Comparing the PhD and EdD Programs

Should you pursue a PhD or EdD program? At USC Rossier, the PhD program differs from the EdD programs in both career trajectory and format.

The USC Rossier PhD program is for individuals who desire a faculty or research career. PhD students are engaged full time in classes and assistantships for four years while enrolled and cannot work outside the program.

The three USC Rossier EdD programs are primarily designed for individuals who are interested in the application of research and plan to work in the field as a practitioner. Most EdD students continue to work full time outside the program while enrolled.

A PhD student would typically be a person who is:

  • Anticipating a faculty career or an area of practice which demands research expertise
  • Excited by theory and conceptual analysis
  • Interested primarily in advancing the theory in the field rather than implementing its practice
  • Able to commit four years to participate in the program full time.

An EdD student would typically be a person who is:

  • Planning on working in the field primarily as a practitioner
  • Interested in research that emphasizes development, evaluation or field-based work
  • Especially interested in developing new technological capabilities
  • Currently working full time

Compare our doctoral programs side-by-side