What Is an EdD Degree?

Prepare to Lead Organizational
Initiatives With a Doctor of Education

A Doctor of Education, or EdD, is a graduate degree that explores the theory and practice of leadership in the education and human development fields.

Though grounded in educational theory and subject matter, this degree is not reserved only for traditional educators. Rather, the EdD prepares its candidates to drive change in organizations across industries through the use of educational tools including instruction, curriculum development, technology and media, counseling, policy, and systemic organization.

As a student in an EdD program, you will study educational theory pertaining to psychology, motivation, access and equity, and how to apply this knowledge to positively impact organizations, systems and the people within them.

Why Earn an EdD?

If you aspire to become a leader capable of driving systemic change in your field or organization, an EdD will give you the proper skills to effectively manage projects and teams, and will help you stand out in the candidate pool.

EdD graduates can apply their skills to leadership roles in colleges and universities, nonprofits, government agencies, and private firms and companies. Because programs such as the USC Rossier EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership online include experiential opportunities at organizations located near each student’s community, students are able to immediately apply practical knowledge to their careers.

Through an EdD program that includes classes and experience in the field, you can develop expertise in the following leadership practices:

  • Development of innovative curricula for an organization
  • Identification and analysis of organizational roadblocks or problems of practice
  • Instructing professional development through educational methods
  • Promoting equity and transparency in professional settings

EdD candidates will learn how to carry out these functions by creating and implementing strategic plans to lead their organizations to success. As a student, you will learn to:

  • Develop a plan that outlines goals consistent with an organization’s mission
  • Effectively communicate the strategic plan and its goals
  • Collect and evaluate data for developing plans and measuring success of initiatives
  • Assess the fiscal viability of initiatives and develop a budget

Gain the Hands-On Experience
Needed to Become an Effective
Organizational Leader.
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Is an EdD Right for You?

If you are a current or rising leader in your organization or industry and want to drive change through innovative, educational methods, returning to school for an EdD may be worthwhile for your career. An EdD can help you enhance your organizational skill sets and learn advanced methods for making a widespread impact in your field.

When exploring degree programs, you should identify your personal and professional goals. What do you want to accomplish in your career, and how might an EdD help you get there? If your goals require development of leadership and organizational skills, as well as the ability to create a strategic plan for long-term and widespread growth, choosing to earn your EdD is a shrewd decision.

What Can You Do With an EdD?

The Doctor of Education degree can be applied to a number of positions that incorporate facilitation of learning processes, training, professional development or overall systemic change.

EdD graduates can become experts in creating more effective environments to influence greater shifts in organizations ranging from schools to corporations. The degree can also help students gain insight into modern media and learning technologies that can be used to drive organizational success.

Online Options: Work While You Earn Your EdD

A Doctor of Education may be a good option if you are already a working professional looking to advance your skill set, but need to stay in your current position.

If you are reluctant to pursue your doctorate due to time constraints, a lack of doctoral programs in your area, or not being able to afford to temporarily give up your job, an online EdD can allow you to earn a degree that works with your schedule and location.

Doctor of Education Jobs

The doctorate can prepare you for a host of leadership careers. Potential positions you can pursue with an EdD include:

  • Nonprofit director
  • Educational consultant
  • Leader in the armed services or police force
  • Superintendent
  • Dean
  • Professor
  • Chief academic officer
  • Chief learning officer
  • Director of human resources
  • Education lobbyist
  • Curriculum specialist

Online Options: Work While You Earn Your EdD

A Doctor of Education may be a good option if you are already a working professional looking to advance your skill set, but need to stay in your current position.

If you are reluctant to pursue your doctorate due to time constraints, a lack of doctoral programs in your area, or not being able to afford to temporarily give up your job, an online EdD can allow you to earn a degree that works with your schedule and location.

The USC Rossier OCL: An Online Program From a Top-Ranked School

The USC Rossier Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Change and Leadership online is ideal for experienced working professionals looking to advance their leadership roles within higher education settings, private firms, nonprofits and government organizations. The USC OCL program offers professionals an opportunity to effect change in an organization by sharpening their communication, assessment, inquiry and management skills.

Applicants who already hold a master’s can be admitted to the USC Rossier OCL online with advanced standing and complete a shortened 43-unit degree program.

Applicants who already hold a master’s can be admitted to the USC Rossier OCL online with advanced standing and complete a shortened 43-unit degree program.

Applicants with appropriate professional experience can be admitted to a 60-unit degree program that they can complete in three to four years. Students in the program will also complete a capstone project or a consulting project in which they outline how the skills gained in the program will translate to their careers.

The USC Rossier OCL online program also offers online learning tools that allow students to experience a seamless graduate education. Each week, students attend live online classes via HD streaming video that bring students and faculty face to face in real time.

The online classroom takes advantage of dynamic sharing and collaboration features that are designed to enhance students’ learning experiences. Tools and functionality include:

  • Small group break-out rooms
  • Video and document sharing
  • Live chats, surveys and polls
  • Collaborative content annotation
  • Screen-sharing capabilities
  • Full class recordings

The entire suite of classroom features and functions are fully accessible from any desktop, tablet or mobile device.

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EdD vs. PhD: What’s the Difference?

Not all doctoral programs are the same, and there are some distinct differences between an EdD and a PhD.

Doctor of Education (EdD):

An EdD is focused on building the skills and foundational knowledge to successfully address organizational, leadership and educational issues and apply these skills in corporate, nonprofit and academic settings. While PhD graduates aim to shape their field through research, EdD graduates try to drive systemic change in their field through managerial and leadership roles. They use research to inform their practices in real-world settings.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD):

A PhD program is best for those on a research-based pathway that leads to a role in academia. With a focus on research methodology, this degree is suitable for future college professors and subject-matter experts. Their dissertation research usually focuses on national and international trends as opposed to a specific organization or industry.

What Is the Difference Between an EdD and an MBA?

If you have an interest in nonprofits, government agencies or human resources, both an MBA and an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership may seem like suitable programs. However, the programs often entail different learning outcomes and career paths.

Master of Business Administration (MBA):

MBA programs usually take two years to complete full time, and these programs prepare graduates to become leaders in the business, government and nonprofit sectors. Students typically choose a specialization, like human resources or finance, which will be the focus of their studies.

MBA programs are specifically geared toward students who come from or plan on returning to the business industry. MBA programs develop business leaders, while EdD programs develop leaders who want to promote change and learning in organizations.

EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership:

This three- to four-year program prepares students for leadership roles in a variety of settings, including but not limited to the education field. There is no specialization in an EdD; instead, students focus on coursework that can be applied in a range of organizations and industries.

Additionally, EdD candidates will usually write a dissertation or complete a capstone project in which they reflect on how they can apply their knowledge to their current positions.

How to Earn Your Doctor of Education

Begin exploring EdD programs that will suit your schedule, location and career goals. Remember, an online program from a reputable institution can be a good way to earn your degree without changing your working or living situation.

If you desire to drive greater change in your organization, launch or lead a nonprofit, or rise to leadership roles in a government agency or learning institution, an EdD focused on organizational change and leadership will help you reach your goals. Start learning more today by viewing the USC Rossier OCL online program’s application requirements.

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