How Long Does IT Take To Get A Doctorate in Education?

A doctorate degree in education is a terminal degree in many fields, and the length of time it takes to complete depends on several factors. There are several educational paths you can take to earn this degree.

Doctor of Education Program Overview

A typical doctorate degree program in education takes approximately three years to finish, although more specialized education degrees, like a Doctor in Science Education, can take as many as seven years to complete. Candidates need to hold master's degrees in education to meet program entrance requirements.

Many variables control the time period in the pursuit of a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. Students may elect to take the degree program online and study part-time as commitments to family or career allows, or they may choose to go to a brick-and-mortar campus full time.

General Degree Requirements

Schools often require at least two years of full-time study to complete an Ed.D. program. Some schools require a 3.00 grade point average (GPA), and they will look at transferred credits to ensure students' GPAs meet required levels. Students who didn't meet GPA requirements for any prerequisite courses will need to retake such courses before beginning doctoral study. Such situations will add time to students' pursuits of their degrees.

It must be remembered that writing a dissertation can take a long time. The work must be original, and it must be approved by the doctoral committee to be accepted. Dissertations are much like writing a book, and students must be able to write well and efficiently. Students are advised to check with school doctoral committees regarding time limits for dissertation proposal and writing.


Doctorate degrees are generally based on research, but they typically require one year of coursework. This amounts to roughly 60-90 credit hours of total study. During this time, a student develops a dissertation proposal.

Traditional coursework is generally the focus of first-year studies, while the second year is more devoted to research. Coursework may still continue, becoming integrated with the research work, until completion of the program at the end of three years.

Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management

This doctorate degree program is designed to put you on a fast track to receive your degree. It is a cohort program, meaning that all students admitted into the program follow the same program track. Education professionals and school administrators can pursue such programs - which are often available online or through otherwise flexible scheduling plans - with no interruption in their careers.

Executive programs are designed to be completed in roughly two years, including coursework and dissertation requirements for a doctorate in education. Students of online executive programs may need to travel to the college to satisfy various training requirements. Students involved in a cohort program may collaborate online for some classes.

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