Doctor of Education (EdD) Online Programs

Elevate Your Dedication to Education With an EdD Degree

Prepare to lead students, faculty and school communities into the future with a professional doctorate. The Doctor of Education (EdD) online1 programs at Grand Canyon University encourage learners to think critically about modern challenges in leadership, work toward innovative, student-focused solutions, and develop effective servant leadership skills. Designed for working professionals, our online EdD programs explore qualitative and quantitative research methods with the goal of preparing you as a scholar-practitioner.

The Doctor of Education degree programs are embedded with residencies and milestones designed to help you develop your research skills throughout the curriculum. As a learner in one of our online education doctorate programs, you have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and fellow doctoral peers right from the start of your program as you work toward achieving your academic and professional goals.

Earn Your EdD Online From GCU

Join a community of faculty and scholars from the College of Doctoral Studies. You will have the opportunity to learn how to build and sustain ever-changing organizations with GCU’s online Doctor of Education programs. You will be taught to combine theories and research with leadership practices to critically analyze and apply best practices within education, management, psychology or ministry. Choose from emphases ranging from K-12 education and higher education to healthcare administration and behavioral health.

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Work toward becoming a strategic education professional, a leader in special education or special education consultant with a firm foundation of competencies in organizational leadership and special education.

In the K-12 doctorate in education program, you will be taught the principles of leading teachers, implementing fiscal management strategies and optimizing the structure of contemporary K-12 educational systems. 

With the EdD in organizational leadership and development, you can prepare yourself to help lead and transform an organization as you look ahead toward navigating future opportunities and challenges for stakeholders. 

This Doctor of Education degree can allow you to focus on leadership and planning, with an in-depth look at clinical supervision in behavioral health settings and intervention methods. 

You will be guided in reflecting critically on existing leadership theory while focusing on the history, structure and governance of modern postsecondary institutions as you work toward earning the EdD degree in higher education.

Earn an adult teaching and learning education doctorate and help fellow educators reach their academic goals by pursuing a role as an instructor in master’s and doctoral programs.

For church leaders seeking to gain a deeper understanding of leadership principles, this online EdD degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis in Christian ministry teaches leadership theory with a focus on biblical stewardship. 

The EdD healthcare administration program focuses on issues facing the healthcare industry, including regulatory compliance, and the development of key leadership skills to address these issues. 

Institutionally Accredited Online EdD Degrees

As an institutionally accredited university, GCU is proud to uphold high standards of academic excellence. The Higher Learning Commission has continually accredited GCU since 1968 and the College of Doctoral Studies shares the university’s commitment to upholding the principles and standards established by our accrediting bodies. Our doctoral learners can feel empowered knowing their degree is conferred by an institution that emphasizes quality and comprehensiveness in our curriculum and instruction.

FAQs for Online EdD and EdS Programs

Before embarking on your doctoral journey, you may wish to do some exploratory research into your degree and career options. The College of Doctoral Studies has compiled the following FAQs and answers for our prospective doctorate in education learners.

Online doctoral student completing work online in kitchen with daughter

EdD is an abbreviation for a Doctor of Education. The EdD degree emerged in the 1920s as scholar-practitioners began seeking doctoral degrees in education that were intended to provide a pathway toward education leadership.2 At Grand Canyon University, the EdD is a leadership degree that teaches you to apply current theories and research to new environments. Online EdD programs are offered by the College of Doctoral Studies.

A Doctor of Education degree (EdD) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree are both terminal degree programs that represent the pinnacle of academic achievement in one’s field. However, they aren’t quite the same. Online Doctor of Education programs focus on the application of theories to actual situations, as well as educational leadership. PhD programs focus more on research, theory and policy, such as educational psychology and learning theories.3 

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 online EdD program may be right for you.3 In addition, each has different requirements; 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 and other factors. For a college professor, an EdD degree salary depends largely on the professor’s past teaching experience, as well as their area of expertise and employer. Teaching isn’t the only career possibility, however. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a postsecondary administrator as of May 2022 was $99,940.4

There are many career paths you can choose to follow. Teaching jobs such as a college professor, or administrative positions such as a school district superintendent or university provost are all positions you can apply to with an EdD degree and relevant experience. Alternatively, you may choose to pursue a career as a curriculum specialist, chief learning officer or education policy analyst. 

Yes, you can be a professor with an EdD degree. While not all colleges may require an education doctorate to become a professor, an EdD is a terminal degree, and it can allow you to position yourself for potentially higher levels of professorship.

Yes, an EdD requires a dissertation. Each of GCU’s doctorate in education programs includes a minimum of three dissertation courses. 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. 

An Education Specialist (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 work toward educational leadership roles.3 

At GCU, our online Doctor of Education programs offer you access to knowledgeable faculty, research opportunities and network connections within the education industry. Get started in achieving your goals.

1 While all courses are completed online, you will need to attend residencies in person locally.

2 Louie, K. (n.d.). The history of the doctorate in education (Ed.D.) – past, present & future. Online EdD Programs. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2024. 

3 Thompson, E. and Carlton, G., PhD. (2023, Nov. 29). Ed.D. vs. Ph.D. vs. Ed.S.: What’s the difference? BestColleges. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2024. 

4 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Postsecondary Education Administrators as of May 2022, retrieved on Jan. 11, 2024. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Postsecondary Education Administrators nor does it reflect the earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc. against a pool of candidates. 

5 Resilient Educator. (2020, May 27). Career options & opportunities with an EdD degree. Resilient Educator. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2024.