From another question regarding Doctorate equivalency, I found the link to this wiki article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doctoral_degrees_in_the_US

I have a few questions that are interlinked. I'm sure someone will have a different opinion, but it seems to me these questions are clearer within the context of eachother, which is why I am not making multiple posts. For one:

For the purposes of this survey, a research doctorate is defined as "a doctoral degree that (1) requires completion of an original intellectual contribution in the form of a dissertation or an equivalent culminating project (e.g., musical composition) and (2) is not primarily intended as a degree for the practice of a profession."

The quote above is categorizing doctoral degrees by their intention. However, it is not clear how this intention is defined. One school may consider a doctorate as a specialized version of a PhD, while another refers to it for industry. Case in point, from the Doctor of Design at Harvard:

Thesis topics investigate more specific issues within individual or combined research areas, and do not necessarily correspond to individual academic disciplines. Instead, they are often interdisciplinary in nature, involving faculty and resources from other graduate schools at Harvard and contribute to expanding the intellectual range of design research.

This states there is a thesis, research, and contribution to the field.

On the other hand, NCSU states their Doctorate of design as:

Established in 2016-17, the professional Doctor of Design (DDes) program is an advanced degree program for established design practitioners, which complements the existing PhD in Design.

Which seems to fall under the category defined as (2) in the wiki quote "is not primarily intended as a degree for the practice of a profession". Maybe I am reading into it wrong, but it does seem to suggest there are differences in how a school interprets the role of one program over another.

1) So is the equivalency based on what type of program you went through, or based on an assessment of the supposed meaning, averaged over schools?

Second, based on either the assessment, or university specific approach to the degree purpose, it seems the NSF keeps changing equivalency. From the wiki article:

part of an ongoing program of assessment that saw the number of recognized research degrees reduced from the 52 recognized from 1994 (the earliest report archived online) to 1998, falling to 48 from 1999 to 2003 and to 24 in 2004.The number rose to 20 in 2007, with the Doctor of Design and Doctor of Fine Arts being re-recognized after being removed from the 2006 list, before falling again to 18 in 2008 when the Doctor of Music and Doctor of Industrial Technology were dropped.

2) If the acceptance keeps changing, such as the case in Doctor of Design, is the year received connected to the recognition of it as a research degree?

And finally, 3) is it then risky to get a degree that does not specifically say Doctor of Philosophy, as one day NSF may decide it doesn't accept it anymore? If there are any examples within the community that this has happened to, or schools/tenure committees that have run into this issue, those answers would help.


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