Table of Contents
- Types of doctorate degrees
- How a doctorate works
- Investigating dissertation structures
- How long will it take to get a doctorate degree?
- Key takeaways
A doctorate degree is the greatest academic honor; it signifies that you have mastered a particular field of study or vocation. Extensive study and articulation are required for the degree. Therefore, those who aspire to pursue a doctorate must be prepared to do extensive research, conduct analysis, and present an innovative interpretation or solution in their respective fields.
A doctorate degree further enables professionals to excel in top-tier consulting and pursue education career paths. It helps them to advance in their current profession, providing them with the edge to stay relevant.
Let’s look at the different kinds of doctorate degrees, and what happens when you enroll for one.
Types of doctorate degrees
Doctoral degrees are divided into two categories-
- Research-oriented degrees
- Professional application degrees (also called “applied doctorates”)
1. Research-Oriented Doctorate (PhDs)
The most popular title for a Research-oriented (commonly known as PhD) doctorate is a Doctor of Philosophy. Following are some subjects for research-oriented doctorates-
- Philosophy (Ph.D.)
- Arts (D.A.)
- Education (Ed.D.)
- Business Management (Ph.D.)
- Public Health (DPH)
- Theology (Th.D.)
In this context, the “philosophy” in Doctor of Philosophy refers to the concept of investigation and the quest for knowledge rather than the subject Philosophy. That’s because thesis and research are two of the most important components of this degree.
2. Professional Doctorate: an application-oriented program
A professional doctorate (also known as an applied doctorate or terminal doctorate) is a degree that focuses on implementing a subject in real-world situations. If you want to enhance your career, pursue high-level corporate roles, establish teaching credentials in your field, or start a consulting firm, you’ll probably want to acquire this type of doctorate degree.
Some of the most popular professional doctorates include subjects like-
- Business Administration (DBA)
- Professional Studies (Instructional Design and Leadership)
- Finance (DPH)
- Healthcare Administration (DHA)
- Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
- Social Work (DSW)
- Juris Doctor (JD)
The professional doctorate program will motivate you to address real-world difficulties in your field, do research, and provide a viable solution. Unlike research-oriented doctorates, these degrees may or may not require a dissertation (thesis).
How a doctorate works
The PhD degree coursework usually comprises four stages-
1. Research core
In most PhD programs, you start your studies with a common core of prep classes. The research core establishes the underlying abilities you’ll need to finish the degree level of work. This core comprises of-
- Advance writing approaches
- Research methodology and design
- Applied statistics
- Colloquium courses
- Qualitative and quantitative research and analysis
2. Areas of focus
Following the completion of the research core, you will normally begin taking courses in your major area of study.
For example, if you are pursuing a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) degree, you will need to take classes in organizational behavior, organizational systems, strategic thinking and decision making, ethics, and change management.
Similarly, for a PhD in Human Services, you will need classes in advanced research methodologies for public service, social influences on behavior, decision-making ethics, as well as advanced communication for human services leaders.
As a part of your doctorate degree, you will also be required to take specific electives within your specialization. This will expand your vision and allow you to use your knowledge to solve real-world situations.
For instance, if you are seeking a DPS (Doctor of Professional Studies) with a focus on instructional design leadership, you may pursue a course from the DHA track to apply for a doctorate in public health.
A dissertation is typically a five-chapter thesis that is commonly broken into three phases-
- Submit a prospectus for approval from the dissertation committee.
- Complete the first chapters of your dissertation and begin data collection.
- Write your dissertation and defend it orally in front of the program directors.
The dissertation for students pursuing an applied doctorate may differ since the main focus here is to create a solution to a real-world problem.
Investigating dissertation structures
Because your dissertation will be a significant challenge to overcome, you must understand what you’re getting yourself into from the start. When you’re looking at schools, conduct some research on dissertation structures to narrow down your options. When it comes to crunch time, ensuring that the institution will do everything possible to assist you with your dissertation can make all the difference.
For example, as a part of the DHA program, you will gain valuable research abilities and the essential writing skills to complete your dissertation. Your dissertation should demonstrate your ability to find a work-related issue of interest, design a proposed solution to a problem, and justify your ideas in the actual world.
How long will it take to get a doctorate degree?
The answer depends on the path you choose. A doctorate degree requires at least 60 to 120 semester credit hours (or, approximately 20-40 college classes). The majority of PhDs take the full 120 hours, although most applied doctorates are on the lower end of the spectrum.
The duration of the course also depends on the subject area you are pursuing and the type of program offered by the institution. A doctorate usually takes 4 to 6 years, whereas a PhD can take up to 8 years.
- In a world where information is the new ‘fuel,’ a doctoral education has become critical.
- If you want to become an expert in your field and maybe even teach at institutions, the degree is table stakes to get in the door.
- A doctorate program is a substantial financial investment with a sure and significant return on investment.
- It is instrumental in-
- Enhancing transferable skills. Beyond gaining specialized knowledge, PhD holders noted that they acquired a set of transferable skills during their course. Expertise in problem-solving, critical reasoning, and thinking in-depth and from various points and perspectives came as a benefit of their doctorate degree.
- Social Impact of a Doctorate. Doing a PhD helps you develop your social skills, such as communication and presentation. It also gives you access to professional networks, helps you build personal relationships, and brings societal recognition.
- Personal Development. Candidates with a doctorate have testified that they experience personal development during the PhD course; it helps them gain maturity and independence.
Q1. What is the best way to compare doctorate degree programs?
Answer. A student’s choice to pursue a doctorate degree program can have a significant impact on his or her future and career. When comparing multiple different courses, prospective students must consider aspects such as a school’s location, cost, and rankings. You should look into a few different programs in the area of your specialization. Analyze the objective and subjective features of doctorate degree programs. Also, consider the following things when making your decision-
- Graduate performance averages
- The location and expense of the school, and more
Q2. What are the qualifications required for a doctorate degree?
Answer – While some doctoral programs require master’s degrees, the vast majority accept applicants with bachelor’s degrees from reputable colleges or universities. However, note that personal interviews, letters of recommendation, and college exam results may also be part of the process.
Q3. What is a Juris Doctor Program?
Answer – A Juris Doctor program is a postgraduate degree course that prepares students for a career in law. Juris Doctor programs are available at law schools for those who want to become lawyers or pursue other advanced legal vocations. Some colleges also offer dual degrees, however, the program usually takes three years for full-time students.
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