What is a DOCTORAL Degree?
A doctorate degree signifies the highest degree of education that can be earned. In addition to coursework, it requires the pursuit of original research culminating in a dissertation. Some individuals, particularly those interested in college teaching or research, go on to obtain a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) after receiving a Masters degree. Other doctoral degrees include Ed.D., in the discipline of education, and the Psy.D. (in Psychology). A J.D. is awarded for law, an M.D. is awarded for medicine. These programs vary in the number of credit hours required to complete each program. Most however, require a total of at least six years of college work for completion.
Why Go To Graduate School?
One of the best reasons for attending graduate school is earning a degree that will allow you to work in certain fields which require specialized training. The pursuit of graduate study is often driven by a love of knowledge for its own sake and wanting to delve into a specialization. The ability to keep pace with current developments in the labor market as new jobs are created is also a great reason to consider graduate education.
Before you begin researching graduate programs, it may be helpful to evaluate your reasons for attending graduate school, as it is a significant investment of your time, energy, and money. A common misconception about graduate school is that it is a continuation of your undergraduate days. In graduate school, there is a presumption that you have made a well-informed and focused choice about what you are now studying. Not having a clear career direction or following the dreams or expectations of others, can be signals of the need for thorough self –assessment. If you are uncertain about your career or educational goals, you may want to speak with a career counselor. Know that graduate school focuses on the importance of research and relationships. Graduate school is driven by research. Whether pursuing a degree in political science or chemistry, the bulk of graduate work involves performing intensive research, either in a laboratory or a library. One should consider this reality carefully before pursuing the application process further.
The other aspect of graduate school that is important to remember is that the development of relationships among other academics and scholars is a key part of the whole experience. A good relationship with a professor as an undergraduate, for example, can lead to a satisfying independent study or thesis and can be a strong demonstration of interest in and competence for graduate research. Relationships developed with fellow students in graduate school are also critical, as these relationships will form the nucleus of your professional network in academia.