Professional degree

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A professional degree, formerly known in the US as a first professional degree, is a degree that prepares someone to work in a particular profession, often, but not always, meeting the academic requirements for licensure or accreditation. [1] [2] [3] [4] Professional degrees may be either graduate or undergraduate entry, depending on the profession concerned and the country, and may be classified as bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. For a variety of reasons, professional degrees may bear the name of a different level of qualification from their classification in qualifications frameworks, e.g. some UK professional degrees are named bachelor's but are at master's level, while some Australian and Canadian professional degrees have the name "doctor" but are classified as master's or bachelor's degrees. [5] [6] [7]

Profession Vocation founded upon specialized educational training

A profession is an occupation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain. The term is a truncation of the term "liberal profession", which is, in turn, an Anglicization of the French term "profession libérale". Originally borrowed by English users in the 19th century, it has been re-borrowed by international users from the late 20th, though the (upper-middle) class overtones of the term do not seem to survive retranslation: "liberal professions" are, according to the European Union's Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2005/36/EC), "those practiced on the basis of relevant professional qualifications in a personal, responsible and professionally independent capacity by those providing intellectual and conceptual services in the interest of the client and the public".

Licensure means a restricted practice or a restriction on the use of an occupational title, requiring a license. A license created under a "practice act" requires a license before performing a certain activity, such as driving a car on public roads. A license created under a "title act" restricts the use of a given occupational title to licensees, but anyone can perform the activity itself under a less restricted title. For example, in Oregon, anyone can practice counseling, but only licensees can call themselves "Licensed Professional Counselors." Thus depending on the type of law, practicing without a license may carry civil or criminal penalties or may be perfectly legal. For some occupations and professions, licensing is often granted through a professional body or a licensing board composed of practitioners who oversee the applications for licenses. This often involves accredited training and examinations, but varies a great deal for different activities and in different countries.

Accreditation is the process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.



History of professional degrees in Europe

The first doctorates were awarded in the mid twelfth century to recognise teachers (doctors) in mediaeval universities, either in civil law at the University of Bologna [8] or in theology at the University of Paris. [9] These were followed shortly afterwards by doctorates in canon law, and then in the thirteenth century by doctorates in medicine, grammar, logic and philosophy. These mediaeval doctorates remained, however, essentially teaching qualifications, with their major importance being the ius ubique docendi – the right to teach anywhere. [8]

University of Bologna university in Bologna, Italy

The University of Bologna is a research university in Bologna, Italy. Founded in 1088 by an organised guild of students, it is the oldest university in the world, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national rankings.

University of Paris former university in Paris, France from 1896 to 1968

The University of Paris, metonymically known as the Sorbonne, was a university in Paris, France, active 1150–1793, and 1806–1970.

History of professional degrees in the United Kingdom

The first university medical school to be established in the United Kingdom was at the University of Edinburgh in 1726, followed in 1744 by the University of Glasgow. In 1817 Glasgow became the first British university to offer a separate degree in surgery, the Master of Surgery. However, other Scottish universities – St Andrews and the two universities in Aberdeen – also offered medical degrees, often in absentia and without examination, despite not having medical schools. [10] In England, the two universities (Oxford and Cambridge) were only sporadically interested in medical teaching, which was mainly carried out in the London hospitals. [11] It was not until the establishment of the University of London in 1836, however, that students at the hospital medical schools could earn degrees. Following the passing of the Medical Act 1858 and the establishment of the General Medical Council, Scottish graduates gained the right to practice in England and degrees in both medicine and surgery became the norm. The Scottish practice of awarding the Doctor of Medicine (MD) as a first degree was abolished by the university commissioners appointed under the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858, it being replaced by the Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery (MS), with the MD becoming a higher degree as in England. The commissioners under the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889 completed the reform by replacing the MS with the Bachelor of Surgery, the MS joining the MD as a higher degree and the initial professional qualification taking on its modern form as the double Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree. [12]

University of Edinburgh public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North.

University of Glasgow university located in Glasgow, Scotland, founded in 1451

The University of Glasgow is a public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded by papal bull in 1451, it is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Along with the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and St Andrews, the university was part of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.

University of St Andrews university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

The University of St Andrews is a public university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. It is the oldest of the four ancient universities of Scotland and, following Oxford and Cambridge universities, the third-oldest university in the United Kingdom and English-speaking world in general. St Andrews was founded in 1413 when the Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII issued a papal bull to a small founding group of Augustinian clergy.

The first university in England to offer training in theology for those intending to become priests in the Church of England was the University of Durham in 1833, following the lead of colleges such as St Bees Theological College and St David's College, Lampeter. The Licence in Theology could be taken as either a one year graduate course, following on from a BA, or a three year undergraduate course. [13] Shortly after, in 1837, Durham also became the first British university to teach engineering (although the course closed after a few years), followed only a few months later by King's College London. [14] [15] [16]

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

St Bees Theological College

St Bees Theological College, close to the coast of Cumberland, was the first independent theological college to be established for the training of Church of England ordinands. It was founded in 1816 by George Henry Law, Bishop of Chester, in what was during those years the northern extremity of his diocese. For many subsequent years the vicar of St Bees was effectively both the principal of the college and also its proprietor.

Kings College London public research university in London, United Kingdom

King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a founding college and member institution of the federal University of London. King's was established in 1829 by King George IV and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, when it received its first royal charter, and claims to be the fourth oldest university institution in England. In 1836, King's became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. In the late 20th century, King's grew through a series of mergers, including with Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College of Science and Technology, the Institute of Psychiatry, the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals and the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Anglican theological colleges partnered with local universities to offer professional degrees in theology and ministry during the twentieth century. Since 2014, however, the Common Award degrees, validated by Durham, have offered a more unified training across the theological colleges. [17] Some colleges continue to offer other degrees in addition to the Common Awards, such as the Cambridge Bachelor of Theology at the Cambridge Theological Federation

The Cambridge Theological Federation is an association of theological colleges, courses and houses based in Cambridge, England. The federation offers several joint theological programmes of study open to students in member institutions; these programmes are either validated by or are taught on behalf of two universities situated in Cambridge, the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University. It also offers courses as part the Common Award validated by Durham University.

Legal studies in England were mainly confined to the Inns of Court until the late nineteenth century. The only undergraduate course was at Cambridge and concentrated on Roman civil law rather than English common law; in terms of employment that the bishops accepted it as equivalent to a BA for ordination was more useful than the legal training it provided, and it was generally seen as an easy option for those who couldn't cope with the mathematics on the BA course. [18] Cambridge reformed its course in 1858, and London established an undergraduate course a few years later. However, it has only been since the 1960s that law schools have taken on a leading role in training lawyers and truly established professional degrees. [19]

Civil law, or civilian law, is a legal system originating in Europe, intellectualized within the framework of Roman law, the main feature of which is that its core principles are codified into a referable system which serves as the primary source of law. This can be contrasted with common law systems, the intellectual framework of which comes from judge-made decisional law, and gives precedential authority to prior court decisions, on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions.

Common law Law developed by judges

In law, common law is the body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch. Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.

In the latter part of the twentieth century, many chartered bodies introduced educational requirements for their chartered professional statuses, most notably the Engineering Council requirements for Chartered Engineer. This led to the accreditation of degrees by the relevant professional bodies and, in the case of engineering, to the Washington Accord – an international agreement between engineering regulatory bodies to recognise professional degrees accredited in each country – signed originally in 1989 by the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, and since expanded to include many other countries. [20] In the twenty-first century, the standard professional degree for many science and engineering fields was raised from bachelor's to master's level, including for qualification as a Chartered Physicist (from 2001), Chartered Scientist (from 2004) and Chartered Engineer (from 2012). [21] [22] [23]

History of professional degrees in North America

The M.B. or Bachelor of Medicine was the first medical degree to be granted in the United States and Canada. The first medical schools that granted the M.B. degree were at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Columbia University was the first American university to grant the M.D. degree in 1770, although, as in England, this followed the M.B. (which was the qualifying degree) and required completion of a thesis. [24] [25] [26] Professional societies started licensing doctors from the 1760s, and in the early nineteenth century started setting up their own medical schools, known as proprietary medical colleges, the first being the medical college of the Medical Society of the County of New York, which opened March 12, 1807. These eliminated the general education and long lecture terms of the university schools, making them much more popular. Without effective regulation, abuses arose, and national conventions in 1846 and 1847 led to the establishment of the American Medical Association. This new body set the first nationwide standards for M.D. degrees, requiring that students had a liberal education in arts and sciences as part of their degree, that they had served an apprenticeship before starting the course, and that the course lasted three years. [27]

The M.D. was thus the first entry-level professional degree to be awarded as a purely trade school 'doctor'-degree in the United States, before the first European-style doctorate, the Ph.D., was awarded by an American Institution in 1861, [28] although the M.D. was not established as a post-baccalaureate degree until much later. [29] The President of Yale, Arthur Twining Hadley, stated in the early 20th century that: "However convenient it might be to insist on the possession of a bachelor's degree by all pupils in the schools of law or medicine, I feel that it would be a violation of our duty to these professions to hedge ourselves about by any such artificial limitations." [30] This changed (for medicine) after Abraham Flexner's damning report into the state of medical education in 1910: by 1930 almost all medical schools required a previous liberal arts degree before starting the M.D. course. [27]

Law degrees were introduced in the US by the College of William & Mary in 1792, with its "Batchellor of Law" (sic) (L.B.) degree. This was followed by the "Graduate of Law" at the University of Virginia in 1829, which became the first American LL.B. in 1840. The J.D. was introduced by the University of Chicago in 1902, with the same curriculum as the LL.B. but requiring a previous B.A. or B.S. for entry. The J.D. spread, but encountered opposition, and Harvard, which imposed graduate entry as a requirement for its LL.B. course in 1909, and Yale used the name for their post-LL.B. degree, elsewhere called the LL.M. By the 1930s, when most law schools had shifted to graduate entry, the standard degree was once again the LL.B. The second shift to the J.D., again without a change of curriculum, came in the 1960s, with all American Bar Association-accredited professional degrees adopting the nomenclature by 1971. [31]

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, other professions, particularly in clinical fields, transitioned their professional degrees to doctorates, following the example of the M.D. and J.D. The Master of Public Health ( and the Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) are multi-disciplinary professional degrees awarded for studies in areas related to public health. The MPH degree focuses on public health practice, as opposed to research or teaching. In the 1990s there was also some debate in the architectural community about renaming the professional degree in architecture a "doctorate". [32] The spread of professional doctorates raised concerns about the standards of the new degrees, particularly in cases such as physical therapy, where the standard set by the American Physical Therapy Association for the doctorate is the same as that for the master's degree. Critics have claimed that these degrees should not be called doctorates, pointing out that a Ph.D. takes an average of twelve years from the start of college, compared to five and a half to eight years for professional doctorates, while defenders of the new professional doctorates have said the point of comparison should be the M.D. and J.D., not the Ph.D. [33]

Professional degrees by country

United States

Among the professional degrees in the United States, one particular form was the graduate-entry first-professional degree, often denominated as a doctorate. The U.S. Department of Education defined these as: "A first-professional degree was an award that required completion of a program that met all of the following criteria: (1) completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the profession; (2) at least 2 years of college work prior to entering the program; and (3) a total of at least 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree program, including prior required college work plus the length of the professional program itself." [34] 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. [35] Prior to this, first-professional degrees (so defined) were awarded in the following ten fields: [34]

Since 2011, the classification "doctor's degree - professional practice" has been used for "[a] doctor's degree that is conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice." As with the "first professional degree", this classification also requires that the total time in higher education is at least six years, although the requirement for at least two years of college-level study prior to entering the program was removed. [36] The Department of Education does not define which fields professional doctorates may be awarded in, unlike with the "first professional degree". Besides professional doctorates, other professional degrees can exist that use the title of bachelor or master, e.g. B.Arch. and M.Arch. in architecture. [37] In particular, first professional degrees in theology, which did not use the title of doctor, were reclassified as master's degrees in 2011 - including the B.D. [35]

A distinction is drawn in the US between professional doctorates and "doctor's degree - research/scholarship", with the latter being "[a] Ph.D. or other doctor's degree that requires advanced work beyond the master's level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement." [38] Internationally, US professional doctorates (which, unlike research doctorates, are not defined as requiring work beyond the master's level) are not generally considered to be doctoral level qualifications. [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] The classification of "Doctor's degree - other" also exists for doctorates that do not meet the definition of either professional doctorates or research doctorates. [45]

The US Census Bureau uses the classification "professional degree behind bachelor's degree" as one of the possible answers to “What is the highest degree or level of school this person has completed?” in the American Community Survey, with examples of MD, DDS, DVM, LLB and JD. This sits between "master's degree" and "doctorate degree" (with the examples for a doctorate being PhD and EdD). [46]

Some professional fields offer degrees beyond the professional doctorate or other degree required for qualification, sometimes termed post-professional degrees. Higher professional degrees may also be offered in fields that do not have specific academic requirements for entry, such as Fine Arts. These degrees may be at master's or doctorate levels. [47] [48] [49]

United Kingdom

Professional degrees in the UK are accredited by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, which work with the Quality Assurance Agency on defining benchmark statements for their subjects. [50] Specific benchmark statements have also been produced for professional qualifications in Scotland. [51]

Many professional degrees span teaching at bachelor's and master's level, leading to a master's level award. This includes older degrees that retain the names of bachelor's degrees for historic reasons, e.g. the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, MBChB, etc.), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVS), and newer integrated master's degrees such as the Master of Engineering (MEng) or Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). [52] [53] In some subjects, qualification can be via separate bachelor's and master's degrees, e.g. a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) followed by a Master of Science (MSc) in Engineering, [53] or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Architecture followed by a year of professional experience, then a two-year Master of Architecture (MArch). [54] In some subjects the normal professional degree is a bachelor's degree, e.g. the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or BA in Law (for both solicitors and barristers) [55] or a BSc in Surveying. [56] Some professional bodies also offer different levels of professional recognition, e.g. a master's degree is needed for Chartered Engineers or Chartered Scientists but a bachelor's degree for Incorporated Engineers and a bachelor's or foundation degree for Registered Scientists. [53] [57]

It is common for professional qualification in the UK to require professional experience in addition to academic qualification. For Architecture, the standard route has a year of experience between the bachelor's and master's stages and a further year after the master's before the final examination; [54] becoming a Chartered Engineer requires post-degree Initial Professional Development that typically takes four to six years; [58] becoming a General Practitioner requires five years of study beyond the MBBS, while qualifying as a Consultant takes seven to nine more years. [59]

In addition to initial professional degrees, some professional master's degrees and most professional doctorates, e.g. the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Engineering (EngD), are offered for those already established in professions. UK professional doctorates are research degrees at the same level as PhDs, normally including teaching at doctoral level but still assessed by a doctoral research thesis or equivalent. [52] [60]

Some professional degrees are designed specifically for trainees or members within a particular organisation, rather than being available via general enrolment. Examples of these include the Church of England's Common Awards with Durham University and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants' BSc in Applied Accounting with Oxford Brookes University. [61] [62]

International equivalence

In medicine

In medicine, individual countries specify rules for recognising foreign qualifications; in the US, for example, this is carried out by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and in the UK by the General Medical Council (GMC). [63] [64] The Australian Medical Council, US ECFMG, UK GMC, Medical Council of Canada, Danish Health and Medicines Authority and Korean Institute of Medical Education and Evaluation jointly sponsor the World Directory of Medical Schools. [65] At least one state in the US, Wisconsin, permits foreign graduates to use the title "MD" if licensed to practice in the US. [66]

In engineering

In engineering, the Washington Accord (1989) recognised that the academic training (i.e. professional degrees) for full professional status (Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer, European Engineer etc.) is equivalent in the signatory countries. [20] Similarly the Sydney Accord (2001) recognises similar academic training between signatories for Engineering Technologists, Incorporated Engineers, etc. and the Dublin Accord (2002) for Engineering Technicians. [67] [68] For computing and information technology, the Seoul Accord (2008) recognises similar academic training on accredited courses for computing and information technology professionals in the signatory countries. [69]

See also

Related Research Articles

Doctor is an academic title that originates from the Latin word of the same spelling and meaning. The word is originally an agentive noun of the Latin verb docēreLatin pronunciation: [dɔˈkeːrɛ] 'to teach'. It has been used as an academic title in Europe since the 13th century, when the first Doctorates were awarded at the University of Bologna and the University of Paris. Having become established in European universities, this usage spread around the world. Contracted "Dr" or "Dr.", it is used as a designation for a person who has obtained a Doctorate. In many parts of the world it is also used by medical practitioners, regardless of whether or not they hold a doctoral-level degree.

Juris Doctor graduate-entry professional degree in law

The Juris Doctor degree, also known as the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. The Juris Doctor is earned by completing law school in Australia, Canada, the United States, and some other common law countries. It has the academic standing of a professional doctorate in the United States, a master's degree in Australia, and a second-entry, baccalaureate degree in Canada.

Postgraduate education, or graduate education in North America, involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees, academic or professional certificates, academic or professional diplomas, or other qualifications for which a first or bachelor's degree generally is required, and it is normally considered to be part of higher education. In North America, this level is typically referred to as graduate school.

An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master’s and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries there are lower level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees.

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.

Doctorate academic or professional degree

A doctorate or doctor's degree or doctoral degree, is an academic degree awarded by universities, derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi. In most countries, it is a research degree that qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree's field, or to work in a specific profession. There are a number of doctoral degrees; the most common is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to scientific disciplines.

Degree abbreviations are used as an alternative way to specify an academic degree instead of spelling out the title in full, such as in reference books such as Who's Who and on business cards. Many degree titles have more than one possible abbreviation, with the abbreviation used varying between different universities. In the UK it is normal not to punctuate abbreviations for degrees with full stops, although this is done at some universities.

Bologna Process System for compatibility of higher education qualifications in the European region

The Bologna Process is a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher-education qualifications. The process has created the European Higher Education Area under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the University of Bologna, where the Bologna declaration was signed by education ministers from 29 European countries in 1999. The process was opened to other countries in the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe, and governmental meetings have been held in Prague (2001), Berlin (2003), Bergen (2005), London (2007), Leuven (2009), Budapest-Vienna (2010), Bucharest (2012), Yerevan (2015) and Paris (2018).

The system of academic degrees at the University of Oxford can be confusing to those not familiar with it. This is not merely because many degree titles date from the Middle Ages, but also because many changes have been haphazardly introduced in recent years. For example, the (medieval) BD, BM, BCL, etc. are postgraduate degrees, while the (modern) MPhys, MEng, etc. are undergraduate degrees.

Doctor of Medicine is a medical degree, the meaning of which varies between different jurisdictions. In the United States, Canada and some other countries, the M.D. denotes a professional graduate degree awarded upon graduation from medical school. In the United States, this generally arose because many in 18th century medical profession trained in Scotland, which used the M.D. degree nomenclature. In England, however, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery was used and eventually in the 19th century became the standard in Scotland too. Thus, in the United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries, the M.D. is a research doctorate, higher doctorate, honorary doctorate or applied clinical degree restricted to those who already hold a professional degree in medicine; in those countries, the equivalent professional to the North American and some others use of M.D. is still typically titled Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.).

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, or in Latin: Medicinae Baccalaureus Baccalaureus Chirurgiae, are the two first professional degrees in medicine and surgery awarded upon graduation from medical school by universities in countries that follow the tradition of the United Kingdom. The historical degree nomenclature states that they are two separate undergraduate degrees; however, in practice, they are usually treated as one and conferred together, and may also be awarded at graduate-level medical schools. In countries that follow the system in the United States, the equivalent medical degree is awarded as Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).

A licentiate is a degree below that of a PhD given by universities in some countries. The term is also used for a person who holds this degree. The term derives from Latin licentia, "freedom", which is applied in the phrases licentia docendi meaning permission to teach and licentia ad practicandum signifying someone who holds a certificate of competence to practise a profession. Many countries have degrees with this title, but they may represent different educational levels.

An engineer's degree is an advanced academic degree in engineering that is conferred in Europe, some countries of Latin America, North Africa and a few institutions in the United States. In the United States, the engineer's degree is at a more advanced level than a standard US master's degree. It may include a graduate thesis and dissertation at the level of the doctorates such as the Ph.D.

Australian Qualifications Framework organization

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia. It is administered nationally by the Australian Government's Department of Industry, with oversight from the States and Territories, through the Standing Council of Tertiary Education Skills and Employment. While the AQF specifies the standards, education and training organisations are authorised by accrediting authorities to issue a qualification.

A terminal degree is a university degree that can signify one of two outcomes. In some cases, it is the highest degree that can be awarded in a specific academic or professional track. In other cases, it is a degree that is awarded when a candidate completes a certain amount of coursework but does not go on to doctoral work. Some students enroll in a terminal Master's program with the goal of preparing to enter a PhD program. For certain professions and research grants it means the lowest degree to be considered qualified.

Doctor of Philosophy Postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities in many countries

A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities in most countries. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. As an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are usually required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and defend their work against experts in the field. The completion of a PhD is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor or, in non-English-speaking countries, variants such as "Dr. phil." with their name, although the proper etiquette associated with this usage may also be subject to the professional ethics of their own scholarly field, culture, or society. Those who teach at universities or work in academic, educational, or research fields are usually addressed by this title "professionally and socially in a salutation or conversation." Alternatively, holders may use post-nominal letters such as "Ph.D.", "PhD", or "DPhil". It is, however, considered incorrect to use both the title and post-nominals at the same time.

Post-secondary qualifications are qualifications typically studied for after successful completion of secondary school. In Sri Lanka, this is usually after successful completion of the General Certificate of Education. A variety of different post-secondary qualifications are offered in Sri Lanka.


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    Professional degrees may require some undergraduate study prior to admission to the program and generally include an internship or other work experience
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