Ed.D. vs. Ph.D. in Education

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Aug 6, 2022.

  1. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    "Why I earned an Ed.D. instead of a Ph.D. in education"


    "While most students who earn a Ph.D. in education go on to become professors or researchers, those who earn an Ed.D. have a wider array of career opportunities post-graduation."

    I don't know that this is true. Most do not become tenure-track professors. Not sure about other tracks (full-time NTT or adjunct).

    Too Many PhD Graduates or Too Few Academic Job Openings: The Basic Reproductive Number R0 in Academia

    Also, many Ph.Ds. find opportunities outside academia and research. Beyond the Professoriate.

    "Ed.D. career paths include primary and secondary educational leadership (such as becoming a superintendent or school principal), as well as higher education positions such as a dean, provost, or university president."

    Ph.Ds. are also superintendents and school principals too.

    “A Ph.D. essentially is research-focused; it aims to create new knowledge,” Vaughn A. Calhoun, assistant vice president and dean for the Center of Academic Success at Seton Hall University, tells Fortune. “But the Ed.D. is typically practitioner-focused using existing knowledge to problem-solve contemporary issues. It’s about how we can solve a problem, as opposed to how we can create new knowledge and disseminate that new knowledge.”

    I agree with this distinction. I am also glad he said "typically" because some Ed.D. programs are research-focused.
    Dustin likes this.
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    This article is way overplaying the difference. But then, articles about higher education in general interest media should always be taken with a big grain of salt.
    Dustin, JoshD and sanantone like this.
  3. Asymptote

    Asymptote Active Member

    Alas, Doctor of Arts, we hardly knew ya.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  4. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, It's been a while since I read "Doctor of Arts"... I rarely see anything with that anymore, most programs I was looking into were EdD, DBA, PhD, etc.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    First US D.Arts program I saw was this one, about 14-15 years ago. They still have it. I like "Great Books" schools. :)
    RoscoeB and Rich Douglas like this.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    We had a thread on it recently. I am an extreme advocate.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The main difference, normally, between the PhD and a professional doctorate (like the EdD) is that a PhD dissertation is supposed to advance scholarship. That usually means creating, testing, refining, or refuting theory. A professional doctorate is designed to advance practice instead of scholarship. Both are equally rigorous. Both involve empirical research. Both make significant and original contributions.

    That said, the lines are often blurred. I've seen many PhD dissertations that hardly touch on scholarship (I know; I wrote one*), and EdD dissertations that are heavily based in scholarship. These two particular degrees are often used interchangeably. As I said, the line is there, but it can be blurred to the point where it is a distinction without a difference.

    As for using these degrees, the lines remain blurred. Strictly speaking, the PhD should be in academia, advancing scholarship in the discipline, while the EdD should be out there in the field of education practicing and advancing it that way. The reality is that there are lots of PhDs in practice (I'm one), and lots of EdDs in scholarly positions doing academic work and advancing scholarship.

    The scholarly/professional doctorate distinction is real. It is useful. But it is not dogma. Life is, gratefully, much messier than that.

    *My PhD dissertation didn't really address the underlying scholarship of the problem I was working. Frankly, it should have been an EdD, a degree the school did not offer. For extra irony, most people consider the Doctor of Social Science degree that I hold to be a professional doctorate (because of its non-PhD title and because the "big book" PhD is also offered by the university). It is not. The DSocSci is a scholarly doctorate, not a professional doctorate, and the university explicitly states that it is equal to the PhD. It has an alternate title not because it is a professional doctorate, but to distinguish its "taught" component from the "big book" PhD. When I asked what the difference was between the PhD thesis and the DSocSci thesis, the answer was, "it (the DSocSci) is shorter." Essentially, that meant I had to fit a 100k-word PhD thesis into a 60k-word limit. I had to chop out a lot. In the end, however, I had created a new theory to explain the phenomenon I was studying.
    RoscoeB, JoshD, chrisjm18 and 2 others like this.
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I've looked at that program in the past. IMHO, while the use the title of "Doctor of Arts," I don't see where it is an actual DA in terms of content. In short, the DA was designed to prepare tertiary-level teachers. It would have both a pedagogical component and a subject/specialty. The dissertation would be based on applied work, not theoretical (scholarly), and the degree was to be considered equal to the PhD. It was regarding this last element where scholars believe the degree failed. It just wasn't accepted as being equal by the target audience: teaching colleges and university undergraduate departments. DA grads felt like it was 1866 and they were being paid with Confederate money.

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