Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

100% Online - Applicable to Many Fields

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Non-profit University with R2 Carnegie Research Classification

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Degree at the University of New England Online is a 51-credit program designed to prepare students for leadership roles in a variety of industries through collaborative learning opportunities. Our program is 100% online and provides flexibility to students with multiple start dates throughout the year. There are no required campus visits or residency requirements. Students who complete our program procure leadership work in many areas, including:

  • K-12 Education
  • Higher Education 
  • Healthcare
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Non-governmental Organizations  
  • Private Organizations
  • Military 
  • Social Work
  • Public Agencies 

The Doctor of Education program includes a dissertation defense that is presented virtually at the completion of the program. A key feature of UNE Online’s Ed.D is that our students work on their dissertation throughout the program – unlike many other Ed.D programs requiring coursework completion before commencing dissertation work. This parceling out of the dissertation work has proven to minimize student stress and help students avoid “ABD” (“all-but-dissertation”) status. The embedding of the dissertation throughout the Ed.D curriculum is a unique advantage UNE Online offers students.


Current Application Deadline

August 12, 2024

Fall A Session

Courses begin September 4, 2024

Time Left to Apply:

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Why Choose the University of New England Online?

Fully Online

Fully Online

Courses are delivered fully online, allowing the flexibility to complete coursework around your schedule.



UNE Online offers some of the most affordable and competitive tuition rates, allowing you to complete your program for less.



Students have consistent support throughout the program, beginning right at the application process with an enrollment counselor and continuing with a personal student support specialist.

Integrated Dissertation

Integrated Dissertation

Dissertation writing courses are integrated throughout the entire program.

Our Unique Dissertation Process

Doctoral students focus on developing the research skills necessary to be thoughtful and critical creators of knowledge. The UNE Online experience is unique in that the dissertation writing process is embedded into multiple courses. Students receive direct instruction on, and high levels of support, writing their dissertations. Students can use a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method approach to their dissertation work. Students work towards building their dissertation at the very beginning of the Ed.D. program and are guided through the process embedded directly in the curricular structure.  

The dissertation process is laid out in 5 steps:

  1. Topic exploration begins in the application essay, where students are asked to describe a potential research topic.
  2. Topic choice and refinement happen within the first few courses of the program and are followed by continued review for alignment and consistency.
  3. The development of a literature review draft, conceptual and theoretical frameworks, and research approach are constructed as students complete the coursework. 
  4. Ed.D. students who meet course benchmarks are assigned a dissertation committee (lead and secondary advisor) upon completion of the two dissertation seminar courses. By the time students get to the point where their dissertation committee is assigned, they will have written a draft version of three of their dissertations’s five chapters (the proposal).
  5. After a successful dissertation proposal, students will submit an IRB application. Subsequent data collection and data analysis will occur towards completion of their research. Finalized dissertations will meet the department standards and be reflective of commonly accepted tenets of the student’s chosen research approach. The dissertation is presented and defended online as the capstone to the Ed.D. degree.   

Peer and Faculty Support During Dissertation

Each successful candidate will be assigned a two-person dissertation team, including a faculty lead advisor and a secondary advisor. A faculty advisor serves as the lead advisor, and a second member supports the advisor. This two-person team is responsible for overseeing and approving the dissertation development. They will review all related work and support the student’s development as a scholar. 

See examples of successful dissertations hosted on DUNE

Ed.D. Program Goals

The Ed.D. program aims to:

  • Provide candidates with a student-centered interdisciplinary program that emphasizes scholarly research of publishable quality and the development of a theoretical framework related to their area of interest and professional goals.
  • Examine and bridge the gap between educational theory and its connection to leadership theory, philosophical theory, and scientific theory.
  • Afford students the opportunity to be actively engaged in the topic selection and construction of the dissertation throughout the program under the direction of experienced faculty and a carefully selected dissertation committee.
  • Promote the use of technology that is educationally effective and academically rigorous.
  • Prepare professionals who are future-focused and capable of fostering innovation and change.

The UNE Online Experience

“I felt like I was part of a community, and I felt like I had support. My work was evaluated from different points of view, different levels of education, and different experience levels – and I was able to grab ahold of all of that at the same time. It encourages you to seek out opportunities. It encourages you to push yourself. And in my case, I was able to apply my research to my career.”

- Dianna Montfort, Ed.D.


At UNE Online, our goal is to admit students who demonstrate an ability to be successful in the Doctor of Education program and who will continue that success in their future endeavors. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications. Our Ed.D. program is designed for lifelong learners, including those seeking personal enrichment and mid-career professionals who are looking to initiate change in their organization. While there is no one typical background for successful applicants, students are characterized by an inclination to take on new challenges and come from fields such as K-12 education, higher education, the military, service agencies, healthcare, business, and nonprofits.

Admission Requirements:

  • A Master’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, or its equivalent.
  • Applications are reviewed holistically as a determination of academic readiness. The admissions committee values previous academic performance as indicated on transcripts and considers it as part of the review process.
  • Computer with an internet connection, including the hardware and software requirements described in our Technical Requirements. Must also possess sufficient computer skills to navigate the internet as all classes are accessed 100% online.

Application Process:

  • Completed online application
  • Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Admission Essay Questions:
    1. Please describe your personal and/or professional experiences and why you are seeking a doctoral degree at this point in your career.
    2. As a follow up to the first question, please explain how your personal and professional experiences have informed your thoughts on a topic of research. In addition, please propose your initial thoughts on a topic of research for your doctoral study and the context in which you might conduct your research.
  •  Two professional/academic references
  • Official transcripts reflecting conferral of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Note: Transcripts for any coursework appearing as transfer credit on the transcript of the conferred degree can be waived if the coursework is unrelated to the degree being sought. The program admissions committee defines all coursework not eligible for waiver.

Procedures and Policies:

  • Applications for admission are accepted through UNE’s online application only. Detailed instructions are included in the online application.
  • Official transcripts, as well as other documents to support the application, must be submitted to the College of Professional Studies, either electronically or sent to 716 Stevens Ave, Portland, ME, 04103
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have their transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited US institution. See International Admissions.
  • All applicants to UNE must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university. UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency, see International Admissions.
  • If an applicant cannot prove English Proficiency in another way, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required and must be submitted as a part of the completed application.
  • All materials submitted as part of the application become the property of UNE and will not be returned or released to anyone, including the applicant. This policy includes letters of reference, primary and secondary applications, personal statements, transcripts, and other supporting materials.

For additional information on the admissions process and requirements, please access the Doctor of Education website.

Policy Exceptions:

The Doctor of Education program and the EdD Admissions Committee in collaboration with the College of Professional Studies reserve the right to make exceptions to the admissions criteria and to make changes or exceptions to policies and procedures, on a case by case basis, when it deems such a decision is necessary and appropriate.


    Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Curriculum

    UNE Online’s 51-credit Ed.D. program is 100% online and the curriculum is set up in a way for students to engage in:

    • Online lectures, instructor-led discussions and assessments, small group interactions, and limited, optional synchronous sessions
    • Courses in educational leadership
    • Dissertation writing courses throughout the program
    • Completion of a culminating dissertation that displays the research skills necessary to be thoughtful and critical creators of knowledge.  

    This program can be completed in three years or in even less time with accepted transfer credits. Each course is worth 3 credits, and is eight weeks long, with two courses per 16-week semester. 

    The importance of building the dissertation throughout that journey is emphasized. One of the main outcomes of the course is a Literature Review Matrix based on the student’s area of research interest and working topic. The process of inquiry, research and academic writing skills are reinforced, as is the Dissertation Template and the alignment of topic with problem, purpose, research questions and research themes for the Literature Review Matrix.

    Students will be introduced to several different qualitative research methods from which to explore. Students will participate in activities which align with the building of a potential qualitative study for their approved working topic of choice.

    Students will be introduced to quantitative, as well as mixed methods research. Students will describe various research designs and evaluate them for appropriateness for their approved working topic of choice. Students will participate in activities which align with the building of a potential quantitative or mixed methods study.

    In today’s swiftly evolving educational tech landscape, leadership and strategic planning skills are crucial. This course empowers students to delve into technological innovation, equipping them to comprehend emerging technologies and craft effective implementation strategies. With a focus on leadership, students will excel at leveraging new technologies for organizational success.

    The ability to create the conditions to effect systematic and productive change is necessary in every profession and organization. Students will be introduced to theories, models, and practices to inform the management of change across various stakeholders internal and external to the organization.

    Students will be introduced to the importance of analyzing existing policies and revising or developing new ones where policies do not currently exist. Collaboration of multiple stakeholders will be reinforced, as will the implementation of the policy and how it will be put into practice using well-constructed procedures. The power of continuous review and analysis will also be explored.

    This writing intensive dissertation development course will afford students the opportunity to expand the Literature Matrix developed in EDU 801 into a working literature review in Chapter 2. The importance of active engagement in the research process will be emphasized. Students will focus on building on their existing knowledge of their approved working topic through intensive research, analysis, synthesis, and continued alignment of topic with problem, purpose, research questions and specific research themes needed for the literature review.

    This course examines traditional philosophical and ethical frameworks as well as moral development in terms of how leaders can practically apply these concepts. Students explore approaches to moral and ethical reasoning and will use these approaches to discuss ethical dilemmas related to leading change in organizations.

    Organizational dynamics are complex and ever-changing, particularly as a result of a connected and global society. Each organization or organizational structure, whether it be a family, large company, or university can experience, and be required to manage, different and distinct dynamics. This course will also help students better understand the co-existing similarities that may exist across all organizational environments and structures.

    This capstone course is the first of two courses combined to bridge the student’s journey of development in order to prepare a draft of the first three chapters based on the approved working topic. Alignment of topic with problem, purpose, research questions, title, and themes needed in the literature review is reinforced using the Alignment Tool, as well as the Five Chapter Dissertation Outline. Chapters 1 and 2 will be submitted as will the Introduction of Chapter 3. CITI training will also be a priority.

    This is the second of two capstone courses designed to provide the opportunity for students to submit a full draft of the dissertation proposal. Intensive focus on a theoretically-grounded methodology in Chapter 3 will take place. Continued alignment of topic with problem, purpose, research questions, title, and literature review themes will be reinforced. Students will be assigned their dissertation committee members.

    This is the first of four dissertation courses designed to support and provide the opportunity for students to continue their journey and complete their dissertations within the 51-credit program. The Dissertation Completion Timeline will help guide students, and their dissertation committee. The ideal outcome of this course is intended to be final approval of the three-chapter proposal, a PowerPoint Proposal Presentation, and submission of the IRB application. The Lead Advisor is responsible for approving and submitting the student’s application to the IRB. Should students not be able to meet these goals during this course, they will be afforded the opportunity to move forward into EDU 815 if they have demonstrated they are generally making satisfactory progress, communicating with their committee, and adhering to agreed-upon deadlines.

    This is the second of four dissertation courses designed to support and provide the opportunity for students to continue their journey and complete their dissertations within the 51-credit program. The Dissertation Completion Timeline will help guide students, and their dissertation committee. During this course, the ideal goal is for the students (once they have received IRB approval) to recruit their participants and begin their data collection. Should students not be able to meet these goals during this course, they will be afforded the opportunity to move forward into EDU 816 if they have demonstrated they are generally making satisfactory progress, communicating with their committee, and adhering to agreed-upon deadlines.

    This is the third of four dissertation courses designed to support and provide the opportunity for students to continue their journey and complete their dissertations within the 51-credit program. The Dissertation Completion Timeline will help guide students, and their dissertation committee. During this course, the ideal goal is for students to analyze their data, report their findings and begin development of Chapter 4 and 5. Should students not be able to meet these goals during this course, they will be afforded the opportunity to move forward into EDU 817 if they have demonstrated they are generally making satisfactory progress, communicating with their committee, and adhering to agreed-upon deadlines.

    This is the last of four dissertation courses in which students will finalize interpretation of their findings in Chapter 5, finalize the dissertation, and defend their research to include a PowerPoint Presentation. Students are required to revise the dissertation as needed so that it is of publishable quality and organized using the approved Dissertation Outline. Should students so choose it should also be DUNE-ready so that it can be “published” on the UNE DUNE site. Should students not be able to meet these goals during this course, they will be afforded the opportunity to move forward into the one-credit EDU 818 Dissertation Continuation course if they have demonstrated they are generally making satisfactory progress, communicating with their committee, and adhering to agreed-upon deadlines.

    This course examines educational theory, as well as current best practices in educational research. It is intended to prepare professionals and leaders across all disciplines to connect these theories and best practices in their own organizations and professional environments.

    This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to build their conceptual and theoretical frameworks and establish a practical and theoretical positioning blueprint to serve as the foundation for their approved working topic, the literature review, and the dissertation as a whole. The benefits of visual representations and concept mapping, as well as their choice of a working methodology within the conceptual framework will be reinforced.


    Stacking and Transferring of Credits

    UNE Online is now offering students the opportunity to transfer up to four 3-credit courses from their previous UNE post-master’s coursework or two 3-credit courses from doctoral studies from an outside institution. Students who transfer four 3 credit courses into the program have the potential to graduate in less than three years. 

    Note: Students must complete the entire Ed.D. degree within five years. Under highly unusual conditions, students may petition for an extension beyond five years.

    Please note: If your goal is to become an administrator in the State of Maine, and you currently have your master’s degree, the 30-credit CAGS in Advanced Educational Leadership is the program that would lead to Building Administrator 040 certification in the State of Maine. If you will be working as an administrator outside of the State of Maine, UNE Online highly recommends that you research your specific state requirements for entry-level into assistant principal or principal positions before entering this (or any) program.

    Tuition and Fees

    Tuition for the University of New England Online’s Ed.D. Degree is competitive among other schools at $830/credit,* and because all of our courses are delivered 100% online, you will not incur the cost of traveling or relocating to complete your degree. (*Note: Tuition is subject to change. Listed tuition does not include the cost of fees, books, or additional credits that may be required, etc. Contact student Financial Services to learn more.)

    Cost per
    Credit: $830

    # of credits for program: 51

    Typical Cost for Program:


    General Services Fee (per semester, non-refundable for matriculated students)
    Tuition (per credit hour)
    Technology Fee (per semester)
    Registration Fee (non-matriculated students per semester)


    When choosing an institution of higher education, you want to be sure your investment will hold value upon completion. We are proud to hold NECHE (New England Commission on Higher Education) accreditation at the University of New England and for our graduate programs. NECHE Accreditation ensures a high level of academic quality and public accountability for the education being provided.


    The University of New England Online’s Ed.D. faculty and staff are top-notch. They are a team of dedicated professionals and are active and respected in their field. Meet the Education Faculty and Staff

    Student Support & Resources

    At the University of New England Online, we are committed to providing our students with the highest level of academic and personal support. We understand the unique challenge of adult students who are often juggling school, career, and family, which is why we offer a robust Student Academic Success Center (SASC) and high-touch academic advising. Learn more about Student Support and Resources.  


    Ed.D. Basics

    The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is different from a Ph.D. because the Ed.D. focuses on applied practice whereas the Ph.D. is more research-focused.

    In an Ed.D. program, you’ll learn how to evaluate organizations to find strengths and weaknesses, to conduct thorough research and communicate data-based recommendations, and to improve your individual professional capacity. These skills are invaluable in the modern workplace and will allow you to identify, discuss, and enact organizational-level improvements.

    In addition to becoming eligible for job positions requiring a terminal degree, your increased credibility, knowledge, and skills may also lead to a pay increase, title change, or increased responsibilities. Earning the Ed.D. will enhance your ability to lead others in a variety of situations, engendering confidence and motivation so that you can enact lasting positive change. In short, the Ed.D. will give tools to enhance your career any way you see fit.


    The Online Ed.D. at UNE Online

    The University of New England is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). This is the same accrediting body that accredits most nonprofit New England colleges and universities, such as those found on this list.

    The embedding of the doctoral dissertation development within the entire program makes the Ed.D. program at UNE Online unique. Many doctoral programs, whether they are face-to-face, hybrid, or online, start off with coursework and then only start to look at the dissertation materials late in the program. This allows far too much time to pass without refining the dissertation topic. At UNE Online, students begin to work on their topic exploration starting the very moment they do their admissions essay.

    This curricular structure is also a major reason why our program has so few “all-but-dissertation” (ABD) students. ABD is a somewhat common issue in doctoral programs in which students complete their coursework but, for a variety of reasons, never finish or present and defend their final dissertation. By spreading out the work over the course of the program rather than all at the end, we strongly position our students to complete and present their dissertation on time.

    Your diploma will specify that you graduated with a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of New England.

    UNE’s Ed.D. program is well-suited for professionals in a variety of industries. Our students and graduates run the gamut from K-12 teachers to superintendents, from nonprofit workers to enlisted military members, military spouses and military officers. Our students also come from healthcare to finance and business. There is no one perfect candidate or background. Anyone interested in furthering themselves personally and/or professionally should consider how UNE Online’s Ed.D. program could benefit their personal and professional goals.

    Another reason to consider our program is the opportunity to explore an interest in intellectual development and scholarship. Our program requires original research and relies on the application of theory and research to practice. We have engaged with our students and faculty to create a truly integrated program in which lessons are immediately applicable to almost any work situation.

    Absolutely! Our 100% online format means that you complete your coursework on your own schedule. Without the need to commute to class, you can log in and review readings or complete assignments any time and any place you can bring your computer and access the internet. Your instructors and peers will understand the need for time management, as they are all busy individuals as well.

    Our motto is “a successful student is a supported student.” Upon entering the program, you will be assigned a dedicated Student Support Specialist to provide you with support and to answer any questions you may have.

    Your Support Specialist is your on-the-ground advocate at the University – from questions on textbooks, to registration, to financial aid and more, they are there to help you make your academic journey successful.

    This dedicated support runs parallel to the tremendous support you will receive from program staff, course instructors, dissertation advisors, and your peers.

    You can learn more about the kind of support you’ll receive by watching our “Student Support at UNE Online” webinar.

    Our Ed.D. program is 100% online, and this includes your dissertation. You will present and defend your dissertation to your committee online through Zoom or a similar software. There is no residency requirement for the Ed.D. at UNE, so you’ll never have to come to campus–unless you’d like to come join our annual Commencement Ceremony, that is!

    We have carefully structured the Ed.D. so that you can earn your doctoral degree within three years (or fewer, if you have transfer credits). However, students can take up to five years to complete their degree if any issues arise.

    Yes! Several of our students and graduates have been kind enough to share their experience on our website. You can find several of those stories here:

    Ed.D. tuition and fees are subject to change. An Ed.D. is a significant investment, and it’s worth comparing both tuition rates and fee charges. While an institution may have a higher cost per credit hour than another university, if the institution charges fewer fees, the overall cost may be the same. The most up-to-date information for UNE’s tuition and fees can be found here:


    Admissions and Transfer Credits 

    Generally speaking, admission requirements include proof of earning a master’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution or its international equivalent, your resume, an application essay, and two completed application recommendation forms. Further details on these requirements and links to specific documents can be found here.

    No, you do not have to currently hold a leadership position to qualify for the Ed.D. However, you should show a capacity to grow as a learner and apply new knowledge in a meaningful way. This can be demonstrated in your supporting application materials such as your resume and/or the application essay. Please note any additional admission requirements as well.

    Yes, we do accept transfer credits. Outlined below are the possible transfer circumstances.

    Students who are currently, or previously, enrolled in a University of New England College of Professional Studies (UNE-CPS) CAGS or PMC program may apply to transfer up to four 3-credit (maximum of twelve credits) UNE-CPS education courses earned in these programs. Transfer courses for this circumstance must be: 

    • Taken and completed in a UNE-CPS CAGS or PMC program
    • Taken within five years of application
    • Worth 3 credits
    • Completed with a grade of “B” or better
    • Applies to UNE-CPS courses only

    Students who are currently, or previously, enrolled in a doctoral program at another institution may apply to transfer up to two 3-credit courses earned toward this program.

    Transfer courses must be:

    • Taken at a regionally accredited institution
    • Classified as doctoral level earned in a terminal degree program
    • Taken within five years of application
    • Worth 3 credits
    • Completed with a grade of “B” or better
    • Equivalent to one of the required program courses or an elective course that meets programmatic goals
    • Applies to external doctoral programs only

    To get started, we welcome you to reach out to an enrollment counselor at (800) 994-2804 or to discuss your unique situation, or start your application today.