Doctorate Degrees and PhD Programs in Alabama
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 Alabama
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 Alabama
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 Alabama
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 408 Graduate Schools with Doctorate and PhD Programs in Alabama
- 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.
Columbia Southern UniversityDoctor of Business Administration
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctor of Business Administration - Homeland Security - Leadership & Policy Education Specialist - English Language Learning Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Computer Science Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Cybersecurity Doctor of Business Administration - Marketing Doctor of Education - Organizational Leadership Doctorate of Marriage & Family Therapy - Couple Therapy Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management Doctor of Philosophy in Education - General Education Doctorate of Marriage & Family Therapy - Mental Health Administration Doctor of Education - Early Childhood Education Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - International Business Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Engineering Management Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Marketing Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Teaching Education Specialist - E-Learning Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching Education Specialist - Learning Analytics in Higher Education Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership Education Specialist - International Education Doctor of Business Administration - Criminal Justice Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Information Systems Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership
Clemson UniversityInternational Family and Community Studies
University of South AlabamaSpeech Pathology - Audiology Pharmacology and Toxicology Physical Therapy Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences Cancer Biology Microbiology and Immunology Structural and Cellular Biology
Tuskegee UniversityMaterials Science and Engineering Integrative Biosciences PhD Program Veterinary Medicine
Amridge University (formerly Southern Christian University)Theology Counseling and Leadership
Alabama A & M UniversityPlant and Soil Sciences Department Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction Department of Food and Animal Sciences Department of Psychology and Counseling Department of Physics
Jacksonville State UniversityEmergency Mangement Doctor of Science Emergency Management
Samford UniversityDoctor of Pharmacy Theology
University of Alabama - HuntsvilleNursing Aerospace Systems Engineering Materials Science Mechanical Engineering Computer Science and Software Engineering Industrial and Systems Engineering Biotechnology Science and Engineering Biological Sciences Electrical Engineering Optical Science and Engineering Mathematical Sciences Computer Engineering Modeling and Simulation Atmospheric Science Civil Engineering Physics
University of AlabamaCounselor Education Educational Administration Music Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy Operations Management and Management Science Educational Psychology Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Marketing Political Science Chemical Engineering Human Resources Management Mathematics Computer Science Social Work Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Romance Languages with options in French, Spanish, and customized combinations Public Administration Secondary Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Applied Statistics Program Graduate Program in Chemistry History Anthropology, Archaeology, Medical Anthropology Elementary Education PhD in Management Information Systems Instructional Leadership
Alabama State UniversityPhysical Therapy
University of Missouri - ColumbiaPractical Arts and Vocational-Technical Education University of Missouri Mathematics Education Animal Sciences Communication Sociology Art History and Archaeology Social Psychology Communication Science and Disorders Social Work Creative Writing Program Elementary Education Anthropology Veterinary Biomedical Sciences Veterinary Medicine Agronomy Biochemistry Forestry Program Mathematics Plant Pathology Marketing Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Industrial Engineering Educational Technology Special Education
Auburn UniversityIndustrial/Organizational Psychology Graduate program in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Organismal Biology Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences English MA and PhD Business Education Pathobiology Botany Mechanical Engineering Human Development and Family Studies Civil Engineering Radiology Wildlife Science Agronomy PlantPathology Counselor Education History Discrete and Statistical Sciences Entomology Doctor of Pharmacy Program Materials Engineering Vocational and Adult Education Aerospace Engineering Economics Management Physics
University of Alabama at BirminghamCancer Biology Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology Cellular and Molecular Physiology Graduate Program Toxicology Molecular and Cellular Pathology Graduate program in Biostatistics Graduate Biomedical Sciences Biomedical Engineering Doctor of Medicine Immunology Education Doctor of Dentistry (DDS) Computer and Information Science Nutrition Biochemistry, Structural, and Stem Cell Biology Neurobiology Breast Cancer Training Program Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine Civil Engineering Developmental Psychology Chemistry Cell Biology Vision Science Training Program Health Education / Health Promotion Biology
Bethany Theological SeminaryTheology
Auburn University At MontgomeryPublic Administration
University of West AlabamaEd.D. in Rural Education, Teaching and Learning Ed.D in Rural Education, Organizational Change and Leadership