EdD vs. PhD

All students who complete doctoral programs in the Department of Educational Administration will have an opportunity to develop their knowledge of educational leadership and increase their potential to serve important leadership roles in educational and human service organizations. The faculty of the department have taken care to distinguish between the two doctoral degrees offered by the department in order to help admitted students have a clearer understanding of faculty expectations and to assist students in selecting their degree objective.

The Doctor of Education (EdD)

The EdD in Education is a program of study that prepares the student for professional practice. The EdD can be completed entirely on line. The EdD may be earned with a focus in P-12 education or in higher education. Those earning the degree receive a diploma indicating the degree as a Doctor of Education.

This is the appropriate degree objective for that individual who intends to either pursue or continue a career as a practicing administrator in an educational organization or in a related type of organization. The EdD is a degree intended to help an individual develop leadership skills and become more versed in developing the analytical skills to confront difficult problems of practice. The EdD program will be characterized by the following:

  1. a program of studies that enhances the student's knowledge of the profession toward which she or he is focused;
  2. the opportunity to gain real life experience in the area of administration the student seeks to pursue, especially through internships oriented directly at student interests;
  3. a grounding in the major cognate areas that have been historically important to practitioners;
  4. a dissertation focused on a problem of practice;
  5. the opportunity to develop group skills by working on collaborative projects;
  6. research tool courses aimed at developing analytical skills.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD degree in Educational Leadership and Higher Education (ELHE) is a program of study that prepares the student for a scholarly career. There is a 6 credit hour, on campus residency requirement to complete the PhD. The PhD may be earned with a focus on educational leadership or higher education. Those earning the degree receive a diploma indicating the degree as a Doctor of Philosophy.

As such, students are expected to master a scholarly research tradition in a specific area of educational administration and to be familiar with both quantitative and qualitative research methods in education. We expect that the skills acquired will be the skills of scholarly inquiry and research. While we realize that a person's future is not readily predicted, we intend that a student who elects this degree objective will be oriented toward research and scholarship. Thus, we intend that students seeking a PhD degree will pursue a doctoral program that is characterized by the following:

  1. a strong grounding in a scholarly tradition that leaves the student with expertise in the area of their dissertation research;
  2. six courses (18 hour) in research tools;
  3. the completion of a minimum of six hours of coursework on campus;
  4. the completion of several research studies prepared for presentation and publication;
  5. a close working relationship with the supervisory chairperson;
  6. a dissertation that seeks to add to the knowledge base of its topical domain.