Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Minnesota
Minnesota is a rock-solid state for doctoral programs in education. Our school listings are stacked with CAEP-accredited options (look for the CAEP badge) from well-regarded public players, Minnesota private colleges, and more. In those listings, you’ll also see plenty of online Ed.D. programs. There are even some doctorates in education that lead to the Minnesota School Administrative License.
Begin by choosing a concentration that matches your goals and budget—you’ll see links to the cost & curriculum beside each degree. Once you’ve put together a shortlist of three or four names, check out the section on Ed.D. scholarships & fellowships funded by the Minnesota institution. Some of the awards are ridiculously good.
Finally, you may want to skim through our large career section, where we’ve assembled job & salary data for both K-12 administrators and postsecondary leaders. You’ll also discover Minnesota job boards, info about important leadership organizations (e.g. MASA, MSBA, etc.), dates for conferences, and ideas for professional development opportunities (e.g. Aspiring Superintendents Academy).
Online Doctor of Education Programs in Minnesota
Online Ed.D. Providers in Minnesota
- Bethel University (CAEP-accredited)
- Capella University (CAEP-accredited)
- College of St. Scholastica
- Minnesota State University-Moorhead (CAEP-accredited)
- Saint Cloud State University (CAEP-accredited)
- Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
- University of St. Thomas (CAEP-accredited)
- Walden University (CAEP-accredited)
- Winona State University (CAEP-accredited)
What to Know About Minnesota Online Ed.D. Programs
There are online Ed.D. programs from MN public schools, private colleges, and for-profit providers. All of them are regionally accredited—and almost all are CAEP-accredited—so you can choose your comfort level. Here are a few other useful points to keep in mind:
- SCSU is probably going to be your cheapest option, but not by much. The remaining private and for-profit online programs are similar in total tuition.
- Minnesota private universities in this list have Christian roots, so you may see that they’re integrating faith-based concepts into the curriculum.
- Many MN online Ed.D. programs include intriguing networking experiences—summer residencies, trips abroad, leadership retreats & institutes, etc.
- Only Bethel (as far as we can determine) offers an administrative licensure pathway through the online Ed.D.
Note: Our overview of online doctoral programs in education has listings for online Ed.D. programs in other states, as well as more info on accreditation.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Public Minnesota Universities
MSU-Moorhead has developed its 72-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with working PreK-20 leaders in mind. Online courses are eight weeks in length and there are only two face-to-face, one-week summer residencies. Per credit tuition is a) reasonable; and b) the same for in-state and out-of-state residents. Plus up to 12 master’s credits and/or 15 post-master’s credits can be transferred into the program.
If you’d like to specialize, Winona State University’s 54-credit Online Doctor of Education comes in six emphases, including unique options such as indigenous studies. There are two face-to-face summer residencies, but otherwise the coursework is online. It’s also designed to be accelerated—students can finish in two years. And tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. Be aware that WSU will want to see a 3.5 GPA on your master’s degree and 3-5 years of work experience.
Another public choice is Saint Cloud State University, with its Online Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration (60-72 credits). It’s a cohort-based, 100% online program that takes around four years to complete. If you crave human contact, you can choose to participate in SCSU’s optional Education Abroad experience in Italy, which includes a 20-hour internship, and/or the popular one-day Leadership Institute. SCSU is one of the largest schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, so tuition is quite affordable for in-state and out-of-state students. And the Ed.D. attracts an experienced and diverse crowd—1/2 of doctoral students are 40 or older; 65% are women; 25% are students of color.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Private/Religious Minnesota Universities
Need a licensure option? Bethel University’s 61-credit Online Doctor of Education in K-12 Administration—with relevant internships—can be used to earn a principal, superintendent, or special education director license. (Non-license seeking students complete an individualized study.) Bethel also offers a 61-credit Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership—with a practical application project—in a similar structure. Courses start every eight weeks and online students are expected to attend a week of campus intensives each year.
An alternative is the University of St. Thomas, which is the largest private non-profit university in Minnesota. The 66-credit Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Learning is not a licensure program, but it comes in multiple concentrations. This Ed.D. includes a two-week residency each summer, as well as opportunities to participate in a leadership trip to Ghana, field experiences, and the chance to get involved in community partnerships. One caveat—UST has a high threshold for admissions (3.5. GPA and three years of experience.)
Or you could consider Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, a private Catholic university. Despite the name, the 67-credit Blended Ed.D. in Leadership is primarily online; students are only required to be on-campus for three summer residencies (five days each). The program is also offered in a more traditional version with evening & weekend classes. It’s not a licensure Ed.D., but it’s worth a look if you’re heading an organization, leading adult learners, or want a job within private, parochial, or select charter school settings.
And then there’s the College of St. Scholastica’s cohort-based, 60-credit Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. It contains a host of intriguing elements, including annual summer residencies, an individualized internship, and opportunities for international travel. This might be a good pick for mid-careerists who are interested in social justice & equity. The university wants to see candidates with at least 1-3 years of professional experience, but it welcomes applicants from every field.
Online Ed.D. Programs at For-Profit Minnesota Universities
As you might expect from a school that specializes in online delivery, Capella has developed an Online Doctorate in Education in a huge number of specializations (64-70 quarter credits). Some specializations (e.g. Adult Education) allow you to earn a certificate at the same time (e.g. curriculum and instruction); one specialization focuses solely on Reading & Literacy. The Ed.D. is also a 100% online program with no dissertation or in-person learning experiences. So if you need flexibility, you’re in the right ballpark.
Walden has adopted a more interpersonal approach. The Online Doctor of Education – Educational Administration and Leadership (for Administrators) in K-12 settings and the Online Doctor of Education in ten concentrations can be taken in a traditional track (one course at a time) or a fast track (two courses at once) over multiple start dates. There is one mandatory face-to-face residency, but you also have the option to take part in an Ed.D. Doctoral Study Intensive Retreat. Both programs consist of 79 quarter credits.
No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs in Minnesota
Doctoral Research Projects & Capstones
Capella has broken the mold in other ways. Its Online Doctorate in Education—with all of its specializations—does not have a dissertation component. Instead, Ed.D. students are allowed to tackle a doctoral capstone project. This will involve using action research to solve a real-world problem within your organization (i.e. a practice change project). The School of Education permits four types of deliverables in this situation:
- Research Paper: Action Research Monograph
- Research Paper: Evaluation Study
- Professional Product: Curriculum Product (e.g. materials & activities)
- Professional Product: Change Management Plan
If you’d prefer a non-profit option, you could also consider the College of St. Scholastica’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. CSS uses a Dissertation in Practice/Capstone model for its final Ed.D. project. You’ll identify a relevant problem of practice in your field, devise a solution (e.g. pilot project), collaborate with stakeholders, collect data, analyze results, and present your findings. You’ll have the support of faculty advisors and fellow students in Scholarly Learning Communities (SLC) throughout the process.
Doctoral Education Funding in Minnesota
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
It’s not always easy to find doctoral funding information on Ed.D. program websites. To save you time, we’ve dug up as many internal Ed.D. fellowships, scholarships, tuition breaks, and financial resources as we could find! For example, public universities in Minnesota often have tuition waivers and reciprocity deals. For-profit schools such as Capella and Walden usually have outstanding scholarships.
Having said that, you’ll probably need to supplement these funds with external sources (e.g. loans, savings, work wages)—your school’s Office of Financial Aid can guide you through this journey.
Bethel’s section on Graduate Tuition & Financial Aid is a useful place to begin. Relevant Graduate Grants & Scholarships include a Bethel CCCU Employee Scholarship and University Partner Scholarship for select students in the Ed.D. program.
If you’re eyeing the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, be sure to check out the Partnerships section. Alumni of schools & associations are eligible to receive the University Partner Scholarship and course waivers.
Capella offers generous doctoral scholarships to students in the Ed.D. program (i.e. GuidedPath learning format).
College of St. Scholastica
Check the section on Graduate Student Aid for details on CSS scholarships & tuition discounts. Minnesota residents who are employed by partner organizations are eligible for the Meaningful Work Award. The university also offers awards to healthcare employees.
Concordia University-Saint Paul
CSP’s section on Graduate Tuition & Financial Aid has ideas for scholarships & grants, including details on employer partnership discounts and the Lutheran Heritage Scholarship. CSP alumni starting a doctoral degree are eligible for the CSP Alumni Scholarship.
Hamline does not offer Graduate Scholarships to Ed.D. students, but it does offer a 10% tuition discount to Hamline alumni for doctorate or master’s level courses. It also runs an Emergency Loan Program.
Minnesota State University-Moorhead
MSU-Moorhead has a section on Graduate Cost & Aid, with details on scholarships and assistantships.
Minnesota State University-Mankato
MSU-Mankato has some unusual funding in place. The section on Financial Aid has general info on external grants & loans, but there are also hidden opportunities.
- Mankato has tuition reciprocity agreements in place with Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota (i.e. to pay in-state rates), but it’s best to check if Ed.D. programs qualify in your state.
- If your parent is a Mankako alumni and you live out-of-state, have a look at the Legacy In-State Tuition Scholarship.
- Mankato offers tuition waivers to employees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
- If you can manage the workload, the College of Graduate Studies has info on Graduate Assistantships (and Travel Funding). A limited number of CSP doctoral teaching assistantships are available through the Department of Counseling & Student Personnel.
Saint Cloud State University
The Department of Educational Leadership & Higher Education (ELHE), which runs both of SCSU’s Ed.D. programs, has its own Financial Assistance section. This has details on:
- Financial Aid Programs
- Graduate Assistantships (includes stipend & tuition reimbursement)
- Tuition Waivers for MSU Employees
- Research Funding from the Office of Sponsored Programs
- Vera Russell Graduate Student Travel Fund
We also wanted to highlight an Internal SCSU Scholarship—the School of Education Dean’s Scholarship for Doctoral Students.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
The university’s section on Graduate Financial Aid Scholarships has info on a couple of general graduate awards that apply to doctoral students (e.g. Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs Faculty and Staff Scholarship). The section on Graduate Financial Aid will also be of help.
University of St. Thomas
The School of Education has a comprehensive section on Admission & Aid, including sub-sections on Scholarships and Financial Aid (i.e. loans). University of St. Thomas alumni are eligible for a 15% discount when they’re enrolled in a School of Education program of study. You may also want to look into the Graduate Diversity Grant.
Walden has a section on Tuition-Reduction Opportunities, with details on various tuition breaks (e.g. U.S. Military & Veteran Savings, Partner Savings, etc.). Check the section on Limited-Time Savings to see if there any current deals for the Ed.D.—we found one when we visited. In addition, Walden offers:
- Scholarships: This category includes general awards (e.g. Post Master’s/Doctoral Degree Scholarship) and College of Education and Leadership awards (e.g. Ann “Tunky” Riley Excellence in K–12 Education Scholarship).
- Fellowships: These awards for research projects (e.g. Don E. Ackerman Research Fellowship in Educational Leadership) are administered by the Office of the President, not the Office of Financial Aid.
See the section on Tuition & Financial Aid for info on external options.
Winona State University
Note: If a university name is missing from the list, we didn’t find specific examples of Ed.D. funding beyond private & federal loans and external aid.
School Administrative License Requirements in Minnesota
School Administrative License
- Principal K-12
- Director of Special Education
For every category, BOSA will want to see that you’ve completed a specialist or doctoral program before it will grant you a license. So you’ll notice that many MN universities in our school listings offer tailor-made licensure pathways. These might be in the form of a certificate, Ed.S., or Ed.D. BOSA also maintains a list of Approved Licensure Programs.
Coming from away? BOSA lists separate requirements for candidates prepared at a program outside of Minnesota. The FAQ section also has answers to out-of-state questions.
Note: BOSA also has a licensure pathway for Directors of Community Education. This requires a bachelor’s degree and 20 graduate credits, with a minimum of 3 credits of practicum work. See the FAQ section for details.
School Administration: Initial Professional License
To apply for an administrative license, you must:
- Submit evidence of three years of successful classroom teaching experience while you held a valid classroom teaching license for the position/s in which the experience was gained (see the FAQ section for an alternative route)
- Complete a BOSA-approved specialist or doctoral program consisting of 60 semester credits beyond the bachelor’s degree (the 60 credits will include credits earned in your master’s degree)
- Complete a field experience of at least 320 hours (approved licensure programs typically include “internships”)
- Be recommended for licensure by the approved Minnesota college or university
Once you’ve met these requirements, you’ll be issued an Initial Professional License. This is valid for a two-year period, starting on the date of issue. If you gain one year of administrative experience during the Initial Professional License, you can renew it for a five-year Professional Continuing License and maintain it with 125 “clock” hours of professional development activities.
Note: BOSA has developed an Alternative Pathway for Superintendent Licensure, which will involve a credential review of your experience.
Educational Leadership Jobs in Minnesota
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will give you a starting point—it tracks employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state.
- Minnesota tends to have solid job numbers in both categories. In particular, the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area is a concentrated hotspot for postsecondary administrators (many universities in our school listings are located in these cities).
- Preparing for potential job interviews? You can dig even further into the Minnesota K-12 landscape by visiting MDE’s Data Center, which issues the Minnesota Report Card and Data Reports and Analytics on schools & districts.
- If you’re interested in higher education, the government’s College Scorecard will give you an excellent snapshot of MN colleges & universities in your chosen zip code. NCES’s College Navigator and the IPEDs College Map have further stats about the undergraduate population, tuition price, and outcome measures of Minnesota schools.
Educational Leadership Salaries
Minnesota really shines when it comes to wages for elementary & secondary administrators (often among the highest in the country); mean wages for postsecondary administrators are usually respectable, if not outstanding. You’ll find the exact numbers in BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Minnesota.
Minnesota also publishes State Employee Payroll Data on an annual basis. These reports include salaries for employees of colleges and universities within Minnesota State (but not the University of Minnesota). However, reports can be a little tricky to analyze since job categories are fairly broad and respondents are anonymous.
So you may wish to compare state numbers with national resources such as:
- The AASA’s Superintendents Salary and Benefits Survey, which is published with a summary of major findings in the AASA’s Research Papers section.
- Payscale’s cumulative data for all holders of the Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree, which allows you to view salary data by job title (e.g. Elementary School Principal vs. School Director).
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Conventional job sites (e.g. LinkedIn, TopSchoolJobs, HigherEd, Indeed, etc.) will have job listings for K-12 administrators and higher education positions. But we also wanted to highlight some MN-specific job boards, including:
- MASA Job Search, which can be searched by region/district and job title.
- EdPost, which is run by SCSU and has extensive listings for K-12 school leaders (e.g. principals, superintendents, deans of students, etc.).
- MESPA Careers, which includes listings for principals and assistant principals.
- MSBA District Administrative Job Openings, which features current vacancies for superintendents, principals and other administrative personnel (e.g. charter directors).
- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, which posts jobs in Minnesota’s 32 state colleges and universities.
- Campus Employment at Minnesota Private Colleges, which has links to each college’s employment site.
Educational Leadership Organizations in Minnesota
Educational Leadership Associations
- Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD): AMSD acts as an advocate for 48 metro school districts in Minnesota and advances legislation that supports student achievement.
- Minnesota Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Minnesota ASCD): Minnesota ASCD is committed to developing leadership among educational decision-makers to improve curriculum and instruction for Minnesota students. It’s an affiliate of ASCD.
- Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA): One to bookmark. MASA is a non-profit member service organization that represents 900+ educational administrators throughout Minnesota. Members include school superintendents, directors of special education, curriculum and technology leaders, central office administrators, and higher education administrators and professors.
- Minnesota Association of School Business Officials (MASBO): MASBO represents 600+ Minnesota school district personnel who serve in areas of business administration, superintendancy, accounting, buildings and grounds, transportation, food service, personnel/payroll/benefits, and purchasing.
- Minnesota Association of School Personnel Administrators (MASPA) & State Negotiators: MASPA is an organization of school personnel and HR professionals; State Negotiators are a group of Minnesota school labor negotiations specialists.
- Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP): MASSP is a professional organization composed of 1,300+ active and retired secondary and middle school administrators. It’s an affiliate of NASSP.
- Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA): MESPA is a collaborative, grassroots association serving Minnesota elementary and middle level principals. It’s affiliated with NAESP.
- Minnesota Middle School Association (MMSA): MMSA serve as a resource for teachers, administrators, parents, and community members who are concerned about the developmental need of young adolescents in middle schools.
- Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA): MSBA supports, promotes, and enhances the work of public school boards and public education in Minnesota.
Note: Remember that state and national educator organizations often have funds and scholarships available for continuing education (e.g. Ed.D.). Check the website and ask about opportunities.
Educational Leadership Events in Minnesota
Educational Leadership Conferences
- AMSD Annual Conference: This one-day event in November typically focuses on a single issue (e.g. Ensuring Equity, Access, and Opportunity for All Students).
- MASA Conferences: MASA hosts multiple events throughout the year, including a Fall Conference (the venue alternates between Duluth and Brainerd) and a Spring Conference (a two-day event in March).
- MASBO Conferences & Workshops: MASBO hosts educational conferences and workshops for school business officials and educational leaders throughout the year. Its annual three-day conference occurs in May.
- MASSP Conferences & Seminars: MASSP runs a three-day Winter Conference in late January/early February for Minnesota school leaders & principals and a four-day Summer Conference in June. It also hosts School Law Seminars.
- MDE Back to School Conference: This two-day event for educational leadership teams is held in August and co-hosted by MASA.
- MMSA Events: MMSA organizes a State Conference in December, as well as occasional institutes & summits.
- MSBA Leadership Conference: MSBA’s flagship conference is a two-day event that takes place in January.
- MSBA Summer Seminar: MSBA’s one-day event in August is aimed at leaders and exists to help MSBA members start the new school year informed and inspired.
- Symposium of Women Education Leaders (SWEL): This one-day event in November is hosted by MESPA and geared toward current, former, and aspiring women educational leaders.
Educational Leadership Training
- MASA Aspiring Superintendents Academy: The Academy includes ten content days in five sessions, with additional opportunities for personalized learning. Cohorts are limited to 30 participants. Each participant is paired with a coach for guidance during the cohort and beyond.
- MASA Great Start Workshops/Cohort: This professional development program for new leaders consists of five traditional workshops, with access to the GSC Online Toolbox that contains supporting documents and videos on popular topics. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are granted for each session in the series.
- MASBO Certification Program: This is a voluntary certification program that builds on core components introduced in the MASBO Institute (see below).
- MASBO Institute: The Institute is an intense, four-day introduction to all aspects of school business management.
- MASBO Leadership Academy: This cohort-based Academy aims to provide practical leadership training to school business officials.
- MASSP Renewal Units: MASSP offers a variety of opportunities for secondary school administrators to fulfill the 125 clock hours requirement needed for licensure renewal.
- MESPA Professional Development: MESPA runs a number of useful programs for principals and school leaders, including the MESPA School Office Workshop, the MESPA Literacy Academy, and the member-led MN Principals Exchange.
- MSBA Learning Center: MSBA’s professional development arm is very active, and it organizes all kinds of leadership/school board programs throughout the year; some are for board members; some are for superintendents & leadership teams (e.g. MSBA Superintendent Evaluation Workshop).