Rutgers University

Name of CPED-Influenced Program: Education Doctorate
Key Contact Person:
Program Description: 

The Ed.D. program at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education helps future and current leaders develop the knowledge and skills to solve problems of practice and improve instructional quality. Graduates will learn how to be change agents who improve the lives of all students and their families and communities. The program is specifically designed for working professionals. It provides a sequence of coursework, apprenticeships, and mentoring that enhance participants' pedagogical, research and leadership expertise.

This 72 credit program is typically completed in 3 years plus one summer. Students concentrate in one of four areas: design of learning environments; education, culture, and society; educational leadership; and teacher leadership.

Stage in Redesign Process: Implementation
Program Link:
Signature Pedagogy:

The Rutgers EdD uses a mix of classroom instruction and analysis of ongoing instruction through field research and internships. While most courses are face-to-face, some are hybrid.


Dissertation Expectations

The EdD dissertation should:

  • focus on a problem of practice that is relevant to the student and his/her professional context (when possible)
  • have direct implications for policy and practice
  • uphold common standards of high quality (well written, rigorous and coherent approach to methodology, thorough grounding and bounding, etc.)
  •  have a final chapter that outlines how this study helps/informs everyday work of practitioners and a section that makes specific suggestions for improved practices based on the findings of the study

The Problem of Practice Dissertation Definition

A problem of practice dissertation describes a challenge in educational practice, seeks empirically to investigate the challenge and/or test solution(s) to address the challenge, generates actionable implications, and appropriately communicates these implications to relevant stakeholders. 

Dissertations that investigate or test solutions to a challenge in educational practice typically formulate research questions that in some way ask “What’s going on here?” or “What happens when I, we, or they” do….?” “Appropriately communicates” could include policy briefs, journal articles, curriculum designs, evaluation reports, etc.  Communication should be matched to audience. "Stakeholders” (in addition to the dissertation committee) could include colleagues, supervisors, administrators, parents, community members, policy makers, etc.

Description of each year of the Program: 

Each year students take 3 courses in the summer and two courses each fall and spring semester. Credits are divided evenly between core courses (the same 24 credits for all students), the concentration (24 credits), and the dissertation (24 credits). Core courses are front loaded with the dissertation taking up the last year of course work.

Program Milestones: 

Between fall and spring semesters of the second year, students complete two qualifying papers.  During their third summer they complete coursework and write their dissertation proposals. The dissertation is completed by late summer or early fall in the beginning of a 4th year.

Admission Requirements: 

Students applying to this program will need:

  • Master's Degree
  • GRE scores (from within the last 5 years) – Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytic Writing scores will be considered
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation – at least 1 from someone who can talk about their academic potential and 1 who can speak to their leadership potential
  • Transcripts – undergraduate and masters
  • Professional /Personal Statement that answers these questions:
    • What do you hope to learn from participating in the EdD program?
    • How will participating in the program advance your career?
    • What experience do you bring to the program that will help you succeed and benefit other students?
    • Describes one experience in your professional life where you made a major contribution. What did you do and why? What helped or hindered you, and what were the outcomes?
    • Lists all state certifications you have earned.
General Information:
  • Program Delivery: Hybrid
  • Types of employment students hold upon entering the program: Teachers, school and district leaders, professional developers/trainers, higher education student affairs, higher education instructional design, higher education academic affairs.
  • Typical masters degrees held by students upon entering the program: Teaching (ie English, Science, Math, Social Studies, etc.), Educational Leadership/Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Reading, School Counseling, Educational Psychology, etc.
  • Number of credits in the program (beyond the Masters): 72
  • Professional qualifications required of prospective students: 3+ years of experience working in the field,Masters Degree,Commitment to using doctorate to improve practice, Demonstrated interest in applied research
  • Length of Program: Less than 4 years
  • Are most students part time or full time?: part time
  • Admissions Cycle: Application deadline is February 1.  One admission cycle per year.
  • Financial aid available to students: Students can get financial aid through the university if they are eligible.  Students can apply for GSE scholarships and fellowships, but there is very little money and it is spread pretty thin.  A few of our students have received some cash assistance.
  • Average number of students enrolled in each cohort: 28
  • Total number of faculty: 55
Core Courses:

Our core is 24 credits.  It has 4 strands with two courses in each strand:  Leadership, Learners and Learning, Social Contexts of Education, and Inquiry.

Research Sequence:

Students take 2 research courses in the core and are required to take at least one more in their concentration.  The first core Inquiry course is an introduction to educational research introduces students to research design and qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis experiences.  The second required research course focuses on mixed methods program evaluation.  Some concentrations offer specific research courses (e.g., Design of Learning Environments requires a course on design based research and a research practicum course; the Teacher Leadership concentration requires students to take a course called Teacher Leadership Inquiry).  However, some students take methods courses that are required for PhD students (e.g., Qualitative Methods in Education I).

What other content courses are included in the program?: Each concentration requires a specific number of courses and leaves some slots open for electives.
Design Process:
Did practitioners advise on the program design process? How so?: Yes.  They served on design teams and have participated on a program executive committee.
What strategies were used to develop your program design?: Many, man opportunities to talk, brainstorm, air concerns.  Lots of communication.  Design teams carefully selected to maximize diversity and buy in.

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)
Headquartered @ The University of Pittsburgh School of Education
4318 Posvar Hall - 230 S. Bouquet Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15260   +1 (412) 648-7428