Frequently Asked Questions About the Ed.D.

We answer some of our students’ most frequently asked questions about the Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) program.

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 a Ph.D. program, you might expand upon theory and become an expert on a particular topic. In the Ed.D., you’ll conduct and interpret research, and then learn how to actively apply that research to facilitate improvements in a practical setting.

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 capacity for leadership. These skills are invaluable in the modern workplace and will allow you to identify, discuss, and enact organizational-level improvements so that you can evolve your organization to its highest potential.

In addition to becoming eligible for job positions that require 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

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 non-profit New England colleges and universities, such as those found on this list.

The embedding of the doctoral dissertation within the entire program makes the Ed.D. program at UNE 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, students begin to work on their topic exploration starting the very moment they do their admissions essay. You can anticipate having a proposal in hand by the middle of your program, so you can follow through with revisions, data collection, and a conclusion in a timely fashion.

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 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.

A cohort is a group of 20 or so Ed.D. students who progress through doctoral courses together starting from their first course and continuing until dissertation courses begin. When you start your dissertation courses, your cohort will be split into several research groups of four to six students.

Students and graduates have mentioned that this cohort model is a significant help to successfully progressing through the program. By working with the same group of tight-knit peers for years at a time, you’ll create long-lasting relationships that may continue long after you’ve walked the stage at Commencement. Speaking of which, students also note that meeting their cohorts for the first time at Commencement is a uniquely exciting experience, and something to keep in mind as you work through the program.

Please note: Your cohort may change slightly over time due to some students’ transfer credits.

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 non-profit workers to military officers, and from healthcare to finance. There is no one perfect candidate or background. Anyone interested in furthering themselves as a leader should consider how UNE’s online 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. Together, you can conduct thorough discussions and peer reviews efficiently.

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 cohort.

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. Just as you will meet with your colleagues through phone and video chat, you will present 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 & 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 into a leader and/or the ability to enact positive change in your organization. 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. Upon acceptance, students may apply to transfer up to four 3-credit courses (maximum of twelve credits) into the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program.

UNE Online also offers students the opportunity to transfer up to four, three-credit courses from their previous post-master’s coursework (taken within the last five years) into the Ed.D. This includes courses from our Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) or Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) programs.

Students who transfer four three-credit courses into the program have the potential to graduate with their doctorate in just over two years.

Transfer courses must:

  • Be classified as post-master’s level.
  • Be worth 3 credits.
  • Have been taken within five years of application.
  • Have been completed with a grade of “B” or better.
  • Be equivalent to one of the required program courses or an elective course that meets the goals of the student’s education.

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.



If you have any questions about the coursework or the program requirements, please speak to one of our enrollment counselors at the email or phone number below.