Terminal Degree in 2021; Why Should I Get One

Filed in Degrees by on 24th April 2021

A terminal degree is the highest degree awarded in a given field. This post contains everything you need to know about a terminal degree in 2021. 

A terminal level degree can be a doctorate in philosophy, a doctorate, or a professional degree, such as a medical doctorate or a law degree. Professional degrees are legally required of a person before exercising a terminal degree, but not all terminal degrees are considered professional degrees.

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What is a Terminal Degree?

A terminal degree is the highest degree available in a given academic discipline.

It means that a student have attained the highest level of education available in the chosen field.

A terminal degree can take many forms like a PhD, also known as a PhD in philosophy), an EdD (Doctor of Education), or a professional degree such as a JD (Juris Doctor).

Terminal Degrees in 2021

Types of Terminal degrees in 2021

Terminal Doctorates Degree
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Doctor of Arts (DA)

Doctor of Engineering (Dr. Ing, DEng, Dr. Eng, EngD)

Professional Degrees

Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dentistry (DMD)
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD)
Education Specialist (EdS)

Terminal Master’s Degrees

Terminal Master’s Degrees

Master of Architecture (MArch)
Master in Library Information Systems (MLIS)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Master of Social Work (MSW)

Other terminal master degrees include Master:

  • of Architecture (MArch)
  • of Library Science (MLS) and
  • MSW – Master of Social Work

Does it Take Long to Get a Terminal Degree?

A terminal degree generally takes longer to complete than a non terminal degree.

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For example, a person with a Master of Arts in English can complete the program within two years. 

What Does a Terminal Masters Degree Mean?

In general, a  terminal master’s degree is the highest possible university degree in a particular field of study. 

Below is a breakdown of the two types of terminal master’s degrees so that you can make the best decision regarding your graduate studies:Professional Terminal Degree

Professional Terminal Degree

A terminal, or professional degree is aimed at people interested in professional advancement. 

The non-terminal or academic diploma is for people interested in continuing their studies at the doctoral level.Typical Terminal Degrees at the Master’s Level

Typical Terminal Degrees at the Master’s Level

According to MBAGrad.org, some of the most common terminal degrees include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, the Master of Education (M.Ed), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng). Other masters at the terminal include the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLArch).

What is a Terminal Degree in Education?

A terminal degree in education, as in many other disciplines, is a doctorate, generally called a doctorate. To qualify as a terminal diploma, it must be the highest level of education offered in a given field. In the United States, a doctorate in education is generally known as Ed.D, and it is a graduate degree that prepares students to work in many capacities related to education in academia.

There are many different educational credentials, and the Ed.D, sometimes called a doctorate in education, is the highest and most specialized. It usually takes around four years to complete a doctorate, but it may take longer if the student does not yet have a master’s degree.

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There are many advantages to obtaining a doctorate in education, many of which are the same for any doctorate. Those with a terminal and professional degree earn on average more than those with just a college degree. They are also more respected in academia and more likely to find satisfying positions.

Some graduates are required to hold any type of administrative position, such as a principal, so those who wish to advance in the field of education will find Ed.D very helpful. If you are interested in becoming a school principal or a higher college administrator, an ideal next degree would be a terminal education degree.

Terminal Degree FAQs

Can you earn a terminal degree online?

Yes, you can now earn a terminal degree online by taking the majority of your coursework online and then travel to your chosen school for your dissertation meetings.

If you attend an online program with “Live” sessions with your computer/laptop, you will experience live classroom time from the comfort of your home and the experience of taking classes with a diverse population of international students. 

Can I have two doctoral degrees?

Yes, you can have two doctoral or terminal degree. 

What do you need to earn a doctoral degree?

Most doctorate programs require at least a master’s degree in a related field, while some accept just a bachelor’s degree. Doctorate programs require intense coursework and advanced research and culminate with a thesis and dissertation that may take years to complete. You may also need to take the Graduate Readiness Exam (GRE)  

Are there degrees higher than doctorates?

In the United States, the doctorate is the highest degree. In the UK, Ireland and some other countries, graduate level students can earn an even higher doctorate degree, called the Doctor of Science (DSc) or Doctor of Letters (DLitt). 

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