ED. Magazine

Ph.D. in Education Approved

By newseditor

Harvard University to Offer Interfaculty Ph.D. in Education

University-wide Ph.D. program to prepare next generation of education researchers

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted unanimously today to approve the creation of a new interfaculty Ph.D. program in education to be offered jointly by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The program will enroll its first cohort in Fall 2014. The Ph.D. in Education will build on the strengths of HGSE’s Ed.D. Program, which will enroll its final cohort in the fall of 2013.

“The new interfaculty Ph.D. program in Education will leverage the renowned strengths of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and will engage distinguished faculty from across the University,” President Faust said. “Bringing experts from several Schools together reflects a commitment both to advancing as one Harvard and to addressing urgent issues related to human progress.”

Nearly 50 faculty members from other Harvard schools—28 from FAS and 18 from other professional schools including the Medical School, the School of Public Health, the Kennedy School, and the Law School—have agreed to affiliate with their Education School colleagues on the Ph.D. faculty.

“This program will harness the intellectual resources of the entire university to address the most important public policy issue of the 21st century. Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” said HGSE Dean Kathleen McCartney.

With the approval of this new degree, Harvard now confers the Ph.D. in 54 departments, programs, and divisions. The Ph.D. in education is the 17th interfaculty Ph.D. program at Harvard, bringing the arts and sciences together with the professional graduate schools.

Given the formalized collaboration with FAS and faculty from other professional schools, the Ph.D. will feature closer connections to academic disciplines and fields (e.g., sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, public policy, public health, or business) through course work and faculty mentorship.

“Offered jointly by HGSE and GSAS, this new Ph.D. program will expand our intellectual and programmatic collaboration with other Schools at Harvard, while opening an opportunity for critical interdisciplinary scholarship in the area of education policy and practice,” said Michael D. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is home to scholars who do groundbreaking work on topics in education from within the disciplines of the social sciences, the sciences, and the arts and humanities. By creating formal channels of collaboration, we will now explicitly integrate the theoretical and methodological work of the FAS disciplines with applications and translations beyond the academy.”

The Ph.D. in Education will succeed HGSE’s Ed.D. Program, one of the nation’s most selective and rigorous research doctoral programs. For the past 90 years, the Ed.D. has trained students broadly for careers in the education sector, from academics and researchers to senior-level administrators and policymakers.

“The Harvard Ph.D. in Education will produce the world’s leading scholars in this field,” HGSE Academic Dean Hiro Yoshikawa said. “It will also retain the Ed.D.’s focus on preparing our graduates to work at the nexus of practice, policy, and research.”

Over the next year, a steering committee composed of HGSE and FAS faculty members will work to define the Ph.D. program’s curriculum, milestones, requirements, and areas of concentration.

  • Lisa Lemerise Fischer

    Congratulations HGSE and GSAS — this is a prime example of partnership & progress!

  • Anonymous

    Fabulous! It is about time! What an honor to be invited to be a part of this program!

  • http://twitter.com/rickarcher1959 Rick Archer

    How I wish I lived in the area. I would love to be part of the first cohort. What an amazing idea, whose time has come. It’s also an unbelievable chance for those lucky few who get invited into the program to help affect real change. Congratulations to all!

  • Rebecca Holcombe

    I hope HGSE advised research-oriented members of the cohort of 2013 as to how the addition of a Ph.D. program will devalue their Ed.D. before they made payments. They might want to defer for a year.

  • Darryl

    That cohort hasn’t even been admitted.

  • Miguel Jaime

    Congrats: this is the best initiative towards reflexive education. Just one question: Why the Graduate School of Design is not on the list? Learning and design are so close that researching in design education inevitably favours both, design and education.

  • Bill Pandos

    My congratulations to the committee and the faculty members who had this initiative and for its implementation starting in Fall 2014.

    Especially for giving emphasis to the engagement of various faculties from across the University.

    However, I would like to notice two things. First, the emerging importance of cross-cultural communication, and how it should be implemented in such a program and secondly, the importance of having a righteous educational system that will offer programs to every class of our society, and not only to those who can afford it.

  • http://www.millerhavens.com/ Susan Miller-Havens, Ed.D.’90

    Congratulations. It is really about time! For those of us who hold the Ed.D., could we take additional courses to receive the PhD or would we start over on the PhD track.

  • Vanguardprofessorlee

    Harvard Education is need blind and one can always afford it after graduating from the program (you know what I mean…:)

  • Truth

    All you need now is to remove half of the Ed.M cohort!

  • JKT

    I agree that it is about time. When I was an intern with NCEL and Lee Bolman, I completed a report on the difference between the two degrees and discovered 1) there was no statistical difference in programs, courses required, and time spent in obtaining these degrees 2) there is a huge difference in the perception of the two degrees. Even while I was in the program, I was constantly told that the Ed.D. degree was inferior – even after I could cite the data from my report (which, unfortunately, I cannot find now). While a student in the early 90′s, I was forced to take 3 years of courses because HGSE would not allow transfer of any of my HGSE courses taken while I was a Masters student. As a result, I took most of the research courses that were taught – both quantitative and qualitative. Despite this, I am often perceived as an “practice” Ed.D. and discounted by those with Ph.D.’s from other schools. Also, while a student, I was part of a solid group that requested this change. Now, I am happy for those who are current students. However, I feel it is irresponsible for the school to make this change and not offer to provide the Ph.D. to alumni as well. We have suffered tangible and intangible damages as a result of the rufusal of the school to bring about this change earlier. These damages will only be magnified by the current change. As the job market moves to computer screening of C.V.’s, many jobs are lost to the invisible screen requiring a Ph.D. even before an interview. By making the change, the school has recognized that there is the perception of a difference, even if there is no actual difference. I urge the school to reconsider its stance on this policy. If the administrative cost is a concern, then charge a fee for the change. But, without this change, I feel certain that you will be alienating many alumni who have needed this change much earlier.

  • bdean1000

    As a person with an Ed.D. from a state school, I am almost certain that this decision will devalue my degree. In fact, I suspect that even the announcement has done so. Granted, this devaluing already started due to schools that treat an Ed.D. as a Ph.D. -lite (Ph.D. minus a few research classes), as well as some schools that have created Ed.D. programs that do not require adissertation. As a result of this decision, I suspect that those of us with an Ed.D. in higher education will, within the next 10-15 years, find ourselves in a similar position as those with a M.B.A. a number of years ago.

    While I know that the news is being framed as a sign of new or renewed collaboration among schools at Harvard, I wonder if this is not further evidence that Harvard no longer sets the agenda in higher education; that this is a reaction to the increased offerings of Ed.D.s in institutions around the United States.

  • Art Johnson

    HGSE’s doctoral students have attempted for decades to receive the same recognition for their academic accomplishments that nearly all other schools of education confer on their doctoral graduates by bestowing on them a Ph.D. Wrongfully, many of us have received responses from both educators and non-educators conveying the perception that an Ed.D. is a lesser degree. The FAQs accompanying Dean McCartney’s letter to the HGSE alumni reinforce and magnify this misconception by stating that “We are trying to better align our credential with our content.”

    While it is welcome news that future graduates will receive widely respected recognition, it unconscionable that HGSE would enter into an agreement that has the strong likelihood of adversely effecting members of its alumni. Those of us who rely on grants for our education-related research have moved into an era of highly competitive bidding required by funders. Our reputations for quality work are of little help when proposals are reviewed by decision makers who are unfamiliar with our level of expertise and the value of a discontinued doctoral degree program. This problem is exacerbated by HGSE throwing the Ed.D. degree overboard without providing a conduit for conversion to what is touted as a Ph.D that “will retain the rigor of the Ed.D.,” in Dean McCartney’s words.

    It is unrealistic to imagine that there is any real value in offering “certification that prior to the establishment of the Ph.D. program, the Ed.D. was the only research degree offered by Harvard in the field of education.” It is hard to conceive of somebody asking that such a letter be sent to the National Science Foundation. The devaluing of the Ed.D. degree is confirmed in the FAQ section of Dean McCartney’s announcement that “There will be differences in the curriculum, milestones and requirements. For example, there will be general examinations and required curricula for each of the Ph.D. concentrations.”

    I, like many of my peers, completed courses offered by FAS, MIT, and numerous graduate schools both within and outside of Harvard. I’m not going to even comment on the absurdity of general examinations being the distinguishing difference between an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. other than to point it out. None of my peers with whom I have spoken were asked how, if at all, the shift in degree designations would positively of negatively impact them. This is certainly an instance where HGSE needs to practice what it preaches with regard to conducting research to guide decision making. It’s apparent that an exhaustive study of this issue did not include meaningful participation by alumni members who are stakeholders in a decision that has financial ramifications.

    While our voice was not requested, I hope that it will be respected as we willingly share perspectives that have emerged from considerable experience. We have benefited from the world-class education we received at HGSE. However, perhaps many of us would have benefited even more from a Ph.D. If you disagree, then why did you entertain the thought of changing the degree designation? In light of HGSE’s lack of consideration for its alumni in this matter, the new arrangement will place Ed.Ds at an even greater disadvantage, both tangible and intangible, in the future. I request that you revisit your decision and offer a Ph.D. to all who have demonstrated that they are qualified either in the past, present or future. If this is not possible, then please don’t enter into such a one-side agreement. In contrast to the negative impact that a disenfranchised doctoral alumni will have on HGSE’s development efforts, the fee for a degree conversion would garner additional revenue.

  • PMM

    Great idea whose time has come. I left a doctoral program at Harvard for a Ph.D. program at Boston College in order to cross disciplines – in my case Educational Research and MEasurement with applied mathematics.

  • Ng Enelamah

    Congratulations on this development and a quotable quote: “Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” said HGSE Dean Kathleen McCartney.

  • G D Stanford, CCIM

    Congrat! I think this is a wonderful idea and I look forward to being one of your first graduates from that PhD Program!

  • Cathynicholas

    This is great news! Please consider incorporating nursing science. Nursing is an evidence-based profession where research, is the core of practice. I’d love to be among the first cohort of 2014. Innovative nursing practitioners and teaching faculty are needed more than ever before. In light of the new Affordable Health Care Act, the aging population, and the widening gap between the rich and poor in America, a PhD in education couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • Manuel Dueñas

    Congratulations is a great opportunity not only for the people from the US but for everyone.

  • Jerryfluellen

    Given Harvard’s attention to innovation, this new Ph. D. in Education might be ground breaking. It might create leaders with the depth of understanding needed to create a world class, public school system for our nation by 2020. That would meet President Obama’s vision.

  • PhD

    I bet the difference is that a Ph.D. would never say statistical difference, without adding the significance.

  • Oscar Picardo

    Good News!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6KK7ZPNDBHBHBGGU67AWMCJM74 Jane D

    If there’s no difference, that would be highly significant. Heh.

  • Rita_prasad

    what is the proceeders of admission in this course?is any financial aid is available for this course.

  • Kbdavis

    As others have stated, this is coming long after many have pushed for it. For those alums that have the Ed.D., this is a frustrating announcement because many of us had asked for this over and over again and now we are locked out of it. Hardly seems fair.

  • Alphabeta

    Although most of your arguments are completely logical to even a lay-man, their effectiveness is fragile. Release of this decision and yet no-action by HGSE proves that they are not planning for any synonym of current or past EdD and forthcoming PhD.

    Their inertness underlines the fact that HGSE is least concerned about the untoward effects of this decision on their Alumni. Perhaps, HGSE is looking for the benefits from their EdD alumni-network, but not vice versa. Moreover, EdD alumni may also be weak enough being unable to influence any decision at HGSE. Poor EdD Alumni!

  • dale dupree

    Great news

  • L’abre

    Is there anything like an EdD alumni association? I believe some kind of group actions are necessary at this point to make the HGSE staff hear these opinions below. If the school does not care ‘at all’ about the new program’s side-effect of devaluing the doctoral alumni’s status, there should be no reason for the doctoral alumni to be connected to the school any more in any paths, including donation, social and academic co-operation.

  • Anonymous

    A normal college attitude will still remain, even if the degree nomenclature changes.

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