A doctorate degree is the highest level of academic degree. A doctorate can be earned in most subject areas. Typically a doctorate degree takes four years to complete, post-bachelor’s degree. If you already hold a master’s degree, you may be able to complete a doctorate in the same subject area with only three years of additional full-time study.

Four-year doctorates will require about 90 to 120 semester credits or 30 to 40 college courses. Some doctorate programs require a research thesis to be completed. Very few career areas require a doctorate degree. Areas where state licensing is required, such as engineering and psychology, may require a doctorate degree for the highest paid positions.