The Advanced Professional or Research Doctorate  


          The Heritage International University’s goal is to educate generations of highly motivated adults who seek educational programs that enlighten, engage and empower them in the pursuit of a lifetime of learning and service. Knowledge is power – it opens up limitless possibilities.

          Our doctoral or advanced professional or research programs are for those who have completed their a master’s and want to expand their expertise and knowledge. It is open to areas of student interest to facilitate life ambitions in interdisciplinary science and/or liberal arts studies.

          Two doctoral programs exist. The credit and dissertation program, and the dissertation only program. To complete the doctorate, a student must have 90 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor's degree. In many cases, up to 40+ credit hours of a completed master's degree or graduate credit may be applied toward doctoral credits with the approval of the Graduate or Doctoral Committee. A Special Project, Practicum or Internship may in some cases substitute for some course work. The dissertation only doctorate may include some coursework as determined by the Graduate Committee. In both programs, a doctoral project of high value, worth or importance may substitute for a dissertation. Generally speaking, the dissertation only program is for a person who already has a doctorate from an accredited university, or is so critically acclaimed and accomplished in his or her field that the individual is eminently worthy, and/or is willing and able to create a profound and publishable dissertation on an important subject -- basically a book that contributes knowledge to the field of their choice.

Making the Effort to obtain a Doctor's Level Education is Highly Worth it:

          Getting a Ph.D. or equivalent isn't a walk in the park, but there are a lot of advantages and benefits for paying the price.

1. Improved credibility as an expert
2. Prestige & status
3. Opportunity -- it is a door opener
4. Increased marketability of one's potential
5. Expertise & know-how can invaluable
6. Achievement (only 3% of the population obtain this rare status)
7. Discovery and new insights are gained, and
8. Last of all, self-improvement, enjoyment and personal growth are common outcomes

          Financially, a sampling of 13 occupations show that an individual with a doctorate will generally earn an average of 19% more money in a lifetime than a person with a master's degree. That is close to a half a million dollars more. (World Education Services, Salary Differences Between a Master's and Ph.D. graduates; 2017:

General instructions:

Language: entirely in English.
Duration: 1.5 – 6 years
50 semester hours beyond a 40 hour master's degree must be earned to graduate with a doctor's degree
Degree variations or equivalencies: (Ph.D., D.Phil., D.Litt., LL.D., D.A., D.Ed., D.F.A., D.B.A., D.Sci., D.N.P., D.P.H., and others as appropriate)
Either a Project worthy of a Doctorate or Dissertation must be completed.
Field of study and/or research will be chosen by the student and must be approved by the doctoral committee.
Age: Minimum age: 23 years
Previous study or prerequisite: A Master’s degree or 30 semester credit hours from an accredited college or university.
A fourth member of the Graduation committee must be chosen by the student if the university does not have qualified staff in the area of expertise. This person must agree to be on the students Graduation Committee and contribute toward the student's graduation. The person chosen and approved is to be a professional, scholar or expert in the student’s chosen field and is to be reimbursed by the student for his or her services. Not more than $1,000.00.
Fees: There is a $50.00 non-returnable application fee. If accepted into the program, on must pay $2,500.00 USD's a year until the required credit hours are achieved.
Three copies of the completed and approved dissertation must be professionally bound, copyrighted and sent the University. One copy will be retained by the University and two copies will be sent to the Library of Congress This cost will be incurred by the student.

The Advance Professional Rank or Status (the Doctoral level)

          The University offers accredited, distance learning equivalency degrees. Equivalent means “equal or interchangeable in value, quality, significance, etc." (Collins English Dictionary; 2019: That is, our honors are identical, the same as, or interchangeable with the status of holding a regular on-campus or traditional degree. It is of the same educational value, yet it is a great bargain. (See "Why Heritage International University") The teaching methods used are equal to or superior to those used in most traditional colleges and universities worldwide as seen in the subsection "Superior Educational Methods are Employed." As a result, Heritage can certify high quality, not just because of accreditation, but also because of the checks and balances that are employed to assure the high standards expected of an accredited university are met with every student. In other words, what a student receives, he has earned and is absolutely worthy of. (See "Standards: Quality Control and Assurances")

          Most traditional programs would cost as much as $10,000.00 to $30,000.00 for a completed associate's degree. The cost difference is one of the major reasons for our existence. We believe in making education affordable, yet of the highest quality. The program is, by design, capable of equiping students with an understanding of best practices and cutting edge knowledge in their chosen fields, so they can be further ahead than they would be in a traditional program.

Refund Policy:

The application fee is non-refundable.

Tuition refunds for students who withdraw from any degree program of the University will be refunded as follows:

One month after full acceptance and payment of tuition: 100%
Three months after full acceptance and payment of tuition: 50%%    
Six months after full acceptance and payment of tuition: 25%
After seven months, there is no refund.


A. Other than filling out the application, the candidate is required to briefly answer all the following pre-concerns in writing:

That you have a well-defined academic goals.
That you are well-suited and able to undertake advanced research.
That you have good general background knowledge of the field related to your work.
That you show evidence that the project is likely to yield sufficient results in the time available
That you are able to work independently as appropriate.
That your work to date is of a good standard and quality.
That you are able to express ideas clearly, in English, both in writing and orally.
That there is the potential for your work to make a significant and substantial contribution to your field of study.
That your ideas and plans for future work are clear and realistic.
That you can defend your completed and future work.
That you have engaged well with both academic training and professional development. And show what further activities you expect to engage with.
You should have a critical understanding of relevant literature
That your work when completed will make a ‘significant and substantial contribution’ to your field of study.
That you have to date undertaken advanced academic research.
That you have sufficient background and in depth knowledge of the field related to your work.
That you are likely to submit a satisfactory thesis or dissertation within the years allotted to you.
That your work to date is of a good standard and quality.
That you are able to express ideas clearly, in English, both in writing and orally.
That your ideas and plans are realistic, practical and doable.
That you have ready access to a computer, email, telephone and fax.

The above brief assignment may be waived for an individual well-known to one of the officers of the College (University) who can vouch for the student’s ability and experiences.

B. In addition to the above, a prospective student must sign a commitment to “Academic Integrity.” (See "Application & Academic Integrity Form") Without solid loyalty to this indispensable standard, a degree becomes worthless. It cannot be trusted to be valid and have meaning if there is any cheating. This deep seated commitment to integrity is one of the greatest investment a person can make for the future. For example, it makes your degree an authentic and genuinely earned honor -- something you can truly be proud of.

C. Included with the application, there must be:

1. A brief cover letter
2. Official copies of your college transcripts, training records and other academic documents sent directly from the educational institutions to the Office of Admission
3. Two current letters of recommendation related to your prior career and college performance
4. A recent photograph of yourself

Dissertation or Doctoral Project:

          The traditional approach involves the collection and analysis of data in some area of scholarly interest, perhaps testing a hypothesis, the examination of a proposition or major generalization. In some way or another, it must make an original and worthwhile contribution to human knowledge and/or reflect scholastic excellence.

          A creative project involves writing or a project of creative worth whether in the arts or sciences. It could be an invention, but, whatever it is, it must somehow reflect academic excellence as an authentic contribution to mankind. An example of a unique ongoing project for a doctoral degree is at

Course Work:

          A student may take any course already available through the College/University that fits with his or her program, or create a new course, or courses, that would empower them to master all the important subject areas of their degree. To create a course, one must create a syllabus, get it approved by his or her faculty advisor and then implement it under the guidance of the college instructor or university professor assigned. Such a course could include approved workshops and seminars appropriate to their particular academic program. (See examples of various syllabi below:

"Creating a Syllabus,"
"An Example of a Completed Syllabus,"
"An Example of a Syllabus for taking a Course through an Outside Program,"
"An Example using the University's Flexible Syllabus Form to Create and Complete a Dissertation/Project,"
"Example of Using the Syllabus Format for an Internship,"
"Example of a Cover Sheet,"
"Degree Plan and Tracking Record")

          A normal student created syllabus for one semester hour course should have at least 4 lessons completed for grading and a final. A two semester hour course would have 8 lessons, and a four semester hour course would have 16 lessons.

          However, students can also take CLEP exams, attend approved workshops for CEU credits, take an on-campus course from another accredited college or university, or complete an approved project, internship, practicum, do an online research project or any other unique educational method. Individual Option promotes accademic freedom and the flexibility to achieve the greatest possible combination of practical experience to develop and cultivate one's skills and expertise.           

          A student with the help of their advisor will need to make a tentative plan for their entire degree program, which plan can be amended or altered to obtain the best education possible according to each student's needs and personal situation. (See "Degree Plan and Tracking Record")

Transfer of Credit:

Credit earn at another accredited university, may be accepted for completing an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate depending on the subject, how long ago the credit was earned, and the requirements of a particular degree. All transfers must be approved by the graduation committee. Guidelines for acceptance are that:

   Credit earned must be from an accredited training course, college or university, or the reputable equivalent of accreditation; such as, a government approved program,
   Credit must have been earned within five years prior to entering into any University degree program,
   Credit cannot be part of an already earned degree. It must be earned separate from a completed degree,
   In any graduate program, the transfer credits will be counted as elective courses only unless otherwise approved,
   Transfer grades for any course in a graduate program must be A+, A, A-, B+, B, B- or Passing.
   Credit must generally be relevant to the degree program that one desires to complete.
   No more than sixteen semester hours can be approved for any degree level, unless otherwise approved, and
   No more than four semester hours of life experiences can be accepted as valid university credit.

          However, an earned degree from an accredited college or university has no limit in terms of time. It can be earned 20+ years ago and still be used. In such a situation, additional courses may be required to ensure a student completes a program that is worthy of its name and subject area.


After one is accepted into the program, one should:

Pay the required tuition.
One must also obtain a third member for one’s Graduation Committee for a master’s degree, or a fourth member for a Doctoral Committee to provide special insight, knowledge and expertise into the area of one’s thesis, project or dissertation, and
Start the required coursework and begin the thesis or dissertation.

Evaluation Periods:

After completing approximately 1/2 of the the coursework for the doctorate, an electronic copy must be submitted to each member of the Graduation Committee for review, comments and improvement,
After one is about 1/2 of the way through one's dissertation, again, an electronic copy must be sent to each Committee member to ensure a quality project is emerging worthy of high academic honors.
When the project or dissertations is complete, a final review must take place. Each member of the Graduation Committee will evaluate and send their recommendations and suggestion for a final draft. This process will continue until each Committee member is satisfied that all expectations have been fulfilled and the result is worthy of a doctoral degree. This process will take the place of an oral defense and examination.
Results will be submitted to the University officers for final approval. When all fees have been paid and three acceptable bound copies of the dissertation or project have been received, the student is to be given the appropriate doctoral degree, transcrpts and diploma as one of the truly great accomplishments of life.


          Solving problems is an important part of any effective organization; hence, the following is to be encouraged and promoted. If possible, complaints should be handled on the instructor/student level. If this is not possible or not working, a student may contact one of the senior officers for additional help and assistance. Should this not solve or answer the situation, a committee composed of the instructor, student, and administration officers can be conducted. Who attends such a meeting is flexible depending on the problem and needs of the individuals involved.

Student Misconduct:

The process for handling an academic misconduct report:

   Reports of misconduct are to be reported to the Chief Academic Officer.
   He will assign a University office to start a fact finding process focusing on gathering all of the pertinent information necessary to determine whether or not a violation actually occurred. This would including interviewing the parties involved.
   A report will be provided to the President of the University, who will then, if the case deserves it, assign an individual to provide the student with an overview his or her rights.
   The Student will be given an opportunity to provide their account of what occurred, present relevant evidence, and provide names of witnesses for further consideration in writing to the officer assigned.
   The President will assign a committee to review the situation and provide recommendations.
   Based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard, the President will have the final say in the matter.
   The student will have the option to request an administrative review decision within 21 days by his or her Graduation Committee, which will have the final say subject to the President’s review.
   If an administrative review is not requested, the prior committee’s recommendation will be final.

Responsibilities of the Doctoral Graduation Committee:

          The responsibilities of the Dissertation Committee, under the leadership of the Committee Chair, are as follows:

To approve, guide and ensure quality work reflecting academic excellence,
Evaluate the application and the student’s past to see if any course work beyond the thesis or dissertation is necessary,
Thoroughly read the student’s submitted work and provide productive feedback and insist that any discovered flaws be corrected before the student is allowed to continue,
Each Committee member will respond to the student during each evaluation period in writing sending copies of their communications to both the main office and to the Chairman, who needs to be kept informed.
The Graduate Committee Chair will communicate orally with the student to answer questions, clarify any concerns, provide any tutoring or mentoring as needed as an advocate and encourager for the student, while at the same time requiring a high degree of academic scholarship.
See "Faculty Handbook"


          Official transcripts may be obtained for $15.00 and sent to whatever address a student designates.

Get Started:
1. Contact us and ask questions
2. Fill out the application and integrity form

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