Ph.D. or Ed.D.?

PDS Worktable

What's the difference between the
Ph.D. and the Ed.D.?
Baylor offers both an Ed.D in Curriculum & Instruction and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Teaching. Students' choices about which program to complete has to do with their vocational goals as well as with the skill sets and dispositions they bring to advanced graduate study. These two degree programs are unique in that they prepare students for different future occupations. The Ed.D. program focuses specifically on advanced preparation of educators who plan to continue their work in the realm of professional practice, often within K-12 schools. In addition, Ph.D. students complete additional experimental research design and qualitative research courses, whereas Ed.D. students focus more on questions of application and the immediate task of professional practice.

All Ph.D. students complete dissertations that are theoretical, experimental, or analytical in nature, dominantly focusing on "why" questions. Only in rare circumstances do Ph.D. students complete applied dissertations. In general, Ph.D. dissertations focus on "why" questions and Ed.D. dissertations focus on "how" questions. Most Ed.D. students, moreover, complete dissertations that focus on applied K-12 problems. Ed.D. dissertations may be experimental in design using qualitative and/or quantitative data, but their focus is typically on practical problems that practitioners (e.g., teachers, curriculum directors, and school districts in general) are facing in professional school settings. All Ed.D. students, moreover, are encouraged (and if possible required) to complete an internship during the last year of their program. An internship is optional for Ph.D. students. The Department of Curriculum & Instruction includes faculty who hold both Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees, which means that they are able to mentor students who have the desire to pursue either the Ph.D. or the Ed.D. degree.