Doctorate and PhD Degree Programs in Massachusetts
What is a Doctorate 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 Massachusetts
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 Massachusetts
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 Massachusetts
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 441 Graduate Schools with Doctorate Programs in Massachusetts
- 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 Education - Curriculum and Teaching Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Information Systems Doctor of Business Administration - Management Information Systems Doctor of Business Administration - Public Administration Doctor of Education in Instructional Design (EDD-ID) Doctor of Education - Nursing Education Doctor of Education - Learning Analytics in K-12 Education Doctor of Philosophy in Education - English Language Learning Doctor of Public Administration Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Advanced Accounting Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Health Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Engineering Management Doctor of Business Administration - Project Management Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Criminal Justice Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management Doctor of Education - General Education Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Mental Health Policy and Practice Doctor of Education - Special Education Doctorate of Marriage & Family Therapy - Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy - Therapy with Military Families Doctor of Business Administration - Criminal Justice Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Data Science
William James CollegeClinical Psychology PsyD Leadership Psychology, PsyD School Psychology, PsyD
Clark UniversitySocial Psychology Biology Developmental Psychology History Clinical Psychology Chemistry Physics Geography
MGH Institute Of Health ProfessionsPhysical Therapy Nursing
Harvard University And Massachusetts Institute Of TechnologySpeech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology
Weston Jesuit School Of TheologyTheology
Episcopal Divinity SchoolTheology Ministry
Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionOceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering
New England Conservatory of MusicMusic Music Education
William James CollegeDoctoral Program in School Psychology PsyD
Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis IncPsychoanalysis
American International CollegeEducation (Ed.D) Educational Psychology Physical Therapy
New England College of OptometryOptometry
Andover Newton Theological SchoolDoctor of Ministry
Simmons UniversityDoctorate of Philosophy in Library and Information Science Behavior Analysis (PhD)
Medical University of the AmericasPsy.D. - M.D. Program Graduate program in Medicine-Nevis
Boston CollegeTheology Philosophy Developmental and Educational Psychology Counseling Psychology Economics Educational Administration Psychology Political Science Curriculum and Instruction History Medieval Studies Chemistry Ph.D. Program in Organization Studies Social Work Nursing Sociology Secondary Education Neuroscience Physics Biology Educational Research, Measuremen and Evaluation Counseling Psychology Religious Education and Pastoral Ministries English Business Administration
Smith CollegeSocial Work - Doctorate
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteBiomedical Sciences Computer Science Biology and Biotechnology Chemical Engineering Civil and Enviromental Engineering Mechanical Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering Physics Fire Protection Engineering Biomedical Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Mathematical Sciences Chemistry and Biochemistry Materials Science and Engineering
Southern New England School Of LawLaw (JD, JD/MBA, JD/MPP)
Harvard UniversityEnvironmental Health - Doctorate Philosophy Immunology and Infectious Diseases Sociology Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Portuguese - Doctorate Comparative Literature Nutrition Architecture - Doctorate Public Policy Chemical Physics Classics Religion/Theology - Doctorate Anthropology - Doctorate Economics Experimental Psychopathology and Personality Italian Ph.D. Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations - Doctorate Epidemiology - Doctorate Earth and Planetary Sciences Slavic Languages and Literature French - Doctorate Sanskrit and Indian Studies - Doctorate
Northeastern UniversitySociology - Doctorate History - Doctorate Security and Resilience Studies Mathematics - Doctorate Biology - Doctorate English Physics - Doctorate Electrical and Computer Engineering Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology - Doctorate Civil and Environmental Engineering Personal Health Informatics Speech Language Pathology (Communication Disorders) - Doctorate Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Doctorate Medicinal Chemistry Audiology Pharmaceutical Science - Doctorate Criminology and Criminal Justice Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy Population Health Public History - Doctorate Chemical Engineering - Doctorate Bioengineering Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Psychology
Boston UniversityMathematical Finance Program - Doctorate Sociology - Doctorate Rehabilitation Counseling Department - Doctorate Archaeology French Languages and Literatures DMD and Dental Postdoctoral Programs English - Doctorate Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry (MCBB) - Doctorate Mathematics Education Bioinformatics - Doctorate English and Language Arts Education - Doctorate Cell and Molecular Biology Social Studies Education - Doctorate Astronomy Earth Sciences - Doctorate Cellular Biophysics - Doctorate Business Administration Physiology - Doctorate Occupational Therapy Department - Doctorate J.D. Program Brain, Behavior, and Cognition Applied Anatomy and Physiology Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution - Doctorate Educational Media and Technology Medical Doctor
Tufts UniversityElectrical Engineering - Doctorate English - Doctorate Molecular and Developmental Biology - Doctorate Cell Biology and Biochemistry - Doctorate Chemical and Biological Engineering - Doctorate Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - Doctorate Certificate in Biotechnology and Biotechnology Engineering - Doctorate Biomedical Engineering - Doctorate Graduate Program in Computer Science - Doctorate Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development - Doctorate Physics - Doctorate Interdisciplinary Doctorate Mathematics - Doctorate Psychology - Doctorate Graduate Program in Chemistry - Doctorate Mechanical Engineering - Doctorate Graduate Program in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Doctorate Drama - Doctorate History Professional Graduate Program in International Affairs - Doctorate
Brandeis UniversityPsychology - Doctorate Politics - Doctorate Physics - Doctorate Neuroscience - Doctorate Near Eastern and Judaic Studies - Doctorate Music: Composition and Theory or Musicology Molecular and Cell Biology - Doctorate Mathematics - Doctorate History - Doctorate English - Doctorate Computer Science - Doctorate Chemistry - Doctorate Biochemistry and Biophysics - Doctorate Anthropology - Doctorate Sociology - Doctorate Musicology PhD in Social Policy Music: Musicology
Bay Path UniversityOccupational Therapy Doctorate
University of Massachusetts - AmherstNeuroscience and Behavior Molecular and Cellular Biology Plant Biology Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
University of Massachusetts - BostonEarly Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), PhD
Lesley UniversityPh.D. in Educational Studies: Adult Learning Specialization Ph.D. in Educational Studies: Educational Leadership Ph.D. Expressive Therapies Ph.D. in Educational Studies: Individually Designed Specialization