Doctoral Studies at the Curry School of Education

The Curry School of Education offers two doctoral degrees--the Ph.D. and the Ed.D.  Although there is some overlap in between these two programs, generally, the Ph.D. places more emphasis on preparing scholars whose primary interests are in engaging in original research.  The Ed.D. places more emphasis on preparing practitioner-scholars whose primary interests are in translating research into practice.

Upon completing the Ph.D., Curry graduates typically assume positions as faculty members or post-doctoral fellows in universities or as researchers at research centers, policy centers, or government agencies.  Upon completing the Ed.D., Curry graduates typically assume leadership positions in educational settings, e.g., government, K-12 schools, higher education, professional organizations.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. program prepares scholars who engage in original research.  Students participate in research apprenticeships, assisting their faculty mentors in such activities as conceptualizing research projects, collecting and analyzing data, and writing for publication. For 2010-11, 60% of Curry doctoral students had at least one manuscript accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and 36% had two or more manuscripts accepted in peer-reviewed journals.

Coursework includes topics covering research foundations (e.g., rules of inference, logic, philosophy of science), quantitative and qualitative research methods, and in-depth seminars focused on seminal and cutting-edge scholarship and evidence-based practices in their respective fields. 

Students also complete a pre-dissertation research project resulting in a manuscript submitted for publication, a written comprehensive exam covering the knowledge base and methodology of their disciplinary area(s), and a traditional dissertation or a three-paper option, described in the Curry Dissertation Manual. 

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

The Ed.D. program prepares practitioner-scholars to become leaders within their professions.  Students participate in coursework, research, and field work that focus on the problems faced by educators in schools and other educational institutions.  Students participate in internships that involve the challenges of identifying and developing solutions to the difficulties that educators face on a daily basis. 

Coursework includes topics covering a variety of professional skills, research approaches and seminars focused on seminal scholarship and evidence-based practices.

Students complete a written comprehensive exam covering the knowledge base and the methodology associated with solving field-based problems and a capstone project that documents a problem-solving project or program that was initiated or evaluated and is designed to transform practice.