Academic Degree Meaning And History

An academic degree is a degree awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university.

These institutions typically award degrees at a variety of levels, often including undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees, often along with other academic certificates and professional qualifications.

The most common university degree is a bachelor’s degree, although in some countries there are also named lower degrees (e.g. associate’s and master’s degrees).

Academic Degree History

A doctorate (Latin: doceo “I teach”) appeared in medieval Europe as a license to teach (Latin: licentia docendi) at a medieval university.

Its origins can be traced back to the early Church when the term “doctor” referred to the Apostles, Fathers, and other Christian authorities who taught and interpreted Bible.

The right to grant licentia docendi was originally granted to the church which required the applicant to pass a test, swear allegiance and pay a fee.

The Third Lateran Council of 1179 guaranteed access, today largely free, to all able applicants, who, however, were still tested for aptitude by ecclesiastical academia.

This right was still controversial among ecclesiastical authorities and slowly liberating universities, but was granted by the Pope to the University of Paris in 1231, where it became a license. popular for teaching (licentia ubique docendi).

However, while licentia continued to hold more prestige than bachelor’s degrees (Baccalaureus), it was eventually relegated to the intermediate level for Magister and doctorate, both of which have now become degrees. exclusivity for teaching.

In university, a doctorate is a form of apprenticeship in a company. The traditional period of study before the admission of new teachers to the “Art Masters”, seven years, is the same as the apprenticeship period for other professions.

Originally the terms “master’s” and “doctorate” were synonymous, but over time, a doctorate has been considered a higher degree than a master’s. Today the terms “master” (from the Latin ‘magister’ – literally: “teacher”).

“Doctor” and “professor” mean different levels of academic achievement, but In the medieval university they were equivalent terms, using them in the name of title was a matter of custom in a university.

(Most universities confer a Master of Arts, although the highest degree is often referred to as a Master of Divinity/Theology or a Doctor of Divinity/Theology depending on the location.)

The early doctoral degrees (theology – Doctor of Divinitatis (DD), jurisprudence – Doctor of Legum (LL.D., later DCL) and medicine – Doctor of Medicinæ (MD, DM)) reflected the historical separation of all higher university studies in these three fields.

Over time, D.D. it has gradually become less common outside theology and is now used primarily for honors degrees, with the title “Doctor of Theology” used more often for degrees.

Studies outside theology, law, and medicine were then called “philosophy”, due to the Renaissance belief that true knowledge could be obtained from empirical observation.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is much later and was not introduced in England before 1900. Studies in what was once called philosophy are now classified as science and humanities.

George Makdisi theorized that the ijazah promulgated in the medieval Muslim madrasahs in the 9th century was the origin of the doctorate that later appeared in medieval European universities.

Alfred Guillaume, Syed Farid al-Attas and Devin J. Stewart agreed on the fact that there was a similarity between Ijazah and a university degree. However, Toby Huff and others rejected Makdisi’s theory. ) In certain industries.

One key difference, however, is that the ijaza granting body is an individual professor whereas an undergraduate degree is awarded by a corporate institution. [twelfth]

The University of Bologna in Italy, considered the oldest university in Europe, was the first institution to confer the title of Doctor of Civil Law at the end of the 12th century, it also offers similar degrees in other disciplines. , including medicine. [ 13]

The University of Paris used the term “master’s” for its graduates, a practice adopted by the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as ancient Scottish universities such as St Andrews , Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Emergence Of The Bachelor’s Degree

In medieval European universities, applicants completed three or four years of study in the normative texts of crossroads (grammar, rhetoric and logic) and crossroads (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music), known collectively as the Liberal Arts.

And those who have successfully passed the exams held by their teachers, they will be admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, from the baccalaureate Latin, a term formerly used from squire (i.e. apprentice) to knight.

More deep research and especially participating in successfully and then censoring the controversy will earn a master’s degree in art, from Magister Latin, “Master” (often pointing out a teacher), allowing a person Teach these subjects.

Master of Art is eligible to participate in research according to “higher faculties” in law, medicine or theology and the first money to make a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree or a doctor in the subjects. this.

So a degree is just one step on the road to becoming a fully qualified master, hence the English word “graduation”, which is based on the Latin gradus (“step”).

Evolution Of The Terminology Of Degrees

The naming of the final degrees was linked to the subjects studied. Scholars in the faculty of arts or grammar are called “masters”, but those in theology, medicine, and law are called “doctors”.

Since study in the arts or grammar was a necessary prerequisite for studying in subjects such as theology, medicine and law, the degree of doctor assumed a higher status than the master’s. This has led to the modern hierarchy in which the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD.

Which in its current form of a research and dissertation-based degree is a development of German universities of the 18th and 19th centuries, is a more advanced degree than the Master of Arts (M.A.). The use of the medical term for doctorates has grown in German universities and spread to academia.

French terms are closely associated with the original meanings of the terms. A baccalaureate degree (see “bachelor”) is awarded to a French student who has successfully completed a secondary education and is admitted to a university.

When students graduate from university, they are licensed, like medieval teaching churches, and qualified to teach in secondary schools or progress to higher-level studies. Spanish has a similar structure: the term “Bachiller” is used for those who have graduated from high school or higher, called “Bachillerato”.

The standard 5-year Spanish university diploma is the “Licenciado”, (although there are some related 3-year degrees called “Diplomaturas”, from which the “Diplomados” can transfer to study a Licenciatura. relate to). The highest level is “Doctor”.

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