Doctoral programs offer terminal degrees in exchange for rigorous coursework, teaching, and original research. The doctoral degree is the most prestigious level of educational attainment (US Census Bureau). According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, doctoral degree holders enjoy the lowest unemployment rate of all degree levels. If you want to solve a real problem in your field, move towards teaching at the college level or join the ranks of top researchers, a doctorate might be for you.
Types of Doctorate Degrees
Among the various types of doctoral degrees are :
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) – These are research-based doctorate degrees often awarded to recognize peer-reviewed published academic research.
M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) – This is the most advanced degree for medical students and must be completed to professionally practice medicine. M.D. students often choose a specialty area.
Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) – This is the highest level degree of education in the education field. People who hold this degree often work in administrative, research or academic positions related to education.
J.D. (Juris Doctor) – This degree is the most advanced one available to lawyers in the US. A thesis is typically not required in J.D. degree program.
In this stiff competition of job opportunities and the eligibility of qualifying for a given profession, these degrees do play an important role. Hopefully, the aforementioned list of degrees gave you a better understanding of the different types of degrees available. All you have to do is choose the right one for you depending on your interests, career aspirations as well as capability.
In order to become a doctoral student, individuals must have earned either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Earning a doctorate can take from three to seven years of study. Upon completion of the coursework requirements, candidates will begin work on a research dissertation in conjunction with a thesis advisor and then defend their research in front of a committee.
The route to professional doctorates differs and can be significantly shorter, as is the case for the Juris Doctor, which generally runs three years. On the other hand, a medical student working towards an MD can expect a lengthy clinical internship and significantly longer periods of coursework than academic PhD candidates.
Whether academic or professional, a doctorate is a serious commitment to the direction of your life, and it entails significant risk. As such, it is important to evaluate your options and be sure of your choice. Students who do not have a strong sense of purpose, penetrating questions or a comprehensive synthetic view of the problems and importance of their fields often wash out or find themselves with a reputable degree, but little ability to land a job.
Additionally, doctoral candidates are heavily dependent upon their graduate advisors for direction, networking, publication, and job placement. A rocky relationship with this critical person can spell doom for your candidacy or your career. With these risks, you need to know what you are getting into, who you are going to be studying with, what a department focuses on, and where program graduates end up.
Earning a doctoral degree is a huge time commitment and a gamble on the strength of your intellect, but it can help prepare you to play a critical role in your field. If your aim is not only to gain knowledge but to innovate, it is time for doctoral study. Explore doctoral programs today.