you will be doing more “on the ground” sort of work.

Regardless of which degree you have your eyes on, both of them are incredibly important. Not only is a doctorate the highest degree that you can earn, but education dramatically shapes the future of our communities and our world. It is entirely possible to get started on that important path from the comfort of your home. Online degrees are becoming more commonplace every year, but few people consider that you can earn a doctoral degree online as well. In this ranking, you’ll read about the top 20 best online doctorate degrees in education. Earning a doctorate online will provide you with necessary flexibility while equipping you to step into the career field of your dreams. One thing that it is important to mention is that some states will require additional licensure locally after you’ve received your degree.

Methodology

Each school on this list was scored out of a possible 200 points. Because there are a variety of different types of doctoral degrees in the field of education, all of them have been taken into account in the creation of this article. We have scored all of the schools in the United States that offer fully-online or hybrid doctoral degree programs in education according to the following:

  • 50%: Freshman Retention Rate and;
  • 50%: Graduation Rate

To gather the information that was required to rank each of these schools, we used the school’s websites whenever possible. In the instances where a school did not provide the information on their own site that was required by us, we used the databases of both U.S. News and World Report and of National Center for Education Statistics. These two rates were added together to get the final score for each institution, and then they were ranked out of 20 based on this score.

In any instance where two or more schools would have tied for a spot in this Top 20, we utilized the alphabetical ordering of their names as the designated tie-breaking criteria. We chose these two ranking criteria, freshman retention, and graduation rates because when both rates are taken into account, they help to paint an accurate picture of a school’s overall performance. However, due to incomplete data, there are some schools that may not be represented here.

To qualify to be included in this ranking, schools must not be for-profit institutions. Additionally, no school was given any preferential treatment and the methodology stated will allow anyone else to draw the same conclusion.

20: Union University

Union University

Union UniversityUnion University is a private liberal arts university with an evangelical Christian affiliation. The main campus is located in Jackson, Tennessee with two other locations in the cities of Germantown and Hendersonville, Tennessee. The school was founded in 1823 as a union of some of the oldest schools in the region including West Tennessee College, Union University of Murfreesboro, Southwestern Baptist University, and Hall-Moody Junior College. The university was first accredited in 1948 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The mission of the university is to provide a ” Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to Church and society.” Many of their policies reflect this.

There are over 100 different programs of study available at Union University, and it has an incredible Student to Faculty ratio of 10:1. Additionally, 85% of the faculty hold the highest degrees in their field. Among many other accolades, U.S. News & World Report has recognized Union as a school where the teaching staff shows an exceptional commitment to undergraduate teaching. Laying that foundation is extremely important, but for those of you who already have that, they offer doctoral programs taught by those same dedicated individuals. Online, you can pursue a Doctor of Education in Leadership in School Reform. This is a non-licensure track, so you will still have to obtain licensure according to the requirements in your place of residence.

Union Website: https://www.uu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Graduation Rate: 79%
Final Score:165/200

19: Rowan University

Rowan University

Rowan UniversityRowan University is a public research university in Glassboro, New Jersey; there is also a satellite campus in Camden, New Jersey. It was established in 1923 as Glassboro Normal School. What was known as a Normal School back then, was a postsecondary institution dedicated to training high school graduates to be teachers. The name shifted several times over the years, to the New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro in the 30’s; to the Glassboro State College in 1958; to the Rowan College of New Jersey in 1992; then finally to Rowan University in 1997. It was initially accredited in 1958 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It focused solely on education until the 70’s, when it incorporated programs in business, communications, and engineering. Even though Rowan now offers a broader range of degree programs, the focus remains on education in a big way. The school’s motto is “Eruditio spes mundi,” which translates to the following: Education, hope of the world.

Rowan is comprised of 13 different schools and colleges through which it serves 17,372 students. 29% of the student body is enrolled in at least some web-based courses, and 27% of the graduate students are enrolled solely in online programs. Its most popular programs are in the field of business, with education sliding in for a close second. There are five doctoral programs in education available at Rowan, all of which can be taken online. Each program culminates in a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership; concentrations to choose from include a straightforward Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, a Higher Education track, a P-12 track, a Nurse Educator track, and a special Community College Leadership Initiative track. The CCLI track includes for specialized courses that focus on community college in order to prepare students to lead the institutions that often fall by the wayside. Every track requires at least one in-person orientation; however, all coursework and even your dissertation can be completed online.

Rowan Website: http://www.rowan.edu/home/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85%
Graduation Rate: 71%
Final Score: 156/200

18: University of South Florida

University of South Florida

University of South FloridaThe University of South Florida is a public space-grant research university situated on the gulf coast of the sunshine state in a city called Tampa. There are also two other institutions that fall under control of the university, in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee. The school is usually just referred to as USF, and it is one of 12 member institutions of the State University System of Florida. It was founded in 1956, and shortly after it received its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. USF also boasts a rich list of programmatic certifications from reputable field-specific agencies. USF is also very highly regarded for its research, with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching considering it a top-tier institution. Additionally, the university is ranked tenth in the nation based on its utility patents in 2011. USF is world-renowned for its Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, which serves as a training center for healthcare professionals around the globe.

Education comes first at USF. 86% of the full-time faculty members hold the highest degrees in their field. When you take online courses at the university, as nearly half of the 42,861 students do, you will receive the same rigor and passion as the traditional students, as courses are run by the same teachers regardless of their delivery method. There are hundreds of classes available via web, so it is highly possible that you could complete a variety of doctoral degree programs this way. The only program that culminates in an educational doctorate that is officially offered through USF, though, is the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Career and Workforce from the College of Education. This degree will prepare you for a career in teaching, research, or policy-centered positions in colleges of any level, universities, government agencies, or the private sector if you so choose.

USF Website: http://www.usf.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90%
Graduation Rate: 67%
Final Score: 157/200

17: Drexel University

Drexel University

Drexel UniversityDrexel University is a private research university that is home to 24,232 students. Around 25% of those students are earning their degrees from home, while the remaining 75% take their classes in part or entirely on campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Doors of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry opened in 1891 with the vision of making education in practical arts and sciences accessible to the community regardless of gender or socioeconomic background. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredited the institution in 1927, shortly before it evolved into the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936. The university settled on its present name in 1970 when it was first granted university status. Starting in 1995 and spanning to 2009, Drexel University underwent most of its growth. There was a 471% increase in the endowment and a 102% increase in enrollment. Drexel is now made up of 17 different academic divisions, offers 70 undergraduate programs, and more than 100 graduate programs.

Drexel University first started to offer online education all the way back in 1996, with just one Masters program provided. In 2001, Drexel established a for-profit distance education venture called Drexel University Online. It remained for-profit until 2013 when it was absorbed by the university. Drexel has made great strides in support of online education, pioneering National Distance Learning Week in 2007 and even receiving awards for institution-wide excellence in online education. There is only one online doctoral degree in education provided by Drexel, but it’s great. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Management is one of the few programs that don’t require any on-campus visits at all. Students can pursue their degree in a 3-year or 5-year plan of study, opt into the hybrid format, and they can also choose from nine different specialized concentrations based on their career goals.

Drexel Website: http://drexel.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 89%
Graduation Rate: 70%
Final Score: 159/200

16: University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina

University of South CarolinaThe University of South Carolina is a public sea-grant research university based in Columbia, South Carolina. It is the flagship institution of the University of South Carolina System and has seven satellite campuses. It’s often called just USC, but also is referred to as South Carolina or Carolina at times. It was founded in 1801 by the South Carolina General Assembly in an effort to foster unity between the Lowcountry and Backcountry. At the beginning of 1805, the first students began their pursuit of higher education, and there were only nine of them. Today, USC enrolls 34,099 students in Columbia alone and has expanded from the days of its traditional classical curriculum to offer almost 400 programs of study in a broad spectrum of fields. It is the largest university by enrollment in both of the Carolinas. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and has been since 1917.

USC was granted its university status in 1865 and is now made up of 16 colleges and schools. Many of them have received national rankings in the top 10 or better from publications such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Research Council, The Wall Street Journal, and more! While only 18% of graduate students are attending purely through their online platform, there are 33 fully-online graduate programs from which to choose. Two of them are degrees in education at the doctoral level. There is a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Curriculum Studies Concentration, and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an Educational Technology Concentration. Both programs require one visit to campus for orientation as they’re presented in a cohort model, and include 36 months of coursework.

USC Website: http://www.sc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Graduation Rate: 73%
Final Score: 161/200

15: Samford University

Samford University

Samford UniversitySamford University is a private Christian university in Birmingham, Alabama. It was founded in 1841 under the name Howard College. The Alabama State Baptist Convention set out to create a school for men and began accepting students in 1842. The inaugural class of nine students took classes in language, literature, and science. A devastating fire in 1854 destroyed the only building on the campus after the campus was repaired it served as a military hospital during the Civil War. Howard College officially reopened in 1865. At that point, expansion took hold of the modest institution. It became coeducational in 1913, received its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges in 1920, and began adding to the curriculum. It gained university status in 1965 and was renamed after a trustee.

Samford has 5,471 students currently. These students have the choice of almost 200 different undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations as well as 45 graduate programs that span a variety of in-demand fields. The university is comprised of the School of the Arts; the Howard College of Arts and Science; the Brock School of Business; the Beeson Divinity School; the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education; the Cumberland School of Law; the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing; the McWhorter School of Pharmacy; the School of Health Professions and; the School of Public Health. The majority of online options for a doctoral degree focus on nursing; however, Samford offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online. A typical semester will require students to attend two face-to-face meetings on campus. The program and the faculty have been nationally recognized for their excellence and value.

Samford Website: https://www.samford.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 89%
Graduation Rate: 73%
Final Score: 162/200

14: Bethel University

Bethel University

Bethel UniversityBethel University is a private liberal arts college with a Christian affiliation, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This is not to be confused with the Tennessee university with the same name. Bethel University, or just Bethel, was founded in 1871 in Chicago, Illinois. It was originally a Baptist seminary for Swedish immigrants. When the Baptist General Conference endorsed the school, it went on to merge with Bethel Academy and was relocated to Saint Paul. There were several name changes over the years. In 1931, Bethel Academy became Bethel Junior College; curriculum expanded in 1947 which prompted the shift to Bethel College and Seminary; it is unclear exactly when university status was granted but, in 2004, the institution took on the current name of Bethel University. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds a small selection of programmatic accreditations in nursing and theology.

There are four academic divisions that make up Bethel University as a whole. The College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Adults & Professional Studies; the Graduate School and; the Bethel Seminary. There are undergraduate programs available in almost 100 different majors, as well as pre-professional and certificate programs. At the graduate level, there are 12 degree programs and 14 certificate and license programs. Many of the graduate programs are available online, and 37% of students participate in some degree of distance learning. A quarter of all 1,052 graduate students are enrolled only in online coursework. The Doctor of Education in Leadership program is offered entirely online with the exception of a mandatory week of intensive on-site each year. The program can be completed in as little as three years with an additional dissertation. Students have the choice of two concentrations, K-12 Administration and Higher Education.

Bethel Website: https://www.bethel.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Graduation Rate: 76%
Final Score: 164/200

13: Duquesne University

Duquesne University

Duquesne UniversityDuquesne University of the Holy Spirit is usually abbreviated as Duquesne University, and it is a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It originally opened its doors in 1878 to an inaugural class of a mere 40 students. Classes were held in a rented space above a bakery until the first building, appropriately called Old Main, was completed in 1885. It wasn’t long before Duquesne was granted its university status and first obtained its accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Over the years, Duquesne separated into ten different schools including the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts; the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences ; the Duquesne School of Law; the A.J. Palumbo School of Business Administration; the Mylan School of Pharmacy; the Mary Pappert School of Music; the School of Education; the School of Nursing and; the Rangos School of Health Sciences.

The School of Education was founded in 1929. Traditional students attend classes in the oldest remaining building on campus, the historic Canevin Hall. At its inception, the School of Education had a degree program for Secondary Education. Now, there are 13 specific degree programs available in fields like Special Education, ESL, Guidance, and many more highly-tailored options. The online doctoral program offered is a Doctor of Education in Instructional Technology and Leadership. The program is fully online and presented in a cohort model with one start date, in the summer. Students will have 2.5 years of active coursework, and the rest of the time is used for the completion of their dissertation. There is a short-term residency required for all students, lasting for only two weeks.

Duquesne Website: http://www.duq.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Graduation Rate: 79%
Final Score:165/200

12: Endicott College

Endicott College

Endicott CollegeEndicott College is a private college in Beverly, Massachusetts. It was founded by a woman named Eleanor Tupper and her husband George Bierkoe in 1939. At that time, it was a two-year women’s college and would remain such until the 80’s when it transitioned to a four-year institution shortly after adopting its current name. Up until that point, it was known as Endicott Junior College. The school became co-educational in 1994. There are now 4,835 students of which 3,181 are undergraduates. There are very few distance-learners at that level; however, 57% of the graduate student population participate in some online learning, 51% of them earning a degree entirely at a distance. Endicott’s most popular online graduate program is the MBA program, but they offer all four of the available doctoral degrees online as well.

The first doctoral degree added to the curriculum was the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and was shortly followed by the Doctor of Education in PreK-12 Educational Leadership. Both programs are presented in a blended format, with very minimal face-to-face instruction and a brief residency. However, students will be working alongside dedicated and experienced faculty through every step of the way in order to ensure their success. Because the courses online are taught by the same individuals that are responsible for the traditional on-campus instruction as well, students can rest assured that they are receiving the same rigorous education as someone who chose to sit in the classroom rather than before a computer. Endicott College also boasts a rich variety of career and internship opportunities through their partnerships with organizations throughout Massachusetts. All students are required to complete three internships and a capstone project.

Endicott Website: https://www.endicott.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Graduation Rate: 80%
Final Score: 166/200

11: Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIUPUI is how most people refer to Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, a public university in Indianapolis, Indiana. The long name reflects its roots; it was founded in 1969 as the result of a merger of the Indianapolis branch of Indianapolis University and the Purdue Indianapolis Extension Center belonging to Purdue University. IUPUI has been accredited since its inception in 1969 by the Higher Learning Commission but also holds an astounding number of 22 specialized accreditations from reputable agencies such as the American Psychological Association, the American Bar Association and more. IUPUI offers well over 200 different degree programs through 18 academic divisions. The School of Nursing is the largest in the country, and the School of Medicine the second largest.

The School of Education has been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education since 1954 when the NCATE came to be. U.S. News 7 World Report ranks this school as the 25th Best Educational School in the nation, and it also broke the top 20 in the categories of Educational Administration, Counseling Services, and Secondary Education. In the areas of Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary Education, and Higher Education Administration, it ranked in the top 10. The most popular degree in this particular division is the bachelors degree in elementary education, but this incredibly reputable school offers two online doctoral degrees. Students can choose from a Doctor of Education in Instructional Systems Technology and a Doctor of Education in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education.

IUPUI Website: https://www.iupui.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Graduation Rate: 76%
Final Score: 167/200

10: Indiana University-Bloomington

Indiana University-Bloomington

Indiana University-BloomingtonIndiana University-Bloomington is a public research university in Bloomington, Indiana. It is the flagship institution of the Indiana University System and is the largest member by enrollment size. IU Bloomington, as the school is often abbreviated, serves 49,695 students. It was founded in 1820, and when classes began, there were only 12 students in total. At the time it was just called State Seminary. It became Indiana College in 1829, and then was granted university status and adopted the current title ten years later. IU Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It also holds 13 individual program-specific accreditations from 10 different reputable agencies including the American Optometric Association, the American Bar Association, and more. Four of the schools that comprise the university and forty specific graduate programs all ranked among the top 25 in the nation in their appropriate categories in the rankings published by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

IU Bloomington is also a member of the Association of American Universities, which is an organization of leading research universities in the country. There are 16 schools and colleges that make up the university, and together they offer nearly 600 individual degree programs and majors. The School of Education was established in 1923, and it is one of the largest schools of education in the USA. The School of Education offers 16 degrees that can be completed online. Only two of them are doctoral. There is the Doctor of Education in Instructional Systems Technology and the Doctor of Education in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education. The programs don’t require any practicum, but there is one conference held in Spring that all students must attend at least once. Students can complete the coursework in as little as three years; however, they will still be responsible for completing a dissertation which may take more time.

IU Bloomington Website: https://www.indiana.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Graduation Rate: 76%
Final Score: 167/200

9: Creighton University

Creighton University

Creighton UniversityCreighton University is a private Jesuit university in Omaha, Nebraska. It was founded in 1878 in memory of local businessman Edward Creighton. His wife left a gift of $100,000 in her will stipulating that a school be established; thus, Creighton College was born. The Society of Jesus founded the school, which is one of only 28 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. For 15 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Creighton as the best Midwest Regional University. The inaugural class was exceptionally large for that period with 120 students. Now, there are just over 8,000 students. There are over 50 programs for those students to choose from, which are taught through the nine academic divisions of Creighton University. The first division to be established was the College of Arts & Sciences, which remains the largest serving 28% of all Creighton students.

The other divisions are the Heider College of Business; the College of Nursing; the School of Dentistry; the School of Medicine; the School of Pharmacy & Health Professions; the School of Law; the Graduate School and; the College of Professional Studies. Creighton University took on its current name in 1958 and was originally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission in 1916. The one online education doctoral program at Creighton University is the Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership. All of the full-time faculty members hold terminal degrees in their field. Students will have to attend campus twice, for an on-campus orientation and the defense of their dissertation. All of the coursework is completed online; each class lasts for eight weeks and are taken one at a time so that students can put their full focus on each one.

Creighton University Website: https://www.creighton.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 89%
Graduation Rate: 79%
Final Score: 168/200

8: Florida State University

Florida State University

Florida State UniversityFlorida State University is a public sea- and space-grant research university located in the capital of Florida, a city called Tallahassee. The school is often just referred to as FSU, and it is the oldest institution of higher education in the state of Florida, tracing roots back to 1851. Despite being the first established member institution, it is not the flagship university of the State University System of Florida. FSU opened as a seminary, with classes beginning in 1857. In 1883, it merged with Florida University. After several different institutions were absorbed and a variety of legislation passed, Florida State University became the official name of the school in 1947. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges first accredited the university in 1915. FSU also holds programmatic accreditation in 12 different programs from 9 different organizations.

Extremely dedicated to research, the university operates more than 110 centers, facilities, labs, and institutes offering an abundance of programs. There are also 16 colleges that make up FSU, and through those, there are hundreds of degree programs available to students. FSU offers an online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy. Students can enter the program with a bachelors degree or a graduate degree, and the program starts in the summer. There is a face-to-face seminar at the beginning of each summer that students are required to attend for the three consecutive years it will take them to complete their coursework. Students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, but there is a fee associated with distance courses. The EdD courses are taken in a cohort model so that you will be working closely with the same students through the duration of your study.

FSU Website: https://www.fsu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Graduation Rate: 80%
Final Score: 173/200

7: Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine UniversityPepperdine University in Malibu, California is a private Christian research university. It is comprised of the Seaver College; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; the Graziadio School of Business and Management; the School of Law and; the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine was founded in 1937 and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission in 1949. The main campus in Malibu is the site on which popular television show Zoey 101 was filmed. There are other campuses in southern California, but Pepperdine also has six international locations all over the world. There are 7,826 current students and over 80,000 alumni in the world. Several successful people in the entertainment industry graduated from Pepperdine, such as Eric Christian Olsen, and Brandy Norwood. Additionally, beloved children’s writer and educator Sharon Draper graduated from the university as well.

The Graduate School of Education and Psychology offers four doctoral programs in the field of education. The Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership has held courses internationally all around the globe, in China, Argentina, Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, and India. That program is also available online, along with a Doctor of Education in Learning Technologies, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy. Because of the rigor of these programs, they are not available entirely online; however, the classes are flexibly held on evenings and weekends. Students will have to travel to campus for part of their coursework regardless of which program they select. Both programs are designed to take around 3.5 years as well as the completion of a dissertation.

Pepperdine Website: https://www.pepperdine.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90%
Graduation Rate: 87%
Final Score: 177/200

6: Boston University

Boston University

Boston UniversityBoston University is a private non-sectarian research university that was established in 1839. While it is not affiliated with any religion, it was founded as a seminary and operated as such until 1869 when it was chartered by the state of Massachusetts. Historically, it was affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Boston University is often just called BU for short, and it is classified as an R1: Doctoral Research University, which is the highest distinction given by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The 17 colleges and schools that make up BU are universally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. There are 32,695 students that attend the university, 93% of them do so on a full-time basis, and the university is highly residential. Only about 10% of the students participate in any distance education at all.

Boston University has one online doctoral program in education, and it is the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Teaching. This hybrid style program will require some residency on your part. The university offers a variety of different specializations within this program including the general track, of course, and then additional concentration options in Early Childhood Education, English Education, History & Social Studies Education, Mathematics Education, Physical Education Health Education and Coaching, and a Science Education option. This degree is intended to prepare students for an on-the-ground career in education at the teacher or administrative level. This degree would also be useful for students who wished to work in school districts, or even in the creation of textbooks and other materials.

Boston Website: https://www.bu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Graduation Rate: 87%
Final Score: 180/200

5: Northeastern University

Northeastern University

Northeastern UniversityNortheastern University, coincidentally, is also a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is often abbreviated as NU, and it also has the highest research classification that can be awarded by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It was founded in 1898 as the Evening Institute for Younger Men. Over the course of the next forty years, curriculum was consistently expanded upon as the school, and the needs of its community developed as well. The first daytime classes were added in 1909, and shortly afterward, the institute became a college and changed its name. It operated under the title of Northeastern College until 1917 when it adopted the name Northern University. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and enrolls 20,381 students. In the 80’s, NU saw enrollment up into the 50,000’s but, the dropout rate was over 25%, and the graduation rate was dismally low, with less than half of the students graduating within an acceptable timeframe. Today, the freshman retention and graduation rates are well above the national average.

NU now has over 100 different programs of study, many of which have been nationally recognized for their quality, faculty, and value. There are more than ten colleges and schools that come together under Northeastern University. The College of Professional Studies is the home of the School of Education, which has several graduate programs but only one doctorate program provided via web. The Doctor of Education program’s coursework is presented entirely online and can be completed anywhere, asynchronously. However, there are two residency requirements that all students must meet by attending campus for one week during summer in the first and second years of instruction. Courses that you would take include Community Engagement, Urban Education, Social Justice and Educational Equity, along with many more in-depth classes taught by exceptionally dedicated and experienced faculty.

Northeastern Website: http://www.northeastern.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Graduation Rate: 86%
Final Score: 183/200

4: University of Florida

University of Florida

University of FloridaThe University of Florida is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. It is one of the first members of the State University System of Florida and was established in 1853. UF, as the school is most often referred to as, is among the top ten largest universities in the nation by enrollment size with 52,367 total students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges first accredited the university in 1913, and the university also holds an incredible 30 programmatic endorsements from field-specific accrediting bodies. The University of Florida has been nationally recognized by several publications over the years, but the most recent release from U.S. News & World Report has ranked the University of Florida as tied for the 9th spot in their ranking of the Best Public Universities in the United States.

The University of Florida College of Education was added in 1906 and consistently ranks among the top schools of its kind. It ranked number one for both 2016 and 2017. There are 26 specific courses of study available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. UF offers four doctorate programs online through this college. All four of them are Doctor of Education degrees, in Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Instruction, Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership, and Higher Education Administration. The programs have a strong focus on research and practical application. There are optional summer seminars, and students will be placed in cohorts in order to foster a sense of community and expand educational networks.

UF Website: http://www.ufl.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Graduation Rate: 87%
Final Score: 184/200

3: University of Southern California

University of Southern California

University of Southern CaliforniaThe University of Southern California is a Los Angeles based private sea- and space-grant research university. It is the oldest private research university in the state and has received national recognition for its research and high-quality degree programs. USC, as the school is often abbreviated, has produced alumni that went on to found companies that shaped pop culture in America such as MySpace, Lucasfilm, and even Tinder. More USC graduates are billionaires than most universities around the world, USC ranks fourth in that category. There are nearly 400,000 living alumni, and currently, 43,871 students enrolled. The university was founded in 1880 with just 53 students, and due to its tradition of innovation and dedication to educational excellence, it has come a long way. The university has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission since 1949, and has picked up programmatic endorsement from 9 accrediting bodies throughout its history.

The majority of the students enrolled are graduate students, and 25% of them are taking at least one of their classes online. It offers a diverse selection of graduate degrees in the field of education that can be pursued online. At the doctoral level there are two programs, the Global Executive Doctor of Education and the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership. Both programs are projected to take a full-time student between three and four years to complete. They feature an annual immersion weekend on campus, but coursework can be completed 100% at a distance. Global Executive students will have the opportunity to take courses like Fostering Entrepreneurship in Educational Systems, and Global Trends: Emerging Ideas, Emerging Markets. This program can be completed in as little as 25 months and includes intensive class sessions in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and more.

USC Website: https://www.usc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Graduation Rate: 92%
Final Score: 188/200

2: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland and also maintains a campus in Washington, D.C. Additional locations are located across the globe in Italy, China, and even Singapore. Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is upheld as being the first research university in America. It is also one of the founding members of the American Association of Universities and was ranked as the #10 university in the world in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 publications. For almost 50 years, Johns Hopkins has been the recipient of the highest amount of federal research grants. It is an extremely prestigious university that strives to encourage students to research and to innovate. Even undergraduate students are able to participate in independent research. Between alumni and faculty, JHU is associated with 27 Nobel prize winners. Johns Hopkins is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education along with four other field-specific agencies in eight programs.

There are 23,917 students enrolled at Johns Hopkins, and almost 18,000 of them are pursuing graduate degrees. Of those students, 35% are doing so entirely at a distance. There are nine academic divisions of the university. The School of Education was established in 1909. Today, it offers a myriad of programs through six distinctive departments and operates two research centers. There is only one online doctoral program in education offered at Johns Hopkins, in a hybrid format. It is a Doctor of Education. Applicants must hold at least a masters degree and are expected to complete three years of independent research concurrently with the required coursework. While there may be some other on-campus meetings required, the only one documented is the defense of your dissertation once you’ve completed it.

Johns Hopkins Website: https://www.jhu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Graduation Rate: 92%
Final Score: 188/200

1: Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt UniversityVanderbilt University is a private research university based in Nashville, Tennessee on a picturesque 330-acre campus. Vanderbilt was originally established in 1873, and it is a non-sectarian institution despite its original ties to the Methodist church. It is informally referred to as Vandy. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges first accredited the university in 1895. Vanderbilt has a student body of 12,587, and its incredible freshman retention rate and graduation rate can likely be attributed to its student to faculty ratio of just 8 to 1. Research efforts at Vanderbilt are nationally ranked, and while the broad range of disciplines includes the important largest academic facility in the world dedicated to radiation-effects research, Vandy also has an institute dedicated to coffee. Vanderbilt has produced over 100,000 alumni, among them are prominent politicians, five Nobel laureates, and so many more. Adena Friedman, CEO of NASDAQ, is a Vanderbilt graduate.

The university has ten academic divisions. These are the College of Arts and Science; the Blair School of Music; the Divinity School; the School of Engineering; the Graduate School’ the Law School; the School of Medicine; the School of Nursing; the Owen Graduate School of Management and; the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Through Peabody Online, students can earn a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations. All three years of coursework are available entirely online. Students will have to attend a yearly immersion on campus, and once they have finished their capstone project, they must present it before a panel on campus as well. This program hones in on a broad range of topics such as data analytics, systemic improvement, and organizational challenges. The purpose of this program is to prepare students to apply what they have learned practically and to create effective leaders that will pioneer organizational change.

Vanderbilt Website: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Graduation Rate: 92%
Final Score: 189/200