From the middle ages to the present, the educational system’s highest degree attainable is doctoral degrees. At present, only those master’s degree holders and other prerequisite degrees are eligible to take this level of education. Other people would commonly denote that a Doctoral degree is the terminal degree for those who continuously pursue postgraduate degrees after college.
The word “doctor” is commonly associated with an individual who finished a Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.) or a degree in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). In fact, “doctor” is the proper way to address a person with a doctoral degree not limited to those with a Ph.D. or M.D.
There are two main types of Doctoral degrees where various fields of study are classified. These are Research-oriented doctorate and Professional doctorate.
Research-oriented doctorate – This type of doctorate is what others commonly refer to as the “academic degree” type of doctorate. As the name implies, this doctorate is awarded to those who have completed publishable academic research.
The research study takes different forms like a dissertation or a compilation of short project reports. Usually, academic journals publish these kinds of research work.
Under this type of doctoral degree is Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Education, Doctor of Theology, and other degrees that require the accomplishment of original research work.
The expected years to complete research-oriented doctorate degrees vary from institution and country. Some would finish it three years and longer, but it does not usually take a decade to complete it.
Professional doctorate – On the other hand, a professional doctorate is what others would describe as an “applied degree” type of doctorate. This doctoral degree would require completion of a closely aligned pre-requisite degree. A professional who is a master’s degree holder and would want to continue to a higher level of education usually chooses to pursue this path.
Described as the doctorate type of “applied degree,” the fields of study are usually associated with the previously taken college and master’s degree as well as the individual’s current profession.
Scholarly individuals with professions in law, medicine, and allied medical sciences are the usual people who would venture their time in interest in this type of doctoral degree. Examples of this include Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.).
This type of doctoral degree also involves research completion. But this time, the study is for professional purposes and is usually applied research.
Other fields of study classified under this category are Doctor of Public Administration, Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Professional Studies, and other professional practices.
In some countries, universities may award an honorary doctorate. An honorary doctorate is an award given to individuals with an excellent contribution to a particular field because of humanitarian efforts. The honoris causa, which means “for the sake of the honor,” may be given to the individual. It is possible even if he/she did not go through the process and submission of accomplishments following the degree requirement. The appointed university committee on awards is responsible for deliberating his/her philanthropic work for a particular field of profession.
Doctoral degrees vary in forms, types, and requirements depending on the university and country. To sum it all, this is the highest form of education attainable that requires research work completion. The academic honor society gives the highest recognition to doctoral degree holders. Typically, they have the most opportunity with the highest-paid position possible in a specific career organization.