The Doctor of Education (Ed.D. or D.Ed.; Latin Educationis Doctor or Doctor Educationis) is (depending on region and university) a research or professional doctoral degree that focuses on the field of education. It prepares the holder for academic, research, administrative, clinical, or professional positions in educational, civil, private organizations, or public institutions.
The EdD degree was then added by Teachers College in 1934. Between 1925 and 1940 many institutions, including the University of California-Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan followed the steps of Columbia and Harvard and established schools and colleges of education that offered graduate study and eventually, the two doctoral degrees. Despite this growth, however, these and other schools of education struggled to establish their identity as professional schools and were perpetually engulfed in debate over the purpose of the Ed.D.
The history of the Ed.D. throughout the 20th century was one of confusion. In many graduate schools of education it was a practitioner degree, while in others it was considered education's research doctorate. Several factors contributed to the confusion: First, offering two doctoral degrees resulted in constant conflict between the \"demands of theory and those of practice\". Second, the advancement of professional training was further complicated as schools of education competed with schools of arts and sciences. Graduate programs in arts and sciences were older and more established. Traditionally arts and science faculty offered doctoral preparation in the form of the Ph.D. Both the school of arts and sciences and its faculty had difficulty relinquishing their expertise in doctoral studies or in acknowledging the need for a professional doctorate degree. Third, from the inception of both doctoral degrees in education, unclear goals and similar programmatic content have confused the degree purposes and plagued professionalization efforts.
In Canada, the Ed.D. tends to be granted by faculties of education at Universities and is a terminal degree in education. Much like the United States and Great Britain, some universities offer the EdD (Simon Fraser University), while others offer a PhD in education (McGill University, Queen's University, University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick), and still others offer both (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, The University of Western Ontario, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia).
Much like the UK, in Canada, the Ed.D. is a full academic doctorate that can only be granted by AUCC-accredited institutions and shares equal parity with a Ph.D. (Education). The dissertation to be completed as part of an Ed.D. program differs only in focus but not in breadth of study, nor academic rigour required. Ed.D. programs in Canadian institutions must include an original contribution to knowledge which must be chaired (supervised) by an accomplished researcher and orally defended (viva) to internal and external examiners. In many cases, the only salient difference between the Ph.D. and Ed.D. relates to the professional field of practice of the candidate as Ed.D. programs often tend to focus on existing pedagogical problems.
In South Africa, following a convention of using Latin in academic designations, the doctorate in education is called Doctor Educationis (DEd) and, like other doctoral degrees in that country, it is entirely a research-based qualification.
The EdD usually involves courses and a dissertation, but as with all doctorates requires at least a dissertation. The EdD thesis may be shorter than that of the PhD, because the EdD normally includes coursework that includes assessed papers, whereas PhD programs of study are focused on undertaking a thesis without such coursework. The EdD thesis differs from a PhD thesis only in length and scope but not in quality. As with PhD candidates, all EdD candidates undergo a viva voce examination (comprehensive oral defence of one's thesis/dissertation).
The EdD is generally presented as an opportunity to prepare for academic, administrative or specialised positions in education, placing the graduates for promotion and leadership responsibilities, or high-level professional positions in a range of locations in the broad Education industry. Both the EdD and PhD are recognised for the purposes of appointment as a lecturer or professor in universities.
In 1991, the Doctor of Education programme at the University of Bristol began and was the first taught doctorate outside of North America. The EdD is delivered through a balance of taught units including research methods, theory, argumentation and evaluation skills as well as a major research thesis that must make an original contribution to knowledge. As with other doctoral candidates, participants of the EdD are encouraged to publish articles and books based on their research. An excellence in doctoral level research is the main aim of the Bristol EdD.
At the Institute of Education in London, the EdD \"is for experienced professionals from education and related fields who would like to extend their professional understanding and develop skills in research, evaluation and high-level reflection on practice\". Meanwhile, the PhD \"is intended to enable [students] to produce [their] own thesis and to develop a range of research and other more generic skills.\"
In the United States, the EdD tends to be granted by the school of education of universities and is a terminal degree in education. Majors within the EdD may include: counseling, curriculum and instruction/curriculum and teaching, educational administration, education policy, educational psychology, educational technology, higher education, human resource development, language/linguistics, leadership or technology/innovation in instruction. The EdD is recognized for appointment as a professor or lecturer in a university. It may also be recognized as preparation for administrative positions in education and human development field, such as superintendent of schools, human resource director, or principal.
From the very beginning, there was a formal division between the EdD and the PhD in education, and the growing popularity of the applied doctorates was met by faculty in the arts and sciences questioning their legitimacy. They argued that practical and vocational aims were inappropriate for doctoral study, which they contended should be focused on producing scholarly research and college professors. The EdD and the colleges of education that granted them continued to face criticism through the 1980s. In 2013, Harvard University, the first institution to award the EdD degree, accepted its last EdD cohort and instead now offers both the Doctor of Philosophy in Education and the Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdLD) degrees.
There are similarities between the EdD and PhD which may cause confusion. In theory, the two degrees are expected to constitute overlapping but distinct categories, where the EdD is a degree that prepares educational practitioners who can solve educational problems using existing knowledge, and the PhD in education is the more theoretical of the two as a traditional social science research degree that prepares students for careers as scholars and academics, often from a particular disciplinary perspective (e.g., sociology of education). In reality, however, distinctions between the two degree programs are generally minimal in both curriculum and dissertation requirements. One study on dissertations submitted between 1950 and 1990 indicated that there were no differences between the two degrees regarding basic versus applied research or the significance of the findings. Nonetheless, that same study indicated that \"PhD dissertations contained more multivariate statistics, had wider generalizability, and were more prevalent in certain areas of concentration\", whereas \"EdD dissertations contained more survey research and were most prevalent in educational administration research.\" The difference is attributed primarily to which type of degree a particular school offers and if existing research or original research is required in the dissertation.
The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) states that \"the professional doctorate in education prepares educators for the application of appropriate and specific practices, the generation of new knowledge, and for the stewardship of the profession.\" To wit, although the CPED describes the EdD as a professional doctorate, it also states that it prepares students for the generation of new knowledge, and this is corroborated by the fact that both the PhD and EdD degrees are considered research doctoral degrees on the Survey of Earned Doctorates, which is a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, sponsored by six federal agencies, and solicited, under the National Science Foundation Act, from graduating doctoral students at all accredited institutions.
Colleges and universities in the United States that offer doctorates in education choose to offer only the Doctor of Education (e.g. Webster University), only the Doctor of Philosophy in education (e.g., Stanford University), or both (e.g., UCLA, University of Missouri, and University of Pennsylvania). The distinction between the PhD and the EdD in this last group can take different forms. At the University of Illinois, for example, the PhD in education dissertation requires an original contribution to academic knowledge, whereas the EdD dissertation \"is intended to demonstrate the candidate's ability to relate academic knowledge to the problems of professional practice.\" At Teachers College, Columbia University the PhD is designed for students