Doctoral Degree Program in Education

There are many options for those considering doctoral degrees in education. In this article, we will explore the different formats for obtaining either a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in education and what sorts of specialization options exist for these programs.

What Kind of Doctoral Degrees Are Available in Education?

You could earn a Ph.D. in Education or you could earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. The traditional distinction between the two is that Ph.D. programs are more research-oriented, while Ed.D. programs usually focus on practical application. However, much of the time, both programs are very similar.

Doctoral programs in education typically take five years to complete. You can find them in on-campus, online and hybrid formats. Online programs may require you to attend several on-campus learning sessions during the program, which are typically intensive and last a few days. Online classes might be conducted in chat rooms or discussion forums, and you will likely use email to turn in your work.

Degree LevelDoctoral (Ph.D. or Ed.D.)
Coursework TopicsLiteracy, special education, psychology, curriculum development
Career optionsSchool administration, curriculum development, academia, educational consuling

What Will I Learn?

Coursework in doctoral programs in education might teach you about educational theory, education models, research methodologies and pedagogy. You might also be able to teach classes and participate in collaborative research projects. Some programs allow you to choose a specialization, such as school psychology, curriculum development, literacy, science education or special education. The following are examples of classes you might find in the curriculum:

  • Leadership and development
  • Leadership theory
  • Organizational structures
  • Research methods
  • Ethics in leadership
  • Adult learning
  • Standards-based education
  • Curriculum development

What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get?

With a doctoral degree in education and the appropriate credential or license, you would be qualified to work as a teacher or as an educational administrator. Likewise, you could work in academia as a professor who conducts research and teaches classes. You might also work for educational administrative bodies, such as school boards or government agencies, or you could find employment with an educational consulting firm. For example, you could pursue jobs like the following:

  • School principal
  • Curriculum development specialist
  • College dean

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