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How Do I Get a Doctor of Letters Degree?

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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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A doctor of letters degree is not necessarily something an individual can earn like a traditional doctorate. Instead, most major colleges and universities confer these degrees to individuals who have numerous achievements in a certain academic field. Most educational institutions that confer a doctor of letters degree look at an individual’s published work in scholarly journals. Colleges and universities may only award this degree to an alumnus of the university; the individual must not be a recent graduate in most cases. Other specific criteria may exist for an individual to earn this honorary degree.

There is no specific academic field that one must be in to earn this type of degree. Some academic fields may receive more recognition, however, especially if a college or university is known for a specific field of work. For example, some educational institutions have strong records in the advancements of science, mathematics, physics, or engineering. The graduates from an institution in any of these fields may receive more recognition for a doctor of letters degree from the degree-granting institution. Again, people in other academic fields may also be able to earn this special degree, though it may be slightly more difficult to do so.

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Major criteria for an individual to earn the doctor of letters degree include both extensive research and a number of published documents in scholarly journals. Individuals may need to have published works for several years in a recent time period. Though no single standard may exist, an example may be at least 10 published articles in a period of five to seven years. Sustained research activity on a given topic is also a common requirement for this special degree. This can be more subjective in some cases; the research is most likely in a single scholarly field, however.

Individuals can usually apply for a doctor of letters degree from educational institutions through website applications. The individual should review the specific requirements and prerequisites associated with the application for earning this degree. Along with the application, the individual should have copies of all extra materials for this process, such as research records, copies of published works, and lists of any presentations given on the topic. Individuals may receive help on getting the application complete if necessary. Costs may also be associated with the application process for the doctor of letters degree, with these costs individual to each educational institution.

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