Are you feeling a bit stuck in your current position? Maybe you are looking for a way to establish yourself as a leading expert in your field. All of these are common motivations for getting a doctorate. A doctoral degree or doctorate is a terminal degree that represents the highest level of academic achievement in any given field. There are different types of doctoral programs to consider, some of which are listed below.
Doctor of Business Administration
A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is well-suited to individuals dedicated to mastering business proficiencies and attaining high-level positions within the corporate environment. Note that a DBA has a specific focus distinct from a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD). Whereas the PhD degree is research-oriented, the DBA degree focuses on instilling more practical knowledge that is immediately applicable in business environments. Programs vary from one school to the next, but in general, DBA candidates can expect to explore the following:
- Leadership styles and modern management theories.
- Organizational strategy and management practices.
- Ethical and legal issues in the corporate world.
- Strategies for change management.
Some students may wish to pursue a DBA with a specialization. For example, you might want to focus your studies on data analytics, marketing or management. Students who choose a specialization can expect to take courses aligned with their chosen academic outcomes.
Doctor of Education
A Doctor of Education (EdD) is also a practitioner focused degree that is designed for those seeking leadership roles within organizations, often academic organizations. For example, you might earn an EdD if you wish to become the principal of a private or public school or the superintendent of a school district. The EdD degree is not the same as a Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD). The PhD program is research-oriented and focuses on theoretical knowledge. It is ideal for educators who want to pursue a high-level career in academia or academic research. In contrast, the EdD degree is focused on practice improvement and positive research-based change. Despite the name and focus on administration in the field of education, the EdD is also well-suited to individuals in other fields who wish to improve their organizational leadership abilities. For example, a graduate might pursue one of can the following non-academic leadership roles:
- Human resources director
- Government administrator
- Nonprofit director
- Program improvement specialist
- Corporate trainer
The Doctor of Education degree emphasizes practical data and behaviors as well as organizational management skills. Students can generally expect to explore topics such as corporate social responsibility, multicultural awareness, strategy execution and ethical decision-making.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is designed for practicing nurses who wish to step into high-level leadership roles in their practice and improve the quality of patient care in their organizations. DNP graduates can enhance healthcare outcomes through their organizational leadership skills, their advanced direct patient care abilities and their knowledge of healthcare policy implementation. Unlike PhD programs for nursing, which are research-focused, the DNP focuses on clinical skills and leadership abilities.
In addition, the DNP can prepare nurses to sit for the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) exams. The APRN designation is ideal for nurses who wish to acquire advanced clinical skills to become a certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or nurse practitioner (NP). In a typical DNP program, a student may expect to study topics such like:
- Healthcare informatics and patient privacy concerns.
- Emerging public health issues.
- Sustainable change in healthcare organizations and effective policy implementation.
- Evidence-based healthcare research and related ethical considerations.
Doctor of Philosophy
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is perhaps the most well-known doctoral degree. As discussed above, it has a focus on theoretical development and exploration of a topic. People often find the title misleading, as graduates are not necessarily philosophy majors. The title comes from the Greek word philosophia, which translates to “love of wisdom.” One does not have to earn a doctorate in the field of philosophy. In fact, the PhD degree applies to a wide range of academic fields.
In some industries, a PhD is a pathway toward a high-level role within an organization.
At the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University, you will find a diverse array of doctoral degree programs geared toward working professionals in many different fields. Some of our in-demand doctoral programs include the Doctor of Business Administration: Data Analytics (Qualitative Research) program and the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Health Care Administration program. Click on the Request Info button above to explore our doctoral degree programs further.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.