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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 bachelors), masters, and doctorate.

Degree Program

A 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

A course, tutorial, or another effort to bring skill levels in reading, writing, and math to entering college level.


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

Distance Education

A course in which all or the majority instruction occurs with the instructor and student in different locations. Instruction may be in real time or pre-recorded. (See also Asynchronous Learning and Synchronous Learning.)

Doctor’s Degree-Clinical Practice

A doctor’s degree that requires completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credentialing, or licensure 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 postgraduate degree  or other doctoral 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 and without transferring to another school/institution.

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