Best Doctorates in Educational Leadership and Administration 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated April 1, 2020
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The 25 schools on this list offer the best educational leadership and administration doctoral degrees in the U.S. based on alumni salaries in the first year after graduation. Graduates of St. John's University earned a median salary of $137,600 one year after graduating, the highest salary on the list. Indiana State University, ranked twelfth, has the lowest median student debt on the list, at $25,292.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 $18,836 $54,703 $137,600
#2 #2 $13,190 $43,443 $131,500
#3 #3 $26,234 Not Reported $122,700
#4 #4 $23,422 $63,045 $110,200
#5 #5 $14,238 $61,500 $108,800
#6 #6 $38,630 $129,267 $107,400
#7 #7 $9,180 $35,145 $106,600
#8 #8 $45,561 $90,412 $98,900
#9 #9 $47,686 $62,024 $97,300
#10 #10 $18,106 $49,604 $97,200
#11 #11 $28,048 Not Reported $96,400
#12 #12 $14,762 $25,292 $94,400
#13 #13 $21,164 $50,000 $94,200
#14 #14 $30,834 $67,590 $92,800
#15 #15 $33,820 $101,500 $91,000
#16 #16 $28,881 Not Reported $89,400
#17 #17 $17,865 $42,150 $88,800
#18 #18 $18,465 $37,568 $88,600
#19 #19 $12,096 $68,154 $87,400
#20 #20 $29,629 $42,779 $86,300
#21 #21 $34,995 $52,017 $86,300
#22 #22 $28,610 $50,000 $84,500
#23 #23 $35,628 $58,921 $84,000
#24 #24 $12,780 $49,263 $83,900
#25 #25 $8,636 $60,007 $83,400

2020 Best Doctorates in Educational Leadership and Administration Highlights

Learn more about the top schools for a doctoral degree in educational leadership and administration. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Median Debt
$54,703
Median Salary
$137,600

St. John’s University offers a 60-credit Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership at its Queens, NY campus. Graduates will study and prepare for future education leadership roles. They will have the training and expertise to pursue employment opportunities in higher education, nonprofit work, and education technology. Students will study educational theory and research, and they’ll gain hands-on experience with education-based web technologies and their integration with current classroom instruction.

Coursework covers a range of topics focused on research methodologies and core components like leadership values, decision making, and curriculum. Beyond the required classes, students choose different tracks and specializations to pursue, including Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Technology, Higher Education, Administration, and Exceptional and Diverse Learners. Each sequence offers its own set of focused courses. Students will also complete an independent study, a full-time residency, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation that must be successfully defended. Interested applicants are expected to submit a GRE score and complete essay requirements.

Visit St. John's University's website.

Median Debt
$43,443
Median Salary
$131,500

The Sage Colleges offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program through the Esteves School of Education on its Albany campus. Students will pursue seven semesters of part-time coursework in a small cohort model, with courses totaling 106 credit hours. The program is specifically designed for current school district leaders — primarily in the K-12 system — who seek to improve their knowledge of leadership theory. Accepted candidates can expect to learn about how to build community through the intentional study of the different learning needs for individuals from different backgrounds. Students in the Ed.D. program will also be able to understand the complex nature of adapting an education system that addresses race, gender, poverty level, and special needs.

Applicants are largely from New York state and the Northeastern United States. Because of the part-time nature of the program, students can maintain full-time employment in their current school districts — they may even have the opportunity to complete an internship within their own district. This model allows for traditionally underrepresented populations (those without the flexibility and resources) to pursue continued education. Students will intern for their first three semesters, gaining hands-on experience in different educational settings. Local area schools serve as research sites. Upon graduating, students will have experienced both classroom-based and practical coursework, summer residencies, weekend courses, and online components, as well as have completed a dissertation.

Visit The Sage Colleges' website.

Median Debt
Not Reported
Median Salary
$122,700

The College of Education at Washington State University offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) for interested candidates whose primary focus is to serve as leaders for the K-12 school system. Students will gain a strong foundation when taking core courses such as the History of School Reform and Race, Identity, and Representation in Education. Additional coursework covers topics including teacher leadership, curriculum design, and disability studies. Further electives include individualized internships and two-week institutes during the summers of their first, second, and fourth years.

Learning outcomes emphasize career development and research skills, with priority given to mentoring, individualized coursework, assistantships, and independent research. Ed.D. candidates are expected to complete and successfully defend a dissertation, whether a traditional written product, film-based project, or pilot curriculum. Students are encouraged to pursue research that supports their future career goals. Students will also complete comprehensive exams. Full-time doctoral students may apply for paid assistantships, which provide hands-on experience working within the university.

Visit Washington State University's website

Median Debt
$63,045
Median Salary
$110,200

South Orange, New Jersey, is the home of Seton Hall University’s College of Education and Human Services. Interested applicants can pursue a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy. Through a strong emphasis on current educational theory and research, students will develop the skills required to serve as professionals in higher education institutions or as state-level employees for the Department of Education. The Ed.D. at Seton Hall focuses on scholarly research and its experiential application. Students may choose from two tracks: Management and Administration or College Teaching. The College Teaching track incorporates a minimum of 24 credits in the fields of student development, ethics and values, and counseling; the complete doctoral program requires 90 credit hours.

Seton Hall’s professional degree programs are founded on core knowledge, relevant technology, research, and reflection. The Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy’s coursework is composed of a core cluster, a professional cluster, and a research and dissertation development cluster. Students will receive research support and feedback while developing their dissertations. Specific classes students can take include the Historical Development of American Education, Diversity in Higher Education, and Statistical Methods.

Visit Seton Hall University's website.

Median Debt
$61,500
Median Salary
$108,800

The Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership through the University of La Verne prepares its graduates for future roles in the fields of education, business, nonprofit, and government. Over the course of three years, admitted candidates will complete 18 courses for a total of 54 semester hours. Each year, students meet four times for a four-day period of classroom-based coursework that highlights research methods and leadership theory. The program provides a convenient and flexible structure, with in-person coursework combined with virtual assignments and regionally based learning groups. Students from all three years participate in these learning groups, providing opportunities for peer mentorship.

The program’s first year is founded on personal development and basic leadership theory. The second year emphasizes collaboration and group work, while the third and final year focuses on the dissertation component. Throughout the course of the entire program, students will develop strong organizational skills and networking abilities, as well as how to foster leadership within a group. Classes include Conflict Management, Leader as Coach, and Organization Theory and Design, as well as a dissertation course.

Visit the University of La Verne's website.

Median Debt
$129,267
Median Salary
$107,400
Median Debt
$35,145
Median Salary
$106,600
Median Debt
$90,412
Median Salary
$98,900
Median Debt
$62,024
Median Salary
$97,300
Median Debt
$49,604
Median Salary
$97,200
Median Debt
Not Reported
Median Salary
$96,400
Median Debt
$25,292
Median Salary
$94,400
Median Debt
$50,000
Median Salary
$94,200
Median Debt
$67,590
Median Salary
$92,800
Median Debt
$101,500
Median Salary
$91,000
Median Debt
Not Reported
Median Salary
$89,400
Median Debt
$42,150
Median Salary
$88,800
Median Debt
$37,568
Median Salary
$88,600
Median Debt
$68,154
Median Salary
$87,400
Median Debt
$52,017
Median Salary
$86,300
Median Debt
$50,000
Median Salary
$84,500
Median Debt
$58,921
Median Salary
$84,000
Median Debt
$49,263
Median Salary
$83,900
Median Debt
$60,007
Median Salary
$83,400