Wednesday, May 15, 2013

PhD Isn’t the Only Game in Town

By Dr. Will Deyamport, III

On April 30, 2013, I officially graduated from Capella University with a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Management. The thing is, so many people have congratulated me on earning my Ph.D., and while I appreciate every congratulations and best wishes, I want people to know that not every doctorate is a Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D. The following is the four most well known non-Ph.D. doctoral degrees.

Psy.D. – Doctor of Clinical Psychology

The Psy.D. is a professional doctorate in psychology. It is known for its emphasis on being practiced-based, and focusing on the real world skills needed to make a difference in the lives of individuals. Sometimes referred to as a scholar-practitioner doctorate, the Psy.D. concentration is the on applied methods of clinical psychology as opposed to the theoretical or research methods of the Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Individuals who seek this doctorate are not general looking for a career in academia. The Psy.D. usually attracts individuals who drawn to the hands-on work of counseling and mental health care.

Check out Baylor University for an example of this doctoral degree program.  

Dr.P.H. – Doctor of Public Health

The Dr.P.H is an interdisciplinary professional degree program with a focus on training individuals to be leaders, policymakers, and practitioners with the field of public health.

Individuals who seek this doctorate are those interested in obtaining leadership positions in their chosen area of practice. Those positions can be found in government, think tanks, and other institutions where they can have influence over public health policies, development of programs, and the direction over decision-making.

Check out Tulane University for an example of this doctoral degree program.

D.S.W. – Doctor of Social Work

The D.S.W. is a professional doctorate aimed at individuals who want to advance their knowledge and professional skill set in clinical social work. It is also designed to develop leaders in clinical practice. The DSW is different from the Ph.D. in social work in that it is a practice-based degree and not a research-based degree. As such, it is a degree for experienced social workers who want to advance in their careers.

Individuals who seek out this degree program are often interested in pursuing leadership positions in human services or governmental agencies.  

See George Williams College of Aurora University for an example of this doctoral program.

Ed.D. – Doctor of Education

The Ed.D is an education-focused, practiced-based degree program and is usually pursued by individuals seeking leadership positions in K-12 leadership or who have interests in teaching, consulting or executive leadership in government, non-profits, or higher education. Ed.D. programs are primarily designed to take existing research and apply it to a specific issue, problem or setting. 

Individuals who choose an Ed.D are people who want to take a more hands-on role within an organization. Though it may not be known, Ed.D candidates do conduct scholarly research. And it is important to note that being education-focused doesn’t mean that all Ed.D programs are designed with K-12 or higher education in mind. University of San Francisco, for example, offers an Ed.D. in Learning and Instruction, which focuses on teaching, learning, and instructional design. It is a great option if you are a corporate or teacher trainer or have an interest in instructional design or consulting.

If you are interested in a tenure-track teaching position and interested in pursuing an Ed.D., be sure to choose an Ed.D. that requires a dissertation. Not all Ed.D.’s require one; some opt for a field project

Check out California State University, Fullerton for an example of this doctoral degree program.

I hope this is helpful to anyone who is considering a doctoral degree. Please feel free to leave your comments.

About the authorDr. Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. is an eLeader who specializes in digital learning and development. His research is in technology leadership and using web tools and social technologies for professional development, teaching and learning, and social good. 


  1. Congratulations, Dr. Deyamport! You are a power of example to me and so many others with your commitment and ability to see this through to completion. Best wishes for a great future! @juliaerickson

  2. Julia,

    Thanks. I appreciate the compliment and your support throughout the years. It has been an interesting journey, and one I hope takes me to new and even more interesting experiences. I look forward to our continued dialogue and hopefully we will work on a project together.

    Dr. Will