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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D. or D.Ed.) is a discipline-based doctorate that prepares the student for academic, administrative, clinical or research positions in education. Like other doctorates, (e.g., the Ph.D., D.A., D.Sc., and so on), the Ed.D./D.Ed. is a terminal degree and recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) "as equivalent to the Ph.D." [1][2].



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 the social sciences, which included education. From the very beginning there were divisions between those universities that offered an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in education.[3]

The first Ph.D. in education was granted at Teachers College of Columbia University in 1893.[4] The first Ed.D. degree was introduced in the United States at Harvard University in 1920. It was created in response to an expressed need for more practitioners possessing the doctorate.[5] The Ed.D. was added by Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley in the 1920s, and Teachers College in 1934.[6]

The school of education has a history of marginalization within academia. Not long after the creation of doctorates in education, the legitimacy of the degrees were questioned. Some scholars questioned whether doctoral studies should be for professional training, as well as for the preparation of researchers.[7] In the 1950s, the criticism by scholars in the colleges of arts and sciences of doctoral degrees in education increased. In light of the controversy, many institutions opted to offer the Ed.D. as the exclusive doctorate within their schools of education.[8]

In the United Kingdom, the Ph.D. in education was introduced in the 1920s. The first Ed.D. was awarded in England in 1992, at the University of Bristol. Six years later, 29 British universities were offering Ed.D. programs.


In the Latin American docta to get into a PhD program of Education is required to have an Licentiate or Master degree in Education. [9].


In Australia entry requirements for the Ed.D. are similar to the Ph.D. except that the former requires a number of the 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), others offer a Ph.D. in education (McGill University, Queen's University, University of British Columbia), and yet others offer both (University of Toronto, University of Alberta).


In Singapore, the National Institute of Education offers a dual Ed.D. programme together with the Institute of Education (University of London). This EdD. Dual Award enables students to undertake a common programme at these 2 institutions and upon successful completion, candidates are awarded 2 doctoral degrees - one from each university. This programme has the same level of rigour and expectations of a Ph.D., but has a professional focus. [10]

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 and Ireland

Differences between an EdD and a PhD in Education

In the United Kingdom, the EdD differs from a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education in that it allows the study of a greater variety of education-related subjects in the first stages of study, focusing on a single topic only at the end. However, both the EdD and PhD are research based degrees demanding the same level of academic rigour. A typical PhD in the United Kingdom usually requires the submission of an approximately 80,000 word thesis; the entire study period would be spent researching the topic and writing the thesis. For an EdD, a student might be required to research various topics in the first two years, preparing a 5,000-6,000-word report for each. The last two years would be spent on the thesis, which might be 45,000-50,000 words working out at about the same amount of words overall as a PhD[11]. A key difference between the two forms of doctorate is that the PhD student tends to work alone while the EdD student will initially be part of a learning community although increasingly PhD students are now required to take courses on research methods similar to those taken by EdD students.

In Ireland EdD 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.

Research by Scott, Lunt, Browne and Thorne (2002) has found that the difference between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. can be somewhat overstated as students of both tend to follow similar courses of study and to research similar topics.

Professional prospects

The effect on a future career will depend on the area of study. In an ESRC funded report[12] by Professor Ingrid Lunt of the Institute of Education compared the EngD, the EdD and the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration). She concluded that:

"The impact of the development of professional knowledge on employment culture varied considerably; for EngD participants there was a major impact, whereas for those on the DBA, the impact was often more personal, developing and enhancing individual consultancy skills; for EdD participants, there appeared to be little impact on employment, though frequently considerable impact for the individuals themselves."

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

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. A typical doctorate of education in the United States usually requires several years of course work as a doctoral student achieving generally 15 courses beyond a Masters degree, a comprehensive exam, and at its conclusion a dissertation. The dissertation presents the doctoral candidate's research and findings and is submitted for defense to the candidate's dissertation committee (including an advisor/1st, 2nd, and 3rd reader and usually limited to 5 - although varies by institution). Majors within the Ed.D. may include: Curriculum and Instruction/Curriculum and Teaching, Education Policy, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Educational Administration, Educational Leadership, Counseling, or Language/Linguistics.

Differences between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in Education

Both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Education are research-based degrees demanding the same level of academic rigour.[13][14][15]The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recognize numerous doctoral degrees as equivalent (see footnote 3 here). A list can be found at doctorate. Through a 5-year Carnegie Foundation project launched in 2001, Shulman et al. found that, "In reality, the distinctions between the [Ed.D. and Ph.D.] programs are minimal, and the required experiences (curriculum) and performances (dissertation) strikingly similar" (p. 26).[16]

At most colleges and universities in the United States that offer doctorates in education, the college or university chooses to offer an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education), a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Education, or both. Several of the top schools of education in the United States only offer their doctorates in education as Ed.D.s (e.g., Harvard University, George Washington University, etc.), whereas other top schools of education only offer their doctorates in education as Ph.D.s (Stanford University, University of Michigan, etc.), and yet other top schools of education choose to offer Ed.D.s for degrees in applied research and Ph.D.s for theoretical research (UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, etc.). Finally, in rare circumstances, a school of education may offer both degrees with an Ed.D. being project-based and a Ph.D. being research-based (St. Louis University).

Professional prospects

In the United States, the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. in Education are both recognized for appointment as a lecturer or professor in a university. It may also be recognized as training for administration positions in education, such as superintendent of schools, human resource director, or principal.

Suggested Reforms

Numerous scholars have suggested future reforms for both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in education. Shulman et al. argued for a new doctorate for the professional practice of education, which might be called the Professional Practice Doctorate (P.P.D.). This doctoral degree would be for principals, superintendents, policy coordinators, curriculum coordinators, classroom educators, etc. The Ph.D. in education and the Ed.D. are now so closely intertwined, Shulman et al. argued that after the creation of the P.P.D., universities will be able to move forward on improving the research and scholarly components of the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in education.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Notable Persons with Ed.D. Degrees

  • Michael Apple - Professor of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin
  • Keith Barton - Professor of Education, Indiana University
  • Jill Biden - The wife of the Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden
  • Deborah Britzman - Distinguished Research Professor at York University
  • Anthony Bryk - Professor in Organizational Studies, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
  • Bill Cosby - American entertainer, educator, and activist
  • Linda Darling-Hammond - Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • Lisa Delpit - Professor, Florida International University
  • Milbrey McLaughlin - David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy at Stanford University
  • Sharon Feiman-Nemser - Professor, Brandeis University
  • Fred Newmann - Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Sonia Nieto - Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy and Culture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Thomas Payzant - Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education and former superintendent of Boston Public Schools
  • Neil Postman - American author, media theorist and cultural critic
  • Stephen Raudenbush - Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago
  • James Shaver - Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, past president of the National Council for the Social Studies
  • Jonas Soltis - Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Sandra Stotsky - Professor of Education, University of Arkansas
  • Ruth Westheimer- sex therapist

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Research Doctorate Degrees"
  3. ^ Douglas, T. J. (2002). Legitimacy, differentiation, and the promise of the Ed.D. in higher education. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.
  4. ^ Shulman, L.S., Golde, C.M., Conklin Bueschel, A., Garabedian, K. J. (2006). Reclaiming education's doctorates: A critique and a proposal. Educational Researcher, 35(3).
  5. ^ Mayhew, L. B., & Ford, P. J. (1974). Reform in graduate and professional education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  6. ^ Douglas, T. J. (2002). Legitimacy, differentiation, and the promise of the Ed.D. in higher education. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.
  7. ^ Brubacher, J., & Rudy, W. (1968). Higher education in transition. New York: Harper and Row.
  8. ^ Nelson, J. K. & Coorough, C. (1994). Content analysis of the PhD versus EdD dissertation. Journal of Experimental Education. 62(2).
  9. ^ Doctorates, Masters and Licentiates degrees in Argentina
  10. ^ Doctor of Education, Dual Award
  11. ^ "Recognition of Professional Doctorates" in 'ESRC Guidelines'
  12. ^ [ "Professional Doctorates and their Contribution to Professional Development and Careers"
  13. ^ Nelson, J.K. & Coorough, C. (1994). Content analysis of the Ph.D. versus the Ed.D. dissertation. Journal of Experimental Education. 62.
  14. ^ Redden, E. (2007, April 10). Envisioning a New Ed.D. Inside Higher Ed.
  15. ^ Addams, A. N. (2008). Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities: Summary Report 2004
  16. ^ Shulman, L.S., Golde, C.M., Conklin Bueschel, & A., Garabedian, K. J. (2006). Reclaiming education's doctorates: A critique and a proposal. Educational Researcher, 35(3).
  17. ^ Shulman, L.S., Golde, C.M., Conklin Bueschel, & A., Garabedian, K. J. (2006). Reclaiming education's doctorates: A critique and a proposal. Educational Researcher, 35(3).
  18. ^ Levine,A (2005). Educating School Leaders. New York: Education Schools Project.
  19. ^ Redden, E. (2007). Envisioning a New Ed.D. Inside Higher Ed.

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