Health Education EdD

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Health Education

The program of study for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Health Education at Teachers College is designed to prepare graduates who will assume positions of leadership in a variety of capacities, including functioning as:

  • program development and evaluation specialists in health education in various educational, governmental, and human-service delivery settings, including those with a regional, national or international focus—with additional skills in advocacy and policy development
  • Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, and Project Directors on teams acquiring federal and other grants in order to advance the social and behavioral sciences and the existing knowledge base with regard to health education, health promotion, disease prevention, and individual- and community-level interventions, such as those designed to reduce health disparities, advance health equity, and address the social determinants of health
  • Presidents, Vice Presidents, and administrative leaders in hospital and medical center management capable of ensuring attainment of goals pertinent to providing appropriate care to surrounding communities, including the most underserved populations impacted by structural inequities and the social determinants of health
  • Academic Presidents, Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Chairs, Program Directors, and Professors in college and university settings who are responsible for the training of the next generation of health education specialists, community health educators, and public health professionals—whether at community colleges, or at undergraduate or graduate institutions
  • Executive Directors of non-profit and private sector companies, as well as independent consultants leading their own companies who share their expertise with varied agencies, schools, school districts, governments, healthcare and public health organizations, as well as countries in need of their broad range of skills
  • School Health Coordinators, as well as managers and practitioners in other varied settings who function as health education specialists with expertise in conducting needs assessments, designing programs and interventions, engaging in research evaluation studies, and producing reports for dissemination and publication, including for purposes of advocacy and policy impact

Health Education EdD GraduateThe Ed.D. curriculum includes required introductory core courses, required advanced courses, elective courses, broad and basic courses to enhance preparation for professional scholarship and practice, as well as research courses and opportunities for focused independent studies. There is considerable flexibility—with the exact program and sequence of study being determined by the student’s previous academic preparation, professional experience, and the professional career objectives of the student. Of note, the 90 point/ credit sequence of coursework builds upon the student’s prior graduate level training, as a student can transfer in to TC, CU up to 45 credits from prior graduate-level coursework where the grade of “B” or better was attained. There is also flexibility that follows from consultation with the faculty advisor, including decisions that acknowledge how a student may present evidence of proficiency in required courses or in an area of course work required for the program, permitting an individualized curriculum.

The program emphasizes the development of advanced competencies in: (1) assessing the cultural, psychological, social, economic, and political determinants of health and health-related behaviors; (2) developing and implementing educational and other interventions based on ecologic models of health behavior and behavioral change that are appropriate to various practice settings (the community, hospitals, schools, and workplace) and which have the potential to result in voluntary health-related behavioral and social change among individuals, groups, populations, and communities; (3) developing strategies for impacting social determinants of health and addressing structural inequities and social injustices, while focused on social-level factors; and (4) conducting program evaluation and applied research in health education and health promotion.

EdD Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program in Health Education is limited, being based upon several criteria. These criteria include the following: adequacy and relevance of preparation at the undergraduate levels and in prior graduate study—with a prior master’s degree having been obtained; relevance of prior professional experience and related activities; and, potential for contributing significantly to professional practice and research in health education or closely related fields. In general, applicants who present strong backgrounds or academic preparation in the behavioral and social sciences, education, nursing, public health, social work, allied health professions, or health-related research are given priority consideration for admission to the program.

EdD Degree Requirements

The minimum College requirements for the Ed.D. degree include satisfactory completion of a program of 90 points of course work – with at least 45 points (i.e. credits) of which must be taken through Teachers College registration. A maximum of 45 credits worth of prior graduate coursework may be transferred and accepted by the college, but only where the grade of B or better was obtained, as the condition for being considered for transfer.

The Certification Examination

Candidates for the Ed.D. degree also are expected to demonstrate satisfactory performance on a departmental Certification Examination that is typically taken when a student has accumulated 60 to 70 points toward the EdD.

The Doctoral Dissertation

Further, students work closely with a dissertation Sponsor and a Second Reader to prepare an acceptable doctoral dissertation. The dissertation is typically a major research project, whether quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods are used in conducting original research. Or a major data set is analyzed, including secondary analyses of data, such as in consultation with the Principal Investigator of a grant-funded study. Students must engage in an oral defense of the doctoral dissertation before a committee (Sponsor, Second Reader, Third Reader, and a Fourth Reader assigned by the Office of Doctoral Studies); and, passing this defense is a requirement of graduation. Graduation also requires that students deposit a final doctoral dissertation document that reflects adheres to all guidelines and indicated corrections set forth by the Office of Doctoral Studies.


A Key Requirement: The Ed.D. Degree Audit

For Ed.D. students a key requirement for both being advanced to Candidacy (after taking the Certification Exam) and for being cleared for graduation is having a Degree Audit approved by their Faculty Advisor, dissertation Sponsor, or the Program Director. The college uses an online platform to host what is called the student’s “degree audit,” as a process of reviewing and confirming coursework taken and the requirements fulfilled within the online degree audit document. This process may be lengthy for doctoral students compared to master’s degree students, given twice as much coursework must be approved for the Ed.D. The degree audit is a complete record of a student’s academic progress in taking courses toward their 90-point Ed.D. It is the responsibility of the student to review and seek corrections to their Degree Audit, including with the assistance of the Office of the Registrar, their Faculty Advisor, and the Program Director—as needed. This also includes having their faculty advisor and/or the Program Director sign off on their Degree Audit as final clearance for graduation. 

Get the latest forms and updates from the Office of Doctoral Studies


Ed.D. Degree Course Requirements

The Required Ed.D. Course Progression

Health Education EdD GraduateThe program of study for the Ed.D. degree in Health Education includes required introductory core courses, required advanced courses, elective courses, broad and basic courses to enhance preparation for professional scholarship and practice, as well as research courses. The exact program and sequence of study is determined by the previous academic preparation, professional experience, and professional career objectives of the student. The selection of courses that fulfill an area requirement in the program of study listed below is guided by individual needs of the student; and, selections are not limited to those courses that are listed. A student who presents evidence of proficiency in required courses or in an area of course work required for the program may, at the discretion of their Faculty Advisor or Program Director, select and substitute courses; these substitutions may represent more advanced study in the area in which the student has demonstrated competence, or represent additional preparation in an area deemed important for the student’s professional preparation for their specific career goals.

The Ed.D. Degree Worksheet as a Useful Tool

The 3-page Ed.D. Degree Worksheet ( has been designed to ensure successful completion of the 90 points (i.e. credits) required for degree completion. Students should complete and/or update the Ed.D. Degree Worksheet, as it is a useful tool for use during advisement on course selections with their Faculty Advisor. It is recommended that students send their updated Ed.D. Degree Worksheet via email attachment to their Faculty Advisor—and then discuss their course selections for the upcoming semester with their Advisor—whether an online or in-person discussion. This Ed.D. Degree Worksheet should be updated semester by semester, as students record the semester a course was taken at TC (e.g. SUM ‘23, or F ‘24, or SPR ‘25) in the blank space provided (_______).

Using the Ed.D. Degree Worksheet, the goal is for students to ensure they progress in meeting the 90 points required for receipt of the EdD. Degree, while documenting the following:

  • 48 points under the Major (M) domain
  • 9 points under Broad and Basic Areas of Professional Practice (B & B)
  • 24 points under the Research, Scholarship and Inquiry (R) domain
  • 9 points under Elective Courses, Additional Research, and Independent Study (E-AR-IS)

Of note,  there is flexibility in the number of points documented under each area (i.e. M, B&B, R, E-AR-IS) as Faculty Advisors may approve an individualized Program of Study that acknowledges a student’s desired professional development (e.g., expertise in statistics,  psychology,  technology). For example, a nurse or social worker coming to our Program may be adding through receipt of the Ed.D. degree expertise in policy, research, and program evaluation as a health education specialist, in order to progress professionally toward being a leader in Hospital or Medical Center administration. Or, a public health professional with the MPH degree may be seeking the Ed.D. training necessary to progress beyond being a Project Director on a research team toward becoming an independent research scientist or Investigator on major grants—while taking advanced statistics courses. Many paths of professional development are possible and discussions with Faculty Advisors permit students determining their own personal individualized Program of Study.

Determining Which Graduate Level Courses May Transfer Toward the Ed.D.—and Recording on the EdD Degree Worksheet

Upon their formal admission to the college, students should contact the Transfer Coordinator at in order to request a formal review of their transcript(s) from prior graduate level coursework. This review will determine which graduate level courses from prior studies can be formally approved and used toward the 90-point Ed.D. Only transfer credits from prior graduate coursework where a student earned the grade of “B” or better can be accepted, while only up to 45 credits can be transferred in via this process. This review process by the Transfer Coordinator may take some time. Before being informed of the results of this formal review process, students may still register for courses by only selecting those classes which are not a clear replication of a prior graduate course. A student would avoid taking courses a course such as Epidemiology or Biostatistics that was taken during prior MPH graduate studies at another university, for example. Also, students are to  discusses such decisions with their Faculty Advisor.

If a student has 45 credits approved for transfer, then they may only have to complete 45 points toward receipt of the 90-point Ed.D.—depending upon decisions made in conjunction with their Faculty Advisor and/or Dissertation Sponsor. Of note, typically, as a student progresses in the program and decides upon a Dissertation Sponsor, this Sponsor may take on the role of Faculty Advisor as well. The Dissertation Sponsor as Faculty Advisor may then guide the student in applying their transfer credits and deciding on the courses to be taken at the college, especially as they may also provide dissertation-related mentoring on a career progression and relevant recommended coursework.

Applying Graduate Coursework at Teachers College Toward the Ed.D.

There are also those students who enter the Ed.D. degree program who have a prior degree from the college (e.g. M.A. in clinical psychology), or completed some prior graduate coursework at the college without attaining a degree. Such students can apply their TC, CU courses toward the 90-point Ed.D. in health education—while consulting with their Faculty Advisor regarding how this prior coursework will be applied.

Exceeding 90 Points as an Option and Obtaining an Additional Master’s Degree

For students for whom tuition cost is not a concern, it is possible to pursue more than 90 points at the college, as well as an additional master’s degree or certification. Some students have completed as many as 120 points or more toward receipt of the Ed.D., given the excitement and broad array of options available here at TC, CU as an institution providing a broad array of professional preparation in health, psychology and education.  For example, a student might elect to receive an additional TC, CU master’s degree in applied statistics, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, or instructional technology and media—as they progress toward completing the Ed.D.; and, they may use courses from that additional master’s degree as elective and broad and basic coursework (i.e. out of department) that also counts toward the 90-point Ed.D. in health education.


Additional Requirements Beyond Coursework

In addition to the above minimum program requirements, students enrolled in the Program in Health Education are expected to fulfill requirements and achieve goals that are deemed important for their professional development and future success in their chosen career. Consider the following as recommended components of an ideal course of professional preparation during doctoral training:

  • Demonstrating a willingness to attend and become actively involved in the breadth of program- level, departmental, college, and university functions (e.g. conferences, colloquia, etc...) which facilitate interaction with faculty and other students, and which have the potential to enrich the student’s intellectual and professional growth;
  • Developing the capacity to undertake the complex and challenging tasks associated with graduate study and other related learning experiences in such a manner that demonstrates the student’s intellectual discipline, including integrity, creativity, and innovativeness, as well as the student’s abilities to conceptualize at a high level, think critically, communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and provide leadership; 
  • Demonstrating ability to appreciate, relate to, and communicate with culturally, ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse individuals and groups of people who possess different personal, social, and cultural histories than one’s own;
  • Developing a strong sense of professional identity and commitment to professional affairs in or related to heath education which are demonstrated through active membership in appropriate national, regional, or local professional organizations, and through participation in such activities as attending a professional meeting, presenting an abstract or a paper at professional meeting, or serving on a professional committee.

In addition to course completion, Certification Examination, and Doctoral Dissertation requirements, the above requirements are also considered important. Students whose progress toward completion of the degree program is determined by the faculty to be insufficient may be asked to reconsider pursuit of the doctorate, and potentially asked to terminate their studies.


Important Ed.D. Program Guidelines

Statement of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students in the program must maintain a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 while at Teachers College and must achieve at least a B grade in all of the required core courses. Students who do not achieve at least a B grade in a required core course may be required to repeat the course.

Students who do not pass the Certification Examination in their first attempt meet with the Program Director to review test performance. Those who do not pass on the second attempt are not allowed to continue in the program.

Reviews of student enrollment are done on a periodic basis. Students not enrolling for dissertation hours or not progressing in dissertation completion after allowances for extraordinary circumstances are not allowed to continue in  the program.

How the Program Monitors Student Progress

Students are responsible for scheduling a formal review of their progress with their academic advisor when they have completed the first third of points to be taken at Teachers College (typically 15-18 points). Faculty advisors review the student’s program of study and academic progress and sign off on the following form: i.e. The Ed.D. Program Progress Evaluation (

In addition, students complete the Ed.D. Degree Worksheet, as a document regularly reviewed during course advisement with their Faculty Advisors, and which allows the Advisor to monitor student progress. Students also regularly review their online Degree Audit which lists courses taken, courses to be taken, and other non-course requirements. The Degree Audit is also carefully reviewed by the student’s Advisor. Upon Advisor approval, the document is submitted to the Office of Doctoral Studies by the student.

Advisor Approval of the Degree Audit to Advance to Candidacy

Faculty Advisor approval of the Degree Audit is necessary to meet the requirement that the Degree Audit is submitted, ideally, prior to the student taking the Certification Examination. If the Degree Audit is not submitted before a student takes the Certification Examination, then it must be submitted afterwards; this submission is a condition of the student being advanced to candidacy (i.e. status of being a certified doctoral student for receipt of the Ed.D. degree). Being advanced to candidacy and achieving the status of being a certified doctoral student occurs when the Office of Doctoral Studies (ODS) receives documentation that the student has successfully passed the Certification Examination. This documentation is sent from the Department as signed paperwork to ODS, thereby officially recommending the student for Ed.D. Certification. Upon acceptance of this signed paperwork, the Office of Doctoral Studies will send the following notification to the student: “I am pleased to inform you that your department’s recommendation that you be certified for the Ed.D. degree has been approved by the Committee on the Degree of Doctor of Education. Your period of certification is four years and expires on _(date specified)_. It is expected that you will complete all remaining requirements for the degree during this period of certification.” This is a cause for celebration that typically occurs before the student takes the last 20 points in the Ed.D. degree program. Within those next four years, other indicators of student progress are successful completion of the dissertation proposal and dissertation. These tasks are monitored by the individual student’s Faculty Advisor, Dissertation Sponsor (often also the Faculty Advisor), and other dissertation committee members.


Why Get the EdD Degree? Dr. Edmund Gordon Shares the Perspective of W.E.B Du Bois on the Value of the EdD Degree

The information, below, is extracted from a February 24, 2022 webinar (Why Get the Ed.D. Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University? A Black History Month Celebration of Black Ed.Ds.)—as some of the remarks made by the main honoree, Dr. Edmund Gordon. You can hear Dr. Gordon’s full remarks in the event’s video recording:


Professor Edmund W. GordonProfessor Edmund W. Gordon is the Teachers College, Columbia University's Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education and Founding Director Emeritus of the Edmund W. Gordon Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Gordon celebrated his 100th birthday June 13, 2021, having been born in 1921 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.



Good evening, Friends. Thank you very much for tuning in to hear this interestingly important event. I certainly appreciate the fact that I am being honored in it, but we are also honoring the doctor of education degree…

I don’t remember exactly when the Ed.D. originated. I think it was in the 20th century rather than the 19th but I know that they came into being as a credential parallel to the Ph.D.  And we have traditionally thought of the Ph.D. as the degree that marks an original contribution of knowledge as a research degree, as a culmination of an effort into the production of knowledge; and as the older degree, it has had a reputation for being superior to the professional degrees, the doctorates that are offered in an area of specialized application of knowledge as opposed to the production of knowledgeI doubt that we are going to be able to get too far away from the impact of history, and that is the thinking of the Ph.D. hierarchically as a higher order degree than the Ed.D. But, let’s think about it from another perspective.

Some of you know that I had the good fortune of hanging out with the distinguished Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois for a number of years. Du Bois had a Ph.D.— from Harvard no less. [I]n the course of my years with him, Du Bois made a distinction in knowledge. He talked about knowledge production, the importance of knowing, but he wanted to give equal importance to the responsibility for doing, for applying, for taking action. I remember one of his evening chats. Dubois was making the observation that those of us who know also have a responsibility for understanding; and if we are fortunate enough to know and to understand we have a moral responsibility to act on that knowledge.

The Ph.D. is our symbol of the knowledge itself and its production. The Ed.D. is our recognition of the application of that knowledge. We could debate if we had time. We could argue for the possibility that the interpretation of facts and the application of facts to better serve humankind may be regarded as the more important human action.

I suppose if Du Bois were called upon to weigh in on the subject, he would probably weigh in on the favor of the production of knowledge, but would not back away from the tremendous importance, and the respect that is due, to the application of knowledge, the interpretation of knowledge, as represented in the Ed.D. degree.


Option of Viewing the Video of the Webinar on “Why Get the Ed.D. Degree from TC, CU? A Black History Month Celebration of Black EdDs”

Dr. Gordon’s full remarks and the complete celebration may be viewed at:


In Conclusion: Summary of the Many Advantages in Pursuing the 90-Point Ed.D. in Health Education at Teachers College

There are many advantages to pursuing the 90-point Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, as follows, given that our program:

  • accepts up to 45 transfer points/credits for any graduate courses where the grade of B or better was achieved; of note, this reduces the cost of a doctorate education—saving students literally thousands and thousands of dollars
  • welcomes students who started their graduate education in other TC, CU programs or departments who are looking to specialize in health education—while their prior courses can be applied toward the 90-point EdD (e.g. as electives, broad and basic courses, research courses, etc.)
  • applies all of the courses in the 32-point M.A. and 42-point M.S. toward the 90-point Ed.D. degree—and there is considerable overlap in required courses across all three degrees. Thus, outstanding M.A. and M.S. graduates successfully compete for entrance into the Ed.D. program.
  • features frequent course offerings with many courses offered 2 times per year (i.e. twice--whether in the Fall, Spring or Summer), permitting timely completion of your degree
  • welcomes doctoral students who are working parents and professionals returning to school part-time for our convenient mostly evening courses (i.e. 5:10 to 6:50 p.m. and 7:20 to 9:00 p.m.).
  • offers a substantial number of hybrid (in-person and online) and online courses that working parents and professionals—and all students—tend to appreciate, given the contemporary realities of extreme weather, traffic emergencies, health-related precautions (e.g. flu, epidemics, pandemics), family emergencies, or work-related travel, etc...
  • offers the Ed.D. as a respected degree for those who: (1) value the application of facts in order to better serve humankind as an important human action; and, (2) embrace the moral responsibility for acting on knowledge, or being engaged in the application and interpretation of knowledge
  • recognizes the importance of providing the kind of Ed.D. training that allows our graduates to emerge well-equipped to take action while applying knowledge as leaders in academia, government, health care management, research, teacher training, schools, school districts, NGOs, private organizations, or in community-based practice—whether regionally, nationally, or globally


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Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Doctor of Education

  • Points/Credits: 90
  • Entry Terms: Spring, Summer, Fall

Application Deadlines

Entry Term AvailablePriority DeadlinesFinal DeadlinesExtended Deadlines
SpringNovember 15, 2023November 15, 2023N/A
SummerDecember 1, 2023June 1, 2024N/A
FallDecember 1, 2023July 1, 2024N/A

For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Select programs remain open beyond our standard application deadlines, such as those with an extended deadline or those that are rolling (open until June or July). If your program is rolling or has an extended deadline indicated above, applications are reviewed as they are received and on a space-available basis. We recommend you complete your application as soon as possible as these programs can close earlier if full capacity has been met.

Application Requirements

 Online Degree Application, including Statement of Purpose and Resume
 Transcripts and/or Course-by-Course Evaluations for all Undergraduate/Graduate Coursework Completed
 Results from an accepted English Proficiency Exam (if applicable)
 $75 Application Fee
 Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
 Academic Writing Sample

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

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