Is a PhD higher than a Masters?

Some academic programs don't require a masters to apply to a PhD program.

14 Answers

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  • Lili
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Yes, a PhD is a higher degree than a master's.

    Some -- indeed, many -- PhD programs allow you to earn the master's along the way. That was the case in my Ivy League program.  In fact, your performance at the master's level pretty much determined whether you were officially accepted for PhD candidacy.  If you were initially admitted with only a bachelor's, it was on a probationary basis, until you proved yourself at the master's stage.

    However, some PhD programs don't even offer the master's and will accept both people who hold one and people who don't.  I know a very distinguished scholar who earned her PhD at Harvard and didn't have a master's when she applied. So, she holds only a BA and a PhD.

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  • 1 month ago

    I suppose technically, yes a PhD is "higher," as it requires more schooling than the Master's level, and often one needs a Master's before pursuing the PhD.  But, some areas of study do not have doctoral level degrees, making the Master's the terminal degree.  Some degrees do not have a PhD, or have degrees equivalent to a PhD, such as the DBA in business administration or DPA in public administration (as I possess), or MD for medicine.

    The U.S. follows a system in which the lowest university degree possible is the Associate's degree (a relatively recent invention only about a hundred or so years old).  It is generally a two year degree that covers general education and both first year and second year coursework in a discipline.  One "associates" with the degree, but has not yet become an independent practitioner.

    Next comes the baccalaureate degree, stemming from the Latin words "bacca" and "laurel" for "fruit" and "laurels" the traditional award for achievement. It represents the achievement that a free man has attained competency in an area of study such that they may begin to enjoy the "fruits" of that study professionally.  It generally consists of four years of study including general education and first through fourth year coursework in a discipline.  One who completes it is a journeyman practitioner.

    The Master's level comes next.  It comes from the Latin "magister" which can loosely be described as "master teacher."  It is the lowest level by which individuals could teach at the university level in medieval times, and represents functional mastery of a discipline with two years of study beyond the baccalaureate level.  At this level, one has completed their practice as a journeyman and become a master practitioner.  This often involves either a capstone project or thesis that contributes to the literature of the field.

    The doctoral level is the highest level of academic achievement.  It comes from the Latin "dottore" meaning teacher, or more specifically "licentia docendi" (license to teach) that was conferred upon educators at medieval universities that granted them functional immunity from being discharged for teaching unconventional or even subversive subjects - akin to modern tenure.  A typical doctoral degree (of which the PhD or doctor of philosophy is the most common) is 3-6 years beyond the Master's level.  It is not uncommon to pursue a doctorate without a Master's, however.  I know people who have taken as many as 12 years to complete their doctorate.  The expectation for a doctor is to have made a significant contribution to the literature and field prior to completion of the degree, often in the form of a formal dissertation.  However, today, a doctoral degree does not guarantee tenure, or even a teaching position at all, as it did in medieval times.

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  • oikoσ
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Yes. First, you get a BS. We all know what BS is. Then you get the MS, which stands for More of Same. Finally, you get a Ph. D., which stands for Piled higher and Deeper.

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  • 1 month ago

    What you are talking about are combined master's + PhD programs. If you do not make satisfactory progress, you get a terminal master's degree and you're out. No PhD.

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  • 1 month ago

    The degree rank goes as follows: Associates, Bachelors, Masters, PhD. PhD is the highest degree you can earn and it takes five to nine years to obtain, whereas a masters degree only takes two years.

  • 1 month ago

    yes, a PhD is higher than a Masters

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  • Murzy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    A PhD is higher .

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  • drip
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Yes a doctorate degree is higher than a Masters degree. My son In law was in a five year program to earn his doctorate degree right out of his undergrad studies.  You quit midway you could end up without a Masters or doctorate degree. Some programs allow you to earn the Masters degree and then drop out

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  • Kyle
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The typical student will have a BA or BS in psychology when admitted and may, or may not, earn a Master's degree en route to the PhD. You do not need a Master's to be admitted to a PhD program and you do not (usually) need to get a Master's before getting the PhD. It typically takes at least four years to get a PhD.

    - google.

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  • .
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Yes.  But in rare cases, a Masters can be considered a terminal degree.  For example, the Master of Fine Arts is considered terminal and is awarded to professionals in the art, film and music industries.

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