What is meant by a "terminal degree"

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by nosborne48, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Actually, the J.D. is considered a terminal degree by the three specialized accrediting bodies for schools of business (AACSB, IACBE, ACBSP), as long as the teaching area of faculty member is business law-related. The same is true for an Ed.D./Ph.D. in education (business education) and a D.P.A. (public administration). The Ph.D. in business and the D.B.A. are considered "in discipline" doctorates but the others are acceptable for the professorate when the business courses taught are within the scope of the terminal degree held by the faculty member.
  2. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    It's an interesting experience to go through a discussion thread and read what one has written six years previous. I will still agree with all of my posts on this thread.
  3. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    A terminal degree means that it is so hard to get that it kills you. (and I'm only half kidding)
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Who dug up this six year old thread and why?
  5. loklok

    loklok New Member

    A terminal degree is defined as the "highest" degree available in a particular field. A Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) is an oft mentioned terminal degree in several fields of study. Other terminal degrees include: DA, DBA, Ed.D., DEng, DM, DMus, DMA, DPS, DSc, MD, DPH, et al. The purpose of a terminal degree is to ensure the highest level of competence in a particular discipline and to certify the person's ability to think independently.
  6. cust0s

    cust0s New Member

    Okay, but how many non-adjuncts do you know that are hired as full-time tenure track instructors in these business programs and only hold a JD? Looking at various advertisements even stemming since the last post of this thread seems to show a bias towards non-JD terminal degrees. Is it because they don't follow the JDs are terminal logic or is it because of the regional accreditation requirement? Any way you can provide a reference or link to the JD is terminal rule for these accrediting bodies? I'm just curious myself to see if it changed, from what you know. Thanks!
  7. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Here's one JD I know who teaches full-time in an ACBSP school:

    Dr. Geoffrey Steele :: Keith Busse School of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership :: University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana

  8. cust0s

    cust0s New Member

    Thanks Shawn. Yes, that does happen, which is great especially because Dr. Steele is considered a professor of "law," but I still can't find anything from ACBSP that says a JD is a "terminal" degree and all these professional and regional accrediting bodies allow for a small portion of faculty to teach who do not have what they consider a a terminal degree. These even a worksheet in thier standards booklet to ensure that these percentages are not the majority. So, Dr. Steele might be more the exception than the rule unless he were teaching strictly at an ABA approved law school. Consider, as an example, here's a job advertisement that states JDs are not considered terminal (and I see these all the time):


  9. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    There are over 1,000 profs who teach full time in business schools with a "JD" as a terminal degree. They typically teach what some universities call "business law" and what others call "legal studies of business". This is not only common, but it's rare to find a large university that does not have multiple full time profs of business with a JD as a terminal degree. My school has four. This is so common as to warrant a professional scholarly society catering to these academics, the ALSB.

    What is more rare is the business prof (as opposed to instructor) who teaches full time in a non-law business field who is JD-only as a terminal degree. But there are still many who fit this bill, typically, they teach in accounting and have CPA certification or LLMs in Taxation. Cal Tech, of course about as prestigious a university as there is, recently was looking for a full time member for their accounting faculty and advertised for either a PhD in Accounting or a JD/CPA or JD/LLM.
  10. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Problem is that ad is for a CJ prof, and CJ is more closely-related to PhD studies in sociology than the law. They don't want to be inundated by applications from eager JD-holders, because a JD just isn't anything like what they're looking for. Not so, however, over in the business school, where a JD is legitimately considered a terminal degree to teach business law, which is typically a requirement to receive a business degree, or taxation, where those who couple the JD with accounting certifications can teach as a full-fledged and highly paid member of the accounting faculty. At one of the universities where I've taught, the department chair over quite a few accounting PhDs was JD/LLM/CPA.
  11. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Page 58 of ACBSP's accreditation standards:


    Hold a Juris Doctor (JD) and teach business law, legal environment of
    business or other area with predominantly legal content.

    Geoff also has an MBA - which gives him more flexibility to teach - but the JD is considered a terminal degree by ACBSP

  12. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    As it is for the AACSB.
  13. cust0s

    cust0s New Member

    I guess I'll just chalk it up to I'm confused and don't get it. Mainly, ACBSP and AACSB state what a qualified academic is but still do not state what a terminal degree is. Now, in regional accreditation bodies, based on the types of programs and the degree levels offered they expect a percentage of the faculty to have terminal degrees but also allow for "academically qualified faculty" though they often remain at a lower percent of the faculty pool if not in possession of one of these degrees. This is my interpretation of the synthesis of the accrediting standards from regional groups, not so much as other bodies. So, when some job ads ask for terminal degrees, would it be fair to assume they mean a terminal degree by the highest body of standard that the school is willing to accept? Granted, not all schools are regional, but most are... then do they worry about specific bodies also accrediting their programs? Seems a little confusing to me... What rules must they follow, and in practice, are they advertising based on those rules, or are people being more picky about specific degree backgrounds to reduce the number of applicants as Shawn may be suggesting. Thanks to everyone for the input. I didn't mean to bring an old topic back to life, but it's fascinating to see how far the accrediting standards have come.

    Caveat: I've often been told, one school of thought is that if required to do research, one needs that PhD, DSc, or very specific terminal degree because it's often required to be recognized as an independent researcher when applying for government grants, etc (e.g. NIH standards, et al). If nothing else, I wonder if this is why we often see the "JD is not a terminal degree" but then again, neither is an MA/MS in most fields... *sigh*
  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

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