The Doctor of Education prepares experienced professionals for leadership in their communities, empowering its graduates from all over the world to pursue the issues they’re passionate about.
Duration of Program
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The Doctor of Education program provides experienced adult learners, working professionals, and scholar-practitioners from various backgrounds and perspectives with the practical knowledge and experience they need to develop and conduct research to investigate, explore, and transform their organizational and institutional landscapes.
The program is designed to be completed in three to four years of study, following a fast-paced quarter system rather than the traditional semester schedule, and offers five concentrations to create a personalized curriculum. Students begin working on their dissertation in practice at the onset of their coursework by identifying their problem of practice and developing an action plan—incorporating cycles of data collection and analysis, collaboration, change work, and reflection—culminating in the dissemination of their action research findings. Our students come from diverse disciplines and professions seeking more than just a degree. They’re gaining a practical education that translates to their everyday working environment.
While all EdD courses can be completed online (except for hybrid courses in Seattle and Charlotte), two-day residencies occur each year designed for networking and career success. Students attend residency in their first and second years in the program at one of our campuses in Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, or Seattle, WA. This offers the chance to connect in person with faculty and fellow scholars to share knowledge and experiences.
* Please note, international students enrolling in the online EdD program will be provided with an option to complete the residency through online participation in interactive sessions with fellow scholars offered during the residency period.
Students choose one of five concentrations—higher education administration, innovative teaching and learning, transformative school leadership, workplace learning, and integrative studies—to focus their studies and further customize their curriculum.
Students begin work on the dissertation in practice at the onset of their program around a self-selected, compelling educational/organizational challenge—known as the student's problem of practice.
Students are assigned a faculty advisor at the start of their program to support their dissertation in practice research throughout their program.
All coursework offered online, allowing for flexibility for working professionals.
Residencies can be fulfilled at one of our campuses in Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, and Seattle, WA. In-person participation for the residency is available for international students as well.
MacFarland Scholarship - New, incoming students, who are working or have the intention of working as an educator in a public school at the elementary or secondary level, within an urban area, are eligible to receive a scholarship award of up to $10,000.
Higher Education Administration: The higher education administration concentration provides an opportunity for experienced higher education professionals to expand their previous understanding of practices within all sectors of postsecondary education. Sectors examined include community colleges, four-year colleges, for-profit institutions, and research universities. The concentration courses allow experienced higher education professionals to advance their professional practice by developing and deepening their understanding of the roles of colleges and universities in our society.
Innovative Teaching and Learning: The innovative teaching and learning concentration focuses on transforming education through innovation, justice, and policy, by providing engaging opportunities for current and aspiring teaching and learning specialists working in various education spaces. The concentration focuses on teaching and learning both inside and outside the bounds of P-20 schools and focuses on developing and leading innovative curriculum and professional development.
Transformative School Leadership: The transformative school leadership concentration provides innovative opportunities for experienced education professionals who are current and aspiring leaders of early childhood centers, public or private schools, or school districts. The concentration prepares students to lead and transform educational spaces and be equipped to shape the needs of education in K-12, higher education, organizational contexts, and beyond.
Workplace Learning:The workplace learning concentration helps learning professionals gain a deeper understanding of, recognize, and influence real-life social inequalities marginalized populations face in the workplace. The courses allow experienced learning professionals to advance their professional practice by developing and deepening their knowledge of workplace learning, organizational dynamics, learning strategy, and ethics.
Integrative Studies:The integrative studies concentration provides an opportunity for students to design a program of study that fits their own professional goals and includes the required foundation and research courses, concentration courses from any EdD concentration, and electives from the Doctor of Education or Doctor of Law and Policy programs.
Develop a broad understanding of scholarly approaches to education and education reform
Learn methods for researching and analyzing critical practice-based issues
Conduct a doctoral research study that investigates a compelling educational challenge
Interested to see how this degree impacted students careers? Read here for graduates survey feedback
The Northeastern Doctor of Education degree is accredited. There are six regional accrediting bodies. The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) awards accreditation to Northeastern University.
"My favorite assignment, and one I could have easily spent weeks on, was the final project. Because I got to choose my topic on Affirmative Action and Diversity in College Admissions, it was something I was really interested in and really enjoyed digging into. This also prompted me to go sit in the courtroom for the Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard trial, which is something that was a thrill and never would have thought to do before this course. When the plaintiff’s lawyer referenced the Bakke case, I knew exactly what that was! It took my book learning and brought it to life."
Lisa R, Current Student
"My interaction with other students broadened my understanding of higher education and of how other institutions are structured and governed."
Aaron B., Program Graduate
"This program is clearly not just about awarding degrees. It is also about creating a lifelong community of friendship and professional networks."
Doctor Joan Burkhardt, Program Graduate and Senior Lecturer
A graduate degree or certificate from Northeastern—a top-50 university—can accelerate your career through rigorous academic coursework and hands-on professional experience in the area of your interest. Apply now—and take your career to the next level.
Academic transcripts: Official undergraduate and graduate degree documentation
Admission statement: Respond to both questions separately and stay within the prescribed word limits. The ability to demonstrate clear, succinct, well-reasoned writing is essential.
1. From among the most significant issues in education/organizations today, what specific problem of practice are you interested in investigating during your doctoral study? (1,000 - 1,200 words)
Describe the problem of practice
Explain why you want to investigate it
Provide a strong rationale for the significance of the problem
2. How have your previous research, work, and life experiences prepared you for the Northeastern University doctoral program in education? (300 - 400 words)
Minimum work experience: Three years in a related field
Professional resumé: Must summarize work and education history, include an outline of your educational/academic skills with examples such as research and teaching experience, affiliations, publications, certifications, presentations, and other professional skills.
Faculty recommendation: Must be from a faculty member in your previous graduate program who can attest to your readiness for doctoral work. If you are no longer acquainted with a faculty member, please choose a professional who can speak of your academic capabilities to engage in doctoral-level research and writing. Recommendations should be presented as a letter attached to the general recommendation form.
Two professional recommendations: Must be from individuals who have either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, a supervisor, mentor, or colleague. It is preferred that one letter of recommendation come from your current employer and/or supervisor. Recommendations should be presented as a letter attached to the general recommendation form.
Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language.
For 100+ years, we’ve designed our programs with one thing in mind—your success. Explore the current program requirements and course descriptions, all designed to meet today’s industry needs and must-have skills.
The core of the mission of the program is to allow educators to remain in the places they work, focus on a problem of practice and through experiential learning and site-specific research opportunities in the program, make an immediate impact in their professional environments. The program explicitly integrates research and practice for professionals so they develop the requisite skills for conceiving, designing, conducting and producing original site based research in order to affect ethical change related to real-life problems of practice.
Our faculty represents a wide cross-section of professional practices and fields ranging from finance to education to biomedical science to management to the U.S. military. They serve as mentors and advisors and collaborate alongside students to solve the most pressing global challenges facing established and emerging markets.
By enrolling in Northeastern, you gain access to a network of more than 275,000 alumni and 3,350+ employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global nongovernmental organizations. Our current students and faculty across strategically located regional locations further foster a lifelong, global community of learning and mentoring.
Below is a look at where our Education & Learning alumni work, the positions they hold, and the skills they bring to their organization.