Occidental graduates planning on pursuing an advanced degree may choose professional degrees, Masters or a Ph.D. depending on their occupational and academic goals.
- Course-type program: Student is required to complete the outlined coursework.
- Comprehensive exam program: Student is required to complete coursework at the end of which an examination must be successfully passed.
- Thesis-type program: In addition to completing required coursework the student must also submit a thesis - an original piece of research.
Professional Masters Degrees (M.B.A., M.Ed.)
Professional Masters degrees are pursued by individuals for whom an advanced degree is either mandatory or recommended to enter an occupational area. For example, the M.S.W. is a Masters degree required for individuals who aspire to become Social Workers, and the M.F.T. is mandatory for Therapists. However, while the M.B.A. and the M.P.P. may add considerable value to an individual's competitiveness, they are not mandatory to pursue a career in business or public policy.
Masters Degrees (M.S., M.A., M.F.A.)
A Masters in Science or Arts is generally pursued along the path to securing a Ph.D. in a disciplinary area of interest such as chemistry or history. While an M.S. or M.A. may prepare an individual to teach at the high school or community college level, Ph.D.s are generally the norm for individuals intent on teaching at the university level. A Masters in Fine Arts allows artists (painters, poets, playwrights) the opportunity to produce an extended body of original work. Graduates of these programs may pursue teaching at the collegiate level or may find they need to secure a Ph.D. if teaching is their ultimate goal. As you review Masters programs, confirm if you are able to pursue this degree independently as many Masters programs may be absorbed into Ph.D. programs.
Doctorate Degrees (Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., J.D., Ed.D.)
Either professional or academic, Doctorate degrees generally involve coursework, comprehensive examinations and a dissertation. The dissertation is an original piece of research which is considered a significant contribution to the discipline. The Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) is one of many Doctorate degrees available. Most people who commit to the five to eight years it takes to pursue a Ph.D. aspire to a career in academia. However, the Ph.D. can also open doors in careers such as research, computer science, curatorship, and consulting. Other professional degrees are available in disciplines such as Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Veterinary Medicine, and Education.
Usually involves extended research in a particular area. This research may be sponsored by the department or by an organization. A post-doctorate is not a degree, rather an extended period of specialized training or research.