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Doctoral Degree Program

In most academic disciplines, the most advanced degree one can earn is a doctorate. Doctorate degree-holders are typically regarded as authorities in their fields, and many note that a major reason for pursuing a doctorate is to increase a person's professional credibility and improve the quality of their resume.

doctoral degree program

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A doctoral degree is a graduate-level credential which is typically granted after multiple years of graduate school, with the time-to-degree varying depending on the type of doctoral program, experts say. Earning a doctorate usually requires at least four years of effort and may entail eight years of work, depending on the complexity and onerousness of a doctoral program's graduation requirements.

Kristin Bertolero, an inclusion facilitator at the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education worked for 10 years as a special education teacher before deciding to pursue her Ed.D. She says her education doctoral program allowed her to gain the expertise necessary to propose and implement meaningful reforms in classrooms and schools.

"The best part was learning more about education outside of my area (special education and teaching), because honestly it helped me understand what I actually have control over," says Bertolero, who has a Doctor of Education degree with a specialization in K-12 teacher leadership. "So what does a teacher in a classroom actually have control over? And how (does) this third grade relates to a student's long-term trajectory?" It helps you envision the big picture, she says.

Because of the tremendous effort and enormous time investment involved in earning a doctorate, experts say it is foolish to apply to a doctoral program if you don't have a clear idea of how you might use a doctorate in your career.

Peazant, who previously worked as an academic adviser for doctoral students at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, says it is unfortunate when doctoral students realize in the middle of their doctoral program that their program was not a good fit for them.

Admissions standards for doctoral programs vary depending on what type of doctorate one is seeking, higher education experts suggest. Ph.D. program administrators and professors say the quality of a Ph.D. candidate's research is the primary consideration in Ph.D. admissions decisions. Meanwhile, leaders of clinical and professional doctorate programs say that quality of a prospective student's work experience is what matters most when they decide whether to admit that particular student.

Because professional doctorates often require students to come up with effective solutions to systemic real-world problems, eligibility for these doctorates is often restricted to individuals who have first-hand experience with these problems due to their extensive work experience, according to recipients of professional doctorates. In contrast, it is common for Ph.D. students to begin their Ph.D. programs immediately after they finish their undergraduate degrees, according to Ph.D. program administrators and professors. Therefore, the admissions criteria at Ph.D. programs emphasizes students' academic prowess as evidenced by their undergraduate transcript, standardized test scores and research projects, and these programs don't necessarily require work experience.

Rachel D. Miller, a marriage and family therapist who is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in couple and family therapy at Adler University, says pursuing a doctorate has required her to make significant personal sacrifices, both because she had to take on large student loans and she needed to devote a huge amount of time and energy into her doctoral program. Miller says she simultaneously works full-time and takes care of her children, and balancing personal responsibilities with her program has been very difficult to manage.

But Miller believes the effort invested in her doctoral program will pay off on the long run, since it will help her conduct meaningful research into the best way to provide therapy to children impacted by domestic violence.

Miller urges prospective doctoral students to reflect on whether getting a doctorate is truly necessary for them to achieve their dream job. "Really know yourself," she says. "Know your purpose for pursuing it, because that's what's going to help carry you through."

Ph.D. programs can be very fulfilling for enthusiastic students who are fascinated by academic research, says de La Puente, who himself has a Ph.D. in particle physics. "Most of the work they will do will be to push the boundaries of knowledge," he says.

Stephanie Schuttler, a wildlife biologist with a Ph.D. degree, says the best way to determine whether a Ph.D. is worthwhile is to see whether people who work in jobs you'd love typically have a Ph.D or whether it's possible to get those types of jobs without a Ph.D.

Schuttler, a postdoctoral research associate with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, says that if the type of job a student aspires to have only requires a master's degree, it is not in that student's interest to pursue a higher degree.

"What I found in my field, and it probably applies to other fields as well, is that if you do get a Ph.D. and you apply for job that doesn't require a Ph.D., people will see you as overqualified, and you kind of have to convince them that you want the job that maybe is at a master's level," she says. "And that can be hard to do, because a lot of people I think look at a person who has additional degrees than what the job calls for, and maybe they think that it's a temporary job for them, that they're going to take this job as a placeholder until they get something that they really want."

Schuttler suggests that people who tend to have big and bold ideas are the individuals who tend to thrive in doctorate programs. "If they're the ones who are always thinking of scientific ideas and research questions, then they should definitely go for the Ph.D.," she says.

Interested in several programs? Want to keep your options open? Now, when applying to the Purdue Graduate School, you can apply for up to three different campuses and/or majors with a single application and fee payment.

Doctoral study at Harvard means full immersion in one of the world's most dynamic and influential intellectual communities. At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, two distinct doctoral programs leverage the extraordinary interdisciplinary strengths of the entire University. The Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) prepares experienced educators for system-level leadership roles in school districts, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and beyond; and the Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.) empowers cutting-edge interdisciplinary research informed by the cognitive sciences, economics, medicine, the humanities, and more. Download the doctoral brochure.

The Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D) is a three-year, practice-based program designed to produce system-level leaders in American pre-K-12 education. The Ed.L.D. curriculum mines the vast intellectual and professional resources of HGSE, the Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School, and includes a 10-month residency in the third year.

Use the links below to find information on specific programs. A full chart of degree programs is found in the General Announcements. Graduate programs at Rice usually require full-time study, however, many professional master's programs can be completed on a part-time basis. Check with your department of interest for specifics, including application deadlines.

The pandemic has made it difficult for some students to take the GRE. Rice Graduate Studies is not requiring the GRE for 2023, but will provide students with the option of submitting those scores. However, the following individual Rice degree programs will recommend, strongly recommend, or require the general GRE for 2023 admission:

For 2023, Rice is also waiving doctoral application fee waivers for students graduating from institutions in Texas or bordering states, or for students who reside in those states. This excludes programs in the Jones School of Business.

For more details on that subject, skip ahead to the section about average salaries for students who obtain doctorate degrees. Or, continue reading for the answer to one of our most frequently asked questions: is a doctorate degree the same as a PhD?

You already know that there are different types of graduate and undergraduate degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) versus a Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) versus a Master of Public Administration (MPA). A similar idea applies to doctoral degrees, which are also divided into several categories. Namely, there are two different types of doctorate degrees that students should be aware of:

Professional doctoral degrees are also referred to as terminal or applied doctoral degrees. In contrast to PhD degrees, which the following section discusses in further detail, professional degrees place more of an emphasis on real-world problem-solving and the practical application of knowledge, as opposed to exploring new advancements or ideas in research and analysis.

Professional degrees are essential for those who wish to pursue certain career paths. For example, in addition to meeting other academic and professional criteria like passing the bar exam, you will need to obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree if your goal is to become an attorney. In addition to the JD for lawyers, here are four additional examples of professional or applied doctorate degrees:

This category includes the Doctor of Philosophy or PhD degree, which is applicable to various fields, such as holding a PhD in economics or psychology. However, it also includes various degrees whose titles and abbreviations may sound less familiar. For instance, did you know that a Doctor of Arts is actually a type of PhD, despite being called a DA? Here are four other examples of PhD degrees:

Depending on factors like the format and pace of the program, it may require anywhere from three to eight years to obtain a doctorate degree, as the section below discusses in further detail. So what will you actually be doing as a student throughout that time? 041b061a72


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