a teacher exploring different ed.d. programs

Types of Ed.D. Programs

From elementary schools to universities, every educational institution relies on the leadership and vision of its administration. A doctorate in Educational Leadership prepares its graduates to fill the essential roles that guide the curriculum design, budget building, faculty hiring, and policymaking of a school or school system. For educators and administrators looking to become leaders, doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) programs offer the best path. After all, academic deans, admission directors, provosts, and academic officers all require an Ed.D. for success. However, not all Ed.D. programs are the same. Depending on your needs, goals, and level of commitment to a doctoral program, the route in which you receive your Ed.D. can vary.

Here are the various methods by which future academic leaders can complete their Ed.D.

On-Campus/Traditional Ed.D. Programs

An in-person, or on-campus, Ed.D. program is considered a more traditional method of study. These are the most common Ed.D. programs and are typically well-established. In on-campus Ed.D. programs, students have the benefit of interacting with their professors and peers in-person. They also benefit from on-campus resources and networking opportunities.

However, students are required to be on-campus at specific times and to travel to class from home. For some, this can prove inconvenient. Because students are required to be on-campus, this method of instruction is the most rigid of all Ed.D. programs.

Campus-based Ed.D. programs are ideal for those individuals who benefit from face-to-face learning. Those who require structure, live communication, and a set schedule to stay on task will benefit most from an on-campus Ed.D. program.

Hybrid Ed.D. Programs

Some schools, including University of Bridgeport, allow their students to complete their Ed.D. program in a hybrid format, which combines online coursework with some on-campus components. A hybrid Ed.D. program is designed specifically for working professionals who need added flexibility to complete their doctorate on a part- to full-time basis.

In a hybrid Ed.D. program, classes are primarily offered online, allowing for great flexibility for doctoral candidates. As noted above, however, there are typically some on-campus components. At University of Bridgeport, for example, Ed.D. candidates must complete two, week-long residencies in-person, in order to receive their degree. These residencies are completed during summer academic sessions. Apart from this on-campus component, all Ed.D. program classes are offered online.

These online Ed.D. courses can include:

  • Introduction to Education Leadership
  • Evaluation of School Effectiveness
  • Curriculum Development
  • Policy
  • Ethical Issues in International Education
  • Comparative Education
  • Culture, Society, and Education in International Contexts

Courses that students are required to complete in-person include the core Ed.D. credits. These may include:

  • Grant Writing
  • Intro to Research
  • Quantitative Research
  • Action Research
  • Organization Management

Additionally, candidates are required to complete their dissertation proposal, comprehensive exam, and dissertation presentation in-person.

Online Ed.D. Programs

An online Ed.D. program offers the most flexibility of all the available Ed.D. paths. The online Ed.D. requires students to complete 62 credits in educational leadership, research and analysis, international education, and dissertation. Classwork is completed entirely online, allowing students to complete their degree when and where they’d like.

The online doctoral program also provides students with an expedited way of pursuing an Ed.D. degree. At University of Bridgeport, online Ed.D. classes can be completed in as few as 3.5 years by full-time students, due to its accelerated pace. Students who have completed an accredited Sixth-Year or Education Specialist post-master’s degree can complete this program with as few as 42 credits, reducing this completion time even further.

Additionally, this program allows students to pursue a specialization in International Education by completing 12 specialization credits. These classes include:

  • International Education Concepts and Theories
  • Ethical Issues in International Education
  • Comparative Education
  • Culture, Society, and Education in International Contexts.

Once online coursework is complete, Ed.D. candidates must complete a comprehensive exam, propose a dissertation topic, complete and then present their dissertation to a three-faculty member committee. The online-nature of this degree path provides working educators and administrators the opportunity to complete their Ed.D. while continuing to serve in their schools and school districts. In this way, the online Ed.D. is ideal for those who need flexibility from their Ed.D. program.

Teachers and professors are responsible for shaping the lives and minds of their students. They leave an indelible mark on the world through their teaching. However, without the support of administrators, principals, provosts, and deans, teachers can’t do their work. Leaders in education, those who hold an Ed.D. have been trained in research, leadership, curriculum building, and even management. They’re able to develop their schools, identify and fix problems, and keep a school’s faculty members on track. They’re even capable of providing training to future educators. If you’re driven to serve the best interests of your school, teachers, and students through skilled leadership, then an Ed.D. might be in your future. All you have to do is decide which type of Ed.D. program is best for you!

Are you considering pursuing a doctorate in Education? Request more information and learn about University of Bridgeport’s pioneering programs here.