Higher education in American society cooperates with the rulers of the world to encourage young people to start out in life with significant debt.  The higher education system is not designed to make it easy for the young to judiciously choose how much they want to invest in an education and does not provide enough flexibility to get an education as needed.  The four-year college system forces everyone to devote that long to a degree that promises to prepare for a profession but really completes the educational gaps left from high-school.  Young people should learn enough in high-school to have a well rounded education in English, philosophy, world literature, geopolitics, American and world history, along with the sciences: chemistry, physics, and mathematics.  There could be different tracks to allow students to focus on the liberal arts or the sciences.  Other leading nations design their educational system in that way.

Beyond high-school there could still be a three-tier system.  But it must be more focused and produce professionals ready to perform at a certain level in the corporate world. The first tier should result in a Certified Professional (CP) degree where students are equipped with practical or technical knowledge that are well aligned with the needs of the industry associated with the field.  The curriculum should be completely focused on professional skills specific to the field.  It should do away with unrelated electives.  This first tier could be completed in three years.  The current Associate degree is not adequate for most professions.  The second tier should be completed in two years and has two tracks. One trains people for managerial leadership roles. This would basically adapt the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) to a given professional field to result in a Business Management (BM) degree.  The other track trains for higher level professional expertise to result in a Certified Expert (CE) degree.  One professional could have all three degrees: CP, CE, and BM.  Students should have the flexibility to gain that education in modules.  The third tier should be reserved for research primarily intended to investigate new knowledge and to develop domain experts with advanced scientific knowledge.  There is a long-standing tradition of conferring the title Doctor to such experts.  This degree could still be called a doctorate appropriate for the field: SD for science and engineering, AD for the liberal arts instead of the PhD, MD for Medicine.  A student should be able to go directly to the doctorate from the professional degree.  An MD obviously takes longer to complete than an SD or an AD.  Then there could be different registration bodies for various professional fields: Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Law.  Their role is to validate expertise and provide additional confidence level in the credentials.

Some might look at this proposal as wishful thinking.  But restructuring higher education in America is crucial for future generations.  This is something that can be done.  Leading universities with significant endowment could put in place a pilot program in partnership with US corporations.  The program could start producing graduates to prove itself before it is deployed nationwide to replace the current system.  As mentioned earlier, there must also be some updates to the high-school curriculum.  But this new pilot program could be initiated as these changes are being introduced.

There is a certain amount of nonsense in the graduate programs at American Universities today.  A good number of PhD and other doctorate degrees make no sense.  People invest in them because they are conditioned to think that the title Doctor confers prestige and recognition.  They are misled into thinking that these are sought after for leadership roles in their field.  Why would anyone get a PhD in Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Practice, or Health?  A nurse should be a Certified Professional or a Certified Expert who could also have a Business Management degree.  Is this America’s way of fooling those who could not get into Medical School to get their Doctor title from a different angle while incurring needless debt for this?  If you look at the curriculum for Law Schools, does the training for law students make them doctors in their field?  Other nations have different titles for that field.  The Juris Doctor might another indication of the dysfunctional views America has about the doctorate degree.  The title is not the only problem with the degree gained from Law Schools, you might have also heard of the prohibitive costs of a Law education.  Again, the idea is that anyone going into that field is expected to earn a high salary that justifies the upfront debt burden.  That is just evil.

U of Pitt Doctor of Nursing Practice Program.   “U.S. News & World Report ranked Pitt Nursings DNP Program EIGHTH nationwide as part of its2017 Best Nursing Grad Schools  report”.   http://www.nursing.pitt.edu/degree-programs/doctor-nursing-practice-dnp

U of Penn PhD in Nursing and Masters of Business Administration. 

Cornell Law School JD Program. http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admissions/degrees/jd/index.cfm

Columbia Three-Year JD / MBA Program.  http://web.law.columbia.edu/jd-mba/coursework

Stanford PhD Program in accounting. http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/phd/fields/accounting

“A PhD in Graphic Design”.  http://www.graphic-design-schools.com/articles/graphic-design-school/phd-graphic-design

Some of the invented doctorates do evil in misleading students and in encouraging them to invest that much time an expense for imagined gains to them and to society.  This fosters dysfunction in the educational system, caters to wrong aspirations, and encourages debt. In this perverse system parents incur a significant financial burden or the student themselves take on debt that could be avoided for an impractical education or one out of step with the job market.  This could be seen with some of the unusual degrees offered even at established prestigious colleges and universities.  In addition, everyone today is a doctor and there is a doctorate for everything.  Only in America could this occur.  Vipers from America might have been the ones to inspire the title for Doctors of Theology, Sacrae Theologiae Doctorum (STD).  This might be an ostensible way to denigrate the religious.  But this might also be an indication of the sinister games they play with doctorates within society to show their disdain for human intelligence and to deride peoples aspirations.

Photo by Jono Hey, Flickr Creative Commons.