Doctorate’s Degree

A doctorate’s degree is the highest academic degree awarded in the U.S., making it arguably the most prestigious. On average, a student may spend 4 to 6 years earning his or her doctorate following receipt of the master’s degree. To get a doctoral degree, the student must complete 3 phases: complete a course of study, do original research, and write a publishable thesis or dissertation.

Types of Doctorates
Research Doctoral Degrees. These doctorates are typically rewarded for a body of academic research publishable in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Candidates submit a substantial amount of original research, usually in the form of a single thesis or dissertation but occasionally as a portfolio of shorter projects. A panel of examiners assesses the research and usually delivers an oral exam. In the U.S., there is usually a formal course component as well; in other countries, the research is typically independent. Research doctorates can be awarded in a wide range of subjects and are usually indicated by the title “Doctor” and the abbreviation “Ph.D.” A Ph.D is typically required for teaching positions at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Professional Doctoral Degrees. These credentials are given to candidates in certain professions where the goal is practice, not research. Common examples include dentistry, law, medicine, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy. These degrees can take as much as four years to earn, not including required residency or apprenticeship periods and the passing of a licensing exam such as the Boards (for doctors) or the Bar (for lawyers). Abbreviations vary by profession; a professional doctorate in medicine is expressed as “M.D.” for Medical Doctor and one in law is “J.D.,” for Juris Doctor.

Here are a few of the most popular doctorates that are available online:

Psychology (Ph.D.; PsyD)
Education (Ph.D.; EdD)
Engineering (PhD; DCS)
Public Health(Ph.D.; DPH)
Business (Ph.D; DBA)