Graduate Certificates Versus the Ph.D.

Mcdonald By Melissa McDonald

A couple months ago, my fellow Adjunct By Choice, Ron Tinsley, gave us his reasons for considering and then not pursuing a Ph.D. in “Just a Side of Fries, Please.” He writes,

I’ve realized I can do this without a Ph.D. I may not be able to do it at a well known university, but that’s okay. After all, I like seeing people learn.

At one time or another, I have considered pursuing Ph.D. work—maybe we all do at some point—but I have found it not to be in the cards for me either, at least not right now. Rather than pursuing another degree, I have looked into graduate certificate programs as a way to broaden my horizons. In case you are not familiar with these programs, they are basically short programs that require anywhere from 12 to 18 credit hours in a particular subject. To me, it is like pursuing a minor without needing a major.

Graduate certificates are great for those looking to increase their knowledge, to explore other fields, or to change careers. In places where instructors need 18 graduate-level hours in a subject to teach it, a certificate might be the

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3 Comments for “Graduate Certificates Versus the Ph.D.”

  1. Good article as it causes the reader to consider options they might not have thought about. I completed my doctorate because in the back of my mind somewhere I hold out hope that I might land a full time position. I have considered graduate certificates to boost my credentials to teach in areas I am interested that are not covered by my two master’s or doctorate. – Jim

  2. Thank you for your article. I am an adjunct with two MA’s, and am looking into getting my third. I have several factors contributing to my decision to not pursue a PhD at this time. I was wondering though, is a graduate certificate the same as a baccalaureate degree? I am curious.

    Thanks again! :)


  3. I am not pursuing my doctorate in order to become an adjunct or teach at a big university, but to complete my formal studies in information systems and technology with a terminal degree. There are still certificates to obtain and qualifications to be maintained. The doctorate brings more depth to what I know and what I can pass on. I would never do it simply for the job that might come from it.

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