List of doctoral degrees in the US

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There are a wide variety of doctoral degrees awarded to students in a number different categories in the United States. Doctorates are not restricted to being based solely research or academic coursework. The first research doctorate was the doctor of philosophy, which came to the U.S. from Germany, and is frequently referred to by its initials of Ph.D.. As academia evolved in the country a wide variety of other types of doctoral degrees and programs were developed. Some of these included a focus on teaching such as the Doctor of Arts, others were simply a more specific curricula within a specific field such as the Doctor of Engineering or Doctor of Education of which may be identical in requirements, length, coursework and research to the Ph.D.

Additionally, there are a number of lower level (in terms of academic advancement) professional doctorates such as the Doctor of Medicine and the Juris Doctor that do not have a dissertation research component. In contrast to other countries worldwide a doctoral program generally requires the completion of a program of academic coursework in addition to other requirements for all types of doctoral degrees.

Types of doctorate[edit]

The United States Department of Education published a Structure of US Education in 2008 that differentiated between associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, first professional degrees, master's degrees, intermediate graduate qualifications and research doctorate degrees.[1] This included doctoral degrees in the first professional degree, intermediate graduate qualification and research doctorate degree categories.

The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics divides U.S. doctorates into three categories for the purposes of its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): Doctor's degree-research/scholarship, Doctor's degree-professional practice and Doctor's degree-other. The Doctor's degree-research/scholarship is defined as "A Ph.D. or other doctor's degree that requires advanced work beyond the master's level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement." The Doctor's degree-professional practice is unofficially known as "doctor's degree" in the U.S. that is conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice but is defined by the department of education as a professional degree that lawyers and physicians complete to practice in their vocations. The degree is awarded after a period of study such that the total time to the degree, including both pre-professional and professional preparation, equals at least six full-time equivalent academic years." The Doctor's degree-other is defined as "A doctor's degree that does not meet the definition of a doctor's degree – research/scholarship or a doctor's degree – professional practice." The categorization of degrees for IPEDS is left to the awarding institutes.[2][3][4]

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has published an annual census of research doctorates called the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) since 1957 with sponsorship from the NSF, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education.[5] For the purposes of this survey, a research doctorate is defined as "a doctoral degree that (1) requires completion of an original intellectual contribution in the form of a dissertation or an equivalent culminating project (e.g., musical composition) and (2) is not primarily intended as a degree for the practice of a profession."[6] It should be noted that the second point here – that a research doctorate is "not primarily intended as a degree for the practice of a profession" means that not all doctorates containing "an original intellectual contribution in the form of a dissertation or an equivalent culminating project" are regarded as research doctorates by the NSF. The NSF list of research doctorates is recognized internationally as establishing which U.S. doctorates are considered Ph.D.-equivalent, e.g. by the European Research Council.[7]

The Department of Education's 2008 Structure of US Education listed 24 frequently awarded research doctorates titles accepted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as representing "degrees equivalent in content and level to the Ph.D".[8] This reflected the 24 doctorates recognized by the NSF in Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2005.[9] As of Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2006 this was reduced to 18,[10] part of an ongoing program of assessment that saw the number of recognized research degrees reduced from the 52 recognized from 1994 (the earliest report archived online) to 1998, falling to 48 from 1999 to 2003 and to 24 in 2004.[11][12][13][14][15] The number rose to 20 in 2007, with the Doctor of Design and Doctor of Fine Arts being re-recognized after being removed from the 2006 list, before falling again to 18 in 2008 when the Doctor of Music and Doctor of Industrial Technology were dropped.[16] Since then, the list of recognized research degrees has been constant, although most Ed.D. degree programs were determined to have a professional rather than research focus and removed from the survey in 2010–2011; despite this, the Ed.D. remains the second most popular research doctorate in the SED after the Ph.D in 2014. (albeit with 1.1% of awards compared to 98.1% for the Ph.D.).[17]

Research doctorates[edit]

In the United States the doctoral degrees that have been identified by various universities and others (including the NSF at various times) as having original research including a dissertation or equivalent have included:

Degree Abbreviation Identified by Notes
Doctor of Architecture D.Arch. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Arts D.A. NSF[18]
Doctor of Arts in Teaching D.A.T. NSF (to 2003)[14] As alternative name for Doctor of Arts
Doctor of Applied Science D.A.S. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Business Administration D.B.A. NSF[18]
Doctor of Canon Law J.C.D. NSF[18]
Doctor of Chemistry D.Chem. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Church Music D.C.M. NSF (to 2005)[9]
Doctor of Criminal Justice D.C.J. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Criminology D.Crim. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Comparative/Civil Law D.C.L. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Design D.Des. NSF (from 2007)[16][18]
Dr.DES NSF (to 2005)[9]
Doctor of Education Ed.D. NSF[18] Most programs not considered research degrees by NSF from 2010/11[17]
Doctor of Engineering D.Eng./D.E.Sc./D.E.S NSF[18]
Doctor of Environment D.Env. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Fine Arts D.F.A. NSF[18] Not included in NSF list for 2006[10]
Doctor of Forestry D.F. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Geological Science D.G.S. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Health and Safety D.H.S. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Hebrew Letters D.H.L. NSF[18]
Doctor of Hebrew Studies D.H.S. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Industrial Technology D.I.T. NSF (to 2007)[16]
Doctor of Juridical Science J.S.D./S.J.D. NSF[18]
Doctor of Juristic Science J.S.D. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Library Science D.L.S. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Medical Science D.M.Sc NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Missiology D.Miss NSF (to 1998)[12]
Doctor of Music D.M. NSF (to 2007)[16]
Doctor of Music Education D.M.E. NSF[18]
Doctor of Music Ministry D.M.M. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Musical Arts D.M.A. NSF[18]
Doctor of Modern Languages D.M.L. NSF[18]
Doctor of Nursing Science D.N.Sc. NSF[18]
Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. NSF[18]
Doctor of Physical Education D.P.E. NSF (to 2005)[9]
Doctor of Professional Studies D.P.S. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Public Administration D.P.A. NSF (to 2005)[9]
Brewer et al. (1999)[19]
Doctor of Public Health Dr.P.H. NSF[18]
Doctor of Recreation D.Rec./D.R. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Rehabilitation Rh.D. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Religious Education D.R.E. NSF (to 1998)[12]
Doctor of Sacred Music D.S.M. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Sacred Theology S.T.D. NSF[18] Removed from NSF list from1999, restored in 2004[13][15]
Doctor of Science D.Sc./Sc.D. NSF[18]
Doctor of Science and Hygiene D.Sc.H. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Science in Dentistry D.Sc.D. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Science in Veterinary Medicine D.Sc.V.M. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Science of Law L.Sc.D. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Social Science D.S.Sc. NSF (to 2003)[14]
Doctor of Social Work D.S.W. NSF (to 2005)[9]
Doctor of Theology Th.D. NSF[18]

Professional doctorates[edit]

In addition to the research doctorate, the US has many professional degrees sometimes referred to as first-professional degrees which are titled as doctor's degrees and classified as "doctors degree – professional practice".[20] While research doctorates require "advanced work beyond the master's level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement",[21] professional doctorates must have a total time to degree (including prior study at bachelor's level) of at least six years, and provide "the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice".[22]

Professional Service Doctoral Degree in the United States Abbreviation First awarded Original/Founding Degree(s) in the United States
Acupuncture Doctor of Acupuncture D.Ac. MAC 1981
Audiology Doctor of Audiology Au.D. 1996 MA/MS post-WWII
Behavioral Health Doctor of Behavioral Health D.B.H. 2010
Chiropractor Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine D.C. 1927
Computer Science Doctor of Computer Science D.C.Sc. 1965 (first Ph.D. in computer science, not first D.C.Sc)[23]
Counseling Doctor of Professional Studies/Counseling D.P.S. 1972
Dentistry Doctor of Dental Surgery
Doctor of Medical Dentistry
D.D.S.
D.M.D.
1841[24]
1869[25]
See M.D. degree
Economic Development Doctor of Economic Development D.E.D. 2008
Health Science Doctor of Health Science D.H.Sc.
D.H.S.
1914 (see DPH)
Law Juris Doctor
Doctor of Jurisprudence Doctor of Juridical Science
J.D.
D.Jur. SJD
1902[26] "Graduate of Laws" 1792; LL.B (Bachelor of Laws) 1840[27]
Management Doctor of Management D.M.
D.Mgt
1995
Medicine Doctor of Medicine M.D. 1770[28] M.B. (Bachelor of Medicine) 1769[29]
Ministry (clergy) Doctor of Ministry
Doctor of Practical Theology
Doctor of Biblical Studies
Doctor of Counseling
Doctor of Educational Ministry
D.Min.
D.P.Th.
D.B.S.
DCOUN.
DEDMIN
Doctor of Transformational Leadership/DTL
Music Doctor of Church Music
Doctor of Pastoral Music
Doctor of Sacred Music
Doctor of Worship Studies
D.C.M.
D.P.M.
D.S.M.
D.W.S.
Naturopathy Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine N.D. or N.M.D1901 see Naturopathy
Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice
Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice
D.N.P.
D.N.A.P.
2005
Occupational Therapy Doctor of Occupational Therapy D.O.T. 2014
Optometry Doctor of Optometry O.D. 1889[30] See M.D. degree
Osteopathic Medicine Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine D.O. 1892 See M.D. degree
Pharmacy Doctor of PharmacyPharm.D 1950 (program established)[31] "Graduate of Pharmacy" 1826; B.S. in Pharmacy (Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy) 1938[32]
Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy D.P.T. 1992
Podiatry Doctor of Podiatric Medicine D.P.M. 1915 D.S.C. (Doctor of Surgical Chiropody) 1912;[33] See M.D. degree
Psychology Doctor of Psychology D.Psy/Psy.D >1973
Social Worker Doctor of Social Work D.S.W.
Speech-Language Pathology Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology D.S.L.P.
Veterinary medicine Doctor of Veterinary Medicine D.V.M./V.M.D. 1876[34] B.V.S. (Bachelor of Veterinary Science) 1871[34][failed verification]

Other doctorates[edit]

There are also some programs leading to awards titled as doctorates that meet neither the definition of the research doctorate nor those of the professional doctorate. These are classified as "doctor's degree – other".[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Structure of U.S. Education". U.S. Department of Education. 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Doctor's degree-research/scholarship". Glossary. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  3. ^ "Doctor's degree-professional practice". Glossary. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  4. ^ "Doctor's degree-other". Glossary. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  5. ^ "Survey of Earned Doctorates: About the Survey". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Technical Notes". Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2015. National Science Foundation. December 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  7. ^ "ERC policy on PhD and equivalent doctoral degrees" (PDF). European Research Council. 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Structure of the U.S. Education System: Research Doctorate Degrees". US Department of Education. February 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2005" (PDF). National Science Foundation. 2006. p. 173. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. ^ a b "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2006" (PDF). National Science Foundation. 2007. p. 202. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  11. ^ "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 1994" (PDF). National Science Foundation/National Academy Press. 1995. p. 202. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ a b c "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 1998" (PDF). National Science Foundation. 1999. p. 139. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. ^ a b "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 1999" (PDF). National Science Foundation. 2000. p. 133. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2003" (PDF). National Science Foundation. 2004. p. 183. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ a b "Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2004" (PDF). National Science Foundation. 2005. p. 177. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ a b c d "Types of research doctoral degrees recognized by the Survey of Earned Doctorates: 2007 and 2008" (PDF). Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2007-08. National Science Foundation. December 2009. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-23 – via NCSES Web Archive at archive-it.org.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  17. ^ a b "Technical Notes". Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2014. National Science Foundation. December 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Types of research doctoral degrees recognized by the Survey of Earned Doctorates: 2015" (PDF). National Science Foundation. May 2017.
  19. ^ Gene A. Brewer; Rex L. Facer II; Laurence J. O'Toole Jr.; James W. Douglas (October 1999). "What's in a Name? Comparing DPA and Ph.D. Programs". Journal of Public Affairs Education. National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). 5 (4): 309–317. doi:10.1080/15236803.1999.12022083. JSTOR 40215453.
  20. ^ "Structure of U.S. Education". U.S. Department of Education, USNEI. see files for Research Doctorate Degrees, First-Professional Degrees, and Intermediate Graduate Qualifications, from 2008.
  21. ^ "Doctor's degree-research/scholarship". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Doctor's degree-professional practice". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  23. ^ London, Ralph L. (15 January 2013). "Who Earned First Computer Science Ph.D.?". Communications of the ACM. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  24. ^ "History of Dental Surgery". National Art Publishing Company. 1910. p. 413. Baltimore College of Dental Surgery
  25. ^ "History of Dental Surgery". National Art Publishing Company. 1910. p. 463. Harvard University
  26. ^ David Perry (June 2012). "HOW DID LAWYERS BECOME "DOCTORS"? FROM THE LL.B. TO THE J.D." (PDF). New York State Bar Association Journal. New York State Bar Association.
  27. ^ David Perry (June 2012). "HOW DID LAWYERS BECOME "DOCTORS"? FROM THE LL.B. TO THE J.D." (PDF). New York State Bar Association Journal. New York State Bar Association. the first LL.B was awarded in 1840 at U. Virginia, after the same award given to undergraduates at the U. Cambridge in England. However, its predecessor "Graduate of Laws" degree was awarded in 1792 at William and Mary.
  28. ^ "History of the College of Physicians and Surgeons". Columbia University. Retrieved 7 October 2016. King's College organized a medical faculty in 1767 and was the first institution in the North American Colonies to confer the degree of Doctor of Medicine. The first graduates in medicine from the College were Robert Tucker and Samuel Kissarn, who received the degree of Bachelor of Medicine in May 1769, and that of Doctor of Medicine in May 1770 and May 1771, respectively.
  29. ^ Cushman, Paul (1969). "THE KISSAM FAMILY: ITS IMPORTANCE IN NEW YORK MEDICINE". The New York Academy of Medicine. 45 (7): 691. PMC 1750435. PMID 4895796. the American M.D. required completion of a Thesis similar to the English D.M. This American requirement was dropped later and remained on par with the English M.B. in a first-professional scope.
  30. ^ "History of Optometry Lecture" (PDF). The Philadelphia Optics College awarded the first "Doctor of Optics" degree, however, use of the title "Dr." was frowned upon until the 1930's
  31. ^ "Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)". University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  32. ^ Kremers and Urdang's History of pharmacy. American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. 1986. pp. 242–243. OCLC 27358691. Prior to 1938, various certificates and degrees were awarded without Accreditation by a national association and were therefore not trusted. After the first diploma in 1826, unregulated certificates and education standards were employed (bachelors, master's, Doctor's, Pharmaceutical Chemist)
  33. ^ "Journal of the American Podiatry Association". 1922. p. 12. The New York College of Chiropody
  34. ^ a b "Our History". Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  35. ^ "Doctor's degree-other". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved March 4, 2017.