In the academic
professions, a terminal degree
is the highest educational degree
offered for a discipline
. For many disciplines, the terminal degree is a doctorate
. In some disciplines (e.g. fine arts
, business administration
), where no doctoral academic path is available, the terminal degree might be a masters or professional degree.
The proportion of a college or university's faculty with terminal degrees is a common (if flawed) measure of the institution's quality of education. Within the institution, the terminal degree is often a qualification for tenure, and may be a consideration in layoff decisions.