What is the Difference Between an EdD and a PhD?

Posted on February 23, 2017  in  [ Doctoral Journey ]

With the number of different doctoral degrees offered to learners, it can be confusing to know what exactly the difference is between them and which one offers you the most opportunity to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Grand Canyon University offers four different doctoral degrees, including the Doctor of Education (EdD) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). How can you truly differentiate these two programs and make the best academic and career choice for your future? Here is a brief overview:


The EdD in Organizational Leadership is a program designed to provide learners with a focus on organizational leadership as it is applied to certain areas and aspects of education, as opposed to it being a doctorate in education. EdD programs are intended to help learners apply theories to new environments in hopes of making change.


The PhD in General Psychology is rooted in scholarship, and its intentions lie in creating new theories to assist in explaining or inspiring change. This degree is the original research- and dissertation-focused doctoral degree, though over time the EdD has become more research-based as well. Like the EdD, the PhD is focused on the emphasis of the program, as opposed to it being a doctorate in philosophy.

For more information, watch the video below or read more about doctoral programs and the differences between them.

To learn more about Grand Canyon University’s doctoral programs, visit the College of Doctoral Studies today or click the green Request More Information button at the top of this page.

Written by Jessalyn Johnson, a junior majoring in English literature at GCU.

Jessalyn Johnson

Jessalyn Johnson is a senior at Grand Canyon University, completing the final year of her BA in English Literature. Originally from Melbourne, FL, Jessalyn has come to enjoy living in the desert of Arizona. Since freshman year she has occupied several different positions on the editorial board of GCU’s literary review, StartleBloom, which is approaching its third volume. In her free time, Jessalyn enjoys creative writing, photography, writing music and participating in the plays and musicals put on by GCU’s Ethington Theatre.

Learn more about Jessalyn Johnson

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