A practical doctorate in education – Doctor Educationis in Latin – is a doctorate that prepares the candidate for academic, administrative, clinical, and research positions in education, in the public service, and in private organizations. It is a terminal degree, equivalent to a theoretical degree in education (Ph.D.). Harvard University in the United States was the world’s first university to grant a practical doctorate in education in 1921, two decades after Columbia University’s Teachers College granted the first theoretical doctorate in education. In Britain, Bristol University was the first to inaugurate a track for a practical doctorate in education in 1992, and since 2007, similar tracks are offered in approximately forty universities in Britain. In recent years, the degree has also been adopted as a training track in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and so on. The differences between “Doctor of Education” and “Doctor of Philosophy” degrees are not definite and clear-cut, and depend to a great extent on the conferring institution, on each learner’s study track, and on the supervisors’ preferences.
This literature review maps various Ed.D. degrees worldwide, which place significant emphasis on a degree that is more practice-oriented than theory-oriented, as was customary in the past. It should be mentioned that the entrance requirements of faculties of education also target candidates with proven experience of three to five years of practice in the area of education – professionals who are experienced in the scenarios from the field. It appears that the complex reality in the realm of education today has induced the universities and professional educators to seek practical solutions for the field.