What are the ways that a Doctorate Degree symbolizes ultimate intellectual/academic
achievement, even success as opposed to a mere Bachelor's and even a Master's Degree?
To me it symbolizes the TIME they had to put into it.
It shows that not only is a person intelligent enough to finish something that not many people can finish, but they are also willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish something.
I know a lot of smart people who have M.D.'s and Phd's, but NONE of them coasted through those programs like they did in bachelor and/or master programs.
I don't think it carries as much weight as it use to unless one has written a best selling book which enhances their credentials.
Economically these days there are many folks with doctorate degrees earning less money than those with bachelor degrees and even some people who dropped out of college or never went.
With the high cost of education the average person correlates it's value based upon financial success. There was a time where a well rounded liberal arts education was universally respected.
Today the focus in on specialist careers that are demand.
I have a cousin who is a single mother in her 40s, living with her mother, working on her doctorate and is close to being $100k in debt from student loans she began taking out during her freshman year.
Her doctorate will be in English. (I'm not sure it will pay off her loans)
She has a brother who never set foot on a college campus who is a long-distance truck driver. He paid cash for his home, has no children, no debt, and has money in the bank.
Does he deserve less respect than her?
Getting a PhD is a major accomplishment and personal achievement. Unfortunately these days it's not rewarded economically especially if the field of discipline is not in demand.
I think BizWiz is spot on with his assessment of the work a person would need to put in to qualify for his or her Ph.D. It certainly does require patience and persistence plus some creativity to name just a few qualities needed. Such persons are to be applauded.
On the other hand, as it has been said, a Ph.D does not guarantee success in the so-called 'real world' outside of Academia. That is determined by market forces.
However, that said, the energy the Ph.D has put into his or her work over the years would certainly contribute to 'The Common Weal' of Human Knowledge, so even least 'successful' as far as recognition in their lifetime is concerned, would not detract from their contribution towards our ever-evolving humanity
I don't know of all possible Ph.D's. Those I have researched point toward specializing more than generalizing. So, I feel someone with that degree is an expert in some specific while also being an expert in the field in general. For instance someone may have a PhD. in Education specializing in assessments / testing / measures and then sixth graders.
Evidence of that is writing the dissertation is based on research. Although the use of a dissertation / thesis as a criteria is being scrutinized today regarding relevance to the pace of information, the possible alternatives still point toward a specialty. That would be several published works offering authority of a chosen specific.
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