Doctorate Degrees and PhD Programs in United States
What is a Doctorate Degree vs a PhD Degree?
A Doctorate, or Doctoral Degree, is the highest level of academic degree awarded by a university. A doctorate typically signifies that the individual is qualified to teach at the post-secondary level or work in a specific field of profession. There are two major types of doctoral degrees; the research-oriented degree, and the professional doctorate degree.
Doctorate Degrees are sometimes referred to as terminal degrees which means it is the final degree available in graduate school for students wishing to study in the chosen subject. In most fields, the terminal-level degree is the doctor of philosophy, or PhD, but in some fields, it's a professional degree, such as a doctor of medicine or law degree.
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, including the DBA degree, and several reasons why earning one might be just what the doctor ordered.
Is a PhD and a Doctorate the Same?
Doctoral degrees encompass both PhD degrees and other 'Doctor of' degrees. While these may be equivalent academically, there are differences to learn between PhD degrees and other degrees such as the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or Juris Doctor (JD). Essentially, the differences appear in terms of the type of research and the focus for each degree - whether it is research-focused (PhD) or professional practice-focused (e.g. DBA degree, JD degree, PsyD degree).
What Is a PhD?
Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD degrees, are research-based academic degrees which are awarded in many fields. A PhD degree is granted to students who have conducted publishable, original research in a peer-reviewed academic publication. Additionally, to get to that research, doctoral candidates have to complete a substantial amount of coursework beyond the master’s degree level. Many holders of this degree might pursue academic careers as college professors, scholarly writers and researchers. While the most common research degree is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, other research doctorates are available.
Some popular PhD Majors include:
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
- Doctor of Arts (D.A.)
- Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
- Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf)
- Doctor of Social Science (DSocSci)
- Doctor of Management (DMan)
- Doctor of Engineering (D Eng)
- Doctor of Theology (ThD)
What Is A Professional Doctorate Degree?
A professional doctorate degree is awarded in fields where both research and study are required, but the type of research is ‘applied’. This means it is designed to be used for professional purposes, such as to solve a real-world problem in their domain. These can be seen in psychology, medicine, engineering, education, law and business. Unlike the PhD, some professional doctorates while considered terminal degrees within their specific profession, may serve as a prerequisite or platform to a research degree in that field.
Examples of professional doctorates might include:
- Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
- Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
- Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
- Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
- Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)
- Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.)
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)
- Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
- Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
- Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)
- Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.)
- Doctor of Osteopathic
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
- Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
- Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Note that the Ed.D., D.Min., D.B.A. and M.D. are both research and professional doctorate degrees. Original research for a dissertation may have a combination of both theory and practical components.
PhD programs are available within various fields of study. In each of these disciplines, there may be doctorate programs in several specialties and concentration areas. This may allow you to tailor your program to your interests and career goals.
Popular PhD and Doctorate Programs in United States
DID YOU KNOW?
About 3 percent of all jobs in the United States were in occupations that typically require a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) or first professional degree, such as in law or medicine. In May 2013, the median annual wage for those jobs was $97,550 according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What is Higher Than a PhD?
A higher level of research doctorates, called Higher Doctorates, are sometimes awarded to those whose research is of a very high standard. These higher doctorates are also bestowed if a university wishes to formally acknowledge an individual for their achievements or contributions in the field. A Higher Doctorate typically signals that you have authoritative standing in your field.
Preparing for a Doctoral Degree in Your Field
Earning a doctoral degree may 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 degree or doctorate degree in any field.
How to Earn a Doctorate Degree near United States
While each doctorate degree has its own requirements, doctorate degree curriculum typically involves coursework plus research. In the event you are in a four-year doctoral degree program, you may need to complete the following steps.
- Complete 60 to 120 semester credits (varies between graduate schools)
- Pass final examinations
- Write and defend a research thesis or dissertation
Other doctoral programs may involve a capstone project and supervised placement in your field. Format may vary depending on the type of doctoral degree you are pursuing. However, usually the courses are taken first. Rigorous examinations follow subsequent to test a candidate's knowledge. A dissertation topic is proposed and the latter part of one's doctorate program may be spent in research - collecting, recording, analyzing data, testing a hypothesis or whatever is pertinent to the field of study. Programs may vary, so follow up directly about individual programs to learn more.
DID YOU KNOW?
To receive a doctoral degree, students must often complete a dissertation, a lengthy research project that contributes new knowledge to the field. Occupations that require a doctoral degree include animal scientists, computer and information research scientists, and physicists.
How Many Years is a Doctoral Degree?
Typically, a doctorate degree program can take about 4 to 6 years to complete after the bachelor’s degree. If you hold a master’s degree, you may be able to complete your doctorate in about 3 years of full-time study - or you may be able to find a dual masters and phd program. However, this is going to depend on the institution and the type of program. In some universities, it may be possible to find part-time doctoral degree programs, a factor that might extend time to completion.
What Are the Prerequisites for a Doctorate?
Doctoral applicants were previously required to have a master's degree, but many programs accept students immediately following undergraduate studies. Many programs gauge the potential of a student applying to their program and grant a master's degree upon completion of the necessary Ph.D. course work.
Is a Doctorate Degree 'Right' for You?
Doctoral degrees are not required in every field, which doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. However, if you are thinking ahead to plan your scholastic path, or pave the way to a potential career, it is important to find out whether a doctoral or professional degree is required for professional practice. Is a PhD degree ultimately best for you? According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the answer may be ‘yes’ if any of the below statements are true.
- Your goal is advanced computer and information research.
- You are interested in a medical field (dentist, doctor, chiropractor).
- You want to do independent research in medical science, physics, biochemistry, biophysics.
- You want to work as a librarian in an academic library.
- Your ambition is to work as a licensed clinical psychologist.
Are Online PhD Programs Available?
Yes, some schools do offer online PhD programs. These may allow you to pursue your education without compromising your schedule. Generally, online programs will make course readings, syllabi, assignments and lectures available through an online platform. Online doctoral programs may also use chatrooms, discussion boards and email to encourage communication with professors and classmates. Fully online PhD programs are not always available. However, if this is the case, you might find hybrid doctoral programs which combine web-based courses with intensives on campus. Contact schools to learn more. You can even find online PhD programs that don't require you to take a GRE!
Accreditation and Doctoral Degrees near United States
Accreditation in the United States focuses on institutions and programs. Institutional accreditation takes into account the integrity of the graduate school (faculty, mission, achievement). Specialized program accreditation takes into account courses and educational standards. Accreditation may help you evaluate the quality of a PhD program or school. It may also be an important factor if you are interested in federal aid.
An institution can be accredited nationally by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. These national agencies recognize 6 regional organizations in turn.
Standards for PhD program accreditation differ, and you are wise to see what they are in your field. For instance, the American Psychological Association (APA) accredits doctoral programs in psychology (PhD and PsyD), but look to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. Visit the US Department of Education or individual accrediting bodies websites to learn more.
Top 473 Graduate Schools with Doctorate and PhD Programs in United States
- Accredited online university.
- Capella University offers doctoral programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.
- Competency-based curriculum delivers both foundation knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Advanced Accounting Education Specialist - General Education Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Health Care Administration Doctor of Business Administration - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Education - General Education Education Specialist - Sport and Athletic Management Doctor of Public Administration Doctor of Education - Learning Analytics in K-12 Education Doctor of Business Administration - Advanced Accounting Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Management Information Systems Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Learning Analytics in K-12 Education Education Specialist - Leadership in Higher Education Education Specialist - Learning Analytics in Higher Education Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy - Therapy with Military Families Doctor of Education - Learning Analytics in Higher Education Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy - Education and Supervision Doctor of Education - Nursing Education Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership Doctorate of Marriage & Family Therapy - Therapy with Military Families Education Specialist - International Education Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Gerontology Education Specialist - English Language Learning Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Information Systems PhD in Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology
Walden UniversityDoctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Accounting Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Technology Entrepreneurship Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Social Impact Management Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Finance Doctor of Education (EdD) - Community College Leadership Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Technology Doctor of Education (EdD) - Early Childhood Education Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Energy Management Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Information Systems Management Doctor of Education (EdD) - Special Education Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Project Management Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (For Administrators) Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Leadership Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Marketing Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - International Business Doctor of Education (EdD) - Reading, Literacy & Assessment Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Entrepreneurship Doctor of Education (EdD) - Higher Education Leadership & Management Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Healthcare Management Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Homeland Security Doctor of Education (EdD) - Higher Education & Adult Learning Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Self-Designed Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (Non-Licensure) Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) - Global Supply Chain Management
Rivier UniversityDoctor of Nursing Practice Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership
Temple UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering
Ashford UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Organziational Development and Leadership - Innovation and Entrepreneurship Doctor of Philosophy in Organziational Development and Leadership - Training and E-Learning Doctor of Psychology - Mediation and Conflict Resolution Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services - Nonprofit Management Doctor of Philosophy in Organziational Development and Leadership - Standard Program of Study Doctor of Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Organziational Development and Leadership - Organizational Diversity Doctor of Psychology - Criminology and Justice Studies Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services - Standard Program of Study Doctor of Psychology - Sport and Performance Psychology Doctor of Psychology - Health and Wellness Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Education Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services - Mental Health Administration Doctor of Psychology - Educational Leadership
Nova Southeastern UniversityDNP Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems
Duquesne UniversityDoctorate in Nursing Practice
Concordia University-PortlandEdD in Educational Leadership - Higher Education EdD in Educational Leadership - Transformational Leadership EdD in Educational Leadership - Administrative Leadership EdD in Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation EdD in Educational Leadership - Instructional Leadership
Notre Dame de Namur UniversityArt Therapy PhD
Northern Illinois UniversityOnline BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice Online MSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice
A.T. Still University of Health SciencesTransitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Doctor of Medical Science Doctor of Athletic Training Post-Professional Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Doctor of Health Administration Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc)
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyPh.D. Business Psychology, I/O Track Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis Specialization Ph.D. Organizational Leadership Ph.D. Business Psychology, Consulting Track Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis, Credential Track Psy.D. Marital and Family Therapy Psy.D. Clinical Psychology Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology
National Louis UniversityEdD Counselor Education and Supervision
Trident University InternationalHealth Sciences (Ph.D.) Educational Leadership (Ph.D.) Educational Leadership (Ed. D.) Business Administration (Ph.D.) Doctor of Business Administration
Purdue University GlobalM.S. - DNP Family Nurse Practitioner Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) M.S. - DNP Adult Nurse Practitioner M.S. - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice) M.S. - DNP Executive Leader
Saybrook UniversityPh.D. Psychology Ph.D. Mind-Body Medicine Ph.D. Organizational Systems Ph.D. Transformative Social Change Ph.D. Applied Psychophysiology Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Integrative and Functional Nutrition
Grand Canyon UniversityEd. D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Health Care Administration Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Behavioral Health Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction D.B.A. with an Emphasis in Data Analytics Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Higher Education Leadership D.B.A. with an Emphasis in Marketing Bridge (Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Data Analytics) Ed. S. in K-12 Leadership Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Christian Ministry Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology Ed. D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Special Education Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance Psychology Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Organizational Development Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership in with an Emphasis in K-12 Leadership Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Integrating Technology, Learning, and Psychology Bridge (Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision) D.B.A. with an Emphasis in Management Bridge (Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing)
Colorado Technical UniversityDoctor of Management - Project Management (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Environmental and Social Sustainability (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Criminal Justice Doctor of Management - Nonprofit Leadership (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Healthcare Management and Leadership (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Executive Leadership (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Global Leadership (Executive Format) Doctor of Computer Science - Information Assurance (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Technology Management (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - General Concentration (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Higher Education Teaching and Learning Doctor of Management - Organizational Development and Change (Executive Format) Doctor of Computer Science - Enterprise Information Systems (Executive Format) Doctor of Nursing Practice Doctor of Management - Private Sector Higher Education Leadership Doctor of Computer Science - Big Data Analytics (Executive Format) Doctor of Computer Science (Executive Format) Doctor of Management - Homeland Security (Executive Format)
Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaEd.S. in Educational Administration Ed.D. in Leadership
Liberty University OnlineDoctor of Business Administration: Project Management DMN: Chaplaincy PHD Education: Educational Law Doctor of Education: Curriculum and Instruction/Elementary Education Doctor of Business Administration: Leadership Doctor of Ministry: Discipleship PHD: Strategic Media Doctor of Business Administration: Information Systems Doctor of Business Administration: Finance Doctor of Philosophy: Counselor Education and Supervision Doctor of Business Administration: Healthcare Management Doctor of Business Administration: Accounting Doctor of Education: Curriculum and Instruction Doctor of Business Administration: Strategic Management Doctor of Ministry: Pastoral Counseling Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership Education Specialist: Curriculum and Instruction Doctor of Ministry: Worship DMIN: Urban Ministry Doctor of Business Administration: Human Resources DMN: Theology and Apologetics Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism and Church Planting DMN: Biblical Studies Doctor of Ministry: Expository Preaching Doctor of Business Administration: Marketing
Colorado Christian UniversityDoctor of Nursing Practice in Visionary Leadership
Union Institute and UniversityPh.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies
University of New EnglandDoctor of Pharmacy
South UniversityNursing Practice (DNP)
Albany Medical CollegeGraduate Program in Bioethics
William James CollegeClinical Psychology PsyD Leadership Psychology, PsyD
Stockton UniversityDoctor of Nursing Practice Organizational Leadership
Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual ArtsPhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory
Seton Hall UniversityBiology
Sacred Heart UniversityDoctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Finance Doctor of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practitioner Doctor Physical Therapy