National Dissertation Day on April 26 creates an annual reminder to continuing education students to maintain their focus and complete the pinnacle of their education.
The first doctoral degree was awarded in Paris in the mid-12th century. The doctorate of philosophy was conceived in Germany some 500 years later and is the direct precursor to the modern Ph.D. Today, there are multiple research-based doctoral degrees awarded in the U.S. Many of those degrees are specific to a discipline of study. For example, the D.B.A (business), Ed.D. (education), D.N.P. (nursing), and Psy.D. (psychology) are all quite popular among professionals in industry, business, and private practice as opposed to traditional academia.
The one thing these degree programs all have in common is the doctoral dissertation. Born of the master-apprentice relationship of the medieval trade guilds, the dissertation is the masterpiece of the doctoral process. To graduate, every doctoral student has to complete an independent research project and write a dissertation – a book-length paper detailing every aspect of the project.
Each year in the U.S., over 50,000 people earn their doctoral degrees, successfully completing the grueling dissertation process. However, only about 50% of those who enroll in doctoral programs ever graduate. That leaves another 50,000 students each year who withdraw from their doctoral programs (or are compelled to do so) without finishing their dissertations.
Tuition for most doctoral programs across the country exceeds $20,000 per year and can be significantly higher. Students spend 5-7 years pursuing their doctoral degrees, and often much more. And, the money spent on tuition pales in comparison to the costs associated with postponing the increased earning potential enjoyed by doctoral graduates. Individuals with their doctoral degrees typically earn at least $20,000 more per year than those with their master’s degree.
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