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Online PhD UK – Distance Education PhD Programs in Various Countries

Online PhD in Education – Background

A Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree is generally considered equivalent to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Education, with many institutes of higher learning offering both degrees.

Online PhD in Education Open University Walton HallHowever, since the Ed.D was introduced much later, many people have a tendency to look down on an Ed.D as somehow being a lesser degree, particularly when taken through online programs, when in fact the differences between the two postgraduate degrees are minimal.

In the US, the first Ph.D was given in 1893 by Columbia University’s Teachers College, while the first Ed.D was introduced in 1920 at Harvard University, in order to allow more professional educators to be able to earn their doctorates. In the UK, on the other hand, the first Ed.D was awarded only in 1992, while the Ph.D had been introduced back in the 1920s. However, by 1998, the number of British universities offering the Ed.D had grown to twenty-nine; today, many universities offer the Online PhD in Education programs.

US Universities and Online PhD in Education

In the US, many colleges and universities only offer either a Ph.D or an Ed.D; of the institutions that offer both, the differences seem to be only in the particular academic emphasis of the particular institution.

Online PhD in Education Pepperdine UniversityTo illustrate, a school of education’s Ph.D may be research-based while a Ed.D may be project-based. Other schools of education offer Ph.Ds for theoretical research and Ed.Ds for applied research.

UK Universities and Online PhD in Education

In the UK, the major difference between the two degrees is that the Ed.D candidate may spend the first years of the program researching various topics before focusing on only one during the production of the thesis. Otherwise, both are research-based degrees with similar academic rigor that can be taken through online PhD in Education offerings.

Other Countries:

In other countries, such as Australia, entry to the Ed.D program requires a certain number of years of professional experience. Their Ed.D programs may also have a more professional focus compared to Ph.Ds.


As mentioned above US, UK and many other countries offer distance PhD in Education in various categories. To understand these differences read our articles about Open University UK, Pepperdine University (US) and University of Calgary (Canada).

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