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What is a Terminal Degree?

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❶The National Science Foundation recognizes a variety of other terminal research doctorates as equal in rigor to the Doctor of Philosophy degree, including the Doctor of Education, or Ed.

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When discussing graduate schools, terminal degree is a term that is thrown around often in the world of American post-secondary education. In the strictest sense of the word, terminal degrees are granted at the highest level in a particular academic discipline.

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A terminal degree is a university degree that can signify one of two outcomes. In some cases, it is the highest degree that can be awarded in a specific academic or professional track. In some cases, it is the highest degree that can be awarded in a specific academic or professional track.

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When a degree is considered terminal, it means that it is the highest degree awarded in a given field. In most fields, the terminal-level degree is the doctor of philosophy, or PhD, but in some fields, it’s a professional degree, such as a doctor of medicine or law degree. A terminal degree in education, as in many other disciplines, is a doctoral degree, usually called a Ph.D. In order to be called a terminal degree, it must be the highest level of instruction offered in a given field.

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The faculty job description lists, "Terminal degree required." The college website boasts, "95% of our faculty have a terminal degree in their field." But what does terminal degree mean? When and why is a terminal degree necessary? It's not just the general public who are unfamiliar with the term. What is a Terminal Degree? Scouting out university and college programs is a process that many people find themselves engaged in. Whether you have recently graduated high school, or you're considering a return to the academic environment after many years away, new terminology has greeted you.