Professional Careers

The Graduate Wife Dictionary: Vocabulary of Grad School

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When stepping into the world of graduate school, how many of us knew the lingo used? We know we spent a good while asking our husbands, “What does that mean?” when they first started grad school. For those of you starting out on your graduate journey, our team thought we’d create a list of words we’d wish we had known when we started our journey! We hope it helps. -Mandy & M.C.

Types of Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – A doctor of philosophy or Ph.D. degree is considered the terminal or highest degree in a field of study. Many universities require a Ph.D. to be a full time faculty member and to teach, especially graduate level courses.

Master’s Degree- A master’s degree is a graduate degree that is one step up from a bachelor’s (or undergraduate) degree. Depending on the field and the student a master’s degree may be the final step in a graduate student’s education, or a step along the way to a doctoral degree. There are different types of master’s degrees but some of the most common are the M.A. (Master of Arts), M.S. (Master of Science), M.F.A (Master of Fine Arts), and M.B.A (Master of Business Administration).

Professional Degree/ Schools- Degrees considered to be professional degrees are the highest degree awarded in their field. Unlike a PhD which students earn after master’s degrees, students enter professional degree programs directly after receiving a bachelor’s degree. Examples of professional degrees include J.D. (Doctorate of Jurisprudence, a law degree), M.D. (Medical Doctor), D.D.S (Doctor of Dental Science), D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), and Pharm. D. (Doctor of Pharmacy), among others.



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