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Difference Between EDD and PhD

graduatesEDD vs PhD

For most people, pursuing a higher education could either be a way to advance their careers, or it is something that will give them a personal sense of achievement and fulfilment. The most common degrees of higher education, are usually a PhD or EdD ‘“ but what are the key differences between the two? That is exactly what we will try to find out.

First, let us learn what PhD is all about. PhD is the abbreviated version of Doctor of Philosophy. This is an advanced academic degree granted by universities, and it is considered to be one of the highest educational degrees that one can earn. You can earn a PhD for a wide array of disciplines and areas of study, especially in the field of sciences and humanities.

If you are applying for a position as a university professor or researcher, having a PhD would definitely come in handy. There are even job openings which specifically require applicants to obtain a PhD before they can be employed.

On the other hand, an EdD, or a Doctor of Education Degree, is a doctorate which is discipline-based. The purpose of this educational degree is to prepare an individual for work in the fields of the academe, administration, and clinical or research positions, in educational institutions. Just like a PhD, the EdD is a terminal degree which is actually recognized by the National Science Foundation, as it is equivalent to a PhD.

So how will you determine which of the two degrees you should pursue? Basically, both the EdD and PhD are research-based, and they both demand that academic rigour before you can finish the degree. Depending on the educational institution where you will finish the degree, you can either have an EDD or a PhD as an education.

Both EdD and PhD degree holders can qualify for jobs as university professors or lecturers, school superintendents, human resource directors, or principals. Another key difference between the two, is that a PhD is a more traditional degree, since it includes more substantial courses during the first two years so that a student can specialize in a certain area. On the other hand, the EdD is a combination, or course work, with a shorter thesis than a PhD. If you are not yet sure about what the focus of your study should be, the EdD is definitely the better choice for you.


1. A PhD requires more rigorous training during the first two years, while an EdD involves a combination of subject study and course work during the first two years.

2. A PhD offers the skills for a person to become an expert at a wide array of disciplines, while an EdD is more discipline-based.

3. The National Science Foundation recognizes an EdD to be equivalent to a PhD, therefore, there is very little distinction between the two.

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  1. can you please cite as APA format thank you Nadera

  2. Thank you for the clarity in explaining my request. I have made my decision, your response only “hit the nail on the head”. Again, thank you very much.

  3. I am glad to see this in writing. For many, the Doctor of Education degree is somehow considered less than the Doctor of Philosophy. Since both require intense study, course work, research and the candidate must publish, I find it quite baffling but some do consider the terminal degrees to be different. This information is beneficial and should be utilized at the beginning of every new cohort of doctoral students.

    Thank you!
    Dr. Weldon

  4. This article is very misleading. EdD are not the equivalent of PhD degree’s and one cannot get a research position in science with and EdD. I know, I have worked in academia and for large pharmaceutical companies. I have never and would never hire and EdD for a research position and I have hired over 100 doctoral level employees.The EdD degree’s are easy to get and in fact require much less rigor than a B.S, in a hard science. Enough with the false equivalents and misleading information

    • Yes, a Ph.D. is the real deal.

    • @Joseph De Soto MD, PhD: Your post is indicative of the type of general intellectual “snootery” and ignorance that perpetuate the culture of the “500-pound” brain, completely detached and removed from reality; making decisions for the rest of the “low class serfs.”

      I would tell anyone asking the question about the difference between the PhD and the ED.D to do their own research and then make a decision based on the applicability of the degree to their life goals.

      Your opinion that ED.D’s are easy to get based on your hiring of over 100-doctorate level employees is a gross failure of logic not supported by fact. Nor have you provided any evidence that you have personally interviewed every ED.D granting institution and somehow determined their accreditation and training to be at fault.

      So for all of you wondering about the difference between the two…research them both, know the difference in cost to achieve one or the other, then when you’re ready…get started.

      • An EdD degree is just that, a degree. Not equivalent in any form to a PhD. Sorry, it is not

        • And Ph.D isn’t a degree? It’s also just a degree, does not guarantee anything in itself. Both are same doctoral degrees.

      • Please read all the articles on Walden U. The more money you give, the quicker you can get your EdD. It depends on the institution.
        Basically, my opinion is you get an EdD is to call yourself “Doctor”, and a PhD when you are the real deal.

    • @Joseph De Soto MD, PhD:

      Hello Dr. De Soto,

      While I am considering pursuing my doctoral degree, I needed to know the difference between the two. What I now know is, “PhD in Education programs prepare you to conduct research, while EdD programs prepare you to apply research to an educational setting” (https://www.waldenu.edu/programs/education/resource/phd-in-education-vs-edd-whats-the-difference).

      Since you are in a research industry, I understand why you hire PhD candidates exclusively. I work in Higher Ed, with faculty and administration who have earned PhD and/or EdD degrees, as well as those who are pursuing on or the other. Either way, it is education and neither degree is simple, or “easy” as you stated to achieve. It takes hard work, dedication, and determination.

      The end result is that both work hand in hand. Depending on what an individual wants to achieve and how they will function in society should determine which route they will take. Either way, Dr. will precede their name.

      EdD is the way I am going.

      Do you feel the same way about MD’s and DO’s?

  5. Interesting article. Well, a PhD is the real deal; there is rigor. I would advice anyone to go for a PhD.

    More legitimacy
    Well prepared
    World recognized (there are many people who don’t know what an EDD is)

  6. I don’t agree the degrees are equivalent however, neither is easy to get. If you are in a career driven by research the PhD is more suitable for your professional needs. If you are in a position of leadership or management in higher education the EdD is more suitable for you. The PhD has more specific research interests and may venture into research that he/she may never come back to. Most often, PhDs use their research to compete with their colleagues on whose brain is bigger and more advanced. The EdD offers a curriculum and research focus that is more practical and allow you to find way to apply the research conducted by multiple people toward real life scenarios that directly affect students and communities. They are both rigorous and both require critical thinking. It simply depends on what your future goals are. For Mr. MD PhD, a PhD is more related to his field of study where scholarly research with regard to discovery and integration is vital to the field. That is not the case for every field of study.

  7. Some differences noted here are readable, while many others seem to be food fights between PHD holders and proponents and EdD holders. Let’s start with the basics
    1. A PHD is more expensive than an EdD
    2. A PHD takes longer to get than an EdD. Usually an EdD takes 3 -4 years, it’s almost like an extension of a masters degree.
    3. New knowledge is required in a PHD while an EdD just explains how someone’s theory/ work can apply to their work. Something not particularly hard to do
    4. Some EdD don’t even defend, and anyway, why would one defend the obvious, or existing knowledge.

    It is true many edds are principles and superintendents, does that explain why our schools are failing? Or are not showing any change? That’s probably why PHD faculty look down on EdDs. Training, extensive research, and depth are critical.
    There are many countries that don’t have a clue what an EdD is? So many just place the Dr. Before their names to make it easier for skeptic masses. These degrees are not equivalent in rigor, content, depth, prestige etc. I am on the side of a PHD holder.

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