Top Schools to Earn a Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Earning a doctorate in educational leadership can prepare you for a top-level career in the education sector. Read on to learn how to choose an educational leadership program, and find out what the best schools in the country are for this field of study. Schools offering Education - Organizational Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in Educational Leadership Schools?

Educational leadership programs are offered on campus and online, so consider your schedule when researching schools. Look into graduate education programs that are recognized by organizations like U.S. News & World Report or Princeton Review. You'll want to study with faculty members who are experienced in educational leadership and have received recognition for their work through awards or published works. Find out if the school offers scholarships, fellowships or grants to graduate students.

What Are Three Top Schools Offering a Doctorate in Educational Leadership?

Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, NY

Teachers College (TC) is one of the largest and oldest graduate schools of education in the nation. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked TC 7th among graduate education schools and 2nd among graduate schools with education administration & supervision programs ( Columbia faculty members have received recognition from the Nobel Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Students with at least three years of teaching experience and a master's degree in education administration may pursue a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) through the urban education leaders program. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education Leadership program is designed for aspiring university professors. Ph.D. program students can select a specialization in leadership for adult development or leadership and organizational development.

  • Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
  • Ed.D. With a Specialization in Private School Leadership
  • Ed.D. Through the Urban Education Leaders Program

University of Wisconsin in Madison

University of Wisconsin (UW) is a prestigious university known for its excellence in teaching, research and public service. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked UW 2nd among graduate education schools that offer education administration & supervision programs. During the same year, U.S. News & World Report ranked UW 3rd among education programs.

UW offers a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. Available specializations include K-12 leadership, educational policy and higher, postsecondary and continuing education. Graduate students may find work opportunities through departmental assistantships, the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research or the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

  • Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

Vanderbilt University (VU) in Nashville, TN

In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked VU's Peabody College number one among graduate education schools for its education administration & supervision programs. During that year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Peabody College sixth among graduate education schools. Some Peabody faculty members serve as editors for academic journals, including Behavioral Disorders, Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis and The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.

Students in the higher education administration doctoral program can specialize in student affairs, enrollment management or higher education policy. Doctoral students may present research at professional seminars or submit articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Peabody research centers include the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools and the National Center on School Choice. Available degrees include:

  • Ed.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership and Policy
  • Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy
  • Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership and Policy
  • Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy
  • Ph.D. in International Education Policy and Management

More Top Educational Leadership Schools

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Johns Hopkins University 4-year, Private Baltimore, MD$56,000
Harvard University 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$47,000
Stanford University 4-year, Private Stanford, CA$51,000
University of Washington 4-year, Public Seattle, WA$16,500
Northwestern University 4-year, Private Evanston, IL$55,000
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Private Philadelphia, PA$38,000
University of Texas--Austin 4-year, Public Austin, TX$12,000
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI$23,000
University of Oregon 4-year, Public Eugene, OR$17,000
Michigan State University 4-year, Public East Lansing, MI$18,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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