Doctoral Degrees are the highest level of academic degree awarded by a university, and typically signify that the bearer is qualified to teach at the postsecondary level or work in a specific profession. We commonly associate a doctorate degree with the field of medicine and the abbreviation ‘M.D’, or medical doctorate, and the Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy Degree. In fact, there are different types of doctoral degrees, and several reasons why earning one might be just what the doctor ordered.
Doctoral Degrees: Basics
Doctoral degrees have been around since medieval Europe, where the doctorate was considered a license to teach Latin.[i] Things have evolved since then, both in terms of the fact that women can be awarded one, and the number and types of doctorates awarded by universities has bourgeoned. Despite this, there is some mystery surrounding this extraordinary academic achievement.
Planning for a Doctoral Degree in Your Field
Earning a doctoral degree can require a major investment of time and energy, but at the same time, climbing that mountain may give you excellent results and recognition. Just remember to do some homework as early as college. Choosing a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, taking coursework during the preliminary degree(s), and making sure you are up to the commitment are some of the building blocks to earning your PhD or Doctorate in any field.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Doctorate?
A common question about doctoral degrees is how long it can take to earn one. Typically, a doctorate degree program can take about 4 to 6 years to complete after the Bachelor’s degree. However, if you hold a Master’s degree, you may be able to complete your doctorate in about 3-years of full-time study, although this is going to depend on the institution and the type of program.