Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
in Leadership and Learning in Organizations

The Online Program from Vanderbilt Peabody College of Education and Human Development

Ranked as a top-6 education school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2023, Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development offers the transformative Peabody experience to forward-thinking leaders inspired to drive organizational change across industries.1

Gain Critical Leadership
Skills for Any Industry

Earn an Ed.D. from a
Top-Ranked Education School1

Apply New Practices
Directly to Your Career

Vanderbilt Has the #1 Online Doctorate in Education, According to Fortune Education 2022 Rankings2

Peabody College faculty developed the doctor of education (Ed.D.) in leadership and learning in organizations with the aim of bridging the divide between theory and practice. The curriculum they built equips Ed.D. students with the deep understanding and contextual experience they need to implement positive change in diverse career fields and communities.

Visit the Ed.D. admissions page to view upcoming deadlines and application requirements.

The Vanderbilt Peabody Online doctoral program is designed for mid-career professionals who have at least three years of leadership experience. While ranging in age and background, all students in the online Ed.D. have this in common: They are motivated to build on their organizational leadership skills and are committed to creating meaningful change within their industry. 

Build on a Strong Leadership Foundation

Earn a Peabody Online Doctor of Education.

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Advancing Your Career in Education and Organizational Leadership

Leaders who want to improve organizations — to drive better results for the people they serve — will find an effective path for advancement in the Peabody Online Ed.D.

Whether corporate, nonprofit, educational, or governmental, workplace communities need support and direction to foster development, leverage resources, create solutions, and resolve complex challenges. The Ed.D. develops inquisitive, results-oriented professionals who can confidently drive widespread change.

Peabody Online Ed.D. students will strengthen their skills in:

  • Organizational communication
  • Management and leadership
  • Inquiry and assessment of systemic issues
  • Data analytics for leadership
  • Learning and program design

The Ed.D. curriculum prepares students to identify, assess, and resolve organizational challenges from a learning and design perspective, which teaches students to make a positive impact in any industry. Through intensive, applied learning, professionals in the program will be empowered to implement advanced techniques that improve their day-to-day efficacy and long-term career success.

“My peer group is spectacular. It’s just an incredible group of very motivated, bright, and kind people from a lot of very different backgrounds. When I first started the program, I did wonder if I would be the only one who did not come from academia or a teaching background, and that’s very much not the case.”

Amrita Bhowmick, Ed.D. ’22
Chief community officer at Health Union
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Ph.D. vs. Doctorate in Education

Both a Ph.D. in education and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) are advanced doctoral degrees that emphasize the study of learning and development, but they differ greatly in curricular and research content, and in potential career outcomes.

An Ed.D. is for professionals who want to solve organizational challenges and improve their abilities as leaders in a wide range of industries and settings.

A Ph.D. in education is for those pursuing a career in education research or teaching within a college or university setting.

If you are wondering “What is a doctorate in education?” or have other doctoral degree-related questions, visit our Ed.D. vs. Ph.D. page.

What Can I Do with a Doctorate in Education?

Ed.D. programs typically explore advanced management practices, leadership theory, the science and structure of organizations, and curriculum development. While students may apply these subjects to education, they are not limited to this field. The range of curricular topics prepares many Ed.D. graduates to advance in their current positions or seek out new leadership opportunities across industries.

The Peabody Online Ed.D. places a unique emphasis on organizational leadership. The program focuses on three core areas: leadership theory and practice, learning and design, and data analytics. Students examine these subjects as they apply to any organization, be it a higher education institution, a private company, a nonprofit, or a community group. Grounded in theory and practice, this focused study empowers graduates to improve outcomes within any organizational system.

Ed.D. Career Options

Graduates may advance in or enter fields such as:

  • Public policy
  • Human resources
  • Health care
  • Nonprofits
  • Government and military
  • Criminal justice
  • Education

Students may advance in or rise into leadership roles such as:

  • Chief learning officer
  • Policymaker or analyst
  • Educational consultant
  • Director of human resources
  • Training and development manager
  • Academic dean
  • Superintendent

Top executives, such as chief learning officers or school superintendents, have an annual median salary of $107,680.3

Take the Next Step toward Advanced Leadership

Now is the time to start your Peabody Online application or request additional information. Scholarships are available.

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The Peabody Ed.D. Online Experience

Students in the online Ed.D. complete 54 hours of course work across three areas of leadership and learning: leadership and organizational development, learning and design, and data and analytics. The course work is delivered through a sophisticated online platform and customizable tools that enable advanced collaboration, discussions, and learning.

Learn more about our unique Peabody Online experience.

Weekly Online Classes

Live, online classes led by the Peabody faculty serve as the starting point for engaging group discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and guided learning. The classes take place live on our online platform, allowing students to interact face-to-face no matter where they are.

The program is designed for established professionals. Classes are held weekly during the evening, Central Time, Monday through Thursday. Class attendance is required for all students.

Capstone Project

Using their knowledge and existing data, students identify a real-world organizational issue or problem of practice, test a solution, and make recommendations for long-term improvement. Students then present their projects in front of a faculty panel for assessment.

On-Campus Convenings

Convenings organized by Peabody Online bring students and instructors together, in person, for in-depth discussions, collaborative projects, and creative problem-solving exercises meant to demonstrate students’ new mastery of subject matter and leadership skills.

Students are required to attend three convenings throughout the duration of the program. Each on-campus convening takes place at Vanderbilt University’s campus in Nashville, Tennessee, and happens over the course of two days.


Hours of course work




Final capstone project

Renowned and Supportive Faculty

Our multi-disciplinary faculty members are experienced professionals and experts in their fields. They have designed a high-quality, insightful curriculum, and many serve as mentors who guide Ed.D. students toward success.

All Peabody faculty work toward the objective of helping students give back to their communities. Their dedication ensures that students feel supported as they take the next steps in their careers.

Learn more about our faculty and leadership.

Class Profile

The Peabody Online Ed.D. community comprises leaders from various industries and diverse personal, educational, and geographic backgrounds. Peabody Ed.D. students are inquisitive scholars: They value different perspectives and exchange knowledge with classmates in order to develop innovative solutions.

79 percent of students have 8 or more years of professional experience.

Students range from 25 to 68 years old, with a median age of 39.


States represented






Historically underrepre-sented4

“I’m starting to see nuances and ideas connect that I didn’t know existed before. I think it’s making me a better not-for-profit leader, and I certainly think it’s making me a more thoughtful supervisor and program leader.”

Michael Hill, Ed.D. ’22
President of the Chautauqua Institution
Washington, D.C.

About Peabody College

Founded in 1785, Peabody College of education and human development is known as a world-class research institution dedicated to education, policy, and public service. Ranked one of the nation’s best graduate schools of education in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Peabody College has a longstanding mission to make a meaningful difference in education and leadership.1

Peabody College also offers graduate and doctoral degree programs on campus. Learn about our on-campus programs.

Get Started Now

Find out how Peabody Online can help you reach your ambitious career goals.

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1 U.S. News & World ReportBest Education Schools in 2023. (accessed July 2023)arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

2 Fortune, Best Online Doctorate in Education (EdD) Programs in 2022. Accessed December 2022.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Top Executives (2020). Accessed May 2021.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

4 African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanderarrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference