Doctor of Education FAQs

General Questions

What is the difference between a PhD and an EdD? The EdD is a terminal degree recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as equivalent to the PhD It prepares students to become scholar-practitioners. The distinction between the two degrees is that the PhD can be grounded in original or theoretical research, whereas the EdD places an emphasis on educational research tied to practice. The first EdD degree was granted at Harvard University in 1920. It was awarded in response to an expressed need for more practitioners with doctoral training.

Is the EdD accredited? There are six regional accrediting bodies. The accrediting body that awards Northeastern University’s accreditation is NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges). Regional is the highest level of accreditation awarded to any university.

Does the EdD lead to state certification? No, there is no specific certification associated with the EdD at this time.

What concentrations are offered within the EdD? There are three concentrations offered with the EdD, listed below:

  • Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Organizational Leadership Studies

How many quarter hours are required for the EdD? The EdD is comprised of 60 quarter hours.

What is the availability of the main campus library? A wealth of library resources, including journals and research databases, are available online. Visiting the main campus library in person is always an option. Students can confer with research librarians via phone, email, and online chat.


Admissions Questions

Does the College of Professional Studies accept transfer credits into the EdD? While all students must complete 60 quarter hours in the EdD program, there is an opportunity to apply up to nine quarter hours of previously earned coursework from another program or institution to satisfy part of the elective requirement. Learn More about EdD Advanced Graduate Credit.


International Questions

Can I enroll in the Doctor of Education program as an international student from outside the U.S.? Currently, the Doctor of Education program does not meet international visa requirements (it's not I-20 compliant.) However, in partnership with Kaplan, Northeastern offers a Doctor of Education program offered in a hybrid format at our Hong Kong study center. Learn more


Course Questions

What is the delivery format for courses? All EdD courses run on the College of Professional Studies quarter term academic calendar: 12-week terms start in September and January. Hybrid courses use a mixture of face-to-face and online instruction; other courses are completely online. There are also summer residency courses, which are full 3.0-quarter-hour courses in a special hybrid format. Summer residency courses begin online at the start of the summer term and meet for one week of face-to-face instruction on the Boston campus, with the remainder of the course online. Each course taken in this summer residency* format fulfills one residency requirement for the program.

*In addition to the summer residency special hybrid courses, any course in a standard hybrid format that meets on the Boston Campus during any term of the year fulfills a residency requirement. Standard format Boston hybrids are a blend of online instruction and on-ground classes that meet weeknights every other week during a term.

When and where do classes meet? Hybrid courses are offered at Northeastern University’s Boston campus. Most on-campus courses meet on Saturdays. The summer residency courses meet in Boston.

What is the doctoral thesis? The doctoral thesis represents a rigorous and scholarly approach to investigating a problem of educational practice. Students first identify the problem to be addressed in their thesis before they undertake a rigorous process of inquiry and reflection about the origins, significance, and nature of the problem, as well as alternative ways to address it in practice.

When do I start focusing on the doctoral thesis? The doctoral thesis is the sole focus of student activity after completing the final research course. However, preparation for the thesis begins in the first term and with the first set of courses. The content and delivery of every course has been tailored to help meet the knowledge and skill requirements of the doctoral theses.

Do committees review doctoral thesis proposals and the thesis themselves? Yes, there are thesis review committees who will hear candidates’ proposal presentations and review final doctoral thesis defenses. All doctoral thesis defenses take place on the Boston campus.

What support is offered for students completing their theses? Each student is assigned a faculty research adviser within their Scholar Practitioner Community (SPC) group after successful completion of the second research course, Theoretical Foundations of Research and Practice. SPC groups are formed based on shared research interests or other logical groupings. This structure provides support and collaboration with peers and the SPC faculty adviser. EdD students work collaboratively, but ultimately produce and defend individual doctoral research theses.

What are the components of the doctoral thesis?

Doctoral Thesis Proposal (DTP):

  • A formal proposal that builds on and continues to refine the DPS, including a full literature review and a proposed research design
  • Presentation of the DTP in a public faculty/student forum is required, which may be online or on campus

Doctoral Thesis and Oral Defense:

  • The final product in the program that builds on and continues to refine the proposal, including research data and findings, and implications for other practitioners and the wider field
  • A successful oral defense of the doctoral thesis, before a faculty review committee, is required

Summer Residency Questions

What is the summer residency? The summer residency courses are full 3.0-quarter-hour courses in a special hybrid format. Summer residency courses begin online at the start of the summer term and meet for one week of face-to-face instruction on the Boston campus, with the remainder of the course online. Each course taken in this summer residency format fulfills one residency requirement of the EdD.

Who should attend the summer residency courses? All students are encouraged to use the summer residency courses to satisfy their residency requirement. If you are unable to take hybrid courses during the summer, please contact your adviser upon being accepted into the program.

Are accommodations provided? Yes, campus-based housing is available at reduced rates for students registered in summer residency courses. Reservation information is available to current students through the Student Resource Center on Blackboard.

Talk to an Enrollment Coach

We can walk you through your program options and the application process.


Call Toll Free:
Contact Us