What Is the Highest Academic Qualification?

In the United States, the doctorate degree is the highest academic qualification that a student can obtain. To obtain a doctorate degree, students must complete the required course work after they have obtained a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. Doctorate programs vary in length depending on how many courses a student takes at one time and how long they take to complete their research and dissertation.

Professional doctorate degrees include the Doctor of Medicine, or M.D.; Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, or D.V.M.; and Juris Doctor, or J.D. Other common degrees pursued at the doctorate level are psychology, philosophy and ministry.

People who have earned their doctorate may pursue careers in the research field or as college professors. A doctorate degree indicates that someone is capable of making meaningful academic contributions in that field of study.