Terminal degree

Terminal degree

A terminal degree is the generally accepted highest degree in a field of study. An earned ["Earned" in the sense that the degree is obtained through the completion of a program of study, as opposed to by receiving an honorary doctorate] academic (or research) doctorate such as a Doctor of Philosophy is considered the terminal degree in most academic fields of study in some countries. Many professional degrees are also considered terminal degrees because they are the highest professional degree in the field, even though "higher" research degrees exist (for example the Juris Doctor.) [The J.D. is the highest professional law degree. The LL.M. is a research degree (University of Wisconsin Law School. [http://www.law.wisc.edu/grad/prospective/llm/overview-llm.html Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program] . Accessed June 23, 2008.) as is the S.J.D. (San Diego County Bar Association. [http://www.sdcba.org/ethics/ethicsopinion69-5.html Ethics Opinion 1969-5] . Accessed June 10, 2008.)] Some terminal degrees are not even doctorates--the terminal degree in applied arts such as creative writing, graphic design, and video art is usually the M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts), not a Ph.D.; the terminal degree for an academic librarian is a M.L.S./M.L.I.S. (Master's degree in Library Science or Library and Information Sciences); [, or the M.S.W. (Master's degree in Social Work) [http://www.depauw.edu/univ/handbooks/dpuhandbooks.asp?ID=232&parentid=228 DePauw University Academic Handbook, Appendix 3: Terminal Degrees] which lists some non-doctoral terminal degrees] [ [http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlstandards/statementterminal.htm American Library Association] indicates that "The master's degree in library science from a library school program accredited by the American Library Association is the appropriate terminal professional degree for academic librarians, in social work the M.S.W. (masters of social work)." ] and for many applied fields of study the terminal degree is a MPS (Masters of Professional Studies).

In some countries an additional tier of degrees known as Higher Doctorates exist. Whilst the PhD is usually undertaken at the outset of an academic career, a Higher Doctorate is usually awarded to senior academics for their overall contribution to their field and assessed on the basis of their existing published works, not on specific study for the Higher Doctorate.

Research doctorate degrees

In academic fields the typical terminal degree is the Ph.D., although others also exist. The first phase of the Ph.D. consists of coursework in the student's field of study and requires one to three years to complete. This often is followed by a preliminary or comprehensive examination and/or a series of cumulative examinations where the emphasis is on breadth rather than depth of knowledge. Finally, another two to four years is usually required for the composition of a substantial and original contribution to human knowledge embodied in a written dissertation that in the social sciences and humanities is typically 250 to 450 pages in length. Dissertations generally consist of (i) a comprehensive literature review, (ii) an outline of methodology, and (iii) several chapters of scientific, social, historical, philosophical, or literary analysis. Typically, upon completion, the candidate undergoes an oral examination, sometimes public, by his or her supervisory committee with expertise in the given discipline.

Typical terminal academic research degrees

* Doctor of Arts (DA)
* Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
* Doctor of Education (EdD)
* Doctor of Engineering (DEng/Dr. Eng.)
* Doctor of Laws (LLD)
* Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD/SJD) (in the U.S., the terminal research degree)
* Doctor of Management (DM)
* Doctor of Music (DMus)
* Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
* Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or DPhil)
* Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS)
* Doctor of Science (DSc)
* Doctor of Social Science (DSocSci)
* Doctor of Dental Science (DDSc) (In the UK and Ireland)
* Doctor of Medicine (MD, DM) (In the UK and Ireland)
* Doctor of Public Health (DrPH, DPH)
* Doctor of Theology (ThD)

Professional degrees

In some fields, especially those linked to a profession (e.g. medicine, nursing, dentistry, law, optometry, architecture, pharmacy, social work, religious ministry, engineering, accounting, education, etc.), a distinction is to be drawn between a first professional degree, an advanced professional degree, and a terminal academic degree. A first professional degree is generally required by law or custom to practice the profession without limitation. An advanced professional degree provides further training in a specialized area of the profession. A first professional degree is an academic degree designed to prepare the holder for a particular career or profession, fields where scholarly research and academic activity are not the work, but rather the practice of a profession. In many cases, the first professional degree is also the terminal degree because usually no further advanced degree is required for practice in that field even though more advanced professional degrees may exist.

Typical first professional

* Architect (BA(Arch), B.Arch, M.Arch)
* Architectural Engineering (B.A.E, M.A.E)
* Audiologist (BSc, AuD, or MS)
* Landscape Architect (BLA LArch), (MLA LArch)
* Business Administration (BBA, MBA)
* Health Administration (MHA)
*Engineering (BE, BEng, BSE, BSc, BASc, or BAI)
* Fine Arts (MFA, BFA)
* Chiropractor (DC, DCM, BChiro, or MChiro)
* Naprapath (DN)
* Occupational Therapy (OTD, DrOT, or MSOT, MA, MOT)
* Optometrist (OD, B.Optom)
* Osteopath (BOst, BOstMed, BSc(Osteo))
* Education (BEd, BA, BME, BSE,BSocSc, BSc)
* Education (BA, BME, BSE,BSocSc, BSc)
* Physician or Surgeon: (MD, MBBS, MDCM, MBChB, BMed, Dr.med, Dr.MuD, Cand.med, etc) or D.O. degree.
* Dentist (DMD, BDent, DDS, BDS, BDSc, BChD, CD, Cand.Odont., Dr.Med.Dent. etc)
* Lawyer (LLB, JD, or BCL)
* Naturopath (ND, NMD, BSc)
* Para-legal Studies (MPS)
* Pharmacist (BPharm, BScPhm, PharmB, MPharm, PharmD)
* Podiatrist (DPM, DP, BPod, PodB, or PodD)
* Political Management (MPS)
* Public Administration (MPA)
* Public Relations (MPS, MA, MS)
* Minister (BD, STB, BDiv, MMin, MDiv, STL)
* Physical therapy (BSPT, MSPT, DPT, or DPhysio)
* Psychologist (PhD, PsyD, or ClinPsyD)
* Nurse (BSN, BSc)
* Veterinarian (DVM, VMD, BVS, BVSc, BVMS, etc.)
* Library science (MLIS, MLS)
* Information Science (MSIS, (MISM)
* Speech Pathologist (MS)
* Social worker (BA, BSc, BSW, MA, MSc, or MSW)
* Biotechnology (BSc, BS, or ALM)
* Oriental Medicine (BSc, MSOM, MSTOM, or DOM)

Advanced professional degrees

* Education (EdD or DEd)
* Divinity (DD or DMin)
* Social Science (DSocSci)
* Medicine (MD, DM, ) (advanced degree in countries that award a bachelor degree in medicine or surgery as first professional degree, usually awarded for outstanding research to a particular field of Medicine)
* Dental Science (DDSc, Dr.Odont) (advanced degree in countries that award a bachelor degree in dental surgery as first professional degree, usually awarded for outstanding research to a particular field of Dentistry)
* Surgery (MS, MSurg, MCh, ChM, or MChir) (Usually granted after completion of surgery training program in conjunction with a research thesis)
* Dentistry (MDS, MSD, MDSc, or DClinDent) (these are usually granted at the culmination of a specialty training program in dentistry in those programs that also require research and a thesis to be completed)
* Engineering (MEng, MASc, MMSc)
* Ministry (MTh, ThM, STM, STD, DThP, DTP, ThPD, PrD, or DMin)
* Worship Studies (DWS)
* Science (MS, MSc) (also offered in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy)
* Psychology (PsyD)
* Computer Science (PD) ( see Columbia University [http://www.cvn.columbia.edu/deg/cspd.php] )

See also

*Professional degree


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