Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Research into higher education as a field of study is impeded by the lack of an authoritative database of all graduate programs in the United States. One resource used frequently is the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) database, which is self-reported by the host institutions. In 2008, this database indicated that approximately 77 higher education (HIED) programs awarded the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), 91 offered the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and 35 awarded both degrees. This distribution recalls questions that have marked research in the field for 80 years: how do HIED programs differentiate between the two degrees? Are both degrees really necessary?