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An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies. There are four degree levels within higher education: associate, baccalaureate (also known as bachelor’s), master’s, and doctorate.

Degree Program

Any grouping of subject matter courses which, when satisfactorily completed, entitles the student to a degree. (See also Remedial Course and Adult Basic Education.)

Developmental Education

Courses, tutorials, or other efforts to bring skill levels in reading, writing, and math to entering college level.


A formal document certifying the successful completion of a program of studies.

Distance Education

A course in which all or the majority of the instruction occurs with the instructor and student in different locations. Instruction may be in real time or pre-recorded.

Doctor’s Degree-Clinical Practice

A doctor’s degree that requires completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for clinical practice. Some of these degrees are classified as first-professional and may include: Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.), Dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.), Medicine (M.D.), Optometry (O.D.), Osteopathic Medicine (D.O), Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Podiatry (D.P.M., Pod.D., D.P.), or Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.).

Doctorate Degree-Research

A Ph.D. or other doctor’s degree that requires advanced work beyond the master’s level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Some examples include Doctor in Education (Ed.D.), Doctor in Musical Arts (D.M.A.), Doctor in Public Health (Dr. Ph.), Doctor of Science (D.Sc.), Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.), or Doctor of Management (D.M.).


A student who, for any reason other than death, leaves school before graduation without transferring to another school/institution.

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