Ph.D vs. Ed.D
• The Ph.D. prepares researchers, primarily but not exclusively for positions in higher education. The degree is intended for those whose career goals include basic research. The Ph.D. prepares graduates to design and implement research that contributes to national and international conversations and generalizes to populations similar to those being studied.
• The Ed.D. prepares leaders, primarily but not exclusively for positions in education systems (K-12, community college, etc.). The degree is intended for those whose career goals will likely include use of research but usually as it pertains to program evaluation and improvement. The Ed.D. prepares graduates to perform research within their profession and likely within the context of their work.
Difference: Final Product
• The Ed.D. will also result in a dissertation, but the findings may be more relevant to a local audience of stakeholders. The research will likely occur within the context of the researcher’s employment and will focus primarily on real-world, real-time applications. The graduate will become proficient in program evaluation, case study, and action research.
• The Ph.D. results in a dissertation that should lead to publishable articles in national/international peer-reviewed journals whose audience includes but is not limited to other researchers. The dissertation findings should contribute to a national/ international research conversation, be generalizeable to a broader audience than that studied or significantly deepen the understanding of a particular issue, and/or advance research methodology. The graduate will become proficient in advanced statistical methodology and/or advanced qualitative methodology.
• Both the Ph.D. and the Ed.D. seek deep understanding and change, albeit at different levels.
• Both require understanding of research paradigms, appropriate use of research methods, limitations of research, and dissemination of findings.
• Both the Ph.D. and the Ed.D. are terminal degrees.
• Both prepare graduates for leadership positions.
• Both require programs of rigor and relevance.