Doctor of Education

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D. or D.Ed.), Latin: Educationis Doctor, is a doctoral degree that has a research focus in the field of education. It prepares the holder for academic, research, administrative, clinical or professional positions in educational, civil, private organizations or public institutions.


When research universities were established in the late 19th century in the United States, they primarily awarded doctorates in the sciences and later the arts. By the early 20th century, these universities began to offer doctoral degrees in professional fields. The first professional degrees were awarded in medicine and law. Shortly thereafter, in response to the societal demand for expert practitioners, doctorates began to be awarded in education.[1] The first Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in the field of education was granted at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1893.[2] The first Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree was granted at Harvard University in 1921. The Ed.D. degree was then added by Teachers College in 1934.[1] Graduates of the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Education programs receive equally rigorous scholarly training. Both reflect the interdisciplinary nature of education and expertise in the range of quantitative and qualitative methods needed to conduct high-quality research. [3]

The Ed.D. currently is awarded in several countries in addition to the United States (see below).


In Australia entry requirements for the Ed.D. are similar to the Ph.D. except that the former requires a number of years professional experience in education or academic life.


In Canada, the Ed.D. tends to be granted by faculties of education at universities and is a terminal degree in education. Much like the United States and Great Britain, some universities offer the Ed.D. (Simon Fraser University), while others offer a Ph.D. in education (McGill University, Queen's University, University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick), and still others offer both (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, The University of Western Ontario, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia).[4][5] Much like the U.K., in Canada, the Ed.D. is a full academic doctorate which can only be granted by AUCC accredited institutions and shares equal parity with a Ph.D. (Education).


Ph.D. in education can be done in any university recognized by U.G.C. If you have cleared NET (Education) exam then you have to choose a Guide enlisted by the university. On other hand if you don't pass NET exam then you have to qualify Exam conducted twice by every university. The NET cleared students of same university are given preference over those not qualified in NET. You have to submit the synopsis within one year of your enrollment as candidate and you must complete coursework from university recognized center followed by written exam. the rules like Non plagiarism and APA formatting are followed strictly.


In Ireland Ed.D. programs have only recently been introduced and they tend to follow the UK model of initial research modules followed by longer research papers and thesis.


In Singapore, the National Institute of Education (Nanyang Technological University), is the sole university that awards the Ed.D. degree. The Ed.D. programme has the rigour and expectations of a PhD, but with a professional focus.[6]

South Africa

In South Africa, following a convention of using Latin in academic designations, the doctorate in education is called Doctor Educationis (D.Ed.) and, like other doctoral degrees in that country, it is entirely a research-based qualification.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Ed.D. is equivalent in level and has equal status with the Ph.D. It is a research degree that requires students to make an original contribution of knowledge to the field. The Ed.D. thesis may be shorter than that of the Ph.D., because the doctoral student will have done other research work as part of their coursework, whereas Ph.D. students only write a doctoral thesis without coursework.[7][8] The Ed.D. thesis differs from a Ph.D. thesis only in length and scope but not in quality. As with Ph.D. candidates all Ed.D. candidates undergo a viva voce examination (comprehensive oral defense of one's thesis/dissertation). Research by Scott, Lunt, Browne and Thorne (2002) found that the difference between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. was often overstated as students of both tend to follow similar courses of study and to research similar topics. The study also found that admissions requirements formally equaled or exceeded those for Ph.D. admission.[9]

The Ed.D. is generally presented as an opportunity to prepare for academic, administrative or specialised positions in education, placing the graduates for promotion and leadership responsibilities, or high-level professional positions in a range of locations in the broad Education industry. Both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. are recognised for the purposes of appointment as a lecturer or professor in universities.

In 1991 the Doctor of Education programme at the University of Bristol began and was the first taught doctorate outside of North America. The Ed.D. is delivered through a balance of taught units including research methods, theory, argumentation and evaluation skills as well as a major research thesis that must make an original contribution to knowledge. As with other doctoral candidates, participants of the Ed.D. are encouraged to publish articles and books based on their research. An excellence in doctoral level research is the main aim of the Bristol Ed.D.[10]

Similarly, at Durham University, the process of earning the Ed.D. consists of 6 courses (quantitative and qualitative research methods, thesis proposal, and four elective concentrations) that require 5,000 word research papers at the doctoral level and a doctoral thesis of 60,000 words that must also make an original contribution to knowledge.[11] The Ed.D. dissertation must reach the same level and be judged by the same criteria as the Ph.D. thesis. The Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees have exact parity of degree status.[12]

At the Institute of Education in London, the Ed.D. "is for experienced professionals from education and related fields who would like to extend their professional understanding and develop skills in research, evaluation and high-level reflection on practice" and the Ph.D. "is intended to enable [students] to produce [their] own thesis and to develop a range of research and other more generic skills."[7][8]

The University of Cambridge's Faculty of Education provides a useful comparison between the Ph.D. and Ed.D. programmes for their particular university.[13]

An ESRC-funded report found that there appeared to be little impact of the development of professional knowledge on employment culture for Ed.D. participants, though there was "frequently considerable impact for the individuals themselves," and many of the Ed.D. students were employed in the public sector.[14]

United States

In the United States, the Ed.D. tends to be granted by the school of education of universities and is a terminal degree in education. Majors within the Ed.D. may include: counseling, curriculum and instruction/curriculum and teaching, educational administration, education policy, educational psychology, educational technology, higher education, human resource development, language/linguistics or leadership. The Ed.D. is recognized for appointment as a professor or lecturer in a university. It may also be recognized as preparation for administrative positions in education and human development field, such as superintendent of schools, human resource director, or principal.

From the very beginning there was a formal division between the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. in education, and the growing popularity of the applied doctorates was met by faculty in the arts and sciences questioning their legitimacy. They argued that practical and vocational aims were inappropriate for doctoral study, which they contended should be focused on producing scholarly research and college professors.[1] The Ed.D. and the colleges of education that granted them continued to face criticism through the 1980s.[1] In 2013 Harvard University, the first institution to award the Ed.D. degree, accepted its last Ed.D. cohort and instead now offers both the Doctor of Philosophy in Education and the Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.L.D.) degrees.[15]

Comparisons of the Ed.D. to the Ph.D. in education in the United States

There is controversy in the United States regarding the issue of how the Ed.D. degree compares to the Ph.D in education. In theory, the two degrees are expected to constitute overlapping but distinct categories, where the Ed.D. is a degree that prepares educational practitioners who can solve educational problems using existing knowledge, and the Ph.D. in education is the more theoretical of the two as a traditional social science research degree that prepares students for careers as scholars and academics, often from a particular disciplinary perspective (e.g., sociology of education).[2] In reality, however, distinctions between the two degree programs are generally minimal in both curriculum and dissertation requirements.[2] One study on dissertations submitted between 1950 and 1990 indicated that there were no differences between the two degrees regarding basic versus applied research or the significance of the findings. Nonetheless, that same study indicated that "PhD dissertations contained more multivariate statistics, had wider generalizability, and were more prevalent in certain areas of concentration," whereas "EdD dissertations contained more survey research and were most prevalent in educational administration research." The difference is attributed primarily to which type of degree a particular school offers and if existing research or original research is required in the dissertation.[16]

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) states that "the professional doctorate in education prepares educators for the application of appropriate and specific practices, the generation of new knowledge, and for the stewardship of the profession."[17] To wit, although the CPED describes the Ed.D. as a professional doctorate, it also states that it prepares students for the generation of new knowledge, and this is corroborated by the fact that both the Ph.D. and Ed.D. degrees are considered research doctoral degrees on the Survey of Earned Doctorates, which is a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, sponsored by six federal agencies, and solicited, under the National Science Foundation Act, from graduating doctoral students at all accredited institutions.[18][19][20]

Colleges and universities in the United States that offer doctorates in education choose to offer only the Doctor of Education, only the Doctor of Philosophy in education (e.g., Stanford University), or both (e.g., UCLA, University of Missouri, and University of Pennsylvania). The distinction between the Ph.D. and the Ed.D in this last group can take different forms. At the University of Illinois, for example, the Ph.D. in education dissertation requires an original contribution to academic knowledge, whereas the Ed.D. dissertation "is intended to demonstrate the candidate's ability to relate academic knowledge to the problems of professional practice."[21][22] At Teachers College, Columbia University the Ph.D. is designed for students who wish specifically to pursue an academic career, whereas the Ed.D. is designed for broader aims including educational administration and policy work.[23][24] In St. Louis University's Educational Studies program, the Ed.D. requires "successful completion of a culminating project dealing with a problem in educational practice" and the Ph.D. requires a dissertation and an "oral defense of the dissertation proposal and [of] the final dissertation. Most Ed.D., Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs require a dissertation and an oral defense while others have a research project leading to publication as an alternative. "[25] Finally, some schools frame the Ed.D. specifically in terms of applied research, such as New York University, The University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California, Berkeley.[26]

In addition to educational settings, the Ed.D. degree is designed to address real-world issues including counseling and human resource development.[27][28][29][30]


Lee Shulman, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, stated that the lack of distinction between the Ed.D and the Ph.D has meant the Ed.D. has come to be seen as little more than "Ph.D.-lite," and the Ph.D. in education has likewise suffered.[31] Moreover, it has resulted in "the danger that we achieve rigorous preparation neither for practice nor for research."[2] Arthur Levine, former president of Teachers College, Columbia University, said that the Ed.D. degree is granted to both scholars and administrators and as such makes the degree ambiguously defined, that the programs in educational leadership specifically suffered from low standards, and that "There is absolutely no reason why a school leader needs a doctorate."[32] Barbara K. Townsend, Professor of Higher Education and Associate Dean for Research and Development at the University of Missouri at Columbia, suggests the doctorate of education is most frequently sought for vanity purposes and to improve one's status, citing a 2000 survey of California school superintendents in which they identify the greatest value of the Ed. D. as being its "symbolic value (credibility and respects a basis for leadership)," further adding that there is scant research or evidence to suggest that possession of a doctorate in education improves one's ability to be an effective administrator.[33]

Suggestions for reform

Some scholars in the United States have suggested future reforms for both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in education by calling for a new doctorate for the professional practice of education, which would be for principals, superintendents, policy coordinators, curriculum specialists, teacher educators, program evaluators, etc.; and the distinction between the Ph.D. in education and the Ed.D. would be analogous to the distinction between the Ph.D. in biomedicine and the M.D.[34] This new degree might be called the Professional Practice Doctorate (P.P.D.), or it might retain the old name of Ed.D. but be severed from old associations.[35]

Arthur Levine argued that the current Ed.D. should be re-tooled into a new professional master's degree, parallel in many ways to the MBA.[36]

David Imig described reforms to the Ed.D. as including more collaborative work involving the analysis of data collected by others. Rather than generating their own data and hypothesis-testing, as Ph.D. students would, a group of Ed.D. students would analyze a specific pool of data from a number of different angles, each writing an individual dissertation on a specific aspect of the data which, when pooled together with the other dissertations, would combine to offer a comprehensive solution to a real-world problem.[31]

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate is currently working with over 80 institutions to collaboratively redesign the Ed.D. and "to make it a stronger and more relevant degree for the advanced preparation of school practitioners and clinical faculty, academic leaders and professional staff for the nation’s schools and colleges and the learning organizations that support them."[37]

Reforms have already been implemented at some institutions. For example, in 2013 the Harvard University Graduate School of Education enrolled the final Ed.D. cohort.[38] The school now offers the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) and Ph.D. in Education.[39][40]

Notable doctors of education

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Toma, Douglas J. (November 2002). Legitimacy, differentiation, and the promise of the Ed.D. in higher education. Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education: Education Resource Information Center (ERIC). pp. 11–12. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Shulman, Lee S.; Golde, Chirs M.; Conklin Bueschel, Andrea; Garabedian, Kristen J. (2006). "Reclaiming education's doctorates: A critique and a proposal". Educational Researcher. American Educational Research Association. 35 (3): 26. doi:10.3102/0013189x035003025.
  4. "Universities Canada Study Program Database - Ph.D. in Education". Universities Canada. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  5. "Universities Canada Study Program Database - Ed.D.". Universities Canada. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  6. "Doctor in Education". Singapore National Institute of Education. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  7. 1 2 "Doctor in Education". Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  8. 1 2 "MPhil or PhD in Education". Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  9. Lunt, Ingrid (2002). Professional Doctorates and their Contribution to Professional Development and Careers. Economic & Social Research Council. p. 6. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  11. "School of Education : EdD: Learning Outcomes - Durham University".
  12. "School of Education : EdD: Learning Outcomes - Durham University".
  13. "Which Doctorate is Right for you?". Retrieved 21 Dec 2011.
  14. Lunt, Ingrid (2002). Professional Doctorates and their Contribution to Professional Development and Careers. Economic & Social Research Council. p. 5. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  15. "Doctor of Education". Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  16. Nelson, Jack K.; Coorough, Calleen (1994). "Content Analysis of the PhD Versus EdD Dissertation". Journal of Experimental Education. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 62 (2): 158–168. doi:10.1080/00220973.1994.9943837. JSTOR 20152407.
  17. "Home". The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  18. "Numbers of U.S. Doctorates Awarded Rise for Sixth Year, but Growth Slower". National Science Foundation. According to the Survey, a research doctoral degree is "oriented toward preparing students to make original contributions to knowledge in a field and typically entail writing a dissertation."
  19. "Survey of Earned Doctorates". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  20. "Survey of Earned Doctorates". National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  21. "Ed.D. Degree Requirements". University of Illinois College of Education Student Academic Affairs Office. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  22. "Pd.D. Degree Requirements". University of Illinois College of Education Student Academic Affairs Office. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  23. "Ph.D. Degree Requirements". Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  24. "Ed.D. Degree Requirements". Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  25. "Educational Studies Graduate Programs". Saint Louis University. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  26. "Ed.D. and Ph.D". New York University Steinhardt School of Education.
  27. "Psychology Ph.D. Degree".
  28. "Psychology Ph.D. Degree".
  29. "Doctoral Degree". University of Texas. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  30. "Ed.D. Language, Literacy, Culture". University of California Berekely Graduate School of Education. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  31. 1 2 Elizabeth, Redden (10 April 2007). "Envisioning a New Ed.D". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  32. Jacobson, Jennifer (15 March 2005). "Arthur Levine Calls for Abolition of Ed.D. Degree and Vast Overhaul of Education Schools". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  33. Townsend, Barbara K. (November 2002). "Rethinking the Ed. D., or What's in a Name?" (PDF). University of Missouri-Columbia. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  34. Shulman, Lee S.; Golde, Chirs M.; Conklin Bueschel, Andrea; Garabedian, Kristen J. (2006). "Reclaiming education's doctorates: A critique and a proposal". Educational Researcher. American Educational Research Association. 35 (3): 28. doi:10.3102/0013189X035004028.
  35. Shulman, Lee S.; Golde, Chirs M.; Conklin Bueschel, Andrea; Garabedian, Kristen J. (2006). "Reclaiming education's doctorates: A critique and a proposal". Educational Researcher. American Educational Research Association. 35 (3): 30. doi:10.3102/0013189x035003025.
  36. Levine, Arthur (March 2005). Educating School Leaders. Education Schools Project. 1. Washington, D.C.
  37. "About CPED". The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  38. "Search". Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  39. "Search". Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  40. "Search". Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  42. "Irwin Hyman, Temple professor". philly-archives.
  43. "Ronald F. Levant, EdD, ABPP". External link in |work= (help)
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