I got accepted to Rutgers' Ed.D program, but what about the PhD in English?

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by LittleShakespeare90, Mar 27, 2022.

  1. Hey, everyone!

    I hope you'll forgive me for writing to you again so soon, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. I desperately need some advice, and I thank you so much in advance.

    I just got accepted to an Ed.D program in Teacher Leadership at Rutgers. To be honest, I don't know if I really want the Ed.D. If anything, having Rutgers' name on my resume will be great, but if there's one thing I learned from my traumatic experience at NYU, it's that a name means nothing when you're miserable.

    I spoke with my professor from NYU who has been a long-time mentor to me. He said to go for it. But I'm confusing myself so much now. I actually got accepted to a PhD program in English Literature at Old Dominion University that I am seriously considering.

    Here are my goals: I am a high school English teacher who has always had a dream of becoming a professor. I've tried so hard to get into funded, prestigious PhD programs, but to be honest, I fell in love with teaching high school. I always wanted to get my doctorate in the subject I love most. I want to be a literary expert. :)

    If anything, I applied to the Ed.D when I went to the hospital a few months ago. I was advised to get an Ed.D to seek administrative roles if I so wanted. But I don't want to be a principal or superintendent. I love literature.

    Do you think I should decline Rutgers' offer for now and just go for ODU's PhD in English?
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  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Select quotes from the Complete Works of LittleShakespeare90:
    You're in charge, of course - but don't you think your own words are telling you the exact direction to go? I do. You're a very cogent writer! I think you should do what you love! :)
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    P.S. I think your wish (Ph.D in English) was pretty clear in your previous post as well. As was said back in the 80's, "Don't fight the feelin.' " Just my take. You do you. I wish you well, whatever choice you make. :)
  4. You’re the sweetest! Thank you so much!!!
  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I am glad you learned that. Also, the name might only get you the interview. Pursuing a degree online at a prestigious school often will not afford one the same networking opportunity as those available to on-ground students. The reality is that many of these admissions processes are not as competitive as the traditional programs and people are willing to shell out thousands of dollars to finally get that Harvard, Penn, NYU, etc., on their resume. More graduates mean more competition, and the degree won't feel as prestigious when so many people hold those "prestigious" degrees.

    As Johann said, I think you know the answer. If you don't intend to be a K-12 or higher education administrator, the Ed.D. may be limiting. Of course, there are college faculty with Ed.Ds., especially within Schools of Education. However, a Ph.D. will be preferred, mainly if the school engages in some research. I think you mentioned in a previous post that you weren't planning to transition to a full-time faculty position. However, you don't know how you will feel a year from now. I applied to over ten doctoral programs, I was admitted to all but one. They were all professional degrees (Ed.D., DBA, DPA, and D.CJ) except for my last application, a Ph.D. program at Liberty. I never had any ambitions of becoming a full-time college faculty. I was planning to return to juvenile justice once I finished my doctorate. Instead, I ended up in academia on a tenure track after earning my Ph.D. Now, I am in the job search process, and I am sure I wouldn't have received the number of interviews at R2 schools, including an offer, if I had only a D.CJ.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    If you want to be a high school English teacher, then you should not consider a Doctorate degree to create more debts unless you get a full ride. If you want a Doctorate as a credential, then go for it. If you want to learn, then a Doctorate is not the direction to go.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    TEKMAN - this person likes being a High School teacher and her love is English Literature. She said she wants to be an expert in what she loves. Will a Doctorate make her an expert in Literature? Yeah, I think it very well might. So does she. People aren't 24/7 high school teachers or 24/7 any career. A person's occupation does not fully define them. Are you a 24/7 cyber-guru and nothing else? If so, feel free to disagree.

    If someone really wants to learn about English Literature, then I feel a Doctorate might well be the way for them to go. There are no Cisco or Microsoft certifications in Literature. They don't check what you've learned about Chaucer, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound or Kerouac at your local Pearson-Vue Center.

    I think you're out of your usual fields of expertise here.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  8. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    I agree with Johann, there isn't really a way to prove that you're an "expert" in literature, short of a Doctorate. It's also worth noting that ODU is only about $30k for a Doctorate (if I'm calculating things correctly). That's cheaper than a lot of non-hacked (I.E., without CLEP/ACE/etc. credits) undergrad degrees! It's astoundingly cheap, as far as degrees go. As long as it's not going to break the bank, there are worse ways to spend $30k. It looks like this can be spread over up to 8 years, too, so it can be less than $500/mo. if spending out of pocket. That's not bad at all.
  9. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    You could become an independent scholar of literature and build up publications respected among doctoral-level scholars without getting a doctorate yourself. Though if much the same work and a cost you can afford will get you a doctorate also, why not!
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    All true, Jonathan. Two caveats:

    First, I think if you don't have the credential, it'll be harder (though far from impossible) to get published in both journals and some literary publications, no matter what the standard of your work. I could be wrong, but I believe there's a tendency in some offices to pre-sort submissions according to qualifications. I think PhD's tend to get listened to first. The rest, maybe later...

    Second, the credential builds confidence - and self-verification. Some people get more out of that than others. "This diploma I earned says I'm a scholar - ergo I am. I have achieved my aim." Plus, if you go the Doctoral route, you'll be well-versed in research and academic writing. Two indispensable scholarly skills that could very well take longer to acquire on your own.

    Yes - you can be a genuine scholar either way, but the academic route, though not easy, smooths out the path and hands you some tools. Easier than making them yourself.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  11. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Technically most journals are supposed to be double-blind so that the editors and reviewers don't know whose paper they're reviewing. In practice, I think (and others please correct me if my perception is wrong) most subfields are so small that you can generally tell whose paper you're reading based on the subject matter and the theory so that it's hard to be truly objective once someone is well-known. A newcomer may be singled out unintentionally for the unfamiliarity of their writing.
  12. Thank you so much for your replies, everyone! I truly think the Ed.D is a no-go for me. I was just so worried because Rutgers is a great school, but I really don't want to focus on educational theory. I'd much rather spend my time studying literature so I can better service my students.

    You are all so amazing! You have my deepest gratitude. Thank you so much for everything! :emoji_two_hearts:
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  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think I might have to agree with Tekman on this. You can learn just about anything outside of college; some subjects are easier to learn on your own, and those tend to be non-technical fields. A PhD program is not where you learn basics. It's where you receive research training to contribute to the field. For most subjects, a master's degree program is enough to obtain advanced knowledge.

    I'll use a statistics professor in my PhD program as an example. He had a lot of freedom to select courses in his PhD program, so he focused more on statistics than criminology. Learning advanced mathematics takes longer than learning something that relies upon memory and not skill. He said that if he's ever asked to teach criminology, he can just pick up a criminology book to prepare for the class. I had to teach subjects that I had never taken classes in, so I prepared by cramming textbooks. This is very common.

    There's not enough non-research coursework in your average PhD program for you to become a broad expert. It's not uncommon for people to graduate with a PhD and not know the basics of their field if their bachelor's and/or master's program was unrelated. On the contrary, a PhD program is often where you specialize. This is particularly true in dissertation-only programs. If you want broader knowledge and to stay up-to-date, this will require lifelong reading of peer-reviewed articles, other academic publications, and even news stories.

    An IT certification test is not where you learn; it's where you prove competency. Many in the tech field are self-taught. Can you read Chaucer on your own? You sure can. Can you read analyses of literature on your own? You sure can. Passing a class in a PhD program is proving your knowledge.
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  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    If their previous degrees are unrelated, maybe those people shouldn't be pursuing a doctorate in a field unknown to them. Until they have acquired the requisite knowledge, of course.
    Yes - passing a PhD class proves your knowledge - i.e. that you have learned what was taught in the class.. And Yes - you can read Chaucer on your own. Even I did. Once. It's also possible to miss a lot. I read some of Chaucer and liked him, in my mid-teens. The language wasn't much of a problem - I was already soaked in Latin and French by then and they helped me with Middle English. And I had a glossary of some kind, if all else failed. And, of course, I got giggles in the appropriate places. :)

    Many years later I got some lectures from two professors, in my 40s-50s. One was good, the other, great - and I learned a good deal from each, that I'd missed. One knew much more about English social history than I did. I'd missed a lot of things, first time round.

    The second professor was magic. He asked us to listen to the rhythms of certain lines and said "Do you hear that? Those are definitely not English rhythms. They're Italian - that's part of what makes Chaucer unique - he was the first." I'd known Chaucer had worked in Italy and was fluent in Italian, but I never knew where that had shown up in his work. There were several other enlightening moments in that class for me, as well. Formal instruction and a great teacher made a difference. They should. That's what we pay for.

    TEKMAN said Doctoral studies are not a place to learn. I think they are. Not for the basics, of course, but you can't make an original contribution to knowledge until you've learned all about it. And learned how to research and write about it. And you don't get your doctorate until you've learned and done these things.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2022
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  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    My take: If you successfully complete Doctoral studies and honestly feel you haven't learned sufficient - or perhaps anything, in your program - then you have every right to demand your money back. Those studies should be the learning experience of a lifetime - and not leave you feeling like a fake.

    And that includes dissertation-only doctorates, not so common this side of the pond. Writing a dissertation is a first-rate learning experience - or so I've been told by people who have accomplished it.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2022
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  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    And I'm NOT saying people need formal education in everything they like. I've played music (at least, that's what I call it) for nearly 50 years. Never had a lesson. Never wanted one. Learned basic music theory in grade school - time and key signatures, note values, reading, scales etc. That was helpful - I would have had to learn it anyway, if it wasn't provided. Photography - same thing. 1 do have about 100 books on it, though. Did take one course, 25 years in. Won't be taking another.

    But if I was seeking a degree, especially a doctorate - or wanted to be an acknowledged expert, or teacher - yeah, I'd have sought formal instruction. There are things you go to school for - and things you don't. And reasons for each. One size does not fit all.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2022
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  17. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Some fields are interdisciplinary, so schools will accept somewhat related degrees.

    If you already have a bachelor's or master's degree in English literature, you should have already had those classes. We analyzed Chaucer and other authors of English literature in my honors, pre-AP, and AP classes.

    Tekman did not say that doctoral programs are not a place to learn. He said that, if you don't need the credential and you're just looking to learn, the doctoral program is not the way to go. I agree. You either need the degree, or it's for self-fulfillment. If you're just looking to analyze literature, you can do that in undergraduate and master's-level classes, join a book club with academics, or watch online lectures for free.
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    TEKMAN said "If you want to learn, then a Doctorate is not the direction to go." I guess that's open to interpretation, then - mine is different to yours. As I outlined, I perceive a Doctorate to be a learning experience - of the highest sort. If it isn't - it's a fake.

    If self-fulfilment is the reason - then you need what you need. Some people (e.g. the OP in her stated ambition) require a formal Doctorate to feel they're an "expert." That's their ambition and fulfilment. Some feel fulfilled by the methods you mentioned - undergrad, book club, free lectures. You need what you need and you get what you get. One size does not fit all.

    I repeat - to you and TEKMAN: A Doctorate should be the highest of learning experiences. If not, it's a fake. OML, I feel like I've written a dissertation! Nah - for me, not possible. :)
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2022
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  19. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I mean to learn for the knowledge, not the credential. Sure you can learn from the Doctorate program, but if you don't need the credential why would you want to spend at least $30,000.00 for it?
  20. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I think people over-estimate what they can self-teach, or at least how long it will take. There are self-taught programmers for example, but many, many more went to school to shorten the learning experience by getting the kind of deliberate feedback and guided practice that is necessary to be a high performer.
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