Doctorate degrees are the pinnacle of accomplishment in higher learning. The first doctorate degree was offered in the United States in 1861. Research doctorate degrees, known as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), may also be titled by their specialization.
For example, engineering doctorates are called Doctor of Engineering (EngD), law doctorates are known as Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD), and business doctorates known as Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Education doctorate degrees are called Doctor of Education (EdD). Physicians can earn a doctoral degree in medicine known as the MD. The Doctor of Public Health degree (DPH) is granted for completion of a program in health administration.
The doctorate degree can take from two to six years to complete. Coursework may be completed in as little as four semesters, with students spending the balance of the program time in dedicated research. Completion requirements often include a qualifying examination and the research, presentation, and defense of a publishable dissertation on a specialized niche within the general field.
Requirements for entry into a doctoral program vary by institution and doctorate degree type. Most programs require a pre-entry examination, prior undergraduate and/or graduate level work, and recommendation letters. Other designated doctorate degrees include Doctor of Applied Science (D.A.S.), Doctor of Chemistry (D.Chem.), Doctor of Computer Science (D.C.S.), Doctor of Library Science (D.L.S.), Doctor of Ministry (D.Min., D.M.), Doctor of Nursing Science (D.N.S./D.N.Sc.), Doctor of Science in Dentistry (D.Sc.D.), and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.).
Professional doctorates are also given in a wide range of disciplines, including Chiropractic (D.C.), Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Psychology (Psy.D.), Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), and Physical Therapy (D.P.T.).