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Graduate and Professional Schools

Most graduate and professional schools are affiliated with the major universities. The term “graduate school” refers to advanced study in academic areas leading to a “masters” degree (M.A. or M.S.) and perhaps later to a “Doctor’s” degree (a Ph.D. or Doctorate). Most college professors of any stature have doctorates. In addition to coursework in their specialty, doctoral candidates have to write an extensive research thesis. Ph.D.’s are called “Dr.” instead of “Mr. or Ms.”

Law school study runs for three years and ends with the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.). A lawyer takes a state bar examination and is then allowed to practice law in the state.

Medical school takes four years, followed by a four year internship and residence requirement. Many doctors then take examinations in specialized areas in which they become “board certified” by the governing board of their particular state.

Graduate business schools offer the highly regarded Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Unlike law and medicine, there is no post-degree certification or licensing process for businesspeople.

Other professional schools exist in fields like engineering, architecture, dentistry, veterinary (animal) medicine, and accounting.


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