Last Updated: July 22, 2021

What is a Doctorate in Education?

The Doctor of Education degree, or D.Ed., is the highest degree available in the study of education and something that students interested in going beyond the field of teaching are often interested in. Focusing on research and academic publication, people who pursue this degree are preparing for work in academic, administrative, clerical, or research positions. Typically, the fields that one might go into with this degree include educational, civil, and private organizations.

This degree is often confused with the similar and overlapping degree titled a Ph.D. in Education. The main difference distinguishing these two degrees in the United States is the career path one might follow with each degree. While students pursuing a Doctorate in Education might go on to work in a variety of education-related fields using their skills to enact change, Ph.D. of Education students focus on academics and scholarly research as career paths.

Difference Between a Doctorate and PhD in Education

While both the Doctorate course in Education and Ph.D. in Education can be taken after the completion of postgraduate studies in similar fields, there are certain underlying differences between the two. Learning about this distinction is important while choosing a course due to the influence the course and its curriculum have over the different career options that candidates can have.

A Doctorate in Education is considered a professional degree for candidates who plan to pursue a career in educational leadership. While a certain amount of data collection and research is required in the field, it primarily focuses on the application of the prevalent research in the industry to other industries. The course often contains a residency period and can range anywhere between 3-7 years considering the number of years candidates will have to spend completing their core courses before they can approach the real crux of the course.

A Ph.D. in Education, on the other hand, is primarily focused on research and does not extend itself to the application of the research that is being done. Candidates will have to submit a unique thesis, unlike the projects they have to do for a Doctorate program. Candidates who take up a Ph.D. in the field will mostly remain in academia since the course isn’t professional in nature.

Admission Requirements for Doctorate in Education

Most graduate programs for a Doctorate in Education have similar admissions requirements. But all the same, it is important to check the eligibility requirements of the different schools one is planning to apply to. The general requirements include transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, etc. which can all vary based on the institution. The most common requirements are- Additionally, it should be noted that the higher the rank of the school one is applying to the more competitive the admission requirements will be. While most schools do not have a minimum GRE score, the average score of students accepted into a high-ranked program is 158+ with the highest being around 162+.

Acceptance rates into graduate programs in Education are greater than in other degrees. However, top-rated programs like Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Stanford only accept a small percentage of applicants into the program.

Concentrations Offered Under Doctorate in Education

Most often colleges and universities offer the Doctorate program in Education with concentrations that candidates can choose from. These concentrations will be the areas they work on once they have completed the course. The most common concentrations provided by institutions are-

Courses Offered for Doctorate in Education

Though the courses offered by institutions will be based on the concentrations they provide and the approach they have toward the subjects, there are common courses offered in most institutions. These common courses are-

Top Universities for Doctorate in Education

While this program is offered throughout the United States, a few schools have stood out as the top in the nation for many reasons. When choosing a university for study, candidates must look at the concentrations each of these universities offer before they apply since it is based on the concentrations that they choose that their future careers will be decided. The top universities for education are-

Career after Doctorate in Education

The career options that are most commonly chosen by candidates are that of a School Superintendent, Director of Student Services, and even that of being a university professor in the same field. While staying in academia is often opted by Ph.D. holders, there are other job options as well for candidates with a Doctorate in Education. These job options are- Of these career options, growth is expected mostly in the field of Post-secondary Education in the future, providing an excellent job growth potential for those interested in a position like Director of Student Services.


Becoming an Educator