First Professional Versus Research Doctorate Degrees in The United States
Certain doctorates awarded by professional graduate schools, such as the Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) are mistakenly considered by some to be first professional degrees or equivalent to first professional degrees. The United States Department of Education (USDOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) maintain a list of recognized first professional degrees and research doctorate degrees on the USDOE's Structure of U.S. Education site. According to the USDOE, first professional degrees, "...are considered graduate-level programs in the U.S. system because the follow prior undergraduate studies, but they are in fact first degrees in these professional subjects. Holders of first-professional degrees are considered to have an entry-level qualification and may undertake graduate study in these professional fields following the award of the first-professional degree. Several of these degrees use the term “doctor” in the title, but these degrees do not contain an independent research component or require a dissertation (thesis) and should not be confused with PhD degrees or other research doctorates."
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... Below is a list of research doctorate degrees titles recognized by the USDOE and the NSF ... These degrees are not first professional degrees and are accepted by the USDOE and the NSF as equivalent in content and level to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree ... Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W.) Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) Countries outside the United States may have different classifications for degrees ...
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