Gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges in rural education.

Meet the needs of rural students, school districts and communities with the University of West Alabama’s online Doctor of Education in Rural Education (EdD). As the first of its kind in the nation, this innovative and forward-thinking program focuses on critical issues, learning strategies and solutions for positive development in rural education and communities. The curriculum was designed to incorporate the expertise of partnership schools, expert superintendents and community leaders so you can be sure you’re getting the advanced education you need to succeed in your career.

Because it is delivered in a flexible online format, you can learn from expert faculty without sacrificing time in your classroom. You’ll also explore the research and tools that drive instructional decisions and create a dissertation based on rural education needs. This program features six tracks so that you can specialize your education to fit your specific career goals.

Save With the Teacher Connect Scholarship

Earn up to $50 off per credit hour with the Teacher Connect scholarship at UWA. Apply your scholarship to an undergraduate or graduate online education degree. You must work in a school system participating in Teacher Connect and maintain other eligibility requirements. Increase your marketability and reach your career goals with the Teacher Connect scholarship. It is designed for teachers and aspiring teachers wishing to save on their education and build their skills and knowledge.

Click here for scholarship information.

Concentration Options

  • Counseling: This track prepares graduates to work as skilled advocates supporting diverse rural student populations. Course topics include advocacy, ethical issues, culture building and more.
  • Higher Education Administration: Developed for educators interested in administration careers in rural higher education, this track focuses on working with faculty and addressing critical issues. Coursework includes finance and policy, college teaching and more.
  • Instructional Technology: This track shows you how to incorporate technology into education and corporate environments with a specific focus on rural areas that have little or no technology access.
  • Library Media: In this track, educators explore the essential role of library media within rural schools and districts. It is designed for instructional leaders who seek to transform education through instructional media and school library services.
  • Organizational Change and Leadership: This track is ideal for instructional leaders, program directors and other experts who are ready to drive innovation in rural education. Courses feature community development, organizational finance and more.
  • Teacher Leader: Designed to provide key skill development for teacher leaders in a variety of settings, this track features specialized coursework in research, interventions, strategic planning and more.

Open Educational Resources

Experience Textbook-Free Online Education

Many instructors in this program use open educational resources (OER) in place of traditional textbooks. This means digital, openly licensed content is available free of charge to students. The University of West Alabama’s use of OER gives students the opportunity to experience a unique learning environment.

textbook-free education

Your Education Is More Affordable Than Ever

When we use OER for this program, you will see a significant savings on textbook costs. The OER library and network allow you to access learning materials free of charge without the high price of traditional textbooks. By going textbook-free, your education is both accessible and affordable.

easy to access materials

Unlimited Access to Learning Resources

With OER available through UWA’s online rural education program, you’ll have access to the course materials you need anytime, anywhere. Through multiple formats, interactive content and a variety of resources at your fingertips, you’ll have study tools whenever you need them.

Benefits of Attending UWA Online:


    Earn an online degree on your schedule with personal support from application to graduation

  • Competitive Tuition

    Join the 80 percent of UWA students who receive some type of financial aid


    Benefit from UWA’s generous credit transfer policy.


    Learn from scholars and practitioners to build the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

About Us

UWA is located in the heart of Livingston on the western border of the state. As one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in Alabama, we’ve been helping students pursue their dreams and goals since 1835. Join more than 3,000 online learners and take advantage of our tradition of excellence with our flexible online programs.