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Distance Education, Ph.D.

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 48 months
Athabasca University offers the Doctor of Education in Distance Education (EdD). The program is managed and administered by the Centre for Distance Education (CDE), in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations.
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  • The first of its kind in North America, the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education is evidence of Athabasca University's global leadership in distance education teaching, scholarship, and programming innovation.

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education is a professional doctoral degree, intended for practitioners and those with career experience in distance education.  The degree provides rigorous preparation for advanced responsibilities and leadership in the field, similar to other professional degrees such as the Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Public Administration, Doctor of Psychology, and the Doctor of Creative Arts.

Key facts:

The professional doctoral program, though relatively new in most professional fields, has a well-defined set of objectives and competencies:

  •  understanding of and proficiency with professionally relevant knowledge and practice;
  • advanced research and communication skills;
  • opportunity for advanced practice and socialization within a professional community.
  • In addition, the professional doctoral candidate is expected to make an original and significant contribution to the profession in which they are a member, as part of qualifying for the degree.
  • A major benefit of professional doctoral degrees is the explicit attempt to move research and advanced knowledge generation from the university context to a wider application in the workplace.  By its sponsorship of advanced professional study, the university expands its capability to provide resources, motivation, support, and credentialing for knowledge generation, research, and teaching in the field. Further, the university brings to the professional workplace its capacity and experience in linking theory with practice, as well as its considerable expertise in teaching and research. As a result, the professional doctoral program also benefits from greater integration within the professional community.
  •  This transition to a workplace context is in keeping with Athabasca University’s tradition of openness and expansion of opportunity for students. It creates a relevant and accessible learning context designed for the working professional. It leads to the development of skills valued in the community, and serves as a visible indicator of Athabasca University’s contribution to innovative forms of higher education and community service. In addition, the research component of the doctorate degree provides discoveries of new knowledge, leading to its dissemination and implementation in the community.


  • Athabasca University is the first Canadian university to be awarded accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

With an emphasis on building a scholarly community of learners, the program is cohort-based and accepts 12 students annually. The program is delivered at a distance, with the exception of an initial onsite 5-day orientation workshop at the beginning of the first year of study.

Courses Included:

  • Advanced Topics and Issues in Distance Education
  • Advanced Research Methods in Education
  • Teaching and Learning in Distance Education
  • Leadership and Project Management in Distance Education
  • Research Seminar I
  • Research Seminar II

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

General Requirements

A completed admission package, consisting of the following:

  • a completed application form;
  • their curriculum vitae;
  • a Statement of Intent (750 – 1250 words);
  • a description of their research background and interests (750 – 1250 words);
  • three letters of reference, from people who are familiar with their work and can comment on their ability to do research and succeed in advanced studies;
  • official transcripts, sent directly to the Centre for Distance Education from the originating institution(s). 
  • a non-refundable application processing fee.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    12060 CAD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 48228 CAD for the full programme and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    12060 CAD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 48228 CAD for the full programme and a duration of 48 months.
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