Leadership in Educational Administration PhD in Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Drive education change as an influencer

Use your passion for education as a springboard to lead positive change. A Capella online PhD in Education, Leadership in Educational Administration degree can help you take on a leadership role. Choose a concentration in school or district leadership. Upon completion of this program, you’ll be prepared to pursue licensure as a K-12 principal or superintendent.

This specialization does not lead to license, endorsement, or other professional credential. For more information, see the Licensure section for this program on Capella’s website (www.capella.edu). Teachers are advised to contact their school district to determine whether a program may qualify for salary advancement.

At a Glance

  • Online & in-person
  • 4 Core courses
  • 4 Specialization courses
  • 5 Concentration courses
  • 2 Elective courses
  • 3 Residencies
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation
  • 2 Internships

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 »

Classes Start November 9th

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.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo FALL20).

PhD program highlights

State-approved program

This specialization is state-approved, a requirement for principal or superintendent licensure in many states.

ELCC recognized

This specialization is nationally recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituents Council (ELCC).

CAEP-accredited program

Capella University Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) is accredited based on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards through 2024.

Our unique doctoral structure

Our PhD in Education, Leadership in Educational Administration program is designed to remove roadblocks for you and demystify the dissertation process. This unique approach centers on supporting you in three ways: through program structure, a dedicated faculty and support team, and online resources. To help generate momentum toward graduation, you’ll begin your dissertation early in the program. Our faculty, support team, and online resources will help guide you every step of the way.

“My degree, along with the work I’ve done, opened that door for me. It gave me credibility. That credibility makes me proud to hear the words, Dr. Graham with a PhD from Capella University.”

Read the full interview »

D.A. Graham*
PhD in 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, 92 total quarter credits, 8 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

Capella University's Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) is accredited based on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards through 2024. CAEP is the only recognized national accreditor for educator preparation. CAEP, 1140 19th St NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 223-0077.

Understanding professional licensure

It is important to understand all educational and individual requirements for licensing. Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for your state.

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. 

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.


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.

PhD in Education sample courses

The online PhD in Education, Leadership in Educational Administration curriculum focuses on the research, leadership, management, and problem-solving skills needed for principals and superintendents in today’s competitive K-12 environment. The program includes dissertation research seminars which allow you to get an early start on your dissertation.

Show course with description
Principles of Educational Administration

This course presents an overview of principles of P–12 education leadership theory and practice aligned with six National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) program standards. The course incorporates multimedia, including embedded simulations, to enhance presentation and understanding ofconcepts and issues in school or district leadership and administration. Learners also examine business and public administration models and explore theoretical constructs from various disciplines. This course requires interaction with practicing school or district administrators and access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
ED7541 *
Teacher Supervision and Evaluation

Learners in this course examine current theories and best practices of teacher supervision and evaluation. In particular, learners focus on instructional leadership and professional development as part of a systemic plan to improve student learning. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. Prerequisite(s): ED7820. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
ED7822 *
The Funding of Educational Institutions

Learners in this course examine a variety of public education funding issues. In particular, learners examine the effect of litigation and politics on present and future funding patterns and school finance reform. Learners also identify the ways politics have affected the allocation of resources at all levels of government. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. Prerequisite(s): ED5320 or ED7820. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Leading Diverse Schools

In this course, learners evaluate approaches to creating an inclusive school environment that demonstrates respect and value for diverse staff and student populations. Learners assess communication and collaboration strategies that leverage the strengths of diversity to create an effective learning environment and examine the institutional, political, and legal factors that influence the ways schools address diversity issues. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. 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 influence and improve education.

  • Help your organization develop a shared vision of learning.
  • Collaborate and communicate effectively with multiple stakeholders.
  • Lead the development of a culture of learning and manage effective learning environments.
  • Apply self-management skills to the completion of required paperwork, assignments, activities, and clinical hours.
  • Advance the field of education through your influence.
  • Use information technology effectively to improve learning, productivity, and professional practice.

Education Leadership career insights

The Difference Between an EdD and PhD in Ed

Choosing to pursue a PhD or EdD depends on your career goals and whether applied or original research most interests you.

Prepare for licensure

Our program features a rigorous combination of online coursework and face-to-face experiences that help you expand on what you’re learning in the courseroom, so you can hit the ground running in the real world.

Dedicated support

Our licensure team supports you through the license application process, and is here for you even beyond graduation. 

Specialize your learning

Concentrations let you hone in on your specific area of interest that can get you even closer to your exact career goals.

School leadership

Choose this concentration if you’re interested in preparing to be a school principal who can provide vision, guidance, and oversight within a school.

District leadership

Prepare for leadership as a superintendent by evaluating the cultural, social, economic, political, and legal contexts of district leadership. 

Leadership and Educational Administration professional paths

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online leadership in educational administration doctoral degree.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Principal
  • Assistant principal
  • Director of instructional technology
  • Director for student services
  • Full-time faculty of education courses
  • Superintendent
  • Assistant superintendent
  • Director of instructional technology
  • District program director
  • Curriculum director
  • Assessment and compliance coordinator
  • Director for student services

Employment settings to explore

  • K-12 public or private school
  • K-12 virtual or charter school
  • State education department
  • School district office
  • Land-based or online college or university

*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.

Educational Leadership

Doctor of Education

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