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The Specialist degree in the English-speaking world[]

The Specialist degree is found in some programs of education or psychology and is awarded for study beyond the Master's degree but below the doctorate. It is most often referred to as an Ed.S. (Specialist of Education), SSP (Specialist of School Psychology), or Psy.S. (Specialist of Psychology). Schooling usually involves two or three years of coursework and practica, followed by a one year internship. Depending on the program offering the degree, a Master's degree can be conferred during the process once its requirements are met. The Specialist degree is designed as a terminal degree, and is not designed to be a stepping-stone toward a doctorate, although specialist-level practitioners cannot be prevented from pursuing a doctorate.

An Ed.S. program typically requires about 60-70 semester hours beyond a Bachelor's degree; some Specialist programs require professional experience and a Master's degree as entry prerequisites, but many do not. Ed.S. programs lead to profressional degrees in the application of advanced educational theory but do not typically place an emphasis on conducting original research such as in Ed.D. or Ph.D. programs.

School Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction are two of the most common areas where a specialist degree is found. In the field of school psychology, the degree is typically an Ed.S. or SSP. Despite being virtually identical in scope and function, the Ed.S. and SSP both exist within the field of school psychology because training programs can be offered within the departments of psychology or education. They simply designate the type of program from which the degree originated. As another alternative, some programs within psychology departments have begun offering a Psy.S. degree instead of an SSP.

In many fields outside of education, the post-graduate certificate fills the same need as a Specialist degree.

The Specialist degree in the Commonwealth of Independent States[]

The specialist degree (специалист) was also the only first degree in the former soviet union. In the early 1990's bakalavr (Bachelor's) and magistr (Master's) degrees were introduced in all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, except in Turkmenistan. However, the specialist degree stayed the most often granted degree in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tadschikistan and Ukraine up until today. The specialict degrees in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were renamed to diplom degrees. Actually there are some similarities between the specialict degree in the CIS and the German Diplom degree. The following are the most importend specialict degrees in the CIS:

  • specialist - ekonomist - first degree in economy or management (including engineering management)
  • specialist - inzener - the engineer's degree in the CIS
  • specialist - ucitel - the first degree for teachers
  • specialist - vrac this degree type includes the respective degrees of physicians, dentists and veterinarians in the CIS.
  • specialist - iskusstva - the first degree in arts
  • specialist - jurist - the first degree in law

Academic degrees
Associate's degrees (U.S.) AA, ABA, ABS, AS
Foundation degrees (U.K.) FdA, FdEd, FdEng, FdMus, FdBus, FdSc, FdTech
Bachelor's degrees B.Accty, AB or BA, BSc or SB, BBus, BCom or BComm, BCS, BEc, BEng or BE, BS or BSc, BFA, BD, BHE, BJ, BPharm, BPE, BHK, BCL, LL.B., MB ChB or MB BS or BM BS or MB BChir or MB BCh BAO, BMus, B.Math, BTech, BBA, BAdm, MA (Oxon.), MA (Cantab.), MA (Dubl.), MA (Hons)
Master's degrees MA, MS or MSc, MSt, MALD, MApol, MPhil, MRes, MFA, MTh, MTS, M.Div., MBA, MPA, MJ, MSW, MPAff, MLIS, MLitt, MPH, MPM, MPP, MPT, MRE, MTheol, LLM, MEng, MSci, MBio, MChem, MPhys, MMath, MMus, MESci, MGeol, MTCM, MSSc, BCL (Oxon), BPhil (Oxon), ThM
Specialist degrees Ed.S., SSP, B.Acc., C.A.S.
Doctoral degrees PhD, EdD, EngD, DNursSci, DBA, DC, DD, DSc, DLitt, DA, MD, DDS, DMD, DMA, DMus, DCL, ThD, JD, OD, DO, PharmD, DrPH, DPT, DPhil, DOM, OMD, DPM, PsyD, DSW, LL.D., J.S.D., S.J.D. S.T.D


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