Posted by: Catherine Lugg | March 29, 2012

Harvard to close its Ed.D. program

This week Harvard University announced it is shuttering its 90-year-old Ed.D. program, which was the first such program in the United States. Instead, it will now be offering a Ph.D. in education.

The Harvard Ed.D. is a rigorous research degree. Yet, this institution has decided that the Ed.D. degree is now beyond redemption and will move to offering the Ph.D. in education. As someone who has voiced strong concern regarding the Ed.D., especially those fast-tracked programs in educational administration/leadership, I view this “closing” as Harvard conceding to the larger intellectual reality. The Ed.D., even when it is a research degree offered by one of the top universities in the world, is beyond redemption.

It will be interesting to see if and how other research institutions react to this development. But my own take is that the Ed.D. is now increasingly on intellectual and institutional life support–at least at research institutions.



  1. I often disparaged EdD degree programs as lacking in both theoretic rigor and practical preparation for the field while I was in graduate school and when I taught at Duquesne’s College of Education. Having worked in the nonprofit sector with private foundations on education issues, as well as a consultant with nonprofits, I can honestly say that most of the folks I’ve worked with out of EdD programs tend to very narrowly focused, too much so to see the big picture in education. Not that folks with PhD’s in Education are SO much better — just a bit broader in thinking systemically. Keep in mind that this has been my experience overall. I know folks with EdD’s who are sharp and with PhD’s in the field who are a standard deviation short of a penny’s worth of wisdom.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Harvard dropped its EdD program. What’s surprising is that they didn’t do it sooner.

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