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Athabasca University

What is an EdD?

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education is a professional doctoral degree, intended for practitioners and those with career experience in distance education.  The degree provides rigorous preparation for advanced responsibilities and leadership in the field, similar to other professional degrees such as the Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Public Administration, Doctor of Psychology, and the Doctor of Creative Arts.

The professional doctoral program, though relatively new in most professional fields, has a well-defined set of objectives and competencies:

  1. understanding of and proficiency with professionally relevant knowledge and practice;
  2. advanced research and communication skills;
  3. opportunity for advanced practice and socialization within a professional community.

In addition, the professional doctoral candidate is expected to make an original and significant contribution to the profession in which they are a member, as part of qualifying for the degree.

A major benefit of professional doctoral degrees is the explicit attempt to move research and advanced knowledge generation from the university context to a wider application in the workplace.  By its sponsorship of advanced professional study, the university expands its capability to provide resources, motivation, support, and credentialing for knowledge generation, research, and teaching in the field. Further, the university brings to the professional workplace its capacity and experience in linking theory with practice, as well as its considerable expertise in teaching and research. As a result, the professional doctoral program also benefits from greater integration within the professional community.

This transition to a workplace context is in keeping with Athabasca University’s tradition of openness and expansion of opportunity for students. It creates a relevant and accessible learning context designed for the working professional. It leads to the development of skills valued in the community, and serves as a visible indicator of Athabasca University’s contribution to innovative forms of higher education and community service. In addition, the research component of the doctorate degree provides discoveries of new knowledge, leading to its dissemination and implementation in the community.

Updated May 29 2017 by CDE

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.