Doctorate Degree Online Degree Categories
The first doctoral degree was conferred in 1861 at Yale University. These programs are generally entered after completing both a bachelor's and master's program, although some bachelor's degree holders may enter doctoral studies directly. Achieving a doctorate involves several stages over a period of six to eight, or more, years. The length of the doctoral degree depends on the field being studied - for example programs in the humanities last more than eight years, and engineering doctorates are an average length of 6.5 years. The preliminary course phase of the degree concludes with comprehensive exams. Upon passing these, the doctoral student can advance to candidacy. The second stage includes advanced seminars through which students pick their doctoral thesis, or dissertation, subject. The candidate designs a research project, picks an adviser and selects three to five professors for their dissertation committee. At this point, the student will begin independent research, completed over several years' time. They write their dissertation in chapters, which can be reviewed by peers and professors as they progress. Students prepare for their dissertation defense, which they complete at the end of their programs. This oral examination is administered by the thesis committee. The professors in attendance judge the student's answers and proficiency in the field. They then award the doctoral degree if the student is successful.
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