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Doctorate and Doctoral Degree Information

What is a Doctorate?
The Doctoral degree is the highest level of academic degrees. Doctorates can be earned for academic or professional purposes.

There are three different types of Doctorates: academic, professional and honorary. Academic Doctoral degrees, like the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), focus on advancing knowledge through original research in a given academic field. Many college professors have completed Ph.D. programs and hold Doctorates of this nature.

Professional Doctoral degrees, such as the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and the Juris Doctor (JD), stress the practical application of knowledge and skills and are required before entering certain professions.

Honorary Doctorates are often awarded to renowned or influential people who have made a contribution to a specific field. Those who have been awarded an honorary Doctorate generally have not completed formal study and are not referred to by the title of “Doctor.”

Why should I earn a Doctorate?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals with a Doctoral education average annual incomes that are $37,265 higher than workers with a Bachelor’s degree. In 1998, this meant that the average Bachelor's degree holder earned $40,478 while the average Doctorate degree holder earned $77,445.

How can I earn a Doctorate?
To become eligible for earning a Doctorate, students must prove that they have earned at least a Bachelor's degree, or a Bachelor's and Master's degree. The minimum time for completing a Doctoral degree is generally three years from enrollment, but many students take significantly longer.

What can I do with a Doctorate?
A Doctorate is most commonly required to become a doctor of medicine. Additionally, many university professors and most high-level scientific researchers are required to have a Ph.D.