U.S. graduate education has evolved over the past century into a unique blend of elements that were adapted initially from European advanced degrees. The master's degree originated from the French equivalent, and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), which is the highest degree conferred by American universities, combines the German amalgam of seminars, specialist lectures, and the research dissertation with intensive research apprenticeship.

During the past decades, the portfolio of American graduate degrees has increased significantly to incorporate and generate new knowledge bases and to meet changing societal needs. Doctoral degrees now include the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.), Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.), and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.).

The real growth in graduate degrees, however, has been at the master's level with the ...

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