Talk:Academic degree

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Please remember to sign with four tildes: ~~~~. Append discussion at the end in chronological order.

May June 2003[edit]

I'm not that sure about the exact definition of "degree", but I think the paragraph about Germany is wrong. We have the following system at the moment:

Most academic studies will end with the diploma titles or "Dipl.-Something" or "Magister Artium (M.A.)" (and sometimes MSc) given to the graduate. There is a reform nowadays changing this to basic university studies ending with the degree of bachelor (B.A. or B.Sc.), and secondary university studies ending with the degree of master (M.A. or M.Sc. or MBA).

Graduates with a diploma can continue to study for earning a PhD ("Dr. phil." or "Dr. rer. nat." or "Dr. iur." or ...).

The next step in academic carrier for an post-doc is to habilitate ("Dr. habil."). A person who habilitated and works at university is titled Privatdozent ("PD"), a person appointed to a life-time position at university is called professor ("Prof."). So the usual higher level academic at universities bears something like "Prof. Dr." or "Prof. Dr.-Ing." as title, the level just beyond that bears the title of "PD Dr.", and then come diverse post-graduate and assistant positions. Even the class of university professors is splitted further into ordinary professors and professors ordinarius.

This step is also in reform nowadays, resulting in two different ways to become a professor. One is the way as shown above, the other is to apply for a "junior professor" position after graduating with a PhD title, becoming junior professor for some time (6 years? 12 years?), waiting to become appointed as professor without habilitating first.

-- till we *) 13:46 21 May 2003 (UTC)

I do agree, the section about Germany is crap. It tries to combine the general "Diplom" at universities and polys with the "Diplom I / II" only a special (rare) type of university confers. It also mixes in the "Bachelor/Master" degrees, which are similar to the english system, but have not yet been firmly established (they are intended to supersede the old diplom system). Somebody should rewrite the paragraph, describe the classic one-step system of to "Diplom", and underline the difference to the two-step system of Bachelor+Master and mention as well, that Germany is currently changing the one-step system to the two-step system. The last sentence about the Netherlands is crap as well. The Netherlands have already changed from a German-like one-step system to a two-step system. -- Chris
I have changed the paragraph about degree's in Germany. More information on the change to the two-step system can already be found on the page dealing with the Bologna process. -- shabel 09:54, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it is just me, but when I stumbled across this page, there was no specific info on the Netherlands. Thus I added it "for the common good of everybody". I hope you like it. I described the situation of after 1982 (I think this is what Chris referred to correctly, and 1982 was only the final step in a process started after WWII for obvious reasons), because that is the one that is in power now. After 1982 they aligned it forcefully with Bologna and with strict time limits set as you can see. no more of very limited playing around and all for booking results or leave.
Of course I have written it trying to be as complete as I can and with explanatory references to keep the text as concise but complete as I can. However, if something for you non-Dutchies out there is not clear or I went over it too quick, let me know so I can elaborate. I have to say honestly I do agree strongly with the section on Germany. It looks like a mush and my personal feeling is that Germany is trying desperately to fit its system into where the rest of the world is moving. Like putting a square peg in a round hole, especially since (in my experience) German academics love their titles and would die if they can not display them prominently any more in public. Thus upgrading titles is good, downgrading would be a reason for Prozac. The same thing goes for the comment above. I think that readers would greatly benefit from a no frills objective comparison to Bologna, adding to it what the titles are nationally and what they "are worth" in an international setting. -- Braab

I see that J.D. is listed under doctoral level degrees. It should probably be noted somewhere that, in the United States at least, a J.D. does not entitle the holder to use the style "Doctor". Whereas, by tradition, the other degrees listed on the page (Ph.D., M.D., D.D.) do entitle the holder to be called "Doctor". -- Slathering 05:34 26 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Yes, it is now mentioned that the J.D. degree according to convention does not confer the title of "doctor" and there is a link to J.D. -- 15:42, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)
That is pure poppycock. What convention says it doesn't confer the title of doctor? Sources please. This is supposed to be an encycopedia not a combination of misinformation and old wives tales. -- Tweeker 00:29, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Major edit of August 11, 2004[edit]

I just did some major copyediting on this article.

  • I tried to reduce redundancy and raise the level of the prose a bit (no offense to anyone who's been working on this before me).
  • Changed "quoted" terms to italicized throughout.
  • In the list of "Types of academic degrees":
    • Removed links to individual degrees and directed readers to the articles for each general type; if someone wants to start linking individual degrees again, they should probably try to include all of them (my opinion, anyway).
    • Removed the U.K. distinction between undergraduate & postgraduate Master's degrees and junior & higher Doctorates, and the whole paragraph about U.S. doctorates; I think all this information belongs in the individual articles I've linked to in this item. See Original version of text below.
  • I also fiddled around with the "See also" list:
    • Added some terms.
    • Incorporated the link to "Degrees of Oxford University" since there's now nothing between the list of degrees and the "See also" list for the whole article.
    • Removed link to "Bologna process" since it is linked to prominently in the main text and even has its own paragraph.

Original version of text in parts I removed/reformatted (should be incorporated into Master's degree and Doctorate, if not already there):

The distinction of "higher doctorates" is not very common in the United States. The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recognize numerous doctoral degrees as equivalent in status and do not discriminate betweem them. See: D.A., D.B.A., D.M.A., D.Sc., Ed.D., Ph.D., Th.D, and more at Doctorate.

- dcljr 18:52, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I've seen some people listing "Candidatus of Science, C. Sc." amongst their degrees - what exactly is this? 21:05, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is Soviet degree, higher than M. Sc. that may be or may not be equal to Ph. D. In U.K., C. Sc. is treated like Ph. D. and Soviet Doctor of Science like DSc. --Master Psychologist 10:23, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Is this supposed to mean something?[edit]

In the note in the middle of "Types of academic degrees" I find this:

Kandidat Nauk Candidate of Science Doktor Nauk Doctor of Science

It's meaning doesn't really jump out at me.... SimonLyall 11:33, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

It's two examples of transliterated Russian, with the translations by the side.

Scandinavia candidatus/Cand. mag. degrees[edit]

Can anyone provide some information in English about the Cand.mag. and other members of the candidatus/a category of degrees used in Norway and Denmark? Reference dk:Cand.mag. and dk:Kandidat. Thanks!!

August 2005[edit]

OK...I guess I'm not getting this. Howardjp is continually deleting external references in the name of "spamectomy." I don't get it. If *every* external link is, in Howardjp's book, "spam," then it is impossible to provide external references. Hence, the information herein exists in a bubble. If, however, Howardjp believes that *some* external links are, indeed, acceptable, I'd like to know what objectively measurable criteria he employs and I'll be happy to comply.

None of the (now) four links listed here actual references which relate to this article. Sure, they both discuss degrees, but that is it. An article claiming that if you have a bachelors degree raises your median incoming by 10% (or whatever) is not at all relevant. This article provides a history of the concept of academic degrees, gives a list of degrees from several countries and attempts to provide a comparison point among various international standards. None of the links included currently actually address this, therefore they do not belong here and are linkspam. -Howardjp 13:17, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

The article would benefit from a comparison of terminologies employed in Europe and in the US. For example, in the US, there are five generally (though not universally) accepted academic ranks: Instructor (adjunct and/or non-Ph.D.), Assistant Professor (tenure track but not yet Outtenured), Associate Professor (tenured), Professor, and Distinguished Professor (a very rare title reserved for those who are internationally recognized as the top researchers in their fields).

Technically, a Ph.D. below the rank of Professor carries the title "Dr.," while those at the rank of Professor carry the title "Prof." In practice, students tend to refer to those with Ph.D's as "Dr." and those without as "Prof."

To further complicate matters, in many US colleges (some of which are called "universities," but aren't), the various ranks are awarded on the basis of longevity and teaching. In contrast, in US universities (i.e. institutions that grant a significant number of graduate degrees and in which the faculty conduct significant research), one cannot rise above the rank of Assistant Professor without either a Ph.D. or a terminal masters degree.

-- Wikiant 14:14, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikiant - your comments on academic ranks is true for most senior colleges and universities in the US. However, many community colleges in the US also use the four academic ranks so a "professor" at a community college might be someone with only an asssociate or bachelor's degree.

In the US the titles "college" and "university" are used interchangeably. In the US we generally regard a college as focusing on undergraduate education while a university offers both undergraduate and graduate education. And organizationally, a college maybe part of a university e.g., College of Arts and Sciences etc. In the US, Dartmouth College, Boston College and the College of William and Mary are really universities but they chose to retain their traditional names.

Ouside of the US "college" and "university" are defined differently.


Europe 1st?[edit]

Can we have some qualification that Europe was the first 'civilisation' to have Universities, by the 12th Century? I'm pretty sure Greeks had equivilents during their Golden Ages, and I was definately under the impression that China and India had centres of academic excellence long before Europeans had got out of bearskins. --JDnCoke 17:27, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure that's what is being said, and certainly not was originally intended. My first inelegant phrase was "Universities started to be set up in Europe in the 12th and 13th century or so." This was amended to "The first universities were founded in Europe in the 12th century and 13th century." - i.e. 'the first European universities were founded in...'

I'm sure we all know what the Greeks and Romans have done for us, but again the original thrust of the article was intended to concentrate on the traceable roots of the types of institutions still in existence today.

Very Euro-centric and dismissive of ancient history, I know, but not intended to re-write global history... Timberline 21:17, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Al-Azhar claims university status in 988 AD. Not sure if they were giving out hoity-toity parchments at that point.

Alphabet soup[edit]

This article is awful. And can anyone defend the alphabet soup of unexplained abbreviations? Many of these are probably only local or very narrow professional degrees. This article should focus on the general, the common history of academic degrees and major differences between different systems. Everything else should go in more specific articles. (And please spare me the {{sofixit}} template; Wikipedia would need a whole project to fix all the academia-related articles lacking anything resembling balance and perspective.) up◦land 13:21, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Europe First?[edit]

In addition to the issue about Al-Azhar being the oldest university, organized educational institutions were endemic in the classical Islamic world, funded by endowments called waqf. These institutions funded the organized study of law and medicine long before 12th-century Italy. Furthermore it was a common practice in the Islamic educational system for a master teacher to issue a 'sheheda', or testimony to the mastery of a subject, to an advanced student. The word 'sheheda' in Arabic means 'degree' to this day. The 'Europe first' characterization in this article is manifestly false.

For more on this issue of education in the Islamic context, see the work of George Makdisi in "The Rise of Colleges" and "The Rise of Humanism"

Merging with double degree[edit]

My two cents on merging Academic degree with double degree, I think it is a good idea. It would fit well into the article... just my two cents.

I'm not sure; my feeling at the moment is that it would be better to keep the articles separate. There's enough in the "Double degree" article to warrant its separate existence, and adding it to the current "Acadmic degree" article would overbalance the latter. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:15, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Only if your linkspam gets carried with it. -James Howard (talk/web) 23:33, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
They should be kept separate (1) for consistency with the rest of the entries about college degrees, (2) to keep the size of those articles under control, and (3) to enable future expansion. As for consistency, there are separate articles for associate's and foundation degrees--among others. I see nothing wrong with adding information from "Double degree" so the concept is mentioned here. However, that degree is treated too comprehensively in its article to merge here without losing information. Finally, the current layout allows both entries to be expanded in the future without becoming crowded. --Primetime 23:07, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think you are understanding. A double degree is not a degree. It is when you received you work toward any two degrees, simultaneously, typically with dual credit and a comprehensive program. As a result, it seems much more sensible to merge it in than leave it hang out there. -James Howard (talk/web) 16:40, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure that I follow this, but it seems to involve the misunderstanding of a double degree that James Howard has shown from the outset. I suspect that it arises because his knowledge is limited to the North American model (in which talk of credit makes sense, for example) while the subject of the article concerns a type of degree originating and making sense primarily in the British model. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 17:02, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

1) All of the examples in your continually readded linkspam conform with my understanding. 2) You don't even provide a British example in your linkspam. These statements, combined with what you posted above lead to one conclusion: I am not the one who is confused here. That said, you can provide a British example (and, so I don't have to smack you down later, post it here, not in your spam list). -James Howard (talk/web) 17:30, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  1. between ten and twenty editors have pointed out that it's not linkspam; no-one has agreed with you.
  2. Where on Earth do you think that Stirling is? Learn some basic geography before attacking other editors in this way. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:23, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
"Where on Earth do you think that Stirling is?" Scotland of course! Stirling is a very beautiful district. Ok, so this discussion needs some levity and cooling down.


I'm not sure if anyone noticed but why isn't there mention of the MD or medical degree? I know there is an article on it but the list of academic degrees seems fairly incomplete without such a major degree. Obviously it is not an obscure profession and requires some of the longest training among any occupation. Though it does not follow the usual route of a doctorate, neither does the JD and it has its own section on the list of degrees. So why not medicine? When I mean medicine, I mean physicians. Hitokirishinji 05:46, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Much like "law" has its own little section on the table of degrees. I propose that medicine does as well. After all, there are different degrees for (physicians) medicine such as MD, DO and MBBS (ChiB). Can anyone edit this and add these? Hitokirishinji 20:19, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Is an MD considered an *academic* degree? In the U.S. it is regarded as a professional degree -- that is, the recipient is trained to perform a task, not to generate new knowledge. Hence, MD's who want to perform research obtain Ph.D.'s in addition to the MD. Wikiant 03:04, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Well I suppose it depends on what you consider professional or academic. I know of many MDs who still do research without PhDs. Though once again this may come down to semantics, many MDs do clincal research rather than lab research as is typically regarded. And there are those MDs who do research without a PhD. On the same note, if this same logic is applied to the other degrees, is a JD considered a truely "academic" degree? Plenty of lawyers practice without doing any further research in law. Hitokirishinji 20:39, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
It would be fair to point out that even the article itself says the JD is a professional degree. Thus would it be more fair to create an entire article on professional degrees with their own catagory box much like the academic degree article has at the bottom and move all the professional degrees there? Unfortunately, I don't think I have power to edit or create that box at the bottom.Hitokirishinji 20:44, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, some MD's do research (I've published with some -- as a side note, I have noted many cases in which straight MD's don't understand the fundamentals of experimentation and statistical analysis necessary for research work). Whether or not an individual does research, however, is not the issue. My claim is that the MD degree is not *intended* to prepare the student for research. It is intended as a practitioner's degree. Wikiant 17:17, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, as was pointed out above, an MD is a first professional degree and it is also a professional doctorate. Many MDs also do research, but an MD degree is not a research doctorate. You're right Wikiant, an MD is not a PhD which is a research doctorate. That's the reason that many MDs who do research also obtain PhD degrees. Yes you're right, the MD (like the DDS/DMD, DO, DC etc) is a practitioner's or an applied degree
In the UK (and I believe in other countries too), the MD degree is definitely a research degree undertaken exclusively by physicians (i.e. graduates of medicine). I believe it can be considered equal to a PhD degree. Although it is not a prerequisite, it gives its bearer a competitive edge around the time of clinical promotions (e.g. from Specialist Registrar to Consultant) or academic promotions (e.g. Lecturer to Senior Lecturer).
Another notable difference between the US and UK systems is that a medical degree in the UK is regarded as a first undergraduate degree, whereas an undergraduate degree is a prerequisite to studying medicine in the US.
In response to the point Wikiant made as to whether an American MD is "professional" or "academic", I thought that it can only be awarded by universities which makes me lean in favour of it being "academic". I would also question the argument that since it does not prepare you for research, it is not "academic" -- I don't believe any undergraduate degrees are designed to prepare the student for graduate or postgraduate research. --Buzwad 11:47, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
To my knowledge, all of the degrees under discussion (JD, MD, DPharm, PhD, etc.) are issued by universities. The distinction, herein, of "academic" vs. "professional" applies only to doctoral-level degrees. My sense of the arguments to this point is: (1) a "doctorate" is the highest attainable degree in a field; (2) a doctorate is considered "professional" if its main purpose is to enable the individual to work in the field; (3) a doctorate is considered "academic" if its main purpose is to enable the individual to expand the field's body of knowledge via research and publishing. With regard to the JD, the current focus of debate, as I understand it, is whether or not the JD satisfies (1). With regard to the Ed.D. (see earlier discussion on this page), the as-yet-unchallenged claim is that the Ed.D. satisfies (1), and (2) but not (3). Wikiant 13:34, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
The MD is an academic degree, as is any degree issued by a university. But it is a professional doctorate, along with the DO, DDS/DMD, DMV, DPharm, DPM, OD, JD, etc. I've seen people argue Ed.D. both ways. As a rough guide--not accurate in all cases--if it falls under the purview of the Dean of the Graduate School, it's not a professional doctorate; otherwise (Dean of Medicine, Dean of Law, etc.), it may well be a professional doctorate. There are countless exceptions to this. JJL 17:40, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe that this captures the thrust of the preceding argument. Specifically, there is no disagreement over the fact that the MD is issued by a university. The distinction between "professional" and "academic" appears to focus not on the *issuer* of the degree, but on the *intent* of the degree. To my knowledge (and experience), MD's are not trained, principally, to conduct research, but to *practice* medicine. Most (though not all) of those MD's who principally conduct research obtain Ph.D.'s in addition to their MD's. Wikiant 18:19, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I guess it is mostly a matter of terminology, but the distinction you make between "professional degrees" and "academic degrees" should be actually a distinction instead between "professional degrees" and "research degrees". All degrees awarded by a university are, by definition, "academic degrees" whether they are "liberal arts degrees", "professional degrees", or "research degrees". If we used your criteria to restrict "academic degrees" solely to those degrees that are based on original research, then all bachelor's degrees and most master's degrees would have to be considered "non-academic", which would be obviously absurd ! Toeplitz (talk) 20:17, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Types of Academic Degree[edit]

The section is good but to maintain clarity I recommend that bachelors' degrees need to be listed under bachelors; masters's under masters etc. Yes there are some bachelors' degrees in the UK etc. that are postgraduate and some undergraduate - same with masters' degrees, but it still needs to be organized by degree title.

Also, the only degrees I know of between masters' and doctors' degrees are the Specialist (US) and Licentiate (Theology related). CAS, CAGS etc., are postgraduate certificates NOT degrees. The requirements for a CAS/CAGS maybe similar to a Specialist degree, but a certificate is not a degree.

From US Dept of Education website:

"Students at the graduate level may occasionally undertake specialized, short courses of study. Most of these study programs result in the award of a certificate, frequently called a Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.). The C.A.S. is not considered a degree but it does constitute completion of a structured program of study at the graduate level."

Specialist degrees are most commonly given in the field of Education (Ed.Sp.) but are also given in Arts (Sp.A.) and School Psychology (S.S.P.).

If there are no objections, I will edit the section according my statement above.

I'm not sure who this was, but user:Tweeker has just edited along these lines. The misunderstanding is that a degree is defined by its title, not by its nature and rôle. A B.Phil. in Oxford, for example, is a Master's degree (graduates can choose whether to graduate with a B.Phil. or an M.Phil. certificate in fact, though no-one chooses the M.Phil. option so far as I'm aware). The reasons for its name are a matter of recent (20th century) history, but essentially, when all the Oxford B.Phils were renamed "M.Phil.", Philosophy chose not to change the name with the others, as the B.Phil. had too prominent a reputation, which they didn't want to risk.
We're surely interested in the facts about the nature of the degrees, not the surface issue of what they're called. I'm reminded of the person who organised his books by the colour of their bindings; lets organise ours by their contents. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 18:01, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Since degree definitions vary then the only way to resolve this is to list degrees by country. A single list is just too confusing. I greatly admire the British system but the article needs to be clear to all English speaking readers not just those in the UK. The articles on the degree levels (bachelor, master etc) provide the depth, this article should be an overview. Let's divide it up by country and everyone can work on sections and clarify misinformation.
"We're surely interested in the facts about the nature of the degrees, not the surface issue of what they're called." The information on the US JD and EdD degrees which you have reverted is still erroneous.

Tweeker 04:49, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree up to a point; it's important, though, to bring out the shared early history of degrees, and the relationships between different systems. Perhaps we should have a section on themediæval universities, followed by sections on each different major system, followed by an account that tries to draw parallels and make important distinctions.

One problem that I've found, though, is that even within a country, people can take their knowledge of the system as absolute, insisting dogmatically on an over-generalisation. Still, that can be overcome on Talk, I hope. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:12, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm impressed, positive changes. Yes I agree that there is shared history up to a point speaking for the US. The oldest institution of higher education in the US is Harvard University which claims 1636 as its founding date. After the colonies rebelled in 1776 even more academic separation.
I suggest that diplomas and certificates be excluded from the article as they are not degrees and it will further confuse readers.
I still find the listing of academic degree titles confusing and bizarre because it tries to merge two different systems - UK and US. "B.Acc." is not a Specialist degree, but it is a postgraduate degree. Just like placing JD together with BCL, Phil - the JD is not a master's degree but all three of them are postgraduate degrees. They need to be separated. Bachelors' degrees are not even the same - in the US it is a standardized four year program but in the UK there are some undergraduate bachelors' degrees (3 years/4 years) and some postgraduate ones.
"One problem that I've found, though, is that even within a country, people can take their knowledge of the system as absolute, insisting dogmatically on an over-generalisation." Agreed and the best way around it is for all of us to quote valid sources and use footnotes. It will benefit Wikipedia.
The article should be clear to every reader especially those who are not familiar with academia.
I'll start work on the US section.
Tweeker 02:21, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Anyone Out there?[edit]

Anyone working on revising this article? Any administrator overseeing this article?

This article contains incorrect information.

"In the U.S., despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree. It is a first professional degree and does not confer the title of doctor."

Misinformation - the JD degree is a doctoral degree (Juris Doctor) but it is a professional doctorate (same as MD, DDS etc) and not the same as a PhD.

"Also, in the U.S., holders of the EdD (doctor of education) are considered "doctorally prepared" only within the field of education (see, for example, AACSB rules for accreditation)."

Misinformation - an EdD is an earned doctorate and has nothing to do with AACSB. AACSB is a professional body that accredits business and management programs, not Education programs. Never heard of the term "doctorally prepared".

You're probably right about the EdD, but i see no evidence of the JD being a doctorate (by the way, the correct term is not that it is a professional doctorate, but rather a "first professional degree," like the MBA, MD, DDS, etc.). The only statement even close to this is that the ABA declares a JD is all that is necessary to teach, but many other professional programs (MBA, MD, DDS, etc., notice it is the same list), also redurce the requirements for teaching below that of a doctorate. -James Howard (talk/web) 20:23, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
The JD stands for "Juris Doctor" or "Doctor of Jurisprudence" and yes it is a first professional degree and in this case it is a professional doctorate. DDS/DMD is a first professional degree and a professional doctorate. I agree that lawyers don't go around calling themselves "Doctor" but the title is used in academic environments.
For years they were only given an LLB degree as is still the case in the in the UK, Canada etc but wanted a doctorate as being equivalent to other professional postgraduate programs.
I've never heard the term "professional doctorate" before. To my understanding, a doctoral degree is the highest degree that can be obtained in a field. Therein lies the issue with the JD. The JD is the first law degree one can obtain. The LLM is earned after the JD, and the SJD (which is the terminal degree in law) is earned after the LLM. All of that makes the JD look more like a post-undergraduate but pre-masters level degree. Also, if you go simply by time, a JD requires 2 to 3 years following a bachelors degree -- that's the typical time required to complete a masters level degree, not a doctorate. Wikiant 21:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Some of the law students I have met call the JD a second bachelors, which makes a lot of sense given the prior history of the LLB. The only other degree progression that is similar is the STB -> STL -> STD progression offered by Catholic seminaries. -James Howard (talk/web) 22:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
The term "professional doctorate" is used not only in the US but in the UK, Australia and probably other countries. Just do a Google search. It is the highest degree in a profession, but it is not a research doctorate. A U.S. MD, DDS, JD are awarded based on completion of a program of studies, but it doesn't include researching, writing and defending a dissertation/thesis. It is practitioner oriented as you mentioned, not research oriented.
Last I checked, a JD degree required 3 to 4 years to complete not 2-3 years. The LLM is a hangover from the days when the LLB was the professional degree for lawyers. LLMs are offered in specialty areas of the law; Taxation; Media Law; International Law; etc. The SJD degree is a research doctorate, example from UCLA "The Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) Degree Program is designed for those seeking to pursue careers as teachers and scholars of law. This highly selective program is open only to applicants who possess a distinguished prior academic record in law, show promise of outstanding scholarship, and demonstrate a high potential for completing a scholarly dissertation of required quality." I don't know why they use SJD, they should call it a PhD in Law.
Theology degrees such as - STB, STL, STD are generally from pontifical universities or from seminaries following the pontifical pattern which has Continental influence. In the British and US pattern the degrees would be BTh - MTh - DTh/ThD.
Tweeker 00:31, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

"This article is awful. And can anyone defend the alphabet soup of unexplained abbreviations? Many of these are probably only local or very narrow professional degrees. This article should focus on the general, the common history of academic degrees and major differences between different systems." Not much has changed since this was posted in November 2005. It is still a jumble, but this is an important section for Education.

I understand "double degree" and I agree it should be included under "Academic Degree". But this is a very small issue to focus on when the whole article needs rewriting.

The entries can't favor one country's system over another - Britain and the US are similar but also different. There are even differences between Britain and Commonwealth countries. We can only generalize about degrees in a few limited areas. Differences should be noted e.g., higher doctorates don't exist in the US and many countries, so that discussion should be labeled "UK higher doctorates".

Tweeker 00:42, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

  1. Admins don't oversee articles; that's not our job.
  2. You're right that the artcile needs work (so do many, many articles). The problem is that it's a huge area. My feeling is that this article should be a general introduction, giving a history and links to indivdual articles on the academic degrees of different educational systems.
  3. The idea that even more articles, such as Double degree, should be merged with this one is bewildering, given your main point. We need to move material out, not bring more in. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:55, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Irrelevant text[edit]

Hi, I've removed some text that is not relevant to the article. (I can't believe I have to say this.) Tskoge 15:29, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

No, you're blindly reverted the removal of unnecessary spaces, the correction of a wikilink, and the addition of information for editors concerning the adding of citations. You've consistently refused to explain any of this, refusing to respond to my requests on your Talk page, and ignoring one editing block for your behaviour. From other comments on your Talk page, it seems that this arrogant dismissal of other editors is your normal editing style; believe me, it won't get you anywhere. You've now had at least three blocks; hasn't that taught you anything? --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:04, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
You've stated no reason for why editing information belongs in thetext. Wikipedia already has many pages for editing information. Are you going to add editing information to all of Wikipedia's pages? I wasn't aware I had three blocks. I guess that means I'm doing something right. Tskoge 22:34, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

You have ignored my comments about the actual nature of your revert. Moreover, advice to editors about issues such as criteria for admission in a list, citation methods, etc., are both common and perfectly acceptable in Wikipedia. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:33, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

A doctoral degree is not a doctoral degree?[edit]

Dear fellow editors: EEEyikes! Will everybody please settle down?

First of all, the statement that a doctor of jurisprudence degree is not a doctoral degree is not only incorrect, it is nonsensical. A doctorate is not a doctorate? I think maybe we're confusing terminologies here.

A doctorate is a doctorate, by definition. (The fact that this statement is tautological does not make it any less true.) Whether a JD is considered a "terminal" degree is of course a separate and more technical issue (the answer to which depends on what is meant by a terminal degree) and depends on the varied and technical use of the term "terminal."

A JD is a professional degree, not a "research" degree like a Ph.D. However, a JD is a doctorate. An MD is a doctorate. A DVM is a doctorate. This is not rocket science.

Persons who have a JD are, I believe, properly addressed in academia as "doctor." When I earned my undergraduate degree in accounting, the head of the department of business administration at the university had a JD (and no Ph.D. or other doctorate), and everyone at the university --including all the Ph.D.s in the other departments of the business school -- referred to him as "Dr."

The statement that the American Bar Association is a professional and not an academic body is patently incorrect. Not only is the ABA a professional body, it is also an academic body in the sense that it is the only national accrediting body for law schools in the United States. Not only is the ABA the accrediting body, but many if not most state supreme courts will not even allow you to sit for the bar exam unless you have attended an ABA accredited (i.e., ABA "approved") law school, or you are already licensed in another state. (California is one notable exception, and California also has its own accrediting body for California law schools, including those schools that are not ABA-accredited.)

The ABA also promulgates model rules for professional conduct for lawyers, which rules are adopted in modified form by many states. I haven't looked lately, but I believe the editor who stated that the ABA has a pronouncement about lawyers using the term "doctor" was correct. The fact that JDs outside academia do not usually refer to themselves as "doctor" is irrelevant to the question of whether a JD is a "doctorate," as is the fact that even in academia many JDs might not use the appellation either.

For an example of how the JD is treated in academia, please refer to the AACSB accreditation rules (for business schools). Yours, Famspear 20:47, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

As a post-script, I think it's a bit interesting that when I was in law school neither the students nor the professors referred to the professors as "doctor" so-and-so, even though almost every professor had at least a JD. Many had multiple law degrees, and a few also had SJDs (or JSDs). Interestingly, one of my law school professors was not himself a lawyer at all. He had no JD -- only a Ph.D. in history. Despite his Ph.D., nobody in law school (that I remember) ever referred to him as "doctor" either. (I hadn't really thought about this until just now.) And I had a professor who had a Ph.D. in sociology (and a JD, too) -- and nobody referred to him as "doctor." Everybody in law school seems to have used the appellation "professor." I doubt, however, if anyone would have had the temerity to openly contend that a "doctor of jurisprudence" degree was somehow not a doctoral degree. Indeed, I don't know that the idea would ever have occurred to us. I guess the term "doctor" as applied (in the academic world) to the holder of a JD is more common in business schools, etc., than in law schools.
By the way, I myself am not in academia. With my JD degree, I have only one person in the whole world who refers to me as "doctor" -- she's a paralegal at a law firm with whom I deal quite a bit.
Any other JDs out there who want to share a perspective on this? Yours, Famspear 21:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

After edit conflict.
Famspear is mistaken in his first claim, I'm afraid; a Juris Doctor is no more a doctorate than a rubber duck is a duck. He seems to be assuming that the name makes the thing, but it doesn't; "doctorate" signifies a degree at a certain level, and a J.D. isn't at that level. That people at his university called someone with a J.D. "Dr" is interesting, but tells us nothing; they might have misunderstood the nature of his dgree, or have been being polite (or sarcastic)... Besides, people tend to assume that their colleagues have doctorates even when they haven't; I've often heard a colleague of mine referred to as "Dr" even though his D.Phil. is as yet unfinished. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:33, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Mel Etitis: Considering your erudition regarding the proper translation of the Latin term "doctor" into the English term "teacher" (with which I totally agree), I'm a bit surprised you and I disagree on this point. Saying that I "seem to be assuming that the name makes the thing but it doesn't" is like saying that a "book" is not a "book" even though it's called a "book." By the way, the professor I was referring to had his name with the initials "J.D." appended to it on the door of his office; he was the head of the department. He was there for many years. Your statement that the Ph.D.s in the other business departments (most of whom, by the way, were his fraternity brothers) "might have misunderstood the nature of his dgree [sic]" sounds a bit like whistling past the graveyard. No, a juris doctor is not a "rubber" doctorate. It's a professional graduate degree and a doctorate, regardless of what you or I believe about it. Sorry. Yours, Famspear 21:59, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
If someone said that the "book of nature" and a book run by a bookmaker should be included in a library would be making a mistake; they bear the name "book", but aren't books in the usual sense, nor in the sense relevant to libraries. The point about someone's colleagues calling him "Dr" is evidence, but in the absence of knowledge as to why they called him that, it's far from conclusive. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 07:22, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Post-script: By the way, if you would want to contend that a juris doctorate, as a professional degree, is not considered a research degree, then I would totally agree. If you would want to contend that a Ph.D. is a research degree but is not a professional degree, I would again agree. Yours, Famspear 22:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Oh, another point: regarding the statement that the term doctorate "signifies a degree at a certain level, and a J.D. isn't at that level" -- I have a few questions.
First, where is the documentation to support the statement that the term doctorate "signifies a degree at a certain level"; second, what exactly is that "certain level" and where in the literature is that "level" described; and third, what is our documented source (not merely our belief) that a J.D. degree is somehow not "at" that "level"?
If a J.D. is not really a doctorate, and we want to say that in an encyclopedia, what is our authority for saying so? Doctor in Latin is translated as "teacher" in English. The J.D. degree is called "juris doctor" or "doctor of jurisprudence." Holders of the J.D. are considered "academically qualified" (to use a term of art) under AACSB accreditation standards to teach business law in a business school in the same sense that holders of the Ph.D. in accounting are considered "academically qualified" to teach accounting in the same business school. If the holder of a J.D. (with no Ph.D.) can not only teach at an AACSB accredited business school in the United States but also be the head of an academic department in that school and be referred to by students and Ph.D.s in his own and other departments as "doctor," exactly what is our support for saying, in an encyclopedia, that in the United States "despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree [ . . . and that the J.D.] is a first professional degree and does not confer the title of 'doctor'"? If we're going to make these kinds of statements in Wikipedia, let's cite to some tangible, written support for it first. Yours, Famspear 23:54, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Famspear, I'm not seeing a logical argument here (which surprises me given that you are a JD). Your argument that others call JD's "doctor" is ad verecundium. Virtually all U.S. students refer to their teachers as either "doctor" (regardless of whether they hold Ph.D.'s or MS/MA's) or "professor" (regardless of whether or not they are full professors, instructors, adjuncts, or T.A.'s). Similarly fallacious is your argument that your department chair is/was a JD. Frequently, the main requirement to be chair is that one isn't doing any meaningful research or teaching. You've asked for some tangible written support, so I quote from Encyclopedia Britannica: "In the United States and Great Britain...The bachelor's degree marks the completion of undergraduate study, usually amounting to four years. The master's degree involves one to two years' additional study, while the doctorate usually involves a lengthier period of work." According to this description, the J.D. is a master's level degree. That's more than I'd be willing, prima facia, to grant given that the JD is a pre-requisite for two further degrees, the second of which is, truly, a doctorate of laws. Wikiant 00:40, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Wikiant: Well, no, when fellow editor Mel Etitis says that "despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree [ . . . and that the J.D.] is a first professional degree and does not confer the title of 'doctor'" and I point to actual instances where people in an academic setting do refer to a person holding the JD as "doctor," I am simply giving an instance that negates the statement by Mel Etitis. That is not an argumentum ad verecundiam. An argumentum ad verecundiam is an inappropriate appeal to authority. If people refer to the man as "doctor" I am not making an inappropriate appeal to authority, I am pointing out an actual situation where Mel Etitis' statement does not hold true. Maybe it's the only example in the whole universe (and maybe you or Mel Etitis or somebody else can show that the example was an anomaly). By contrast, if I were to say "a juris doctorate is a doctoral level degree simply because professor so-and-so says it is," that might be a fallacious ad verecundiam argument.

If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, and people are actually calling it a duck, then those facts are at least "some evidence" (as we say in law) that it is a duck. Doesn't necessarily mean that it really is a duck -- but pointing out the evidence is not an argumentum ad verecundiam. What we are saying is that we have "some evidence" it is a duck, and if anybody has evidence to the contrary then bring that evidence in, and let everybody look at it.

The diploma reads "doctor." If the term "juris doctor" contains the word "doctor," and you say it's not a doctorate, then pointing out the fact that it says "doctor" right on the diploma is not a fallacy. Further, the burden of proof is not on me to prove that the "juris doctor" degree is a "doctoral" level degree or that the "juris doctor" degree does not "confer" the title of "doctor." I didn't insert the verbiage into the article. My brother Mel Etitis inserted the statement, into the Wikipedia article, that a juris doctor degree is NOT a doctorate, etc. Under the rules of Wikipedia (specifically verifiability), the burden, so to speak, is on him, not me.

I'm a little puzzled by your statement that "Virtually all U.S. students refer to their teachers as either "doctor" (regardless of whether they hold Ph.D.'s or MS/MA's) or "professor" (regardless of whether or not they are full professors . . . ] Obviously I don't know where you went to school, but I can tell you that my experience is just the opposite. In college, most students referred to those holding doctorates as "doctor" and those holding only master's degrees as "Mr." or "Mrs." The term "professor" in college was used relatively rarely in most of my classes (even with instructors who held the title assistant professor, associate professor, or full professor). Most of the time it was either "Dr." or "Mr." or "Mrs.", as applicable.

In law school, by contrast, despite the fact that every instructor but one held a J.D. and some also had a Ph.D., the term "doctor" was almost never used. Go figure. If anything, that fact at least partially supports the argument of my brother Mel Etitis -- although perhaps not really, since the Ph.D.s weren't referred to as "doctor" either.

My "argument" that the department chair at my business school was a J.D. was not fallacious, for the simple reason that it was not my "argument." It was a fact. Brother Mel Etitis contends that "despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree [ . . . and that the J.D.] is a first professional degree and does not confer the title of 'doctor'. I simply pointed out at least one instance where his statement does not hold true. Saying that the main requirement to be chair is that one isn't doing any meaningful research or teaching completely misses that point.

I argue that the statement that "despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree [ . . . and that the J.D.] is a first professional degree and does not confer the title of 'doctor' has not been verified for purposes of Wikipedia. It's not up to me to verify it, and it's not up to me to prove it's not true; I didn't insert it in the article in the first place.

Just as a helpful hint, and aside from anyone taking on the task of providing support for the position that "despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree [ . . . and that the J.D.] is a first professional degree and does not confer the title of 'doctor', a better way to attack my "arguments" -- if you want to do that -- would be to show that the example I gave (of the JD who was called "doctor" in a business school setting) was really an isolated case, and that in the vast majority of cases JDs outside law schools are not referred to as "doctor," even when they teach business law in a business school, etc. Hey, that might actually be the case. In other words, I might be wrong and Mel Etitis might be right! The point is, let's not put statements in Wikipedia like "despite its name, the J.D. degree is not a doctoral level degree [ . . . and the J.D.] does not confer the title of doctor" unless we add something to Wikipedia to verify the statement. Yours, Famspear 05:32, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh, I forgot -- thanks for the quote from Encyclopedia Britannica. I'm not sure that the quote is "some evidence" that a juris doctor is not really a "doctorate" but at least it's in the record now. I don't agree with your reasoning, though. A master's degree is one to two years, according to the quote. A juris doctorate is three years (about 88 to 97 semester hours at most law schools in the U.S.) So it doesn't seem to follow that "the J.D. is a master's level degree." If anything, the quote supports the argument that the J.D. IS a doctorate, since "a doctorate usually involves a lengthier period of work." (A J.D. ALWAYS involves a lengthier period of work than one or two years.) But, thanks for the quote, anyway. Yours, Famspear 05:40, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

The evidence for doctorates being at a certain level is etymological and historical. As we agree, "doctor" means "teacher"; a first degree doesn't qualify one to be a teacher. The process was originally that one became a bachelor, then a master (which entitled one to lowly and usually temporary positions in the academic hierarchy), and finally a genuine doctor, which meant that one was a fully-fledged teacher. For the most part the doctorate wasn't a formal degree, and the mediæval usage underwent a number of changes in various respects (differently in different countries) — but the basic pattern was retained: bachelor, master, doctor in rising status. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 07:22, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Putting aside etymological issues, the term "doctor" has come to be associated with the highest degree awarded in a field. Following Famspear's lead, I offer as evidence virtually all fields of study. In no field of study (of which I am aware, and under the U.S. system), is there a degree beyond the Ph.D. (among researchers), the MD (among medical practitioners), etc. (Note: There are instances in which the highest attainable degree in a field is not a doctorate -- e.g. the Masters of Fine Arts.) So, the issue is the following: The title "doctor" is conferred on those who have achieved the highest degree in a field (with a few exceptions), yet there are two degrees that are higher than the JD (the LL.M. and the S.J.D.). Wikiant 13:12, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

The J.D. is not a doctoral level degree. That someone chooses to call it that means nothing. There is at least one college that calls all of it B.S.-level alumnae "doctor" because of some tradition, akin to the Italian use of Dottore. Everyone agreed that the old D.Pharm., before the recent changes, was a master's-level degree. When I see surveys of "highest level of education completed" I often see the J.D. lumped with professional master's degrees like a M.Arch. (usually 2-3 years) or M.S.W. or the like. The D.C. was often lumped in there, but they're made an effort to get more people to have completed a B.S. first to raise their standing, as pharmacy is trying to do. As mentioned, in many fields the terminal degree is a master's, for example in many artistic fields (M.F.A.). I clearly recall arguments, reported in The Chronicle of Higher Ed., over whether a J.D. holder should be a university's president given the lack of a terminal/doctoral degree. I also point out that following a J.D. one still takes a master's or (higher) doctorate as the next step, if desired. In my experience, J.D. holders occasionally use "Doctor" in very formal settings in academia--if speaking at a graduation ceremony--but for the most part, no. Certainly, I consider them to have a degree that is the equivalent of a 3-year M.Arch. Since there is no pre-law curriculum, it just isn't comparable to a Ph.D. biologist who took a B.S. and M.S. in the same subject. JJL 15:26, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I restored the DPharm footnote. About half of the students do the whole program in 5 years--18 year olds just out of H.S. JJL 00:30, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

This matter has been settled with authoritative research in the current J.D. article. Zoticogrillo (talk) 06:17, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Academic degrees-JD[edit]

I would like to point out that neither the MD or the DDS is the final degree available in either field. Both fields have post professional doctorate master's and PhDs available. A dentist who specializes in orthodontics or oral surgery will typically earn a post DDS master's degree in such a specialty. Even though the MD and DDS do not require a prior master's degree, I do not hear anyone contending that they are not doctorates. Further, I do not hear anyone contending that a PharmD is not a doctorate even though it can be earned with six total years of education and no prior bachelor's degree. The same is true for a DC (doctor of chiropractic medicine). A JD nominally reuires more than six years of education and deserves the same status and respect as other professional doctorates. Simply because it is not common for attorneys to use the title of Dr. does not mean they are not Drs. The argument that a degree which states it confers the degree and title of Doctor of Law (as does a law degree from the University of Wisconsin among others) is nonsense. There is simply no logical argument that a degree which confers the title of doctor is not a doctorate. Similarly, there is no logical argument that one holding a doctorate cannot use the title Dr. Drdouma 15:28, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

academic degrees-J.D.[edit]

If a J.D. is not a doctorate, can anyone explain why J.D. graduates wear doctoral robes at graduation?

  1. Please sign your comments.
  2. That doesn't constitute an argument. This is being discussed sensibly at Talk:Juris Doctor. If you want to continue with the discussion, please do so there. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 18:04, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

This matter has been settled with authoritative research in the current J.D. article. Zoticogrillo (talk) 23:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


The SJD or JSD, referred to by many schools as Doctor of Judicial Science, is not the highest degree in the field of law. In fact the degree has nothing to do with the practice of law. It is a trully academic degree for those wishing to pursue academics. Even though a J.D. is a prerequisite, earning an SJD is not a normal progression in the field of law as Mel Etitis implies. The JD is the highest professional doctorate in the field of law. Just as a Physician or dentist who wishes to specialize may earn a master's degree after the professional doctorate, an attorney who wishes to specialize may earn a master's degree. There is simply no true professional doctorate in the U.S. that requires a master's degree prior to the professional doctorate. If Mel Etitis wishes to equate the J.D. to something less than a doctorate degree, he should treat the MD, DDS, PharmD, etc. in a similar manner. To do otherwise is not logical and blatantly discriminatory. Drdouma 18:52, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

The JSD is indeed more akin to a Ph.D., and is not a professional degree. It is intended for would-be academics and doesn't really relate to one's qualifications to practice law. It's analogous to the relationship between a M.Arch. and the D.Arch. or similar higher degree, or the M.S.W. and the D.S.W. or other higher degree. The master's degree is the qualification for practice, and the doctorate is for academics/researchers. As to the training of physicians, note that they refer to medical studies as undergraduate medical education, and residency as postgraduate medical education. I think the JSD is something of a red herring here. It's the J.D. that should be focused on. In my experience, most academics do not consider it comparable to a Ph.D. or M.D.; it's considered a roughly professional master's level degree. By the way, do we need so many different headings here? And, I do agree that taking it to the talk page for the J.D. entry makes sense. JJL 19:29, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Quote: "There is simply no true professional doctorate in the U.S. that requires a master's degree prior to the professional doctorate." Ministry for instance, requires and MDiv before a DMin. I believe it counts as a professional degree. Technically Ed.D in some schools is considered a professional degree since more schools are offering Ph.Ds in education along side their Ed.D. 20:38, 27 July 2006 (UTC)


There is absolutely no logical reason or authority to treat a J.D. differently than any other professional doctorate. It simply does not belong grouped with master's degrees. Comparing academic doctorates and professional doctorates is like comparing apples to oranges. As to the MSW to DSW argument, there is no comparison to a JD. An MSW is a professional master's degree, a JD is a professional doctorate. Among other degrees, I hold both a JD and an MSW. There is no comparison in level of study or time involved. If one is going to treat one professional doctorate as somehow equating to a master's degree, one must logically do so for all professional doctorates which do not require a prerequisite master's degree (DDS, PharmD, MD, DO, OD, DC, DPM, etc.). Drdouma 20:06, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Your logic is faulty. It is not the case that we must treat all doctorates as equivalent. Indeed, many countries have a concept of lower and higher doctorates; the J.D. and J.S.D. somewhat fit that mold, making the J.D. a lower doctorate (though I still think the J.S.D. isn't fully relevant here). The old D.Pharm. could be taken without a bachelor's or master's degree, but was always treated as equivalent to a master's degree. It was a six-year professional program. How can you equate the J.D., requiring a bachelor's (for all practical purposes) plus three years, with no original research or postgraduate training required (but an exam), to a M.D., requiring a bachelor's plus four years plus an additional three or more years of residency (and exams) in order to be licensed? In addition, for better or worse, the term doctor is pretty well attached to the practice of medicine/dentistry/podiatry/chiropractic/veterinary medicine/etc., and it is tilting at windmills to hope to change that. In countries where a bachelor's degree takes the place of our M.D., there is a form people fill out to gain the right to use the 'courtesy title' of Doctor. Look at the ongoing change to a three year [1] program in physical therapy. Will you tell me that that too is equivalent to a medical school education? Look at USC's PPDPT program [2]. It requires 30 credits (including a case study) to 'convert' your MPT to a new-and-improved DPT. (Didn't law schools do something like this for LL.B.'s in the early 70s?) What about Psy.D. and Au.D. (audiology) programs? Just because some group decides that they too should be doctors because what they do is so important/difficult/honorable, doesn't make it so. What if I started offering a one-year Doctor of Editing degree for Wikipedians? Would that make them equivalent to other types of doctors? JJL 21:25, 30 March 2006 (UTC)


The prior editor utilizes both fault facts and faulty logic. A PharmD continues to require only six years of education with no prerequisite bachelor's or master's degree. If he considers the PharmD to be equivilent to a master's degree, why does he not include the PharmD in the master's category with a footnote similar to the one he includes with the JD. The fact of the matter is, the PharmD is a professional doctorate and holders of the degree use the title Dr. As to the discussion about the MD, a residency has nothing to do with earning the degree. A residency is for the purpose of specialization and/or licensing. The holder of an MD is not rquired to take a residency or become a licensed physician. Even so, such an individual has a professional doctorate and may use the title Dr. The issue is not whether one doctorate is more difficult in time or effort to obtain. This is highly subjective. I know individuals holding PhDs who attended law school and dropped out because it was "too difficult". I also know individuals holding both a PhD and a JD who state the JD was the more difficult degree to earn. Again, apples and oranges are being mixed. The AuD and DPT are purely professional doctorates. The PsyD is essentially a research doctorate which is the equivilent to a PhD in psychology. The fact of the matter is, the JD is an accredited professional doctorate. Other than in the mind of certain apparently prejudiced individuals, it is consistently recognized as a professional doctorate. Those stating otherwise have presented not authority for their absurd position. Even though it is not common for holders of the JD to do so, the accrediting bodies and state regulatory bodies have recognized the right of such individuals to use the title Dr. There is simply no legitimate controversy as to whether or not the JD is an accredited professional doctorate. The only controversy that exist is that some individuals apparently do not like that fact. Finally, while one could start offering a one year doctorate in editing, such a doctorate would not receive accredidation from any legitimate body. As such, it would be illegal in many states for the holder of such a degree to use the title Dr. Drdouma 15:39, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

In your most recent edit, you make a statement about the Pharm.D. being basically an M.S. as a simple matter of fact, but use "there are those..." language for the J.D. While I agree that the new and improved Pharm.D. is still just a M.S.-level degree, the pharmacists adamantly disagree. I believe pharmacists now enter the service as O-3s (Captain in the Army), like M.D.s and dentists and other doctorate holders, rather than as O-2s (1LT in the army) like nurses and lawyers, who are not doctorally prepared. I think a better case can be made for the Pharm.D. than the J.D., and there is surely as much discussion of it (e.g., at [3]). JJL 14:21, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Ahhh, much better[edit]

Dear fellow editors: Sorry it's taken a while for me to get back to you. I see the footnote causing the contention was edited to read as follows by JJL at 15:34 on 30 March 2006:

In the U.S., there is not universal agreement as to whether the J.D. degree is to be considered a doctoral level degree, and whether holders of it are entitled to use the title "doctor". See the Comparison with other degrees section [. . . etc]

In my opinion, this footnote is a vast improvement. I see there were a few more edits after that, but it appears to remain in the article, at least as of the time of this comment. I would argue that JJL's language is a great solution. Although there is still no citation to authority (pro or con on the position of whether a J.D. is "really" a doctorate) it takes no position one way or the other -- I think at least here you don't need to cite to a source. In my opinion, very good arguments were presented by all involved. My hat is off to fellow editors Mel Etitis, Drdouma, JJL, and Wikiant (I hope I didn't leave anyone out). Yours, Famspear 04:27, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

PS: As of this comment, the most recent edit is the one by Mel Etitis at 15:16 on 31 March 2006. Yours, Famspear 04:30, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Much improved, kudos to those who have worked on it. I still cringe however when I see the chart of Academic Degrees. Trying to mix US and British degrees doesn't work, they aren't equivalent. It would be much better to have two charts, British Academic Degrees and American Academic Degrees. As to the JD controversy (I hate to bring it up because this is a very angry group), but the degree exists and an encyclopedia deals with facts not opinions. For this degree the ABA and the US Dept of Education are objective sources. [4]
--Highdesert 04:33, 5 August 2006 (UTC)


You simply cannot state that there is a controversy as to whether an accredited degree from an accredited institution of higher education which states that the holder of the degree is granted the "degree and title of Doctor of Jurisprudence" is a doctorate degree. Obviously, a degree which grants the title Doctor is a doctorate degree. Without authority to the contrary, you cannot say that it is not. If you do not like the fact that the accrediting bodies and degree granting institutions are granting this degree, perhaps you should take it up with them. However, to simply state that there is a contoversy as to whether a named doctorate is a doctorate without some authority is a blatantly false statement. Such a statement could subject Wikipedia to a defamation suit. "Freedom of Speech" does not protect knowingly false statements which are made with malice. Malice appears to be implied in your denegration of the J.D. since you single out no other prfessional doctorate even though there are listed doctorates such as the PharmD which require less education than the J.D. As to whether holders of the J.D. can use the title Dr., you again cite no authority for your alleged controversy. ABA informal ethics opinion 1151 states that attorneys holding a J.D. can use the title Doctor. Likewise, state bar associations hold that attorneys holding a J.D. can use the title Doctor. See for example, State Bar of Michigan ethics opinion CI-1176. Without some authority to the contrary, you cannot legally state a controversy exists anywhere but in your own mind. To do so, will again potentially subject Wikipedia to a defamation suit. Drdouma 14:12, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Wow. JJL 14:54, 3 April 2006 (UTC)


This article is supposed to be about facts, not opinion. The facts are: The J.D. degree is accredited by the ABA. The degree itself says it is a doctorate. The ABA says the holder of the degree can use the title doctor.

If anyone is going to say there is a controversy regarding whether the degree is a doctorate and/or whether the holder of a J.D. can use the title doctor, they need facts to support such statements. Drdouma 13:41, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Here's just a short list of comments from a quick googling. I found many discussions on web boards that clearly indicated that yes, there is a controversy over this issue. One such discussion was occurring on a pharmacy board, where the same issue was being debated concerning pharmacists! Clearly, there is indeed no agreement as to whether U.S. J.D. holders can/should use the title 'Doctor'. I've also included a few links from other countries for comparison. From Australia: "Please note that the despite the name, the JD is not a doctoral-level award and graduates are not entitled to use the honorific title "Doctor"." [5], [6], [7] From a U.S. law firm: "the practice of some attorneys of using the title "Doctor." Although there is apparently some dispute over this," [8] From Hong Kong: "Although the award has the word 'Doctor' in its title, this is a traditional usage and it is not generally regarded as equivalent to the PhD degree or other doctoral awards. It is a first law degree for students who are already graduates in a non-law discipline." [9] Also from HK: "The JD is not academically equivalent to a research doctoral degree, and is formally classified as a taught master’s degree programme." (oops, lost the link--CUHK) Interesting (!) link: "Worldwide within the legal profession, all pracitising attorneys are called "Mr." or "Ms./Mrs./Ms./Miss," regardless of whether they possess a doctoral degree or not. This is a convention of the courts, of litigation and of the legal profession generally" [10] Unsourced claim: "New Jersey actually has an ethics opinion on attorneys using the term "Doctor". The only way it is permissible is if an attorney is teaching in an institution where professors with doctorates use the term "doctor"." [11] Lawyer's blog commentary (comments going both ways on this): "A JD does not carry the right to the title doctor, regardless the nominal meaning of the letters." [12] Lawyers on a web board: "But after X years of sweat, lawyers have no real titles. "Counselor" often is used edgily. We can't use "Dr.," since a JD isn't a doctorate or MD." "generally it is considered inappropriate for an Attorney at Law to go by "doctor" because they are typically advocating only one side of a position." [13] "The title of Doctor is used both by and of those holding research doctorates or some professional (usually medical) degrees[...]In the United States, with the exception of the Juris Doctor degree (law), professional doctoral degrees are terminal degrees" [14], "The title doctor is generally considered inappropriate to describe someone who holds a Juris Doctor degree" [15] A FAQs site acknowledges the controversy: "However, the debate will most likely continue since most law school graduates will enter the legal profession and won't have to contend with how others view the "doctoral" status of their degree." [16] JJL 15:15, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Would Drdouma please stop calling the text in question "defamatory" in his or edit summaries? This is absurd, even if he or she is right about the facts (something that hasn't been settled). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 15:54, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

In the 900-year history of academic degrees, how significant is one particular name for an American law degree used during the last few decades? Does the controversy over the American J.D. degree, or even the degree itself, have to be mentioned in this particular article at all? up◦land 16:58, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Fair point. It might suffice to note it at the J.D. entry, though I think that noting it here in the footnote form is also reasonable--esp. since it appears in a list of doctoral degrees. Should the same logic be applied to the BCL and BPhil, if the note is removed from the J.D.? JJL 18:51, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
I would like to see a complete rewrite of this and most other high-level articles on "academia"-related topics. It should provide a historical overview covering the main academic degrees developing in the Middle Ages and the various degree systems deriving from them, and how these relate to each other (all obviously based on sound references rather than personal experience), and leave all the details of individual degrees in different contemporary educational systems to more specific lower-level articles. At this point, I see very little salvageable material in this article, but I don't feel up to rewriting it on my own either. up◦land 13:22, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


I don't normally edit this page, so I'll drop this comment and let you all decide what to do with this.

The second footnote states that "In the U.S., holders of the EdD (Doctor of Education) are considered "doctorally prepared" only within the field of education," although the article for Doctor of Education makes no mention of this fact and the two external links offered link only to front pages of organizations and not to any specific rule or explanation. In fact, going by what the EdD article states, the EdD is substantially equivalent to a PhD in the United States. Hopefully someone can clear this up, because this footnote makes no sense by itself. -- Thesquire (talk - contribs) 06:34, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Conventional wisdom among professors in American universities is that the EdD is *not* equivalent to a PhD in large part because the EdD is more akin to a professional degree rather than a research degree. Penn State College of Education says, "The career goal of one pursuing an Ed.D. should be the professional practice of educational administration. The career goal of one pursuing a Ph.D. should be research and scholarly work." For more, see Wikiant 11:35, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Other EdD programs follow the scholar/practioner model, which simply shift some of the emphasis from research to practice, although it is still a research degree.
I agree Thesquire, that footnote makes no sense at all. And the link is to an accreditation body that accredits business schools - that has nothing to do with an EdD degree. Yes, the EdD degree is becoming more practitioner oriented like the PsyD degree, but they are not in the category of a First Professional Degree like the MD or JD. EdD and PsyD degree candidates must still write and defend a dissertation like PhD candidates - MD, JD etc candidates do not.--Highdesert 04:08, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
The footnote is incorrect as in addition to other disciplines, there are EdD programs in Psychology which meet the doctoral requirement for licensure and practice of psychology in the U.S.
See also the discussion here at the Doctor_of_Education Talk page. Research requirements for the Ed.D. are in general less tahn those for the Ph.D., and the degree is increasingly viewed as a professional degree. JJL 17:10, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

EdD / PhD / LLD[edit]

Historically, there were ONLY professional doctorates, because the social interpretation of degrees was very different to the modern one. The professional doctorates of DD, DLitt, LLD, JD, MD, DSc, and DEng were joined in Victorian times by the American idea of a professional "half-doctorate" in the specialism of Research. Nowadays we might call it D.Res. but at the time they poetically called it D.Phil. or Ph.D. My colleagues at this university (Hull, UK) seem to be agreed that the standard for the PhD has risen since then until it is as high as that of the full doctorates ever was, and the older doctorates have become little more than a way of advertising yourself for advancement to a chair (full professorship), or as honorary degrees.

Until 1954, only Doctors of Laws (LLD) were qualified to practise as advocates (sic) in the Court of Chivalry of England (sic). This was a historical hang-over that had been overlooked by Victorian reformers. In the middle ages, there was an Inns of Court called Doctors Commons where they were based.

So there arose a need for something to replace the unattainable professional doctorate standards. This was done by introducing "half-doctorates" with variations on the names of the now so-called "higher doctorates" - EngD for DEng, EdD for DEd, DJur for JD, and so on.

Recently the University of London announced that it would no longer be awarding higher doctorates.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the distinction between the (now) first, or lower, doctorates, and the higher doctorates is asserted by using a difference in academic costume. For example, at Cambridge University, a higher doctor wears a scarlet robe, and a first doctor wears a black robe with scarlet facings. At Southampton University, a higher doctor wears a scarlet robe and a first doctor wears a claret robe. Other universities show the difference by changing the shape of the sleeves or the amount or colour of silk trimmings.

OrangUtanUK - 1.June.2006 at 11:07 UTC

Degree Levels and Degree Titles[edit]

The JD may or may not be a doctorate, but I don't think the wording of the diploma provides definitive evidence either way. After all, there are quite a few degrees for which the actual degree level does not correspond to the name of the degree: the Cambridge MA (which represents no academic work past the bachelor's level), the Scottish MA (which is a bachelor's-level degree), the Oxford BPhil (which is a master's-level degree), the British higher doctorates (which represent a level of accomplishment well beyond the usual doctoral level), the Italian Laurea (which confers a doctoral title despite the fact that it is awarded three years after the completion of high school), and the various honorary doctorates (which are usually not academic credentials in any sense).

I also don't see how the way the degree-holder is addressed determines the level of the degree. The Bachelor of Medicine is unquestionably an undergraduate degree, but those with the degree (except for surgeons and a few others) are invariably addressed as "Doctor."

I'm not arguing that the JD isn't a doctorate, but those who say "the name of the degree represents the level of the degree" must necessarily find some way of explaining the MANY exceptions to that general rule.

Hi, I lately heard a title confering session in Italy and students of the three years course were proclamated "laureati" while students of five years course were proclamated "dottori" so I'm not sure the actual three years Laurea confers a doctoral title. -- 21:10, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


Posted on my User Tak page, and repeated here for reference (JJL 01:52, 18 July 2006 (UTC)):

Dear JJL - I noted that you reinserted the footnote (e.g. I restored the DPharm footnote. About half of the students do the whole program in 5 years--18 year olds just out of H.S. JJL 00:30, 17 July 2006 (UTC)).
I deleted the footnote again and would ask that it remain deleted. As a holder of the PharmD degree (as well as a BS in Pharmacy, an MS and in the next month an MBA - 11 years in total), the footnote is materially incorrect and misleading.
The degree is the degree (a professional doctorate in pharmacy inclusive of the title that goes along with it) - it is not "like" other degrees just as a DBA is not like an EdD or perhaps a PhD in physics is not like a PhD in history.
Not unlike medical or dental school, the professional curriculum that leads to the granting of the degree is four years in duration (e.g. the course work that leads to the degree in each of these professions starts in professional year 1, day 1, course 1 and ends on the last day of year 4). In the summers between professional years, pharmacy students serve as interns as one of the requirements to sit for State licensing examinations; thereby, generally making the program a year around effort.
In the case of pharmacy, all Universities offering the degree in the US need to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and all students are required to have completed their prerequisite courses (generally 2 years in duration (calculus, chemistry, biology, physics, English, etc) but many applicants now have undergraduate or graduate degrees) before starting the professional program.
Pharmacy graduates also have the option to pursue post graduate residencies and fellowships.
I think that the ongoing debate within the editing group is missing the forest when trying to equate "time served" across degrees. Each degree is unique within its profession.
I cannot agree. Look at U. of S. Nevada, which is still pushing a 5-year program (60 undergrad. hours plus a 3 year D.Pharm.), thus graduating 23 year old "doctors" on a regular basis. Shenandoah U. claims a 6 year program, but I know many do it in 5 years, and that about half the students there are on a 5- or 6-year schedule [17]. The DPharm is still, in effect, a master's degree level program. However, I do think this is better deabted at the original article's Talk page. JJL 01:52, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


Since I re-posted this here, an interesting article appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education ("A Clinical Look at Clinical Doctorates," William L. Siler and Diane Smith Randolph, 21 July 2006, pg.B12). It questions the DPharm degree's level and value. "Universities complain about clinical doctorates, arguing that degrees like doctor of pharmacy represent little more than degree creep and are not equivalent to, say, the Ph.D. or M.D." Interesting reading in this regard. The authors are, resp., professors of physical and occupational therapy, and I assume they write in response to the new D.P.T.. JJL 03:11, 21 July 2006 (UTC)


Doctor of Ministry is missing from the navigation template at the bottom of the page. If it's not a notable degree, then perhaps MDiv should also be removed? 20:23, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

No, the MDiv should most certainly not be removed from the template. Or were you inversely proposing that the DMin be added to the template? By all appearances, the Dmin is a less notable (rather, common) degree, and as such, I think the Dmin can probably remain excluded. --jmv 20:52, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

YorkU versus York[edit]

Confusion results from ... the use of 'York' instead of 'YorkU' by graduates of York University in Canada.

This statement is plain stupid.

'YorkU' is not a valid name for a degree from York University in Canada. To disambiguate from York University in the U.K., titles of degrees conferred from both universities include the name of the country. E.g. "York (U.K.)" and "York (Can.)". This is the de facto standard, and can be seen in countless academic curriculum vitae.

'YorkU' comes from the Canadian university's recent re-branding campaign. The domain name is "" and, from this, marketers decided to eastablish the name "YorkU" as associated with York University in the minds of Canadian students and philanthropists. I know it's really lame-ass, but this sort of thing is pretty common amongst North American universities these days.

Consistancy with academic degrees template[edit]

I just spent some time updating this page with information from the Academic Degrees template - apparently stuff gets added to that but not here. Is there perhaps an automated way of linking the list of academic degrees with the template? They contain almost exactly the same information.

I did not yet sort out the Doctorate degrees into the catagories of First-Professional Degrees and Doctorate as conferred by the degrees template, so that is still up for grabs.

Additionally, there needs to be some consistant style in regards to period use in degree titles. This page, the template, and each individual degree page should use the same format (e.g. B.A. or BA). Even on a single page it is mixed. --Ec- 06:06, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Ec for trying to sort out the mess in the Academic Degree chart. It's better, but the only way to really fix it is to make two or more charts based on each country. The US and the UK may use the same degree titles, but they do not mean the same thing. As Wikipedia is an encyclopedia for general use, information should be very clear to readers who are novices on various topics.
The chart implies that there there is a hierarchy or ladder in the degrees listed and one could assume that a Foundation degree is below an Associate degree. We know that one isn't superior to the other because they are based on two separate national systems, but to a novice on this subject it would not be that clear. Again one could assume that all bachelors degrees or all masters degrees are equal which they are not. My understanding of the UK system (and I am not an expert) is that their bachelors degrees are generally 3 years in length, while it takes 4 years in the US. The M.Sci. degree in the UK is an undegraduate degree and the LL.B. is a postgraduate degree. In the US a masters degree is always postgraduate and the LL.B. has been replaced by the J.D.. My recommendation is to separate US and UK degrees into two charts. Also, I'd invert the chart and somehow show undergraduate and graduate/postgraduate levels.
There are other academic awards that thankfully no one has tried to add to this mix i.e., undergraduate and postgraduate certificates and diplomas. The CAS listed in the Specialist section is not a degree but a post masters award. Similar awards are CAGS, PMC, AC etc.--Highdesert 00:17, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, that would be the ideal solution. I, regrettably, do not have enough wikipedia experience for this type of thing, nor do I know enough about the material to even try. Hopefully someone will take up the job.Ec- 03:19, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Has this proposal been discussed before? I think that's a great idea. ALTON .ıl 05:42, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Dec 21 edits[edit]

I've twice now revert this rant [18]. This is WP:POV and WP:OR. Please don't add it again. Not a dog 04:02, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Australian diploma not a degree?[edit]

I'm a little uncomfortable with this statement on the main page: at best it's pedantic, at worst it's POV.

In some countries, such as Australia, a diploma is a specific academic award that is sometimes incorrectly considered to be an academic degree. The distinction is that the diploma is a physical document awarded, while a degree is a status to which a person is admitted. Diplomas are usually signified by a stole rather than an academic hood, the latter being used only for those of graduate status.

The Australian qualifications framework has a number of historical anomalies due to the fact that until relatively recently, health science courses (in particular) were conducted in separate institutions that were not aligned with universities, and so were forbidden to issue "Bachelor" degrees in their own right. As a result, these 3 year full time courses (the equivalent of a university BA or BSc) were invariably described as "Diploma of Applied Science (Discipline)". Whilst I respect a traditionfrom an environment where diploma might be an synonym of testamur or "parchment", I think it should be possible, when considering an Australian context, to acknowledge this anomaly.

Happy to discuss in a civilised manner as to why I could (or should) be mistaken and so obtain enlightenment. Adamm 09:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Doctorates backed by the Government[edit]

It is interesting to note that the Juris Doctor or Medical Doctor Degrees enable you to be Licensed, approved, sanctioned, and recognized by the state and sometimes federal government. Example: A qualified Juris Doctor Degree holder can take the state exam if eligible and become licensed as an Attorney, Lawyer, or Counselor by the respective state in the USA. Thus, Voila, some USA doctor degrees are backed by a government license and recognition. Therefore, a medical or juris doctor can have a real post-graduate degree or doctorate degree and achieve a license from the State Supreme Courts or Federal Government (i.e. Federal Courts) or Board of Medical Examiners & DEA (medical doctors) to engage in specific government privileges and activities. The bad news (in the USA) is that a PhD in Political Science, Criminal Justice or even a PhD International Law most probably is not eligible for a government license to practice law in any jurisdiction. This is probably why so many people now go for a combined degree: i.e. JD/PHD or MD/PHD so that they can be a easy fit in academia and be recognized by the government.

  • As a note, the AACSB and ACBSP (the most recognized USA Business Accredation forces recognized by the USA Dept. of Education) make special recognition of the: Juris Doctor degree for qualified professors and faculty to teach: Business Law, CPA Track Courses, Tax Law Courses, Financial Planning (Estates and Retirement Law), Law and Ethics, Legal Environment etc. Therefore, the JD degree is well needed at that 2500 plus USA business school programs. However, it is more fashionable for business schools to hire a JD with an accredited MBA or Masters Degree for teaching purposes.

Globalprofessor 14:39, 3 May 2007 (UTC)globalprofessorGlobalprofessor 14:39, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Proposal to merge with Professional degree[edit]

A proposal to merge with Professional degree was made in August 2006. No comments at all were received. I've removed the tag and not moved forward with the proposal. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast 23:48, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


It is written that in Brazil it is necessary to have a brazilian Masters Degree in order to join a PhD program. That is not true. It is actually quite common that one steps into the PhD right after he has completed his undergraduate degree (diploma). Most people don't do that because in the Master (mestrado) they can get a sound scientific basis, which is necessary in the PhD but isn't really the focus in the undergraduate program. Please correct this.

This website (a graduate program from a brazilian university) explains that also. But it can easily verified in the rules of any other graduate program.

--Gabriel NR 17:13, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Having studied/taught in many universities brazil-wide, I am pretty sure that most curses take 5-6 year to complete, only the licenciatura degrees taking 4-5 years; I am going to modify that, even though right now I don't have statistics to comprove this claim.

--Lucas Gallindo 23:25, 3 September 2007 (UTC)


this needs a criticism section especially for the USA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

I didn't get it...[edit]

See, when someone wants to be a doctor in Brazil, they do doutorado. But it doesn't seem to be the same in UK or USA. Looking doctorate up in the dictionary, I found: "doctor's degree." So, how's the process of getting the degree called? If doctorate is the term used to describe the degree that was gotten. Asking differently: one that has a doctor's degree is doctorate, but one that is in the process of getting it is what? Another question: if doctorate is to doctor's degree, master's degree is to...???? As a Brazilian, I may say that some terms aren't the same, even if translated. Doutorado in Portuguese means that person that got the title or that person that is studying to obtain it. I don't know if the dictionary wondered it, so I ask for help. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not sure if I understood your question as it appears to be written in a somewhat broken English. In any case, a person who is working towards a PhD degree in the US is normally called a "PhD candidate" after he/she passes the required qualifying exam(s) and completes the required coursework prescribed for the degree. The term ABD ("all but the dissertation") is also used to refer to PhD candidates who have fulfilled all degree requirements except the submission of the doctoral dissertation itself.
As far as Brazil is concerned, a person who is working towards a doctorate, but has not been awarded the degree yet, is called a "doutorando". A person who finishes a "doutorado" (Eng "doctorate") is on the other hand referred to as a "doutor" (English "doctor"). (talk) 22:44, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Besides the terms mentioned we also use the term "graduate student" in the USA. These are usually people with a masters degree working towards their Doctorate degree but sometimes are people with Bachelors degree working towards their Masters or Doctorate degree.
With regard to's second question. A person who has been awarded the Masters degree is referred to as having a Masters or "MA." Thus, if you see a name such as "Maria Bosque, MA" then you would know she has a Masters degree though would not know if she has completed her studies for now or is working towards her Doctorate. --Marc Kupper|talk 18:57, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

PhD and "faculties"[edit]

The section describing the PhD, DD, and MD as early faculties needs to be amended. The PhD is a 19th century German innovation. The Faculty of Arts had no higher degrees than MA, although it did become common to award DLitt or LLD by the 18th century. What say you? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grkndeacon (talkcontribs) 15:26, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Length of PhD studies in the UK[edit]

I take issue with the statement that one can finish a research doctorate in the UK in six years only counting from the initial day of the undergraduate bachelor's degree course. In the fields of arts, humanities and social sciences, the standard offer for admission as a PhD student normally requires that the applicant complete a one-year taught master's degree in addition to a 3-year bachelor's degree before he/she can begin PhD-level research. In engineering and natural sciences on the other hand, the standard offer for admission normally requires that the student hold a 4-year undergraduate master's degree (e.g., an MEng, MSci or equivalent). Students who don't have a master's may be admitted, but Oxbridge for example admits them as "probationary research students" (PRS), who will have to take taught master's classes anyway and take at least one year to have their doctoral registration status confirmed. Furthermore, even though the ideal timeline to submit a doctoral thesis is 3 years, most UK PhD students take at least one additional academic term (for final thesis write-up, Viva examinations, and corrections) before they can actually graduate,

I'd say that the standard time to get a PhD in a top UK university is probably closer to seven and a half to eight years (3 years undergrad + 1-year master + 3-4 years for the PhD properly). That is still shorter than in the US though (where the timetable is typically 4 years undergrad + 2-year master's+ 3-5 years for the PhD properly). (talk) 17:48, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

exclusion of J.D. from article[edit]

The article will be enriched, users better informed, and the Wikipedia community benefitted by mention of the J.D. among professional degrees, since it is one of the major professional degrees. An editor has removed content referring to the J.D. from the article, even though that content was relevant and verifiable. Why should the content be removed? Zoticogrillo (talk) 01:48, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

It's just one example among many that could be used. Since it's been contentious at Juris doctor, bringing it here seems unnecessary. We don't need more examples, and if we do, pharmacy would work just as well and not be disputed. JJL (talk) 14:45, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
In the past, it had been contentious. But I believed that the issue had recently been resolved. The J.D. is more common than the D.Pharm., and one with which many people are familiar. Indeed, I believe that there are more J.D. degrees awarded than any other professional doctorate. Including it here is logical, and it would meet all of the wiki policies, including verifiability, relevance, (general) consensus, etc. Zoticogrillo (talk) 18:30, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
I think we'd need to hear from more people to claim consensus--isn't it just the two of us disagreeing here? Where's the consensus? In any event, the J.D. is at the very least the oddball of the group--using a DDS, or D.Pharm., DVM, or DO is a better example, while this is at best a corner case. JJL (talk) 23:04, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
We are discussing a topic fully covered in the J.D. article. Please feel free to view the discussion page of that article. It has gone through more than two months of negotiation and discussion to create he present article, with which Wikiant seems to be very happy (he gave me my first barn star for it [blush]). I'm sorry that you weren't there to contribute. Perhaps you can now?
The oldest professional doctorate in the U.S. is the M.D., and the second one was the J.D. The J.D. predates all those other degrees. There are scholars who have opined that the introduction of the J.D., together with the M.D., paved the way for the creation of those other professional degrees. I would say that some of which you mention are actually the odd balls, since they don't even require a B.A. But all of this is in excess of the "relevance" requirement.
The content to which you are objecting is cited with authority and otherwise meets all other wiki criteria. If you disagree with it, I invite you to initiate further dispute resolution methods. Zoticogrillo (talk) 23:49, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
You're being quite contentious. I refer you to WP:OWN. The fact that you have a citation for the claim isn't the only criterion. I'm arguing that a second example is not necessary and that this is not the most typical example. You seem to feel the rule is "no verifiable information may be removed" but this logic leads to every passing editor adding his or her own favorute example. If a second example is necessary, I suggest we use, say the D.V.M. It's more typical and has fewer issues surrounding it. JJL (talk) 00:03, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I enjoy the creative and negotiating process of wiki. Thanks for engaging me in this discussion. It seems we both hold our views with the same degree of conviction. I do hope you will re-join the discussion at J.D. I'm sorry that you feel that I've taken ownership of the article. There are many editors who have contributed to the article. Zoticogrillo (talk) 00:24, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I've taken some time to peruse it. While I see that you've marshaled a strong case, the lengthy "Debate about Academic Status" section at the J.D. article underscores the fact that this is still a contentious matter. Three years ago I stood in a room of 100 Ph.D.s and heard the derisive laughter as a J.D. from the Board was introduced as "Doctor So-and-so" and while that's hardly a WP:V fact, I just don't see this as a simple matter. Until it's settled there, I'd rather not have a contested example spread across WP. Why can't another example suffice? JJL (talk) 02:55, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I can't remember why I first looked at this J.D. article, but when I saw the debate surrounding it, I started to do my own research. When there was a lot of contention about my comments based on my quick research, I realized that I needed to do more serious research for the purpose of educating myself and contributing to the article. I maintained an open mind through the process, and the issue became nearly obsessive for me when I found no support at all for the claim that the J.D. is not a doctorate. Therefore the article I finally drafted was a drastic change from the previous version, and had a lot of detail. I've continued to ask people for support for the claim that the J.D. is not a doctorate mainly out of curiosity, because after months of intense research and talking to professors, I haven't found a thing. Regardless of the derisive (and appearantly ignorant) disrespect of the audience you witnessed, I still hold my research findings higher than opinion.
I'm sorry that you chose to stop participating in creating the article. I hope you'll add your contributions. From what I think is an objective view point, I can find no reason not to include the J.D. as an example, and it seems that it would be one of the best examples as well.
Wouldn't this discussion be more appropriate and useful on the J.D. talk page? Zoticogrillo (talk) 05:01, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
But that's precisely my point. Let's confine it there before moving it to other pages where it's not needed. JJL (talk) 19:15, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
It has been months since there has been any debate about the J.D. article. There appears to be a consensus. I'm sorry that you don't agree. By choosing not to participate, there is an implied consensus. Zoticogrillo (talk) 19:48, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
The "implied consensus contains" a lengthy section on the debate about the degree's status ("Debate about academic status"). There appears to be consensus that such a debate exists. Hence, I think we should use another example. There's no such debate documented at Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, for example. JJL (talk) 02:04, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
When I say "implied consensus" I mean that no one has raised issues with the article since its last major revision, and it was meant to refer to your lack of participation in that article.
Didn't you read the last paragraph of the "debate" section? "Notwithstanding these arguments, there is historical justification for the J.D.[1] The J.D. was created by one of the world's top universities,[2] it is only a few years younger than the Ph.D. (in English-speaking universities),[3] and there is no contention among U.S. universities that the J.D. is a legitimate professional doctorate.[4]"
This is my last message on this topic. Zoticogrillo (talk) 04:03, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with JJL and Wikiant that the matter unfortunately has not been settled yet. As mentioned by a previous poster, the specific naming of a degree does not necessarily indicate that degree's level or, equivalently, its academic ranking. It seems clear to me that an American J.D. ranks higher than a B.A. or B.S. to the extent that earning the latter is a pre-requisite for admission into a course of study leading to the former. On the other hand, the J.D. ranks lower than the LL.M (a part-taught/part-research master's degree) and the S.J.D (the American research doctorate in Law ), to the extent that one has to earn a J.D (or equivalent) first to be later awarded an LL.M or an S.J.D. Furthermore, outside the United States, it appears that UK universities for example equate the J.D. with their own undergraduate LLB in ranking, as indicated by the fact that a J.D. cannot be directly admitted into a British PhD program in Law, having normally to apply first for admission into an LL.M program. It would be however problematic, from a US perspective, to group the J.D. with the British LLB, because the J.D. is a graduate-entry degree whereas the LLB is not. US J.D. and British LLB programs also have somewhat different curricula and goals.
In any case, my point, which is quite simple and, I believe, uncontroversial, is that the Wiki articles should classify/group different academic degrees based not on the names different countries use to refer to them (which are completely arbitrary), but rather based on their ranking/status level defined as above, i.e. which degree is normally required to be earned first before one can proceed to admission to another. That criterion would be consistent with the definition of "academic degree" adopted by the Wikipedia itself, namely:
"A degree is any of a wide range of status levels conferred by institutions of higher education, such as universities, normally as the result of successfully completing a program of study."
ChebyFilt (talk) 02:30, 9 October 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ See Historical Context section of this article
  2. ^ Hall (1907), 112-117.
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Ralph P. (1962). Eugene Schuyler's Doctor of Philosophy Degree: A Theory Concerning the Dissertation. The Journal of Higher Education, vol. 33, pages 381-86. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Association of American Universities Data Exchange. Glossary of Terms for Graduate Education. Accessed June 10, 2008.

Too much opinion in international section[edit]

Hi, The information on individual countries' academic titles, particularly the comparisons to the U.S. system that they contain (see Germany, Russia), is not based on fact, but prevailing opinions held by people within those countries. It would be far more constructive to provide factual information such as that contained in the sections on France, Italy and Poland rather than to describe how one country's academic degree is higher / lower / on the same level as an academic degree in another country. (talk) 12:34, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

The section on Mexico is completely inaccurate: reflects the point of view of private education, does not cite official references such as the Ministry of Education guidelines for Degree homologation, has advertising statements such as “The ITAM is one of the best universities in the World”, and mention unregulated education programs such as “Diplomados” which are not degrees and have no international homologation. Regards, C.M. May 11, 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:50, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The entry on Germany simply asserted as fact the equivalency of the traditional Magister and Diplom degrees to what it termed a "master's degree." I changed it to indicate that this is the local, but not universal, opinion, and gave a specific example of such an exception. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bakesnobread (talkcontribs) 18:32, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Some suggestions to the Degree systems section[edit]

Hi, I was just wondering if we should add more information such as the New Zealand degree system under the Asia and Oceania for Degree systems by regions section or at least expand on it. Also, I was wondering, for the degree J.D., is it more appropriate to call it 'Juris Doctor' or the 'Doctor of Jurisprudence'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ConspiracyMonkey (talkcontribs) 04:05, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Juris Doctor is the standard usage. Zoticogrillo (talk) 07:58, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Request for Review of the History Section[edit]

It looks like several Wikipedia articles that cover the history of academic degrees (e.g. PhD, doctorate, academic degree, postgraduate education) have been cut and pasted or edited from a reference mentioned as "the Catholic encyclopedia", and sometimes contradict each other.

For example, it is stated in some of those aforementioned articles that the Master's degree in medieval times was awarded as the terminal degree in the Faculty of Arts, after which one could proceed to the higher faculties (Theology, Law, etc.) where the terminal degree was that of Doctor. However, the postgraduate education article at the same time implies at one point that master's degrees were also awarded in the higher faculties (prior to a doctorate) and that practice actually varied from country to country. On the other hand, although there appears to be a consensus in the various Wiki articles that the master's degree conferred the right to teach in th Faculty of Arts, it is unclear whether a doctorate was actually required to teach in the higher faculties (which doesn't appear to be the case in England for example where doctorates were rare). There is also conflicting information in the different articles on the number of years required to earn a bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees in the medieval universities and on what the requirements were for each degree (again, practice probably varied from country to country).

That seems all confusing to me and I suspect that there may be inaccurate information in some of the Wiki articles. I suggest someone who is an expert on the topic review the "History" sections in all relevant articles and clean them up, preferably using more than one reference and avoiding cutting and pasting. (talk) 10:42, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Equivalence of traditional German degrees[edit]

In edit [19] by User:Bakesnobread some changes were done with respect to equivalence of the traditional German degrees (which are now in the process of being phased out and replaced by the Bologna bachelor+master system). However, the statements don't differentiate sufficiently IMO and are unclear.

  • There are several kinds of traditional Diplom degrees: 1. The Diplom from universities (Universität) with the right to grant Doctor degrees. This usually takes one semester less than Bologna bachelor+master in the same subject, but still gives you access to the same jobs as the new master's degree in Germany, so they are de facto equivalent (in Germany). 2. The Diplom from universities of applied science (Fachhochschule). This gives you access to the same jobs as the Bologna Bachelor in Germany. To add to the confusion, the universities of applied sciences have switched to the bachelor/master system, too, and award master's degrees that give you access to the same jobs as corresponding university master's degrees in Germany. 3. Finally, there is the Diplom from universities of cooperative education (Berufsakademie) and those also switched to the Bologna system. I don't know about whether they give you access to the same jobs as the others in Germany. But the old Diplom awarded by these institutions was clearly different from the other two. The article should make a difference at least for a Diplom from a university and a Diplom from a university of applied sciences and say that even in Germany, the second one is not considered equivalent to a master's degree.
  • It is true that many Diplom degrees from universities are cheap to obtain. Quality and difficulty vary significantly, even within the same university. It can be the case that the university has top-notch education on an international level for one subject and offers only very poor education for others. The same is true for PhDs. A university may have internationally renowned professors and the PhD students dominate international conferences for one subject, and have only unknown professors and PhD students that hand in theses providing a literary overview of existing knowledge rather than advancing it. Accordingly, the quality of master's or Diplom theses in one subject may be significantly better than PhD theses in a different one. So it's certainly fair to say that the Diplom from universities is often equivalent to a Bachelor, but it's not fair to claim this to be a general truth.
  • The claim "For example, these traditional German first degrees are regarded by the University of California, the top-ranked public university system in the United States, as equivalent to an American bachelor's degree for purposes of graduate school admission." seems pretty strange. As I said above, it's true that the university Diplom is often de facto equivalent to a US Bachelor. However, the argument refers to the University of California to say it's always considered a Bachelor there. But the university only says that "The minimum graduate admission requirements are: (1) a bachelor's degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution"[20] (my emphasis). So how can the university's practice be used as an argument for the claim that a German Diplom is equivalent to a Bachelor? Rather the practice says that it's at least equivalent to a Bachelor, doesn't it? And the statement lacks a source. I looked on the website but all I could find was the statement "International students requiring determination of their degree equivalency, should contact Graduate Admissions for more detail."[21] There's no published list of equivalences there.

So please rethink the changes made by User:Bakesnobread and at least add some qualifications and sources. --rtc (talk) 17:36, 6 August 2010 (UTC)


This article implies (by ommission) that there are no universities in Africa. Roger (talk) 10:22, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

One cannot imply by omission. Certainly, you may infer due to omission, but that's your choice. Wikiant (talk) 16:39, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
And a much better inference is that no one has written about academic degrees in Africa because there probably aren't a lot of English-speaking Wikipedia editors knowledgeable of that topic. I'm not but if you are then please contribute! ElKevbo (talk) 16:53, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
It's on my to-do list. I'll do some research on South African universities over the next few days. I'll leave other African countries to editors who are more familiar with them. I'll also drop a note about this on a few relevant WikiProjects. Roger (talk) 17:15, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Hierarchy of Degrees[edit]

I am amazed that the hierarchy of degrees section contains no references. I propose that the section be removed entirely. I'm sure that there are plenty of references showing that an associates degree is lower (in terms of hierarchy) than a bachelors and a bachelors lower than a masters, etc. Professional degrees and combined professional/academic degrees present a multitude of problems -- many of which are specific to the specific degree in question. Wikiant (talk) 01:12, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I've put cite tags on several of the degrees listed under the highest category. I'm not sure that the categorization should exist at all given the lack of references. However, the tagged degrees are more in need than others of supporting references. Wikiant (talk) 12:49, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Links Unavailable[edit]

I have found that some of the links in the ref. sec. are non functioning, can you please update the link, cite another source or remove the reference. Thank You. --AbqDez (talk) 07:38, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, and, if allowed under fair use, may copy sentences and phrases, provided they are included in quotation marks and referenced properly. The material may also be rewritten, providing it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Therefore, such paraphrased portions must provide their source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Moonriddengirl (talk) 22:11, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

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Laws concerning authorized use of degrees[edit]

Except for Academic degree#Academic title bearing (which is about Netherlands), the article says nothing about laws that forbid unauthorized use of academic degrees. There's some information implied by Validation of foreign studies and degrees but it hardly touches the core of the subject. I know for sure that such laws exist in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. states without citations that many laws exist in US countries, categorized into "Licensure Law", "Deceptive Trade Law" and "Use of Degree Laws". Someone please update the article with information in that respect. --rtc (talk) 22:26, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

@Rtc: I'll have a look at what I can find - I can start the section off with a description of the UK, but I don't know much about other countries. Robminchin (talk) 21:36, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

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Removed ijazah[edit]

Hey everyone,

I removed a pretty big chunk in the history section regarding the ijazah. I got here while going through WP:Jagged 85 cleanup and noticed that the IP address that added this section has only made this one edit, but it is virtually identical to Jagged 85's words, with the same sources and everything, as you can see with this (and many others): [22]. Whether it was him or just someone using his words, I dunno, but the edit itself is incorrect as has been pointed out several times in the past 8 years at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Jagged 85/Evidence#HISTORY. Dragoon17 (talk) 23:46, 13 August 2018 (UTC)