Students with a PhD in Education often want to drive change by conducting research that reshapes their fields of study or by altering policy. They might also work behind the scenes to effect large-scale reforms.
Whether to pursue an EdD or PhD is one of the first decisions aspiring educators must make. The best doctoral degree program for you depends on your career goals and aspirations.
While a PhD is decidedly research-oriented, the degree also helps you become a leader in education. Based on your expertise and findings, you can make recommendations to leaders and legislators to implement change in education.
A PhD also allows you to focus on one specific area of education and become an expert in it. You can then pursue a career as a postsecondary teacher, conducting research and writing publications in that field of study.
You may find employment opportunities in government agencies, civic organizations and nonprofits. Some people with a PhD can also find work as college and university professors. The main difference between a PhD and an EdD is that an EdD has a stronger focus on putting your research into action. The curriculum often includes internships and fieldwork as well as classwork. An EdD program can take three to four years to complete and can be completed while you work. It can also be completed in an online format.
If you plan to teach on the postsecondary level, a PhD in Education is the highest degree you can earn in the field. Most PhD-Ed programs focus on research and teaching in higher education, though students can also work in specialized areas such as school leadership and upper administration or curriculum development.
A doctoral degree requires thorough study of a subject and a dissertation that contributes to knowledge about that subject. Typical PhD-Ed requirements include a bachelor’s or master’s degree, GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and an interview.
Both a PhD and an EdD prepare teachers to do academic research, so the degree that’s right for you depends on what you’re interested in. Do you want to make a direct impact in the classroom or pursue big-picture change behind the scenes? Each type of program has its strengths and weaknesses. Both take between four and six years to complete. Both culminate in a dissertation that students defend in front of faculty members.
The PhD in Education program at NYU Steinhardt interrogates multiple aspects of schools and other educational institutions in collaborative study environments with professors and fellow students. The curriculum focuses on critical analysis of contemporary problems of practice and prepares graduates for roles as university faculty, researchers, or senior-level policymakers.
As an administration specialist, you’ll learn to navigate the intricacies of educational institutions, including responsibilities like hiring staff and ensuring facility upkeep. You’ll also stay up-to-date on academic standards and accountability measures like student testing programs.
You’ll take courses in higher education administration, student development in a college context, and more. In addition, you’ll study the research methods needed to conduct your own research on a topic of your choice. You’ll then complete a dissertation and graduate with a doctorate in education. Scholarships and assistantships are available to help fund your studies. Visit the graduate school’s financial support section for details on assistantships, fellowships, and tuition installment plans.
If you are looking to change the way that educational institutions are run, a leadership-focused PhD in education degree program may be for you. These programs teach you to interpret research on how to drive change in K-12 schools, colleges and universities as well as in community organizations.
A leadership-focused doctorate prepares you to take on senior positions such as superintendent, principal or college president. A PhD in leadership studies also prepares you to shape education policy at a national or state level.
A PhD takes on average four to six years to complete, plus the time needed to write a dissertation. An EdD program, however, can be completed in a shorter amount of time. This option is great for those who want to start work in an administrative role right away and don’t want to spend too much time on their thesis.