The first doctoral degree was awarded in Paris in the mid-12th century. The doctorate of philosophy was conceived in Germany some 500 years later and is the direct precursor to the modern Ph.D.
Today, there are multiple research-based doctoral degrees awarded in the U.S. Many of those degrees are specific to a discipline of study, for example the D.B.A (business), Ed.D. (education), D.N.P. (nursing), and Psy.D. (psychology) are all quite popular among professionals in industry, business, and private practice.
What do all of these degree programs all have in common?
The doctoral dissertation, of course!
Born of the master-apprentice relationship of the medieval trade guilds, the dissertation is the masterpiece of the doctoral process. In order to graduate every doctoral student has to complete an independent research project and write a dissertation…a book-length paper detailing every aspect of the project.