Online PhD in Educational Leadership

At the doctorate level, educational leadership provides not only a strong foundation in curriculum design and implementation, but also the tools and knowledge necessary for tackling the challenges that arise in education. Education is constantly shifting and changing along with societal demands, technological innovations, and new developments. An online PhD in educational leadership results in a graduate that is prepared to meet the needs of students in this ever-evolving climate. Online doctoral programs in educational leadership provide coursework in areas such as human development and curriculum, and also give students a thorough background in finance and operations. Such coursework enables graduates to forge careers in education, business and even government, as these fields require individuals that have in-depth knowledge of the planning and implementation of educational programs for students and trainees alike. Online PhD degrees in educational leadership take three to four years to complete, depending on how quickly students complete their dissertations, and encompass coursework, exams, thorough research and a careful study of emerging educational trends and developments. The online educational leadership PhD requires discipline, a strong work ethic, and a desire to positively impact the educational structures that exist today.

About Online PhD Programs in Educational Leadership

Whether pursued on campus or online, a doctorate education in educational leadership requires a lot of devotion to research. Students should expect to take courses on educational theory, methodology and practice, and should expect to formulate and defend their own theories as well. Research is usually performed with a mixture of digital resources, books, and the participation of schools or businesses. Unlike its on-campus counterpart, however, the online doctorate in educational leadership provides all coursework over the internet, utilizing on-campus participation only for brief residency periods. This is the only main difference in curriculum. Accredited PhD programs online offer coursework similar to on-campus educational leadership PhD programs, as exemplified by the classes offered by the University of Phoenix's doctor of educational leadership, some of which are listed below.

Year One:

  • Research Design. This course prepares students for doctoral-level research, which they will employ when they embark on their dissertations.
  • Creative and Critical Thinking. By facilitating students' thoughts about the way they think, learn and work, this course encourages students to be active thinkers and problem-solvers.
  • Social Contexts and Contemporary Issues. As an overview of current trends and developments within the field of education, this course encourages students to think critically about educational policy and to analyze the theories that are put into practice.

Year Two:

  • Developmental and Learning Theories. This course explores the learning processes that develop and change over time, as humans grow older, and the theories behind effective instruction across the lifespan.
  • Integrating Technology and Curriculum. Technology is increasingly behind used to reach students and make instruction easier for teachers. This course explores how technology can be woven into effective curriculum.
  • Educational Technology Research. This course explores research into technology, it's role in the classroom, and the effectiveness of technologically-based instruction.

Year Three:

  • Leadership in Contemporary Organizations. This course studies the management of organizations in today's global marketplace and explores organization theory in detail.
  • Planning and Leading Change. This course provides an overview of effective leaders and how they approach and plan for change. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own leadership strategies.
  • Instructional Media and Design Techniques. Online PhD educational leadership students analyze the role of media in curriculum and instruction, as well as explore principles behind the design of electronic media, in this technologically-based course.

After the completion of coursework, students enrolled in online doctorate programs in educational leadership take a comprehensive examination over all coursework. In educational leadership, these examinations review knowledge in areas of the learning process, strategies of change, effective leadership methodologies, and learning theories. After passing the exam, students move on to work on their dissertations, which are detailed research projects that explore a contemporary topic relevant to the field of education. Past dissertations in educational leadership include A Study of Tech Prep Program Administrator Perceptions of Factors Promoting or Threatening Tech Prep Program Continuance by Ricky D. Ertell and Elementary Principals' Attitudes Towards the Inclusion of Students With Disabilities in the General Education Setting by Roxanna C. Ramirez. The field of education is constantly evolving in order to keep up with societal changes and new demands. As a result of education's ever-changing quality, there are always new potential topics for online educational leadership PhD students to explore.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Educational Leadership

An online PhD in educational leadership is an excellent choice for individuals with solid backgrounds in education that harbor a desire to advance their careers beyond the single classroom. Candidates should have an interest in providing guidance and structure to an entire school or business of learners as well. It is important for online doctoral degree students to be intrinsically motivated, as most coursework and studying will be performed independently. These programs are therefore not recommended for students that have no interest in education, the learning process, or discovering ways in which to improve instruction. For superintendent, administrative and government positions, PhD-holders are usually preferred over those with lower education. Using the internet as the medium for a doctorate education can be very beneficial as well, as many of the best instructional methods now incorporate the use of technology. Students that complete their educational leadership doctorate degrees online will therefore have the upper edge over their peers, as they will be well-versed in instructional technology due to their firsthand experience. Online PhDs are therefore relevant to educational practice.

Application&Admission Requirements

Applicants admitted into online PhD programs in educational leadership usually have a background in teaching, school administration, or another area of education. Most accredited programs require applicants to have completed a Masters degree in education, such as a Master of Arts in Teaching or a Master of Education, prior to enrollment. Applicants are typically required to have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average during their Masters programs and will be asked to submit transcripts for verification. The top online PhD programs in educational leadership will require a submission of a written personal statement or statement of program goals, which will serve as an example of writing ability and applicant motivation. All programs review resumes or curricula vitae, which makes previous education experience essential for applicants. Some of the top online universities may request additional items as well, such as GRE test scores.

Career Options&Job Market

Graduates that hold an online doctorate in educational leadership are prepared to improve educational systems, strengthen curriculum, increase student learning, and even help develop policy. They have a number of career opportunities open to them, as many employers hope to fill administrative positions with candidates that have advanced education and knowledge. Online PhD educational leadership graduates have the chance to forge careers as superintendents or other administrative personnel. Becoming a principal is another option for graduates. In addition, educational leadership PhD online graduates can also work their way up to the Board of Education in their states, as they can utilize the knowledge they have acquired to help develop and change educational policy. Executive directors can impact the future of education in their states.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

Individuals interested in pursuing educational leadership doctorate degrees online have a decent selection of universities from which they can choose. It's important for individuals to be aware of the varying costs of tuition and the opportunities available to them for funding.ˇIt's clear that education is expensive, no matter the program of choice. Due to the high cost of online doctorate degrees in educational leadership, applying for various forms of financial aid is a vital step in the application process. Below are some fellowship opportunities for students pursuing their online educational leadership doctorate.

Essential Advice

  • Diverse experiences in the field of education can make your resume shine. Consider joining a professional association to gain access to professional development opportunities.
  • Network with students and professors to gain more insight into online doctoral programs in educational leadership.
  • If you have any other questions about applying for online doctoral degrees in educational leadership, call university admissions departments. They are there to help you through the process.
  • Apply for financial aid, even if you don't think that you'll receive any. You may be pleasantly surprised, and financial aid can go a long way.