What Is a Terminal Degree?


Quick Answer

A "terminal degree" is the highest-level educational degree available for a given career field. In most cases, a doctoral degree is a terminal degree. In some fields, such as fine arts, a master's degree is the terminal degree. Creative writers could achieve a master of fine arts (MFA), for instance.

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Full Answer

Doctor of Education, Doctor of Psychology, Doctor of Music, Doctor of Professional Studies and Doctor of Science are examples of doctoral terminal degrees. Along with the MFA, the master of project management is another master's level terminal degree. The phrase "terminal degree" is mainly used in the United States, and it originated in 1904.

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