Side-by-side Comparisons – Doctoral Programs

The PhD program is research oriented whereas the EdD programs are directed towards educational practice and the application of theory and research. An EdD is equal in rigor, but different in substance from the PhD. Here’s how:

The 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
  • tending toward research and has potential for primarily advancing the theory in the field rather than implementing its practice

An EdD student would typically be a person who is:

  • planning on working in the field primarily as a practitioner
  • especially interested in developing new technological capabilities
  • interested in research which tends to emphasize development, evaluation, or field based project

Doctoral Program  Comparisons

PhD in Urban Education Policy EdD in Educational Leadership EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership Global Executive EdD
For Aspiring academicians and researchers in education policy Aspiring or established leaders usually in traditional K-12 or higher education settings Aspiring or established leaders in a variety of organizational settings, including colleges and universities, K-12 environments, non-profits, cultural institutions and governmental organizations Senior leaders in ministries of education, universities, schools or school systems, education-related multilateral or non-governmental organizations, and education-related corporations
Goals Conduct and disseminate meaningful research in urban education policy. Provide critically conscious leadership in K-12, higher education and other educational contexts. Drive systemic change in organizational settings Achieve large-scale improvements across educational systems through strategic use of policy, innovative practice and assessment.
Required Work Experience None 3-5 years 3-5 years 10 years
Required Master’s Degree No Yes No No
Estimated Program Length 48 months* 32 months* • 33 months* with prior Master’s degree
• 44 months* without prior Master’s degree
• 25 months* with prior Master’s degree
• 36 months* without prior Master’s degree
Delivery Format On-campus On-campus
•Southern California
Online with annual multiday on-campus sessions Hybrid combining on-campus with online
Schedule Full-time For working professionals – students usually complete two to three courses per term, including summers For working professionals – students usually complete two courses per term, including summers For working professionals. All day during residential sessions and weekly for online sessions
Research Focus Discovery of new knowledge Application of relevant research to make data-driven decisions in educational contexts. Application of research to practice, innovation in educational practice Application of research to practice, innovation in educational practice
Dissertation Research contribution to theory and scholarly knowledge Practice-oriented final participatory scholarly project Practice-oriented structured demonstration of problem solving skills Diagnoses, researches  solutions, and develops recommendations for a field-based problem
Estimated Tuition and Fees* Graduate assistantship covers tuition $85,152 • $71,909 – with prior Master’s degree
•$102,529 – without prior Master’s degree
• $125,000 – with prior Master’s degree
•$153,000 – without prior Master’s degree

*Assuming the student follows the approved program of study. The actual completion time and cost may vary depending on the length of time required to complete the dissertation