Adult Education EdD - Doctor of Education

Doctor of Education

Develop innovative adult learning programs

With our online Doctor of Education, Adult Education degree you’ll gain skills to create new learning programs in colleges, universities, corporations, nonprofits, and governmental education organizations. Prepare for a career as a dean, director of training and development, curriculum director, or full-time, adjunct, or part-time faculty.

The curriculum focuses on current industry knowledge and standards, with coursework that helps strengthen your inquiry, analysis, communication, decision-making, and leadership skills to address critical, real-world problems.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 16 courses
  • Capstone

Classes Start September 14th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

We’ve decided to waive all application fees until further notice.

EdD, Adult Education program highlights

Reduce your tuition by 30%

Enroll in an eligible program and apply for our Front Line Heroes Discount to save 30% on your doctoral degree.

Apply now »

Capstone with focus on real-world impact

A doctoral project provides the opportunity for you to apply action research to solve a real problem in your field.

Create effective learning processes

Evaluate information literacy and technology to provide the most effective teaching methods to meet adult students’ needs.

Engage adult learners

Foster a climate for change and innovation that empowers adults to embrace and actively participate in learning.

Inspire lifelong learning

Promote critical-thinking and reflective practice to engage adults in lifelong learning.

Promote higher education

Establish an organizational culture that embraces adult learning for a variety of settings, from universities to corporations.

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Writing support

Sharpen your writing skills with our free tutoring services and other resources.

Disability services

Need help, accommodations, or accessible technology? These advocates will make it happen.

25 years of online doctoral experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

“Using Capella’s online platform as an adult learner, I was able to get a different perspective. It put me in the student’s seat, which is very valuable as we investigate ways to transform our district technologically.”

Read more about Jennifer »

Jennifer Hernandez*
Doctor of Education
*Actual Capella student who agreed to appear in our promotional materials.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$745 per credit, 64 total quarter credits, 0 max transfer credits

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 


There are a variety of need-based federal grants available to help pay for tuition and costs.

$20K toward your doctorate

Apply for a $20K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help you fund your doctoral degree.

Federal work study

Part-time jobs sponsored by the U.S. government are available to help you reduce loan debt.

EdD in Adult Education sample courses

Our EdD, Adult Education coursework focuses on the leadership and management proficiencies that successful educational professionals should demonstrate.

Foundational coursework

Core coursework will help lay the foundation for your entire program, with a focus on research, critical thinking, and setting you up for success as a doctoral student.

Capstone: doctoral project

The culminating project of the entire program, the capstone focuses on applied research to solve a specific organizational problem, improve outcomes, or resolve a gap in the field.

Show course with description
Adult Learning Theory and Professional Practice

This course provides an overview of learning theories, models, and principles, and their application to instructional processes for adult learners. Learners examine the social contexts in which adults learn and develop as well as the influences of race, class, gender, and culture. The course addresses the nature of adult development; issues and trends in the field; theories of adult growth and development; changes in young, middle, and older adulthood; and implications for instruction and learning for adults informed by the historical and philosophical foundation of adult education.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8502 *
Designing Adult Learning Experiences

In this course, learners develop a knowledge base of methods and materials for designing learning experiences and their assessments for adult students. Learners determine a learning need in their work environment and develop a learning experience and subsequent assessment to meet that need.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8020, EDD8500.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8504 *
Leading in Adult Learning Settings and Contexts

This course explores the concept of leadership in contemporary adult education settings, with specific focus on the connections between leadership and adult learning and development. Learners analyze theory and practices in effective leadership and administration in diverse and equitable adult education settings, both domestic and global. Learners examine managerial activities such as program planning and development, leadership, organizational change, and evaluation.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8030, EDD8502.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8506 *
Adult Education Administration

Learners in this course analyze the theories, policies, and procedures involved in administering adult education environments. Learners distinguish between leadership and management and examine the knowledge and skills needed to address adult education administrative challenges.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8040, EDD8504.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8508 *
Program Planning and Evaluation for Adult Education

This course presents underlying theories, current practices, and techniques for designing and evaluating educational programs for learners in a variety of adult education settings. In this course, learners identify and assess needs; establish objectives; and design and evaluate a program in adult education. Learners examine their own practice to help develop an informed and insightful practice for effective adult program development and evaluation.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8050; completion or concurrent registration in EDD8506. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. Gain leadership skills that can help you inspire adults to embrace lifelong learning.

  • Apply theory and research in adult learning and development to inform educational leadership and programming.
  • Apply historical and philosophical foundations of adult education to inform current educational practices.
  • Lead and manage organizational change in adult education organizations though evidence-based decision making.
  • Analyze the uses of current and emerging technologies for student’s success, decision-making, program planning, and evaluation.
  • Assess the policy landscape and its implications for the planning and implementation of adult education programs in domestic and global contexts.
  • Apply practices that value and promote diversity, equity, and globalization in adult education programming.
  • Apply critical thinking and reflective practice.
  • Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the education profession.

Adult Education career insights

Doctor of Education: Exploring the Possibilities

Explore eight EdD possibilities that can help you transform your skills in education leadership.

Quick Guide to EdS, EdD, and PhD Degrees

Compare advanced degree options for K-12 educators, including Doctor of Education and Education Specialist degrees.

Capella EdD Graduate Turns Classroom Concepts into TEDx Talk

Once an avid TED talk viewer, Capella EdD graduate Jeffery Huston became a TEDx presenter, sharing his passion in systems thinking.

Adult Education professional paths

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online doctoral degree in adult education.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Dean
  • Provost
  • College president
  • Manager of training and development
  • Training specialist
  • Adjunct or part-time faculty of education courses
  • Full-time faculty of education courses

Employment settings to explore

  • Continuing education program
  • Community college
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools
  • Vocational school
  • Military
  • Adult education program
  • Corporation
  • Nonprofit educational organizations
  • Governmental educational organizations

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.