Doctorate in Education (EdD) Programs (Online & Accelerated)

If you’re ready to move to the very highest level of leadership in education, an Executive  Doctorate in Education (EdD) can help.
An EdD program offers advanced leadership and research skills designed to equip you for the practical realities of leading in educational institutions, academic departments and in the classroom. 
GMercyU offers an Online Accelerated Executive EdD with four concentration options designed to suit professionals at every level from pre-kindergarten to higher education. This flexible online EdD program was developed with working educators in mind. When you study with us, you can continue to work, apply new knowledge and skills to your current role and build on your previous experience to prepare for a future of even more effective professional leadership.
Graduate prepared to create positive change for your students, your educational institution, and your community—all in less than three years.

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Online EdD

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Program Overview

Program Details

Our Online and Accelerated Executive EdD programs offer pathways to advanced leadership in a variety of career contexts. Whether you aim to change special education for pre-K-12 students, want to teach in a college, or want to pursue leadership roles in education-related charities or government organizations, we have a doctorate degree option for you. 
Leadership in Higher Education
This accelerated doctoral program focuses on meeting the needs of the 21st-century higher education student by driving improvements in curriculum, teaching and learning options, student affairs and more. This program focuses on administrative leadership and includes coursework in student retention, financial management, policy, governance and related issues.

Leadership in Special Education
The leadership in special education track is designed for experienced special education professionals who want to develop programs for individual students, direct special education offerings at the school or district level, or impact special education policy through research and advocacy. This option also allows you to pursue an optional Special Education Supervisor Certification.

Leadership in PK-12 Schools and School Districts
Create transformative change in public or private schools and the communities they serve with this online EdD option. This program equips you for administrative, executive, financial or academic leadership. We also offer the opportunity to pursue your Superintendent Letter of Eligibility as part of this program.

Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Develop advanced teaching skills for campus-based and virtual post-secondary classrooms with this doctoral degree option. This concentration addresses curriculum, program development and policy advocacy skills. 

A.B.D. Completion Option
If you have completed coursework for an EdD program elsewhere, we also offer a doctoral degree completion program which lets you take advantage of our dissertation support and accelerated schedule. You can work with our admissions team to develop a personalized degree plan and graduate in 18 months. 

Earning your doctorate in education online offers a number of advantages. First and foremost, there is the flexibility: Online courses can be scheduled around your current work, and the lack of full-time residency requirements means you don’t have to relocate. 

Next, an online doctorate program that offers an accelerated schedule provides you with the opportunity to complete your EdD in less time than you would think. At GMercyU our online EdD program takes as few as two years and eight months to complete.

Another benefit of online doctoral programs is that they connect you to a broader network of professional classmates than you might find in a campus-based program. Thanks to the interactive learning environment, you can also form meaningful relationships with your classmates.

Earning your doctorate in education online also gives you the opportunity to connect with experienced faculty instructors. In addition to supporting and engaging you during your classwork, these seasoned educators can help you hone your research skills, challenge you to think differently and—most important of all—support you as you develop and write your dissertation.

According to findings by the Council of Graduate Schools’ PhD Completion Project, only 55% of doctoral students complete their programs within 10 years of starting.  GMercyU’s first cohort of Doctorate in Educational Leadership students graduated in May 2018, achieving a 76% graduation rate in just three years. 

For you, this means GMercyU’s approach to accelerated online doctoral education offers you a better chance of completing your EdD in a reasonable amount of time — so you can advance your career and do more for students sooner. 

A doctorate in education (EdD) is a terminal degree designed to empower administrative and executive leaders in education. EdD programs also equip higher education teachers to deliver more effective instruction. The EdD aims to produce educators, administrators, and leaders who are equipped to drive transformational change. In your EdD program, you will gain skills to:

  • Direct teaching, assessment and curriculum development
  • Recruit, coach and retain faculty and staff
  • Evaluate education policy and advocate for change
  • Conduct and apply education research
  • Lead community relations and outreach

The EdD is distinct from a PhD in education. The EdD is focused on practical administrative effectiveness at an advanced level. It incorporates, but does not prioritize, scholarly research skills. A PhD in education inverts these priorities, putting academic research and scholarly inquiry first. Teaching and leadership skills come second. In addition, PhD programs can take five or more years to complete, while EdD programs often feature an accelerated format. At GMercyU, for example, you can complete our EdD program in less than three years of online study.

Both doctorate degree in education options include a dissertation—a research-based piece of scholarship in which the student makes a unique contribution to the field of education. 

In our accelerated doctoral programs, you are matched with a dissertation advisor from day one, and regularly meet to discuss your progress to ensure you finish on time and avoid the dreaded “A.B.D.”—All But Dissertation—status. 

What career paths can you pursue when you earn your EdD online? Your options will vary depending on your previous experience and certifications. Here are some possibilities, including national salary data and brief job descriptions.

Job Title



Instructional Coordinator

Direct education programs, develop curriculum and train teachers

$63,740 (median, 2021)

School Principal

Oversee operations of elementary, middle, and/or high schools

$98,420 (median, 2021)


Direct operations and education programs for school districts

$169,732 (average, 2022)

Chief Learning Officer

Responsible for direction employee training in corporations and organizations

$152,240 (median, 2022)

Post-Secondary Instructor

Delivers instruction at colleges, universities, and community colleges

$79,640 (median for all subjects, 2021)

Post-Secondary Administrator (Provosts, Deans, etc.)

Direct academics, athletics, student affairs, or other departments at colleges, universities, and community colleges

$96,910 (median, 2021)

College President

Acts as the chief executive officer of a college or university 

$179,520 (median, 2021)

Global Residency

Our doctoral students, along with guests and faculty members, spend a week experiencing the culture of Ireland and collaborating with faculty at the University of Limerick.
Cost of the trip is built into tuition.

Video created by EdD student Jessica Brasch

Discover how you can prepare for the highest level of leadership with one of Pennsylvania’s leading EdD programs. Request more information or call us today at 844-707-9064.