Too many Ph.Ds.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, May 19, 2023.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Not to mention all kinds of money--student loans, employer tuition assistance, etc.--chasing them.
    JoshD likes this.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Institutional snobbery is still snobbery.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    According to the Education rankings in the world population review, here are the top-1o countries:

    1. The United States
    2. The United Kingdom
    3. Germany
    4. Canada
    5. France
    6. Switzerland
    7. Japan
    8. Australia
    9. Sweden
    10. The Netherlands

    Spain is 17th.
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Good luck with that, China. Suggestion - send a large percentage to trade schools instead. (They'll go where you send 'em. I KNOW how that works!) They'll be through with school earlier, employed, making good money, in local terms and think you government guys are heroes, (which you're not.) They'll thank you for it.

    We'd do the same but --- we can't MAKE people do things. We have to wait till they figure it out themselves - or we've made them think they have. It's a slow process, here. Sigh.
    Last edited: May 21, 2023
  5. tadj

    tadj Well-Known Member

    I won't attempt to focus on every country in the European Union, but I will focus on Poland as an example of what is commonly done with U.S. doctorates. No, there isn't a simple professional vs. research distinction; it's a bit more nuanced then that. But as I will show, a U.S. professional doctorate must be substantially equivalent to the PhD for recognition in Poland (presumably in many other European countries that are members of the European Union, as they are guided by certain converging recognition practices)

    The Polish agency focusing on foreign degree recognition has an updated 2023 guidebook on U.S. qualifications (written in Polish and accessible here;

    In this guidebook, it distinguishes between three categories of U.S. degrees with the 'Doctor' title;

    First-Professional Degrees (my understanding is that this formal category has been abandoned in the U.S., but it still informs the way in which degrees are perceived)
    Polish guidebook examples of such degrees: Doctor of Chiropractic, Doctor of Dental Science, Doctor of Dental Medicine, Doctor of Jurisprudence, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine/Osteopathy, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine/Podiatry, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. These degrees are all classified as equivalent to second cycle degrees in Poland, which means Master's-level degrees.

    Intermediate Graduate Qualifications (Diploma/Certificate/Degree)
    The Polish agency lists the following Intermediate Graduate Qualification "Doctorate" degree examples in the guidebook: Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Psychology. These degrees cannot be recognized in Poland, whether at the Master's (second cycle) or Doctorate (third cycle) level. Interestingly, the listed degrees constitute a selection of "professional doctorates" in the United States!

    Doctor of Philosophy and other EQUIVALENT Degrees
    Here the Polish guide does not specify the PhD-equivalent U.S. degrees. But in other parts of the guide focusing on "third cycle - doctoral degrees" in the U.S., it appears to acknowledge that there are other titles that are given out alongside the PhD; it then simply lists the Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Fine Arts, Doctor of Music and Doctor of Science degrees. This leaves the door open to recognition of those degrees that are seen as equivalent to the PhD in the U.S. That's the key part to keep in mind. No, it isn't just any American professional doctorate degree (Doctor of Healthcare Administration, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Psychology, Doctor of Social Leadership, etc.) that will be recognized as a doctorate-equivalent in Poland and some other members of the EU, but those that are deemed equivalent to the PhD in the U.S. This might mean that the DBA could be treated in this way. The fact that the Polish DBA isn't a doctorate-level qualification in Poland might not necessarily serve as an obstacle to recognition of a U.S. DBA, which is a research doctorate degree as well as a professional degree. So the new Polish guide leaaves the door open to DBA recognition, which is quite interesting.

    It appears to me that the Polish guide relies on some of the information that has been provided by the following U.S. government websites;

    Link: (see the info on Intermediate Graduate Qualifications to see what I mean)

    The above website also lists examples of "U.S. research doctorate degree and degree titles considered equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree" here;
    While "the list below may not reflect all research doctorate degree titles previously or presently awarded in the United States", it gives you a glimpse of the PhD-equivalent degrees that might be recognized in Poland and the EU;

    Doctor of Arts (DA)

    Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

    Doctor of Canon Law (JCD/DCL)

    Doctor of Design (DDes)

    Doctor of Education (EdD)

    Doctor of Engineering/Engineering Science (DEng/DESc/DES)

    Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA)

    Doctor of Hebrew Letters (DHL)

    Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD/SJD)

    Doctor of Musical/Music Arts (DMA)

    Doctor of Music Education (DME)

    Doctor of Modern Languages (DML)

    Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc)

    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

    Doctor of Public Health (DPH)

    Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)

    Doctor of Science (DSc/ScD)

    Doctor of Theology (ThD)

    Many U.S. professional doctorates would not qualify as doctorate-equivalent in Poland (and presumably other European Union member states). Hence, the little warning in my previous post.

    Johann likes this.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It is not. It is very alive and well.

    The degrees being referenced are not "professional doctorates." They are "first professional doctorates." There is a strong argument that, because they're not research degrees, they should not be doctorates at all.

    I don't think taking what Poland thinks or does seriously in higher education is all that valuable.
    nosborne48 likes this.
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    No. They shouldn't be called doctorates because they aren’t doctorates. If I were Elon Musk I'd offer every U.S. law school a million dollar grant on condition they returned to the honest degree title Bachelor of Laws.

    But I'm not so I won't.
  8. tadj

    tadj Well-Known Member

    According to the cited sources linked on Wikipedia (I am not sure what to make of it), the "use of the term "first-professional" was discontinued by the Department of Education as of 2010–11, when new post-baccalaureate award categories were introduced." That's why I made this disclaimer about the term. I am sure that the term is still used in common parlance, but I was talking about it as a formal term used by U.S. education authorities, which is now apparently replaced by other terms. (you can find the references to the changes here:
    and here:

    "The degrees being referenced are not "professional doctorates." They are "first professional doctorates." There is a strong argument that, because they're not research degrees, they should not be doctorates at all."

    Maybe. But I've decided to group together all the guide-referenced titles with 'Doctor' in them in order to see how they are evaluated within one EU country (likely others too). That made it easier to translate the document in the absence of categories like "professional doctorate" in the Polish guide. I know that they are not the typical professional doctorate in the U.S.

    "I don't think taking what Poland thinks or does seriously in higher education is all that valuable."

    I am not trying to convince you or anyone else that the Polish pattern should be followed. That wasn't even my aim. I am attempting to show how professional doctorates may be received within other parts of the world using a system that I know best, a system that is part of a wider European network. Common courtesy suggests that a person should refrain from replying and letting everyone know that they couldn't care less about a certain topic that was raised in the forum. You may not find what Poland does in higher education valuable, but thousands upon thousands of foreign students find Polish higher education valuable (including students from the U.S. that I have met here). They also had to get their qualifications evaluated. Americans who move to any European Union country may also face this situation. You may not find this topic interesting. That's okay. Non-Americans on this forum also have to endure many discussions that appear irrelevant to them, but they don't complain about it.
    Johann likes this.
  9. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Would you say the same about the healthcare-related degrees, such as, DPT, Pharm.D., etc.?
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Not my turf. I don’t know.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Considering using fewer words to say the same thing.

    The USDoE does not run higher education in America. They might take a different tack on something (like trying to eliminate the distinction between regional and national accreditation), but that doesn’t make it so. The literature and many universities make clear distinctions between professional and scholarly doctorates. But the examples you listed were neither.

    I’m not complaining. I’m dismissing.
  12. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Personally, how many doctorates would you think would be too much for each individual? I would guess somewhere around 3 is sufficient for almost anyone, anything more would be extraneous unless they're changing professions and want to be a professor in that second subject matter. Then there are the ones who take doctoral degrees in very similar subjects, such as DBA, DHA or something... If I were to go through with a doctorate or two, it'll be in different subjects hopefully.
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Doubling the doctorate? Why do a second Ph.D.?

    Rich Douglas likes this.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I have three deep areas of expertise: human resource development, nontraditional higher education, and strategic leadership development.

    I have doctorates in the first two.

  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Near the end of the video she makes a clear distinction between professional and scholarly doctorates. So there.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Very cool video. Highly recommended.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  17. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I do not feel I can add much to the discussion having no doctorate.

    That said, I commend all of those who have earned a doctorate degree regardless of field or titling of the degree. Shows a great deal of perseverance.
    datby98 and chrisjm18 like this.
  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I know nothing about this but I've always been impressed with MD-Ph.D. medical scientists.
    tadj and Johann like this.
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Me too.
  20. tadj

    tadj Well-Known Member

    I've just looked at another European country's requirements for the recognition of foreign doctoral degrees to see whether U.S. professional doctorates would qualify. This time around, I've looked into a non-EU country, mainly Norway and their NOKUT agency. The requirements appear to be very similar to EU countries. Here's what I found:


    • A. Minimum requirements for general recognition of a foreign doctoral degree

      – The education must be a completed and officially recognized doctoral degree from an officially recognized/accredited institution accredited to offer doctoral degrees within the specific field of study. A doctoral degree is defined as research education in the educational system in the country of origin (third level in the degree structure).

      – The main component of the doctoral degree is an independent research carried out under academic supervision, and which leads to an approved scientific doctoral thesis. The duration of the work on the doctoral thesis must be minimum (2) years.

      – The doctoral thesis must be assessed and approved by an expert committee.

      Nominal length of study should be minimum three (3) years.

      B. Criteria for equivalency to a Norwegian PhD, in addition to the minimum criteria

      1. For countries with a qualifications framework

      – Doctoral degrees from countries with QF-EHEA/EQF: The education must be on level eight (8) in EQF (that's the European Qualifications Framework)

      – Doctoral degrees from countries with a qualifications framework comparable to EQF: The education must be on a level equivalent to level eight (8) in EQF.

      Explanation of terms
      QF-EHEA: Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area, the Bologna framework, describes the three cycles: bachelor, master and PhD. (my comment: this framework seems to require equivalency to the PhD degree and many U.S. professional doctorates fall short in this area)

      EQF: European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning

      GSU: Higher Education Entrance Qualification for Persons with Foreign Education

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