Doctoral Degree Programs

Graduates who enroll in doctoral degree programs are expected to complete requirements within three to seven years, during which time candidates should have reached the epitome of academic or professional achievement. By the time an individual completes a doctoral program, he or she should be qualified or licensed to teach, as the Latin term, "licentia docendi" implies. The prerequisites for earning a doctorate in most fields requires completion of a master's level program; and doctoral candidates are considered to have mastered an above average knowledge of a chosen field in order to teach others. Whether the field of specialization is law, science, religion, geography, math, or fine arts, doctoral degree programs prepare students to become qualified to not only teach what has been taught to them, but also to develop new theories and vistas of understanding which have never or rarely been introduced into academia. In that respect, doctoral candidates are pioneers, movers and shakers of the academic community, who challenge the dusty and dank hypotheses of yesterday and formulate new modes of thinking for tomorrow.

These learned men and women have spent years in undergraduate school building a foundation in the rudiments of biology, math, physics, or some other academic field of study, under the tutelage of others. After completing four years of coursework as an undergrad, most candidates complete another two to four years in graduate school, delving into an even greater level of comprehension and applying complex concepts and principles. Some grad students are even hired as teaching fellows, further developing an ability to analytically impart complex concepts and principles while assisting senior faculty with research. All of this advanced education, ongoing research, and part time teaching equips candidates enrolled in doctoral degree programs to prepare an academic dissertation or thesis regarding an aspect of a major field of study. The dissertation is considered to represent a culmination of years of education and investigative research which demonstrates not only a depth of understanding, but also a command of scientific, academic, or quantitative principles to qualify candidates as experts. Doctoral candidates who excel in academic research are usually required to publish findings in scientific or social journals, which are peer-reviewed. Because dissertations and research findings are mainly philosophical in nature, candidates will earn what is commonly titled a Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy degree.

In the United States, doctoral degree programs vary according to the field of study. Of course, most candidates have already completed bachelor's and master's degree programs. However, the next four to six years depends largely on the type of doctor they will eventually become. While degrees are awarded for distinction for scientific or academic research, credentials awarded to individuals who have potential to excel in a specific profession are called professional doctorate degrees. Lawyers, medical doctors, pharmacists, engineers, dentists, veterinarians, musicians, and theologians all fall into the category of professional doctors. Attorneys may qualify for the title of Juris Doctor (JD), those in the medical profession practice under the title of M.D., and veterinarians' shingles include MVDr. No matter what type of doctor graduates will eventually be named, there is one name that carries more prestige and power than any other: the Name of Jesus Christ. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).

Not every university or college offers doctoral degree programs. Postgraduates can usually find programs for terminal degrees in the nation's premier teaching universities located in major cities. Many of these institutions are home to major hospitals where medical degree candidates can practice as residents under the tutelage of renowned physicians. Residency programs provide hands-on application of principles learned after years of classroom study, where residents shadow instructors from patient bedsides to surgical wards and gain invaluable experience discovering how to practice medicine. Other institutions which offer doctoral degree programs house prestigious law schools, distinguished colleges of art, or world class research labs where students can gain invaluable information under the oversight of highly acclaimed attorneys, artists, or scientists who have made contributions not only to the university as faculty members, but also to society as a whole. In this respect, graduate studies leading to a doctorate are part of a discipleship program through which students can glean from master educators and hopefully, inherit a legacy of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

Residency programs for research doctoral candidates usually consist of one full year on-campus as a full-time student, usually working alongside tenured professors. Other doctoral degree programs also provide extensive practical application as a prerequisite for credentialing. Admission to doctoral degree programs is subject to the approval of the Head Deans of the schools to which graduate students apply. Postgraduate applicants usually must submit requests to pursue the doctorate degree in a chosen field of study. Once approved, master's degree credits from an accredited university or college are transferred, provided students have earned acceptable grade point averages in previous coursework. After admission, students are required to submit a plan of study indicating the areas of specialized research which will be pursued, especially in the case of research doctorate degrees. Before being awarded a terminal degree, doctoral candidates must pass a preliminary examination, submit a dissertation for review, and successfully pass a final examination. After what seems like an eternity, a man or woman who has worked diligently to pursue the dream of a lifetime has finally earned the coveted title of doctor.

Doctorate Degree Online

Doctorate degrees online give professionals the ideal means to pursue higher education without causing a major disruption to current lifestyles or jobs. Many people with undergraduate and even graduate level degrees find it difficult to progress to the next educational level, especially for the doctorate, because they are limited to local college and university options. Earning a doctorate degree online is perfect for professionals who want to advance in particular careers but who do not have the time or the desire to devote to traditional classroom methods of instruction.

Most people pursuing higher education are already well-educated and are most likely in the midst of balancing their work and family obligations. Since these people are already very busy, earning their doctorate degrees online makes good sense. They can do the coursework when it is convenient for them and still manage their current work and home responsibilities. The flexibility also means that students could complete their coursework sooner than if they chose the traditional route of attending classes on campus.

The range of available courses is seemingly endless. Almost any PhD that can be earned in a traditional campus format is now offered as a doctorate degree online. Students can earn the impressive credential as part of a program in any of a number of fields, including education, health services, communications, public policy and administration, international business, history, and ministry. Many schools offer numerous programs, so a prospective student must research the various options thoroughly to determine which will best meet his or her needs. Students should ask questions about the doctorate degree online programs. How is the instruction delivered? How accessible are the faculty and administration members? What is the accreditation of the institution? After all, recent news reports have called attention to some so-called distance learning programs that have given Internet educational programs a bad reputation by offering little more than "pay-for-a-degree" services.

Although the convenience and flexibility offered is a big plus in many students' lives, prospective candidates should not assume that the work is any less demanding than what they would find on campus. Some may even find that earning their doctorate degrees online is more challenging because the accountability factor of a classroom with peers and a professor is virtually non-existent. Self-motivation, self-discipline, organization, goal-setting, and time-management are all necessary qualities for students to succeed in pursuing their goal. But as believers, we can accomplish more than we expect because "God will supply all your need by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). For people who seek the rewards that higher education brings, working toward a doctorate degree online may be the ideal path.

Online education master degrees have become quite easy to earn through the virtual educational format offered by many accredited colleges and universities today. Allowing the motivated student to further his or her education with a graduate degree, Internet learning can provide a graduate with earning potential and job choices not available to those with undergraduate degrees. Perhaps someone is in need of a boost to their career, or would like to change careers. Another candidate may be a working parent with family obligations but also an interest in higher learning. The flexible scheduling and adaptable format of an online education master degree could be the extra push a person needs to make career dreams come true.

This level of education can be obtained through a multitude of universities that are accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies that insure quality from the member school. Online education master degrees can be obtained in a wide range of fields such as psychology, business, fine arts, technology and marketing. Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees also can be earned with specialty studies in management, leadership, or finances depending on the online education master degree program that is chosen. Generally, these programs require approximately 30 to 36 hours in order to graduate.

The online format is extremely adaptable for those who work, live at home or are motivated to complete a program in less than the typical two years. Using cutting edge computer systems and high tech Internet options, a virtual online education master degree is not only quality but is exciting as well. Interaction within a program among virtual students and faculty is extraordinary through web cams, discussion boards, group chat rooms, email and streaming media. One positive element within the Internet format is the lessened social distractions of a classroom and the heightened focus on interactive instruction. Interactive features still allow a personal touch without the inhibitions of a socially controlled classroom making online studies highly attractive to the serious student earning online education master degrees.

There are many places to turn for further information on this subject. If a person is interested in online education master degrees, they can search for more information at the many university websites throughout the worldwide web. Information regarding requirements, specialties, credit hours required for graduation, and any on-campus requirements will be supplied. Admission requirements, costs, financial aid, and computer systems requirements for an online education master degree will also be listed on a persons favorite universities' site. Taking the time to gather as much information as possible and seeking the will of God, will allow a person to make the best choice in selecting a program that is right for them. "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." (Psalm 32:8)

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