What Is a Doctor of Education (EdD)?

Embarking on a journey towards a Doctor of Education (EdD) opens doors to a realm of possibilities in educational leadership. This terminal degree, earned upon completing a dissertation delving into educational theory and practice, caters to individuals driven by a passion for education and learning theory. Whether aspiring to be a school administrator or an advocate for education policy changes at the local or national level, the EdD is a transformative path.

Decoding the EdD Experience

The Professional post-masters Degree

The EdD is strategically crafted for those aiming to carve a niche as educational leaders. It offers a comprehensive curriculum covering learning theory, curriculum development, and public policy, enabling graduates to apply this knowledge across diverse organizational settings. Moreover, as a terminal degree, it positions you for coveted roles such as a full-time college or university professor.

Structural Insights: Cohort Dynamics

Ed.D. programs typically adopt a cohort model, offering flexibility through in-person, online, or hybrid courses. The cohort structure fosters enduring relationships among students admitted during the same term, creating a conducive environment for collaborative learning. Engaging with peers and faculty from varied backgrounds enriches the educational experience.

Navigating Core Classes and Concentrations

As a doctoral student pursuing an EdD, the journey involves core classes and courses aligning with your chosen concentration. Beyond theoretical knowledge, many programs mandate field research, a residency or internship, and the culmination of a dissertation. These components collectively shape a holistic educational experience.

Charting the EdD Landscape: Focus and Concentrations

Crafting Leaders for Schools

The primary focus of a Doctor of Education degree is to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge essential for leadership roles in educational institutions. Students delve into diverse educational and leadership styles, explore education policy intricacies, and navigate organizational change dynamics. The goal is to translate existing research into actionable strategies, elevating teaching practices and supporting educators and students.

Tailoring Your Path: EdD Concentrations

EdD programs often require candidates to select a concentration, allowing customization of the learning journey or exploration of specific interests within the educational landscape. Considerations for concentration include:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Prepare for roles as a curriculum specialist, program director, or content area specialist.
  • Education Leadership: Acquire knowledge and skills for positions such as school principal, chief learning officer, superintendent, or policy maker.
  • Instructional Design: Learn to apply curriculum theory to educational programs, becoming adept at meeting the needs of diverse learners in roles like curriculum specialist or program evaluator.
  • Learning Design: Acquire skills to enhance learning environments and support teachers using instructional design tools.
  • Multicultural Education: Focus on addressing the needs of diverse learners, preparing for roles in public schools, government, and community agencies, or consulting firms.
  • Special Education: Develop expertise to oversee programs designed for students with special needs.
  • Urban Education: Prepare for roles in school leadership, community outreach, and learning programs tailored for students in urban areas.

EdD Admissions Requirements

Application Essentials

The gateway to an EdD program is the application process, usually accessible online. Prospective candidates must meticulously complete this initial step to be considered for admission.

Documenting Your Journey: CV or Resume

Crafting a comprehensive Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume is integral. These documents highlight your work history, educational background, and skills. A CV, being more detailed, may include publications, awards, and professional association memberships relevant to your future role as a doctoral student.

Navigating the GRE Maze

While some schools may require a minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score, others might waive this requirement. Prospective students need to be mindful of this variation among institutions. Ordering GRE score reports is essential, allowing you to showcase your academic prowess.

Letters of Recommendation

Seeking letters of recommendation is a pivotal part of the admissions process. These letters, attesting to your communication skills, work ethic, and capabilities, offer insights into your suitability for the program.

Sealed Transcripts: Unveiling Academic History

Official transcripts from previously attended schools are crucial. While some institutions accept unofficial transcripts during the application, official transcripts sent directly from the schools are often required post-acceptance.

Articulating Purpose: The Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is a writing sample that enables you to articulate your skills, interests, and the reasons behind your desire to attend graduate school. It serves as a personal narrative that adds depth to your application.

EdD vs. PhD in Education: Decoding the Differences

Curriculum Focus

The primary divergence between an EdD and a Ph.D. lies in the curriculum. EdD programs typically emphasize practical courses relevant to K-12 schools and higher education. In contrast, Ph.D. programs prepare individuals for research and teaching roles, with coursework delving into theoretical aspects like qualitative analysis, research literature, education policy, and experimental design.

The EdD Journey: Duration and Tuition

Time Investment

Earning a Doctor of Education degree is an average journey of three to four years. However, variations exist, with accelerated programs offering quicker completion and others requiring up to seven years, particularly if coupled with extensive capstone projects or dissertations.

Financial Considerations: EdD Tuition

The cost of pursuing an EdD varies, with an average ranging between $47,500 and $111,900. It's important to note that these figures may not encompass additional expenses such as school fees, housing, and meals. Factors influencing costs include geographical location, program duration, available scholarships, and more.

Career Trajectory: Jobs with an EdD

Graduates with an EdD have diverse career opportunities spanning private and public education and the corporate sector. Some potential roles include:

  • College or University Professor: Median Salary - $79,640
  • Corporate Executive: Median Salary - $98,980
  • Instructional Coordinator: Median Salary - $63,740
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator: Median Salary - $96,910
  • School District Administrator: Median Salary - $98,980
  • School Principal: Median Salary - $98,420

Each role offers a unique avenue for applying knowledge in learning, data analysis, assessment, and mentoring.


Q1: What are the typical admission requirements for an EdD program?

A1: EdD programs generally require an application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae, and an interview. However, requirements may vary among schools. Some institutions may necessitate a minimum GRE score, while others may waive this requirement. Standard expectations include completing the graduate school application and holding a master's degree from an accredited school.

Q2: Where can I find the EdD application?

A2: Most schools offer the EdD application online, accessible through their official websites. Prospective candidates can locate the application and submit the required documents electronically.

Q3: What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

A3: A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a detailed document that includes work history, educational background, publications, awards, and more. Resumes are shorter and focus on essential information. For EdD applications, either a CV or resume may be required.

Q4: Do all EdD programs require GRE scores?

A4: No, not all EdD programs require GRE scores. Some schools may waive this requirement, placing more emphasis on other application components.

Q5: What is a statement of purpose, and why is it important?

A5: The statement of purpose is a writing sample that allows applicants to express their skills, interests, and reasons for pursuing graduate education. It provides insights into an applicant's motivations and aspirations.


In conclusion, navigating the admissions process for a Doctor of Education program is a strategic endeavor. Understanding the distinctions between an EdD and a Ph.D., considering the time investment and financial implications, and envisioning potential career paths empower aspiring educational leaders to embark on this transformative journey.

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