What Exactly Is A Doctorate?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AV8R, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    In early Bear books, he offered an explanation along these lines:

    Bachelor's: Knowing a "batch" of knowledge
    Master's: "Mastering" the knowledge
    Doctorate: "Doctoring" (changing) the knowledge


    Bachelor: Know
    Master: Do
    Doctor: Create
  2. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    Most people still believe in "mysticism and wizards" or some type of sky fairy. Depending on your part of the world manual labor is still the norm and a good portion are under nourished.

    So yeah, imagine ........

    Also, you note "middle ages" but I assume you meant "Western European middle ages" - because other parts of the world were doing quite well.

  3. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    Math dissertations are generally quite short. I have seen them from top tier universities under 40 pages.

    When I was doing my program, as part of my early due diligence as to what I was in for, I reviewed about 50 dissertations from brick and mortars from University of New Mexico to Columbia, Brown, and all manner of well known state and private institutions, big and small - top tier and not so top tier. One might be surprised as to the assumption about dissertation length as a metric. I found it quite common to find dissertations form well known B&M's to be under 100 pages.

    I had a great committee (one of my three committee members was a former Dean of the School of Education, UMASS). I received great advice and guidance on issues of dissertation purpose and process.

    I have since served on half a dozen dissertation committees and, every semester, I teach research methods to graduate students. It really isn't about length. It is about demonstrating that your research questions are appropriate, that your lit review is comprehensive, that your approach is valid, that instruments, collection methods, and analysis plan are valid and will enable you to measure and describe the variables associated with your research questions/hypothesis.

    The ability to demonstrate validity in each stage and aspect of the process is what is essential, not the number of pages produced. Sometimes it does take 300 pages, sometimes it takes 60.
  4. Scott Henley

    Scott Henley New Member

    You're right, it's not about length. Also, there are differences between continents when it comes to dissertation length. Dissertations of 100 pages in length are common in North America because there is often a coursework component for a doctorate that can take two years. European doctorates have a tendency to be dissertation-only and can easily approach 300-500 pages.
  5. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    My favorite:

    BS : Bull s**t
    MS: More s**t
    PhD: Piled Higher and Deeper
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I don't think that I agree with that. Two reasons:

    1. Doctorates, PhDs in particular, often serve as university teaching qualifications. Professors are rarely hired to teach their own narrow dissertation topic and nothing else. They are expected to be familiar with and prepared to teach a wider syllabus. That is why American-style PhD programs have breadth requirements and qualifying examinations.

    A few decades ago there was a movement to create a university teaching doctorate, the Doctor of Arts (DA). This would emphasize sound foundations across the entire undergraduate syllabus and demphasize the research dissertation. But the DA never really caught on because, in scholarly terms, the PhD was perceived as being cooler and more prestigious. And since the PhD continued to function as a university teaching degree, there wasn't really much advantage to students in choosing the DA.

    2. Doctoral students would have to be supermen to be fully up to speed in every skill and subject that they might need in their doctoral research.

    The late Richard Feynman, a famous physicist and Nobel laureate, used to write about how long after he'd earned his doctorate and received his Nobel, he'd discover that he didn't really understand something that was proving crucial to his research, typically some aspect of advanced mathematics. So he'd go sit in as a student in a graduate class, which never failed to electrify the students. (Imagine being able to explain something to him.) That's apparently common at Cal Tech, where he taught. Professors aren't so confident that they already know everything that they turn up their noses at the idea of taking a class when they feel the need.
  7. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    You guys are funny.

    There are pros and cons to every aspect of Doctoral programs.
  8. Scott Henley

    Scott Henley New Member

    This is peculiar to the United States. It is not typical for a university professor in Canada to be asked what courses he took when being interviewed for a tenure-track position. It has mainly to do with research focus and publications. It is just assumed that any reasonably intelligent doctoral degree holder can "prep" for a course that must grudgingly be delivered, Teaching can sometimes be a distraction to the real work at hand... research.
  9. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    bullshit and more of the same, piled higher & deeper
  10. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    .. and most people that don't believe in sky fairies or have hope in something other than themselves often post tone-angry on message boards ;) ..

    .. and every part of the world has had their own version of the issues present within the Western European Middle Ages.. the human condition doesn't change, just the order of historical events...

    As to what a doctorate is.. I've always heard it stated that the goal was to add to mankind's scientific knowledge. Yes, you'd hope that every doctor did bleeding edge research, but sometimes it's simply more important to question others' research or add depth to an existing theory or idea. Let's not devalue the majority for the sake of the paper that's the shiny sports car when most of us are a Ford F150. (and happy being that way)

    Aside from that; "breaking the bounds of human knowledge" is not what the article is implying.. it implies that the new PhD dented the outer boundary and pushed it in a new way.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Although, interestingly, the person you're responding to didn't meet that description, and neither do I. ;)

  12. BlackBird

    BlackBird Member

    My definition of a doctorate is that it is a test of how much you can stand playing a game of severe pain and still say, "Thank you for hurting me, give me more, please!" :)
  13. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    As to the person I'm responding to, that's my call. I read him that way. When I want his opinion, I'll give it to him. Based on previous posts I've learned not to like his style and I post appropriately.

    As to you, whatever floats your boat man. :) I've never seen you run off with diarrhea of the keyboard. Kudos for that and no ill will here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2010
  14. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    That is just about the most awesome thing I have ever seen written on the internet. For your information, I will be taking full credit for it when I say this to others. :D
  15. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    I'm sorry my style is upsetting to you, but you might want to quit making assumption about what I meant. The interesting thing is your previous post actually supports my comments. Go figure.

  16. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    You forgot to add that leeches are commonly used in modern medicine, and are very effective.
  17. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    You receive the ITJD "fuck off" award for August 24th, 2010.. Congratulations. :)
  18. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    Yes. I win. Thank you Guru!

  19. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    OK Take it easy guys.
  20. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Alright everyone. Back to the subject of "What Exactly Is A Doctorate?"

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