Doctor of Arts

The Doctor of Arts (D.A.; occasionally D.Arts or Art.D. from the Latin artium doctor) is a discipline-based terminal doctoral degree that was originally conceived and designed to be an alternative to the traditional research-based Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the education-based Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). Like other doctorates, the D.A. is an academic degree of the highest level. The D.A. is also frequently conferred as an honorary degree with the added designation of honoris causa.

While the Ph.D. is the most common doctoral degree in the United States, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation recognize numerous research-oriented doctoral degrees such as the D.A. as "equivalent",[1][2] and do not discriminate between them.


The idea for a Doctor of Arts degree was originally proposed at the 1932 meeting of the Association of American Universities by Wallace Atwood, then president of Clark University. In 1967 Carnegie Mellon University (formerly Carnegie Institute of Technology), began to offer the D.A. in Mathematics, History, English and Fine Arts.[3] The first Doctor of Arts degree in the United States was awarded in 1968, by Carnegie Mellon University, to Donald H. Taranto in the field of mathematics. Guiding principles for the Doctor of Arts degree was established in 1970 by the Committee on Graduate Studies of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and by the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States. The Carnegie Foundation was the first to fund ten universities with seed money to initiate the degree, and D.A. programs (though far fewer in number than those of the Ph.D.) are currently offered in many different disciplines at universities in the United States and in other parts of the world.

The D.A. differs from the Ph.D. and Ed.D degrees in its shift in emphasis from research (though a project or thesis is generally required) to the advanced study of a specific discipline, content area expertise, learning theory, and curriculum design. As such, it is often described as a "teaching doctorate". It offers scholars the breadth and diversity necessary to become teachers in their field. The D.A. also differs from the Ed.D. in its strong disciplinary focus, while still embracing the Ed.D.'s concern for issues in education, and a theoretical as well as practical preparation in pedagogy. (For more on this issue, see Ph.D.)

Outside the United States

In Argentina the Doctorate of Arts it is offered by the NU of C and the NU of R, by achieving the title of Doctor of Arts or Doctor of Humanities.

In Finland, the Doctor of Arts degree is a research degree awarded upon successful completion of studies and a dissertation in the fields of art and design. The Doctor of Arts degree awarded by the University of Art and Design Helsinki, for example, aims to prepare scholars who are capable of conducting independent, groundbreaking research and developing new artistic research methods or products that satisfy high artistic standards.

In Australia, the Doctor of Creative Arts degree is offered at several universities as a terminal degree in the field.

In 2016 ELIA (European League of Institute of the Arts) launched The Florence Principles on the Doctorate in the Arts.[4] The Florence Principles relating to the Salzburg Principles and the Salzburg Recommendations of EUA (European University Association) name seven points of attention to specify the Doctorate / Ph.D. in the Arts compared to a scientific doctorate / Ph.D. The Florence Principles have been endorsed and are supported also by AEC, CILECT, CUMULUS and SAR.

Professional associations

The National Doctor of Arts Association (NDAA) was founded in 1991 at Idaho State University.

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2017-01-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Research Doctorate Degrees
  3. The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 39, No. 5 (May 1968), pp. 261-270 doi:10.2307/1979419
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