Doctoral Degrees: Ph.D. vs. Ed.D.

Dr. Tricia McFadden, Francis Worldwide School of Continuing Studies | 01/18/2023

Ph.D Vs Ed.D which path is right for me
How do these doctorate degree types differ?

Many who are interested in a doctoral degree ask the question which degree is the path for me. This question has been on the mind of a number of those interested in SFU’s Executive Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Innovation. To help navigate the discussion, let’s first differentiate the degree paths

Doctor of Education(EdD)

An EdD is a doctorate degree path designed for practitioners pursuing leadership roles in education or other fields such as business, education, healthcare, non-profit, and public service. A professional Doctor of Education program is well suited for experienced educators and mid- to senior-level working professionals who want to lead and implement change within their organization


  • Practice-based approach geared to immediate application of theory work 
  • Scholar-Practitioner Model of Research: candidates bring the knowledge and experiences from professional practice to their doctoral research 
  • Stretch beyond a singular area of research to leverage research skills in ways that could positively influence their community or organization’s decision-making process 

Ph.D in Education 

Ph.D programs are most popular amongst those who aspire to become a professor or obtain a tenure position.


  • Highly theoretical, study-based approach  

  • Deep dive research focus: goal often includes mastery of a specific subject 

  • Best suited for individuals who want to pursue a career in academia or research at the university level 

The Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
in Organizational Leadership and Innovation

Saint Francis University’s Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership and Innovation, is a fitting example of the Ed.D. path. The program serves confident leaders who are inspired to drive future innovation using a practical servant leadership framework for doing so. 

Our Ed.D. is an entrepreneurial and transformative 32-month program which:

  • accelerates, educates, and guides the development of leaders who actively encourage creative and value-based thinking 

  • builds upon strategic planning, environmental evaluation, change management, and leadership methodologies 

  • fosters abilities to create an environment of innovation through cultural change, outside-the-box thinking, strategic and disruptive innovation, and leadership agility. 

Explore the Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership and Innovation at Saint Francis University.

About the author:  Dr. Tricia McFadden is the Director of the Executive Doctor of Education program and Dean of Francis Worldwide School of Continuing Studies.