Online EdD Degree: Doctor of Education

Online EdD Programs

Build and sustain ever-changing organizations, and help them and their people succeed, with Grand Canyon University's (GCU) online EdD programs. Combine theories and research with past leadership practices to critically analyze and apply best practices moving forward within education, management, psychology or ministry. Choose from emphases ranging from K-12 education and higher education to healthcare administration and behavioral health. GCU’s Doctor of Education – EdD online programs are embedded with research skills development throughout the curriculum. As a learner in one of our online doctorate programs, you have the opportunity to work on content expertise, with specially inserted dissertation milestones to give you the opportunity to complete the doctoral journey in as few as three years.

What is an EdD Online Degree?

EdD is an abbreviation for a Doctor of Education, which means the degree is typically awarded by a college of education. The EdD degree emerged in the 1920's as scholars began seeking doctoral degrees in professional fields. At GCU, the EdD is a leadership degree that helps you to apply current theories and research to new environments. At GCU, online EdD programs are offered by the College of Doctoral Studies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does EdD stand for?

An EdD stands for education doctorate. This degree focuses on leadership-type roles in all levels of education. Earning an EdD does carry the requirement of a dissertation.

Debating EdD vs. PhD and which is better depends on the area of study you choose to enter. If you intend on conducting research and teaching theoretical subjects, a PhD may be better for you. If you are looking to enter an administrative or leadership role in education, an EdD may be right for you. As well, each has different course lengths and requirements, so knowing which one is better is contingent upon your schedule and subject focus.

How much you can make with a doctorate in education depends on the type of profession. For a college professor, an EdD salary entirely depends on the professor’s past teaching experience as well as their area of expertise. University provosts and presidents can earn a six-figure EdD salary, but that also depends on the type of public or private institution.

A doctorate in education (EdD) is the pinnacle of education degrees. With this, there are many career paths you can choose to follow. Teaching-level jobs such as a college professor or administrative positions such as a school district superintendent or university provost are all qualified positions you can attain with an EdD.

The length of time for earning a doctorate in special education varies from program to program. GCU’s online Doctorate in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Special Education is a minimum of 20 courses, each of which are usually eight weeks in length. Students must also complete an approved dissertation, which can take additional time.

Yes, you can be a professor with an EdD. While many colleges may not require an education doctorate to become a professor, an EdD is considered the pinnacle of teaching degrees and can allow you to reach higher levels of professorship.

Yes, an EdD requires a dissertation. Each of GCU’s doctorate in education programs includes three dissertation courses that are eight weeks in length. The length of an EdD dissertation is entirely dependent on your chosen topic and how much research you have conducted over the course of the program.

Does an EdD require a dissertation?

An EdS stands for education specialist. This degree is a post-master’s degree that specializes in specific education focuses. An EdS does not require a dissertation.

An EdS is a post-master’s level degree that specializes in specific areas of teaching and education. It is considered an advanced degree above a master’s, but is not considered a doctorate as it does not require a dissertation. An EdD is an education doctorate that is designed for professionals looking to step into educational leadership roles.

While technically not a doctorate degree, an education specialist (EdS) degree offers components that align with doctoral degree standards, but does not require a dissertation or residency.

An EdS is an education specialist degree that is designed to give the learner an advanced level of knowledge in education. EdS degrees usually combine studies of theory, research and instruction for a specialized focus. GCU’s EdS degrees are post-master’s level programs that do not require a dissertation, but still provide a curriculum that aligns with typical teaching standards.

The time needed for earning an EdS degree varies for all programs. GCU’s EdS degree includes 10 courses that are each eight weeks in length. The program can be completed in less than two years if done without interruption.

Some doctorate degrees may require a capstone/project in place of a traditional dissertation. All of GCU’s EdD degrees require a dissertation for full program completion.


GCU's online Doctor of Education programs offer you the flexibility to study any time. With many of GCU's online doctorate programs, you will still attend in-person residencies to build relationships and enhance learning.

Prepare to face the challenges in today's workplace with online doctoral programs from the College of Doctoral Studies. Join a community of faculty and scholars, and grow your passion for your field of study.

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