Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Emrah, May 15, 2010.

  1. agent445

    agent445 New Member

    You also ignore the fact that there are medical schools offering MD's in the world that don't require a bachelor's degree. I have a friend who left the U.S. to attend an accredited medical school in the Bahamas without a bachelor's degree. Medical schools in the U.S. don't technically have to require one, and a number of medical schools in Canada allow entry into medical school without one, too. So what exactly your point is I have no idea. You seem to be looking for inventive, colorful arguments.
  2. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    It's largely a matter of historical usage. Originally, the word 'doctor' was a job-description, not an academic-degree. The word derives from the Latin 'docere', to teach. A doctor was a teacher.

    I wrote a post about the history of doctorates five years ago that quoted extensively from the 1909 'Catholic Encyclopedia' article on the subject.


    Here's another post that quotes from the encyclopedia article, with my comments interspersed. The first part is historical, addressing how doctorates originated and what 'doctor' and 'doctorate' mean. That in turn illuminates the nature of the JD further down.

    When groups of teachers gathered together in collegia (associations) during the 1100's, the ancestors of today's universities began to appear and became formalized. Conditions were gradually established to determine who was qualified to join the teaching collegium as one of its doctors. Those necessary qualifications were typically the completion of some course of studies, typically that offered by the collegium itself. So each university educated its own faculty and created its own doctors as it saw fit.

    But medieval university teachers moved around from institution to institution, so that it wasn't long before universities began recognizing each other's teaching qualifications. If somebody had qualified to teach at Oxford, then Paris was likely to consider him prepared to teach there as well. So 'doctor' started to change into 'doctorate', from a job-description into a degree-title.

    So, precisely what is it about a doctorate that makes it a doctorate? That's the question around which this thread rotates.

    And that's the crux of the matter, I think. A doctorate is fundamentally and by definition a qualification to teach on the very highest level.

    So, when the discussion boards erupt into their periodic arguments about whether medical, law or whatever degrees are real doctorates, the question that I ask myself is whether the degree in question is sufficient to teach the subject a the highest level, or whether some even more glorious degree is expected of university teachers.

    I think that it's pretty clear that law school professors do teach with JDs. Would-be law professors aren't expected to earn another, more 'real' doctorate first. Top level legal scholars have JDs. And JDs practice at the topmost levels of the legal profession, right up to the Supreme Court.

    So I don't have any doubt that the JD is a real and a true doctoral degree.
  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Let's compare the JD degree with another professional degree: the M.Arch., for architects.

    Educational prerequisites: In both cases, an undergraduate degree is ordinarily expected, which can be in any subject. So no difference.

    Length of study: 3 years. It's true that an M.Arch. can be completed more quickly, if you studied architecture as an undergraduate. But let's assume no previous technical training, as is the case at law schools. Then it's 3 to 3.5 years. So no difference.

    Course of study: Intense, focused professional training for both. No difference.

    Eligibility for professional practice: ABA-accredited JD and NAAB-accredited M.Arch. degrees both fulfill the professional licensing standards of every state. You can practice professionally at the highest levels with either degree, no additional degree is expected. Again, no difference.

    Eligibility for university teaching:Law profs typically have the JD as highest degree (higher law degrees exist, but are not common or required). Architecture profs typically have the MArch as highest degree (higher architecture degrees exist, but are not common or required). No difference.

    So -- are there any significant differences between the JD and a professional master's degree such as the M.Arch?

    I think that it's pretty clear that architecture school professors do teach with M.Arch. degrees. Would-be architecture professors aren't expected to earn another, higher degree first. Top level architects have the M.Arch. And M.Archs practice at the topmost levels of the architectural profession.

    So ... do you believe that the M.Arch. is also a "real and true doctoral degree" ?

    If so, it will come as a surprise to many architects.

    How about the MFA, a terminal degree commonly held by university arts professors? Since you can teach with it, and since no higher degree is expected for artists, does that make the MFA a "real and true doctoral degree" as well ?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    No, I am looking for answers to relevant questions. For example, in post #35 above, I inquired about the difference between the LLB and the JD. Since everyone agrees that the JD degree is related to the older Bachelor of Laws degree, it seems like a relevant question.

    You've obviously read the question, since you've quoted it in posts #40 and #41.

    But for some reason, it still seems to be unanswered.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  5. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    The U.S. Department of Education classifies the J.D. as a First Professional Degree:

    "First-professional degrees represent a category of qualifications in professional subject areas that require students to have previously completed specified undergraduate coursework and/or degrees before enrolling. They 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.

    A first-professional degree is an award that requires completion of a program that meets all of the following criteria: (1) completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the profession; (2) at least 2 years of college work prior to entering the program; and (3) a total of at least 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree program, including prior required college work plus the length of the professional program itself.

    All first-professional degree programs are closely regulated by recognized professional and specialized accrediting agencies. See Accreditation and Quality Assurance.


    First-professional degrees may be awarded in the following 10 fields:

    Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.)
    Doctor of Dental Science (D.D.S.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.)
    Doctor of Jurisprudence or Juris Doctor (J.D.)
    Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
    Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
    Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine/Osteopathy (D.O.)
    Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
    Doctor of Podiatric Medicine/Podiatry (D.P.M., D.P.)
    Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Hebrew Letters (M.H.L.)
    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)."

    The Ph.D., Ed.D., D.B.A. and several others are classified by the U.S. Department of Education as research doctorates.
  6. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Forgive, please, that I am completely uninformed about this matter. Does this mean that, technically, the recipient of a JD is immediately qualified to teach the program that he just graduated from? :confused:
  7. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    But a JD is not necessarily considered qualified to oversee law students at the "very highest levels" -- e.g. the LLM or SJD.

    For example, consider the JSD program at ABA-accredited Saint Thomas University:

    So at the "very highest levels" of this particular law school, the JD seems conspicuously absent. I don't know of any situations where a professor with a PhD or MD would be considered to have an insufficiently high degree, but it would seem that such situations do exist for professors with a JD.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    As another person who is uninformed regarding these matters I'd say that the answer is "no." I'd be willing to bet that you (anyone) couldn't find, within the past 50 years, an example of an attorney who graduated with a law degree and was then immediately hired as a law professor. Most will practice law or will clerk for a state/federal judge before becoming a law professor. They may not ever earn any academic credential beyond their JD but it these cases it seems that it's the experience that counts.
  9. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    The S.J.D./J.S.D. is a research doctorate that is equivalent to a Ph.D. and requires a dissertation. It is not a first professional degree like the J.D. Law schools commonly employ J.D.s as professors for J.D. programs, but not for S.J.D./J.S.D. research-based programs.
  10. agent445

    agent445 New Member

    Actually, you're wrong about the LLM in the US. A large percentage of law professors teaching LLM students do not have LLM's themselves, only a JD. For those pursuing a tax LLM, as an exception, most younger professors these days will have an LLM. Most of the most recognized and distinguished legal scholars in the U.S. writing treatises have only a JD. No law school proposes they're unqualified to instruct someone pursuing an LLM in the subject matter.

    Although it is often stated that the LLM is a more advanced degree, and perhaps technically it is, in reality and practicality the LLM in the U.S. is treated more like certification added onto the JD a person already has, somewhat similar to certification in a particular area for someone after they receive an MBA.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  11. agent445

    agent445 New Member

    Yes, the JSD is a research doctorate that also happens to be a postdoctoral degree of the professional doctorate. For example, see Stanford's page:

    Doctor of Science of Law (JSD) | Stanford Law School
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I'm not especially knowledgeable about the architectural profession, but given what you wrote, if there was a movement to replace M.Arch degrees to some degree with 'doctor' in its name, I would probably accept that and wouldn't have a problem.

    Yeah, that was the counter-example that I was thinking of when I was writing my first post and expected those who disagreed with me to use.

    Like I said before, it's basically a matter of usage. Historically a lot of subjects, such as business administration, were considered trades subjects and weren't taught in universities. We still see that today with many trades. One doesn't need to study in a university to be a plumber and one doesn't need a doctorate to teach plumbing.

    One of the social changes that we've seen happening over the last 200 years is the transformation of lots of trades subjects into university subjects. Engineering met some resistance in the 19'th century and for a time was concentrated in mechanics institutes and in less prestigious higher education institutions. The tonier universities concerned themselves with history and with literature. The existence of MIT as a cross-town rival to Harvard might be due in part to that.

    The creative arts are an odd one. In medieval times, artists were simply tradesmen. You hired somebody to create a painting to decorate your premises (usually a church building) like you hired somebody to dig a well. Most artists were anonymous, just somebody hired to do a job. In the renaissance, artists started being hired by wealthy secular patrons in the burgeoning cities and artists social standing rose. They were anonymous no longer and some became major celebrities, but they still were perceived as craftsmen more than as scholars. In the early 19'th century the romantic movement imagined artists as heroes, motivated by an inner need to express a vision that transcended that of normal men. So we had the artist as the prophet, visionary and rebel, which removed him even further from the gentleman's faculty club.

    I think that we still see these historical influences in our practice today. Many artists, including some of the best of them, don't have any academic degrees at all and in some cases have little formal training. Academic training isn't necessary or even expected before one can be an artist. They just do it. Art-school instructors do need to have expertise in the media and techniques that they propose to teach and are expected to show suitable portfolios of their own work in those areas. The MFA has kind of evolved as the de-facto degree that's expected of studio-art faculty. It's interesting that in the closely-associated but more traditionally scholarly field of art history, the typical teaching degree is the PhD.

    There's yet another complicating factor in all of this, the practitioner-scholar distinction. In some fields, perhaps most often those derived from trades, a bachelors degree is the usual entry point to practicing the trade. Engineering might be an example of that, where a BSEE or BSME is the typical job-entry degree. But university engineering professors are much more likely to have doctorates.

    In medicine, dating back to classical times, there was a distinction between the doctors, the medical theorists, teachers and scholars conversant with authorities like Galen on one hand, and the street-level tradesmen who actually provided medical services to regular people. These lower-class practitioners were often barbers as well as surgeons and cut people's hair and shaved them when they weren't suturing their wounds and setting their broken bones. They learned their trade by apprenticeship, followed armies on campaign along with the whores, and didn't have any university degrees at all.

    I'm not trmendously knowledgeable about the history of medicine, but I believe that the British-style bachelor of medicine probably originated in 18'th and 19'th century attempts to professionalize the medical tradesmen. Some university training came to be required and a bachelors degree became the entry level medical degree, like it is today in engineering. But since everyone wanted to be treated by the teacher rather than by the student, and since the practitioners were often the people who had the real-world experience and were actually making advances in treatment, the bachelors/doctor practitioner/teacher distinction in medicine became less meaningful and began to collapse. In some countries its terminology still exists as something of an historical curiosity, in others like the US it's disappeared entirely and all medical practitioners are simply doctors.
  13. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    He's just as qualified to teach it as a new PhD is qualified to teach PhD candidates.

    In the sciences, many newly minted PhDs proceed on to postdoctoral positions that allow them to build the research experience and list of publications that will make them more competitive in university and tech hiring. I'm sure that most newly minted JDs will need some additional experience and accomplishments before they become truly competitive in law-school hiring as well.
  14. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    OK, so law schools may not accept JDs as supervisors of SJD/JSD students. This hardly seems surprising, since the SJD/JSD typically requires the JD (or even the JD+LLM) as a prerequisite. The SJD/JSD is a higher degree than the JD. So the JD is not necessarily qualifying for all academic functions at law schools.

    Next issue: are JDs necessarily qualified to perform all professional functions at law firms ? Apparently that's not the case either, because legal placement services post ads like this one:
    If you want to argue that a JD is a doctorate because it allows a professional or academic to function at the "very highest levels", then the existence of yet higher degrees (in law, the LLM or SJD/JSD) is obviously problematic. If the JD represents the "very highest level" of legal study, then why do higher law degrees exist at all?

    And if there academic or professional situations where such higher degrees are required -- and there clearly are -- then how can the JD represent "the very highest level" ?
  15. dcb1888

    dcb1888 New Member

    The JD is the "usual" law degree, three years full time after college, I have been practicing criminal law in the inner-city Boston courts for 30 years, after having been a federal and state prosecutor, and have yet to meet (outside of law school faculty) even one person who has an LLM or SJD. The JD may not be a terminal degree but it is for 100% of the folks I ever ran into. I know there are people with LLMs and SJDs but I have never met one, except, as I said, in a law school teaching setting. Not many JDs ever care about going on to a Masters in Law, LLM. No reason to, in our field of criminal trial work. And again, in my entire career I have never heard anyone called "doctor" who had a JD, even though it is a Juris Doctor. I would be uncomfortable hearing myself called "Doctor" out in the hallway of a busy big city courthouse :) I would figure the person had a medical problem, addressing me like that......
  16. dcb1888

    dcb1888 New Member

    That said, I think it is a doctorate, though, as evidenced by its very name. I looked this up on Google and wikipedia, under the entry JURIS DOCTOR, explains pros and cons about whether it IS a doctorate. Interesting reading. The opinions as to whether a JD is a doctorate are split, but I don't know whether evenly or not. It is a good article though.
  17. dcb1888

    dcb1888 New Member

    And CALDOG is right, the JD is not the highest level of legal studies. The SJD is, and the LLM before it. In fact, the JD is the very first of the three.
    And I was just thinking that even outside criminal law, I don't see that many LLMs or SJDs at all......
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  18. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    I just sent an email to ACE about this. They tend to set the unofficial standards/trends when it comes to things like this. I hope I will get a response back. When I was in court the other day I asked the ADA about this and he told me that they are not entitled to be called doctors and he was told that in law school.
  19. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member


    July 11, 1988


    A lawyer who has earned a Juris Doctor degree may use the title of "Doctor" provided its use is not "fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive" to members of the public, clients, or prospective clients.

    References: MCPR DR 2-102(A), DR 2-102(F); CI-1012; Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 1978-4.


    A lawyer who holds the academic degree "Juris Doctor" asks whether it is ethical to communicate to the public as "Doctor".

    MCPR DR 2-102(F) allows a lawyer to use the title of earned degrees indicating training in law. As interpreted in CI-1012, a lawyer may use the designation "J.D." after the name of the individual who has earned the degree. ABA i1151 interpretted the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility as allowing a lawyer holding a Juris Doctor degree to use the title of "Doctor." This committee concurs.

    It would be improper for a lawyer to use the title of "Doctor" to clients, prospective clients and members of the public in such a fashion as would be likely to be deceptive or misleading to them. A lawyer wishing to use the title "Doctor" must be very cautious not to use the title in such a way as is Supreme Court Administrative Order 1978-4 provides that:

    "A lawyer may . . . associate . . . affiliate with . . . or participate in the use of any form of public communication that is not false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive."
  20. dcb1888

    dcb1888 New Member

    Never heard of any JD being called "doctor" by anyone at any time.
    The ADAs are called DA Smith, or DA Jones, when they are paged, and Mr Smith or Mr Jones in the courtroom, or even Attorney Smith or Jones, same as we are.
    And regarding another question that came up, a newly graduated JD would never be invited to teach at a law school unless he or she had graduated with very high honors as well as other considerations, such as law review etc. It would be unusual for a new JD to be a law professor, but even if they were, they would have to be really outstanding.

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