Comparison Chart

Which is for me, Ph.D. or Ed.D.?

Are you thinking about doctoral study in the field of education but are unsure which degree is right for you? Both of the doctoral degrees in education at UCSD provide rigorous training in research, focus on the critically important goal of improving and transforming education to better serve all students, and emphasize the integral links between research and practice.

However, the Ph.D. program and the Ed.D.program differ in fundamental respects because they prepare students for different career pathways:



Academic Preparation

Applicants should have prior experience conducting research, as well as some professional experience in educational settings.

Applicants should have professional experiences in education. Examples include experiences as teachers, teacher-leaders, and administrators in a range of educational settings.

Program Design

Time to degree: 4 to 5 years
3 courses per quarter

Time to degree: 3 years
2 courses per quarter

Career Pathway

Ph.D. graduates are prepared for careers as educational researchers. Graduates may become university faculty members, work in research positions in governmental agencies, or work for other organizations such as non-profits.

Ed.D. graduates become highly skilled research-informed practitioners in the field of education. Graduates may work as teacher-leaders, university leaders, principals, superintendents, and other educational leaders.

These are not hard and fast rules, as there are Ed.D. graduates who go on to pursue faculty positions in higher education and Ph.D. graduates who pursue positions in educational practice. These are general guidelines to help you determine which program is the best fit for your professional goals.

For more information:




Giselle Van Luit

Melissa Wolf