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How To Get A Doctorate Degree in Education

Drexel University School of Education

A doctorate degree represents the highest level of education a student can receive in an academic subject. Individuals with doctorate degrees are considered knowledge experts in their field and are often called on to provide expertise on a particular issue in which they can help. In this article, we will explain how to get a doctorate degree. We will cover each step in the process, as well as how long it will take to earn a doctorate in education.

Why Pursue a Doctorate Degree in Education

People pursue a doctorate degree in education for many reasons. For some, a doctorate degree in education is a great way to advance in a career field. For instance, a PhD degree or EdD degree is often preferred by universities when evaluating candidates for tenured professor positions. Others earn a doctorate degree in education to become a knowledge expert in their field, allowing them to have a comprehensive understanding of issues they may encounter at work and how to resolve them. For other students, a doctorate degree may be a personal goal.

7 Steps to Get a Doctorate Degree in Education

The requirements for admission into a doctorate program can vary from school to school, but below are the general steps one must accomplish to get a doctorate degree in education.

Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A student starts their journey to a doctorate degree by first earning a bachelor’s degree. At this initial stage, students can earn a degree in any subject they choose and still be eligible for a doctorate degree in education.

Earn a Master's Degree in Education

The next stage in the journey to a doctorate degree in education is to earn a master’s degree. At this stage it is recommended that a student earn a master’s degree in an education subject. Selection committees for competitive doctorate in education programs will look very closely at the graduate level coursework a student has completed when deciding if they will be a good fit for their program.

Decide if a PhD or EdD is Right for You

After earning a master’s degree, a student should decide which type of doctorate program is right for them. Drexel offers PhD and EdD programs in education. A Phd in education program prepares students who are interested in research, while an EdD is often meant for students who want to put knowledge into practice in their field. To determine which program is right for you, we encourage you to visit our EdD vs. PhD page.

Take the GRE

GRE scores may or may not be required for admission for a doctorate program. At Drexel, GRE scores are required for admission to the PhD in Education program but are not required for the EdD in Educational Leadership and Management program.

Apply to Doctorate Programs

After deciding on which type of doctorate program to pursue, a student should begin researching doctorate programs that fit their interests. Drexel’s EdD program offers several concentration areas to allow students to focus their studies on a particular subject of interest.

When a student enters a doctorate program, they are often paired with a supervising professor with expertise in the subject are they are interested in. At the application stage, students should research the faculty to identify a possible supervising professor.

In addition to identifying a program, students should review the admission requirements very carefully and gather all the necessary documents. This often includes a resume, letters of recommendation, and essays. Students interested in a doctorate degree from Drexel University's School of Education can review the EdD requirements and the PhD requirements for admission.

Complete the Doctorate Degree Program Coursework

Once a student is admitted into a doctoral program, they will complete coursework and develop and submit their dissertation proposal. It may take 3-5 years for a student to complete a doctorate degree depending on whether a student takes courses part-time for full-time. At Drexel, a student will complete 74 total credits to earn a PhD in Education, or 60-61.5 credits for an EdD degree.

Complete and Defend a Dissertation

After completing research and education foundation courses, a student will write and defend their dissertation. Typically, a student will spend their final year in the program conducting research on an issue they have identified in an education field. The student will record their findings in their dissertation and present it to their assigned dissertation committee. Along the way, the student will have regular contact with their supervising professor to ensure they are on the right track with their research and are preparing their dissertation correctly. Once a student has successfully defended their dissertation research, they have officially completed the program. They will attend commencement where they will receive a doctoral hood from their supervising professor.

Advance Your Career with a Doctorate of Education at Drexel University’s School of Education

Drexel offers Phd in Education and EdD in Educational Leadership and Management programs. The PhD is available in-person in a full-time and part-time format to allow students to complete their studies in a way that is convenient for them. Drexel’s part-time EdD program offers a 3-year and 5-year plan of study and is available fully online or in a hybrid format with students coming to campus three times each quarter.

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