EdD, how is it different from PhD

Ed.D stands for Doctor of Education. It is a course that trains students in academic, administrative, clinical and research positions in public and private organizations. The first Doctor of Education degree was awarded by Harvard University in 1921. However, many leading institutes in the world also award a PhD in education. There is often a great deal of debate about which the better course is; Ed.D or PhD. In the United Kingdom, both courses are treated on par with each other. In both courses the student is expected to make an original contribution to the literature in his dissertation. There is also a viva voce as part of the dissertation process.

However, it has been noticed that there are some discernible differences between the Ed.D course and the PhD program. The Doctorate of Education invariably tends to focus on the administration of education and its practice. The PhD is a more research and scholarly program. The Doctorate of Education has a curriculum that lays an emphasis on policy and practice of education. The PhD program emphasises theory and research methods. While doing their dissertation, Ed.D students are encouraged to give a lot of importance to practices and policies regarding the education system like the administration and education in regional schools, for instance. On the other hand students of the PhD degree are encouraged to investigate national and international trends, research practices and other scholarly topics. Of course, while there is a lot of debate on this subject, students should not be misled into thinking that there is no research in Ed.D and no practical teaching in PhD. Both courses offer a good mix of everything. It is just the ratio of practice and research that tends to vary from one course to the other.

The vast similarities between the two courses and the few differences confuse students on what course would be appropriate for them. The best way that many people solve this problem is by deciding what their life goals are. For students who have a penchant for research and have a goal of getting a tenured track teaching career later in life, the PhD seems like the right program. On the other hand those who wish to focus more on the practice of education and see themselves in executive or consulting posts in the government and educational institutes find that getting a Doctorate in Education is more appropriate.