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  1. #1
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    Terminal Degrees

    I am certain we can all agree that a Ph.D. is a terminal degree. However certain other degrees that are not earned doctorates would be terminal degrees as well, the MD, the JD, the DO,OD, DPM, heck even the DC.
    I am told the MFA and MSW for Studio or Preforming Arts and Social Work respectively are terminal degrees. SACS feels that MLS is the terminal degree for Librarians, which is fine with me as that is my degree.

    Do you consider all of these terminal degrees? Would you add any, especially the MBA is that a terminal degree, I think not but others may have a differing opinion.

    Who decides what a terminal degree is? One would assume the relevent accrediting bodies - the ALA for librarians the National Council on Social Work Education for Social Workers, Andy Warhol for the MFA :). Are there others that are the terminal degree, that are not a doctorate of any type that are accorded that status by the relevent bodies?

  2. #2
    tolstoy is offline Registered User
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    Most of the top MBA programs are filled with faculty with PhDs/DBAs, like 90% of the time. I believe that has to do with the research focus most of the top programs stress on their faculty.

    For other degrees, I think you can have a terminal degree for a field, but they still prefer PhDs to teach courses, when available.

    Often, you'll see a program like a MS in Architecture being taught by PhDs in other fields, like Urban Planning and Civil Engineering , because they are appropriate for the MS Arch. Likewise, you'll often find people with MLS degrees and PhDs in Information System or JDs teaching MLS candidates, even though the MLS is actually the highest pure degree in the actual field of concentration.

    So, I guess my opinion is that even though you have a terminal degree in a field, that doesn't circumvent the value and emphasis most research schools place on a PhD.

  3. #3
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    At least 90% of my MLS instructors were PhD, the remaining few 2 JD, an MLS with an MPA , and a few MLS with either doctorates or 2nd MA in progress.

    I am indeed going to get a doctorate, but I am leaning heavily on an on campus position. That will afford me the ability to both work and teach at the same place if all goes well.

  4. #4
    seekinghelp is offline Registered User
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    In reality MSN is the terminal degree for nursing unless you want to run a nursing program at a college. I can't see having above an MSN and still being a real practicing nurse , you wouldn't be paid above an MSN , not here anyway. I met a PhD candidate in nursing lately who has never spent a day nursing . Wants to teach something she has never done. I wouldn't want to be her student, I wouldn't want to be in her program, all potatoes and no meat.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because
    those who mind don't matter and those who
    matter don't mind"
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    AAS- Nursing - University of Kentucky


  5. #5
    me again is offline Registered User
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    Lightbulb All Washed Up

    • A Master of Science degree is considered terminal since the curriculum allegedly doesn't prepare the student for further doctoral research.
    • A Master of Arts degree allegedly prepares the student for research at the doctoral level.
    • A PhD is terminal because it is as high as one can go. There is nothing higher!!! They say that a scholar really isn't "complete" until he finishes his doctorate --> and then he's finished -- done -- that's it!!! He's finished!!! :p

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    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    Re: All Washed Up

    Originally posted by me again
    A PhD is terminal because it is as high as one can go. There is nothing higher!!! They say that a scholar really isn't "complete" until he finishes his doctorate --> and then he's finished -- done -- that's it!!! He's finished!!!
    Not really. Then you have to start research & publication if you want to enter/stay with academia.
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    Bruce Tait
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  7. #7
    MarkIsrael@aol.com is offline Registered User
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    From http://forums.degreeinfo.com/showthr...5835#post65835 :
    Originally posted by John Bear
    I know a guy with three Harvard degrees who fell off a ladder. Just goes to show . . .
    Originally posted by Musasira
    He had to fall. With three Harvard degrees there is nothing above, just empty space.

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  9. #8
    nosborne48 is offline Registered User
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    Wink

    The JD is a terminal degree for all purposes, academic and professional. Of course, I AM working on my LL.M...
    Nosborne48
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    me again is offline Registered User
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    Re: Re: All Washed Up

    Posted by Bruce
    Not really. Then you have to start research & publication if you want to enter/stay with academia.
    Actually, I was trying to be humorous. I did a number on the following joke:
    • A man isn't really complete until he's married -- and then he's finished.

    2014 - Bench pressed 43 pounds
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  11. #10
    tolstoy is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by nosborne48
    The JD is a terminal degree for all purposes, academic and professional. Of course, I AM working on my LL.M...
    Actually, the JSD is considered the actual academic terminal degree -- the research and writing component to academic legal study. Most people that go on for this degree are planning on a career in legal academia.

    A good number of my law professors had this degree, but many did not.

  12. #11
    nosborne48 is offline Registered User
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    Actually, tolstoy, the number of law professors at ABA accredited law schools who possess the JSD is vanishingly small. Indeed, many of the small number of ABA law schools that even OFFER the JSD or the research based LLM restrict it to foreign lawers and law professors ONLY. Very, very few American legal scholars have the degree because they don"t need it.

    As a single example, my own law school, the University of New Mexico had exactly ONE JSD; he was emeritus, he has since died. I have never seen an advertisement for a law professor position that required a JSD. I have never seen an advertisement for a law professor position that required a research-based LLM (as opposed to an LLM in a specialty, such as taxation ).

    When I graduated from UNM Law, the President of the University had no PhD or other doctorate; his sole claim to academic degree fame was his LL.B. So, no, the JSD is exceedingly rare on the American scene.

    The ABA is, I think, in part responsible for this state of affairs. They frown in an accreditation manner on universitys that do NOT accord equivalent tenure and rank on JD professors as on PhD professors.

    The foregoing is NOT to be taken as any sort of argument that it OUGHT to be this way. Most other countries DO require something beyond the first professional degree to be a professor of law.
    Nosborne48
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  13. #12
    tolstoy is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by nosborne48
    Actually, tolstoy, the number of law professors at ABA accredited law schools who possess the JSD is vanishingly small. Indeed, many of the small number of ABA law schools that even OFFER the JSD or the research based LLM restrict it to foreign lawers and law professors ONLY. Very, very few American legal scholars have the degree because they don"t need it.

    As a single example, my own law school, the University of New Mexico had exactly ONE JSD; he was emeritus, he has since died. I have never seen an advertisement for a law professor position that required a JSD. I have never seen an advertisement for a law professor position that required a research-based LLM (as opposed to an LLM in a specialty, such as taxation ).

    When I graduated from UNM Law, the President of the University had no PhD or other doctorate; his sole claim to academic degree fame was his LL.B. So, no, the JSD is exceedingly rare on the American scene.

    The ABA is, I think, in part responsible for this state of affairs. They frown in an accreditation manner on universitys that do NOT accord equivalent tenure and rank on JD professors as on PhD professors.

    The foregoing is NOT to be taken as any sort of argument that it OUGHT to be this way. Most other countries DO require something beyond the first professional degree to be a professor of law.
    I agree that the majority of law schools don't offer this degree, but the vast majority of the higher ranked schools DO offer it. If you do a search for Doctorate law degrees on Peterson's, you'll find that the one's that do offer it are from name schools.

    My experience was that professors that taught me were in three categories: Either they clerked for the supreme court and went to the Harvard, Yale, Stanford type schools for their JD or they had appellate clerkships. They had advanced degrees in other areas beyond the LLB or JD. If they just had just the JD, they were generally Law Review and successful careers in law or teaching elsewhere or had high level jobs with the deptartment of justice or other public positions and were fairly high profile.

    When I talked to a few of my professors that did do a JSD, it was conveyed that they did so because it is considered the highest legal academic degree that was their gateway to teach law and they weren't the type of people described in my previous paragraph.

    I'm not saying it's a minimum requirement to teach law, but a JSD is really important to those that don't stand out to hiring academics with the absence of the usual credentials. The reason the bottom half of the law schools don't offer it is because I doubt a JSD from a place like Cooley is going to carry any more weight than just someone with a JD from Yale.

    Anyway, that's just my experience and the reasoning for the JSD. I was also told that enrollment was low for JSD programs because opportunities in legal academia are very miniscule and only those that have a serious chance at gaining post JSD employment in teaching are admitted in the first place.

  14. #13
    Jack Tracey is offline Registered User
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    The MSW degree is considered to be a terminal degree despite the fact that there are PhD's in Social Work , as well as DSW's. My understanding of this is that you can obtain the highest level of licensure, in any state in the US, with an MSW . In addition, there are MSW 's working in administration, in management, in teaching , and other, perhaps less obvious endeavors such as politics. In this neck of the woods, because there are so many universities and so many MSW programs, a PhD in Social Work (or a closely related field) is required for even an adjunct teaching position. I've been led to believe that this is not the case everywhere.
    Jack

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    nosborne48 is offline Registered User
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    tolstoy

    AHA! So these folks were using the degree in place of the usual clerkship in the Supreme Court, hunh? Interesting; I wonder how well that works. Seems to me that a series of papers in well respected law journals might accomplish the same thing.

    I agree that SOME of the national schools offer the JSD but I can name three, UCLA, Stanford, and University of Virginia, that do not offer it to American law graduates.

    Judging from your description of the faculty, I'd hazard a guess that you went to Boldt Hall. Yes?

    Are you now in practice?

    You made one other interesting comment; that these people held advanced degrees in fields other than law. This is very true, though in most law schools it is by no means universal.

    According to the ABA, eighty percent of JSDs awarded go to foreign students, BTW.
    Nosborne48
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    tolstoy is offline Registered User
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    Yeah, I think it's kind of sad that people would use an academic degree in place of performance, but I'm not one to judge.

    Actually, Stanford, UVA and UCLA all offer JSDs. I can't actually think of a top 20 law school that doesn't offer this. I can't see why they wouldn't, either. These degrees are really cash cows for the U's that offer them.

    I think a few of the programs are only for foreign students, while others exist for those that want to add prestige to their resumes. I, personally, don't see any utility in a person with a JD getting the degree, other than the ability to do research and publish. But like you said, anyone can do this in law as it stands.

    I definitely can see the need for foreign lawyers wanting to take the degrees, though. They really would be taking a step backward for the JD, as it is considered an undergrad degree in law. Much like a person with a JD would probably most likely opt for a foreign LLM instead of a LLB, as it's at a higher level than the degree they already have.

    I am currently practicing, but more in both my areas of iterest. I do IP valuations for a venture capital firm. I'm working on a PhD in CS right now.

  18. #16
    nosborne48 is offline Registered User
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    There are four JSD programs in the Bay Area; Stanford (which is essentially for foreigners only), Boaldt Hall, Golden Gate, and McGeorge. The latter two are in International Law and related fields. Both enroll Americans and foreign students; both are private, both are very expensive. (Well, and my favorite non ABA school NWCalU is also right there in Sacramento)

    Berkeley has a really intriguing setup. They offer a JSD to, as you say, a truly tiny number of potential law professors, but right next door they have something called the JSP program, offering MA and PhD degrees in Law and Social Policy. I confess that, from the web site anyway, it looks to me like they are pushing the JSP and de emphasizing the LLM and JSD programs. I will say that if I were to pursue a dissertation degree at Berkeley, the JSP program looks much more managable, more "engineered for success" I guess.
    Nosborne48
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