United States Doctoral Degree Programs
Many accredited graduate schools offer both Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctorate degrees as residential, or on-campus programs. Since the very fact of earning the highest academic degree is a big step, it is worth spending some time actually thinking about how to choose a graduate school program so that when it comes time to sorting through doctoral degrees you can marry the two components: the university and the program.
Doctorate Degrees and PhD Degrees: Choosing a Doctoral Program
Essentially, doctorate degrees are not all created equal in that some are geared to students who want to practice their profession and need a doctorate to do so (Medical Doctor: MD) and others are oriented to students who want to conduct research in their field. Choosing a doctoral program is often a reflection of both career goals and personality. You may love psychology but would prefer to stay in the laboratory than see patients in a clinic.
The Professional Doctorate Degree
While usually considered equivalent in academic status and challenging coursework to a PhD, a professional doctorate degree is oriented to those pursuing professional, rather than academic, careers.
Professional doctorate degrees can take 4 years of study past the Bachelor’s degree. In fact, many students prefer to skip a Master’s degree and apply to a doctoral program straight from college. This may be an option for you, however you may have to make up some Master’s level qualifications and have more years of professional experience. As a professional doctorate student, you are expected to take courses and conduct research. The research you do is typically to take existing knowledge and acquired skills and apply it to a specific topic or issue. This is done through a dissertation, a paper or innovation. Some examples of professional doctorate degrees include:
- Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
- Doctor of Education (EdD)
- Doctorate of Medicine (MD)
- Doctor of Engineering (EngD)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Juris Doctor (JD)
- Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
- Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
What is a Doctor of Philosophy?
The Doctor of Philosophy, popularly referred to as the PhD, is as you may notice also a ‘doctor’ degree. However, the PhD degree is a little different. In some cases, there is less coursework, with more time devoted to research methodology. This is to a certain extent because the dissertation is the central focus. And, unlike the professional doctorate, PhD candidates are expected to produce an original theory or concept to solve an issue or address a problem in their field of study. Their body of research needs to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and defended in front of others. Typically, the entry point to a PhD is a Master’s degree. Also common is that a PhD could take about 3 to 4 years to complete after that. Some universities do let students ‘fast-track’ their master’s to a PhD, but you need the grades, skills, and research abilities in place. Some examples of doctor of philosophy degrees are:
- PhD in Economics
- PhD in Computer Science
- PhD in Psychology
- PhD in English
- PhD in Nursing
- PhD in Social Work
What Should I Look for in a Graduate School?
First off, there is no one answer to what makes a great graduate school or doctorate degree program, since everyone has unique tendencies and needs. That being said, factor in whether you are looking for a professional doctorate or a PhD degree as that may be useful in your search for a university. A few things to consider:
Location! Location!: You can certainly search for doctorate degrees by location (city, state, country). When evaluating, you should factor in whether you are free to re-locate, and if so, whether you prefer a university in a large urban city, or a quieter suburban town. If you are unrestricted in where you go to graduate school, you may want to consider studying abroad for the international perspective. In any case, scheduling a campus visit should be on your ‘to-do’ list.
Interaction: Attending a residential program gives you that face-to-face component that online programs can’t really mimic. Your future classmates are people you will be brainstorming with or discussing journal articles with. You may want to choose a program where you sense there will be good collaboration or support.
Advisors and Advice: Your advisor is someone who will be guiding you through the phases of your doctoral degree. In the beginning of your research, he or she may suggest topics, while later on, your advisor should be someone who inspires you to think creatively, poses interesting research questions and is well-funded in their own research.
Coursework and Accreditation: Choosing a graduate school means evaluating the course curriculum with a critical eye. Some programs, such as law and psychology need to be accredited by specific accreditation organizations. Make sure you know what to look for in terms of industry standards.
Research: Some universities have research grants and amenities that may make them stand out to you. Think, as well, that you will be spending a lot of time doing research so if you do need to be affiliated with a laboratory of other type of facility you factor this in.
How Do I Search for Accredited PhD Programs?
Finding accredited graduate schools for a professional doctorate degree or PhD is easy on GradSchools.com. There are diverse program listings that might include residential Pharm.D, Doctorate of Social Work. Doctor of Philosophy in Textile Engineering and Science, Doctor of Education – Educational Leadership. In fact, you can look for doctorate degrees-Campus programs in these broad categories to filter your search results:
- Criminal Justice
- Fine Arts
- Health and Medicine
- Liberal Arts
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
- Public Affairs & Social Sciences
- Religious Studies
Take the Next Step
Once you have found the category of doctorate degree program you are interested in, you can scroll through the sponsored listings or filter by the location settings mentioned above. The next thing to do is to open a spreadsheet so you can put the name of the graduate school, the date you requested information, the date the admissions office responded, program specifics and application deadline date. The application itself usually entails some advance preparation, so start looking for accredited graduate schools well in advance. It is not a last minute decision, but one that might set you up for personal and professional success.
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
arn your Doctor of Pharmacy in four years through the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy Post-Baccalaureate Weekend Program.
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
Our established Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Finance is an applied research doctoral degree designed for finance executives, business professionals and finance academicians to expand and deepen their knowledge and to acquire state-of-th...
- Fairfield, CT
- Sacramento, CASacramento, CA
Union Institute and University
Union Institute & University’s doctoral program plays a distinctive role in American higher education. Grounded in humanistic inquiry...
- Los Angeles, CA
- North Miami Beach, FL
- Cincinnati, OH
- Brattleboro, VT
- Boston, MABoston, MA
The PhD program in Behavior Analysis is a 68-credit doctoral program designed to train and position qualified behavior analysts to make significant contributions to the science and to the community...
- South Orange, NJSouth Orange, NJ
Seton Hall University
The Department of Biology offers three graduate programs: a Ph.D. in Molecular Bioscience, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology (M.S. available with a Neuroscience track or a minor in Business Administration), and a Master of Science in Microbiology...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
Chatham University’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Counseling Psychology is an integrative program which focuses on the professional and personal growth.
- Baltimore, MDBaltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the largest and oldest graduate school of public health. Founded in 1916 as part of the Johns Hopkins University, the School has served as the model for public health schools, creatin...
- Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
The three-year Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership program creates a community of mid- and senior-career professionals in which each participant can grow, learn and develop as an organizational leader, consultant, entrepreneur, scientist, researc...
- Philadelphia, PA
- Riverside, CARiverside, CA
La Sierra University
Mission Statement: A diverse community of inquiry, learning, and service, rooted in the Christian gospel, La Sierra is committed to Seventh-day Adventist values and ideals. Its mission is: TO SEEK truth enlarging human understanding through scho...
- Riverside, CA
- West Hartford, CTWest Hartford, CT
University of Hartford
Talent and potential paired with spirited determination define the essence of a Hartt student. Whether as a performer of music, dance, or theatre, or as a student in the related fields of music education, composition, music history, music theory, produc...
- West Hartford, CT
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The doctor of psychology, Psy.D., is the highest-level degree for those who wish to apply their knowledge as practicing clinicians.
- Chicago, IL
- Los Angeles, CA
- Irvine, CA
- Washington, DC
- Portland, ORPortland, OR
University of Western States
p>The UWS DC program is a rigorous 12 academic-quarter, first-professional doctorate program, which focuses on legitimate, mainstream evidence in the exploration of evaluation and care of patients and their needs...
- Colorado Springs, COColorado Springs, CO
Colorado Technical University
The Doctor of Management with a concentration in Global Leadership at Colorado Technical University is designed to encourage the professional development of managers through mentoring, action research, and practical projects, enabling them to make key l...
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Greenwood Village, CO
- Stony Brook, NYStony Brook, NY
Stony Brook University (S.U.N.Y.)
The program builds on our successful, internationally renowned PhD program in political psychology. The M.A. degree program teaches advanced skills in political psychology, public opinion, and political attitudes. The Political Science M.A.
- Phoenix, AZPhoenix, AZ
- Phoenix, AZ
- Nashville, TN
- Chicago, IL
- Denver, CO
- Alameda, CA
- Farmers Branch, TX
- Atlanta, GA
- Draper, UT
- Orange, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- San Bernardino, CA
- Eagan, MN
- Boston, MABoston, MA
Students who come to the Tufts Public Health program have a vision: they want to make the world a better place. Recent graduates who have decided to pursue a public health career; health professionals wanting to become experts in their field; clinicians...
- Cookeville, TNCookeville, TN
Tennessee Technological University
ur Ph.D. program endeavors to be more than a traditional "academic" program. The interdisciplinary faculty works with our graduate students to develop the critical thinking necessary to solve critical, real world problems.
- Cookeville, TN
- Newton, MANewton, MA
William James College
The School Psychology PsyD program is NASP-approved and APA-accredited. This program prepares practitioners to assume leadership roles in the education field, with an emphasis on the delivery of mental health services in schools...
- Newton, MA
- Lombard, ILLombard, IL
National University Of Health Sciences
Chiropractic medicine is a comprehensive health care profession that addresses the wide variety of factors that impact upon human physiology...
- Lombard, IL
- Pinellas Park, FL
- Emporia, KSEmporia, KS
Emporia State University
Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Management.
- Bethesda, MDBethesda, MD
Uniformed Services University
Our interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program provides a broad curriculum designed to take advantage of blurring of boundaries between academic disciplines, to include training in the classes of pathogenic organisms and the mechanisms of infectious diseases as...
- Bethesda, MD