women at teaching and learning symposium

Doctoral Degrees

The UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education doctoral degrees prepare professional leaders to identify challenges and reinvent education for the next generation.

Which Program Is Right for You?

Ph.D. Degree Program

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Education pursue positions as faculty members in higher education or policy and research roles in the public or private sector. The degree is designed for the development of competencies in educational scholarship and research.

Ph.D. Education candidates choose one of three options:

  • Leadership in Education - pursue a future career in higher education or other policy and research organizations.
  • Literacy Studies - prepare for a faculty position in the education department of a research university or in PK-16 education or a position in a private foundation or an organization that examines educational policy.
  • Research & Evaluation in Education - assume a research faculty position in higher education, work in a policy and research institution or lend skills to analysis and evaluation in industry.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. requires the completion of 60 credits beyond the master's degree. At least 50 percent of the degree is focused on research courses, research preparation and dissertation research. The Ph.D. is taught on campus and is open to part-time and full-time students. Full-time study is recommended for those seeking the option in Research and Evaluation in Education. The Ph.D. is generally completed in six years, unless the candidate is full-time.

Ed.D. Degree Program

Our Ed.D. degrees offer professional educators the opportunity to complete a terminal degree. Graduates are able to pursue leadership roles in K-12 districts or in departments of education in higher education institutions. These programs emphasize the development of thoughtful and reflective scholar practitioners. Please note that this degree does not lead to licensure. For more information on licensure, explore our M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees

All Ed.D. candidates receive a degree in Leadership in Schooling, but within this, some may choose to pursue an option in STEM education. Courses are online with a summer residency.
  • Leadership in Schooling (online courses) - enhance skills both as a researcher and as an instructional leader of PK-12 programs.
  • Leadership in Schooling: STEM Education (online courses) - for those who are in the fields of science, math and engineering education and aspire to instructional leadership roles in PK-12. While the focus is on school leadership, this option may be appropriate for some in instructional roles in higher education.

Program Requirements

The Ed.D. requires completion of 42 credits beyond the master's degree. Nine of these credits are focused on dissertation research. The research for the Ed.D. is applied in nature and may examine an issue pertinent to a local setting. The Ed.D. program format is online with a one week summer residency requirement each summer.

The Ed.D. is designed as a cohort program beginning each summer and taking three calendar years (summer, fall, spring) to complete. Candidates will be expected to take two courses each semester. Courses are online.

In order to complete either degree, candidates must: 

  1. Complete the required minimum number of credits in the specified program; 
  2. Complete all course requirements with a cumulative grade point average of B or better;
  3. Have no more than two courses below the grade of B counted toward their degree;
  4. Pass two doctoral examinations;
  5. Satisfactorily complete and defend a dissertation proposal; 
  6. Satisfactorily complete and defend the dissertation;
  7. Submit all required paperwork at each stage of the degree;
  8. Maintain continuing matriculation if not enrolled in coursework or dissertation research credit;
  9. Conform to all human subjects requirements for research as specified by the Institutional Research Board (IRB);
  10. Complete the program within eight years from the date of admission.