Practictioners or researchers: Ed.D. or Ph.D.? An analysis of educational leadership doctoral programs

Michael Dwyane Kennedy Jr.


This mostly descriptive study was conducted to analyze differences in doctoral degrees in educational leadership programs across the United States based on U.S. News and World Report (2011) rankings for Graduate Schools of Education. Specifically, this study explored admission, program, and final requirements as well as curriculum and faculty roles to determine the trends that have been evolving, increasing, decreasing, or remaining consistent in certain schools of the United States since the release of the Levine study of educational leadership programs in 2005. Five groups were used: 1) higher ranked 20; 2) lower ranked 20 graduate education schools; 3) top 10 schools in the educational leadership specialty; 4) Ph.D. programs and 5) Ed.D. programs overall. The researcher collected data for each variable from program websites and representatives as well as supplemental information that was mailed or emailed to create a profile for each program. The researcher analyzed the data and concluded that reform has been slow to occur if at all; however, true reform could benefit future doctoral candidates in educational leadership, programs offering these degrees, and student success in education at large.