How Long Does an Ed.D. Take?

How long does it take to acquire an Ed.D. degree?

Here, we discuss all things relating to the length of the program to give you accurate information that helps you properly plan and apply for the program.

So, do you wish to pursue an Ed.D. any time soon? You’ll want to read on for details.

How Long is an Ed.D? Program?

To further your education, one of several things you may have to figure out is the length or duration of the program. This is normal and allows you to prepare for the rigors and challenges.

Time invested in the study means a lot to people, and they will do all they can to maximize the opportunities.

About an Ed.D.

We give a brief introduction for readers confused about what an Ed.D. program is about.

This Doctor of Education degree helps you prepare to apply organizational leadership principles, education design, and action-focused research methodologies as a student.

These skills are applied in all kinds of professional environments. So, who’s qualified to study for an Ed.D.?

Asides from educators, an Ed.D. program will also be suitable for advanced professionals interested in applying an education-focused approach to improving operations in non-academic settings.

  • Ed.D. Specializations

Another thing you may wish to know before we get into the length of an Ed.D. program is the type of specializations there are.

You can specialize in organizational leadership, special education, healthcare professions, PK-12 leadership, and higher education leadership.

Other Ed.D. specializations include education policy, entrepreneurship in education, education technology & e-learning, diversity & multiculturalism, education administration & leadership, early childhood education, adult education, curriculum development & instruction, and community college leadership.

Duration of an Ed.D. Program

Now to the main focus of our discussion; how long does an Ed.D. take? When earning an Ed.D., the program you choose or go for will determine its duration.

There’s also the factor of study preference. Here, some students might prefer full-time study while others may study part-time.

All of these impact the time spent studying for an Ed.D. Some schools or institutions offer two-year full-time programs, while others have three-to-five-year programs.

Based on these realities, it’s pretty clear that how long you earn an Ed.D. will depend on multiple factors.

There’s an online study option for students who can’t physically attend the program due to distance or adequate funding. These also have full-time and part-time options.

As with offline Ed.D. models, you can choose the best option.

Full-time Ed.D. programs mostly last three years.

Here, about two courses are taken per semester. In addition to independent research, students also take a good chunk of their weekly study time.

One of the clear advantages of pursuing a full-time online Ed.D. as opposed to part-time study is the time factor. Now part-time study tends to take longer as you’re likely to spend anywhere from four to five years to complete the program.

  • Full-Time vs. Part-Time Ed.D. Study Benefits

These Ed.D. program options (full-time and part-time) have their perceived benefits. In other words, they serve the different needs of students.

While some students may have no problem going in for a full-time Ed.D. program, others may be tied up by various obligations hence the need to split their commitments.

If you wish to have a shorter Ed.D. program, the obvious choice would be to go in for full-time study. Here, you’ll have to bear a heavier course load, allowing you to cover a significant portion of your course load.

The opposite applies to part-time study.

Part-time Ed.D. study isn’t as rigorous as full-time because fewer courses are taken at a time. This spreads the study over a more extended period (about 4 to 5 years).

There are situations where Ed.D. programs last as much as seven years for some students.

What’s best for me?

Before deciding the course of action, you must consider what’s most suitable. This boils down to carefully assess your specific needs before finding what program option fits such requirements.

If you don’t have as many obligations and feel you can go in for full-time study, that will probably work for you. Here, the benefit you get is early completion.

On the other hand, some people might not have the luxury of full-time study as they may be tied to professional obligations.

In other words, your career may stand in the way of attending a full-time Ed.D. program. Luckily, the part-time study allows you to balance or manage both school and your full-time employment.

You can eventually finish with a lower course load even though it takes longer.

Getting into an Ed.D. Program

Having determined the time investments necessary for obtaining an Ed.D., your following line of action should be to figure out how to get into your preferred program.

Now admission requirements may differ from one institution to the next. You’ll have to choose what institution you wish to get your degree from.

An overview of the admission or eligibility requirements includes the graduate admission application, the application fee stipulated (if any), and the submission of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.

You’ll also need to submit your resume or curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a writing sample.

As stated earlier, requirements may vary from one institution to the next. You’ll need to find out the exact requirements of your Ed.D. program.

An interview may be scheduled between the applicant and the Ed.D. program faculty as part of the application process. This mainly shows progress in the application procedure.

As an international student, you’ll be required to submit additional documents.


While we’ve identified the duration of an Ed.D. program to be around 3 to 7 years, we’ve seen the different factors impacting the length of the program.