What Doctoral Degrees in Education are Available?

If you have a master’s degree and are considering going back to school, you may wonder what doctoral degrees in education are available. Of course, there are many specializations and you may have established an area of concentration in your master’s program, but the requisites for a doctoral degree in the United States are fairly standardized.

What is a Doctoral Degree?

This may sound like a silly question, but you might be surprised to learn that there are different standards for the degree in different countries. There are terms that designate a degree beyond the master’s that require less education and research than a degree in the U.S. does. One of these is the Licentiate, which is a lower doctoral degree and has largely disappeared. In other nations, however, your only requirement for a doctoral degree might be the creation and defense of your thesis. This may be presented before a committee or in public. In the United States, a doctoral degree is usually awarded after much advanced study, practicum and the research and defense of a thesis. The dissertation is a book-length, three hundred to five hundred page document written to answer a question or theory posed by the student. The dissertation or thesis involves hours of original research. The exception to this requisite is the “honorary doctorate” that is presented by a school in recognition of a person’s unique contributions to a field. The usual doctoral degree is the Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D. There are professional degrees as well, like the Doctor of Psychology, the Ph.D. in Psychology or the Psy.D, and the Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Dentistry and the Doctor of Education, among others.

What are Doctor of Education Degrees?

These are degrees that represent study beyond the master’s degree that include practicum and research into an educational issue. You might pursue a doctoral degree in education, for instance, if you are interested in teaching at a university, or even becoming a university president. People with doctoral degrees also work for governmental agencies designing curriculum and engineering policies that dictate how we teach special needs or special population students. Learn.org lists several kinds of educational doctorates.

  • The Doctoral Degree in School Psychology prepares you to work in counselor education. The degree you earn might be the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. This, like all U.S. doctoral degree programs, involves up to five years of study beyond the master’s degree. You might take courses in learning theories and counseling ethics. With this degree, you may be involved in research or in actual administration of a school counseling program.
  • The Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction involves research into learning styles and the efficiency of currently-used curriculum. If your degree is a Ph.D. in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, that is certainly true. The other degree available in this concentration is the Ed.D. Degree, which is a more practice-oriented degree.
  • The Doctor of Education in Education prepares students to be school principals, college deans, curriculum developers or administrators in colleges and universities. Courses in this program could include literacy, curriculum development, school administration and finance and others.
  • The Doctor of Education Administration is similar, but includes more finance and budgetary courses as well as diversity and school law classes. Some of these programs are offered during the summer, or part-time to allow people already employed in education to earn their degrees. They are also offered partly online, but most schools require a campus presence at some time for doctoral students.
  • The Doctoral Degree in Instructional Leadership prepares students for administration jobs at the highest level and courses include policy development and educational technology.
  • The Doctor of Music Education is a professional degree that prepares students to teach music in colleges and universities.

Related Resource: Careers are in Education Administration

Many of these degrees are similar and the programs depend upon which university you attend. They also may lead to the same career. In general, though, the doctoral degrees available in education are divided into two formats: the Ph.D, or research doctoral and the Ed.D. or practical degree.