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Changing the Game in the Workplace and in the Classroom: Doctoral Degrees Matter to Millennials

University of Phoenix® School of Advanced Studies survey finds largest generation in America’s workforce places high value on doctoral degrees compared with generational counterparts

PHOENIX, May 10, 2016 — Millennials represent the largest generation in the U.S. workforce today [1] and are known for placing value on team collaboration and workplace flexibility. They also place strong value on their education, and have outpaced educational attainment of previous generations [2]. In today’s increasingly competitive job market, it may not be much of a surprise that millennials say advanced education is valuable to their careers. When it comes to the perceived value of a doctoral education in the workforce, 78 percent of millennials agree that professionals with doctoral-level education are perceived as superior in the workplace, compared with 67 percent of U.S. adults overall, including Gen Xers and baby boomers, according to a recent survey by Harris Poll commissioned by University of Phoenix® School of Advanced Studies.

“Many millennials entered the workforce in a post-recession economy, where the perception of a bachelor’s degree shifted from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to being a requirement to start their careers,” said Hinrich Eylers, Ph.D., executive dean for University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies. “It is arguably more important than ever before to provide advanced education that is calibrated with the needs of today’s economy and employers. At University of Phoenix, our doctoral curriculum is designed to teach research for real life so that doctorate-level education delivers value to the workplace for this new generation of workers and the future workforce.”

Doctoral degree the new master’s degree? Maybe so, according to millennials

While most U.S. adults today still agree that employers place the greatest value on master’s and bachelor’s degrees (32 and 24 percent respectively), they see the potential of a doctoral degree. Seventy percent agree that obtaining a doctoral-level education can open up a wide variety of career options outside of academia. Again, millennials overwhelmingly agree, with 74 percent saying doctoral-level education can open a wide variety of career options and 78 percent agreeing that doctorally educated employees are valuable to an organization’s success.

To learn more about the degree programs offered by the School of Advanced Studies, visit phoenix.edu/schoolofadvancedstudies.

For general information about University of Phoenix programs, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.


A national sample of 2,015 U.S. adults aged 18 and older completed this survey online, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies, from March 8–10, 2016. Individuals who identified themselves as millennials (18–34 years old) totaled 483. For complete survey methodology, please contact Becky.Frost@apollo.edu.

About the School of Advanced Studies

School of Advanced Studies is home to doctoral programs at University of Phoenix and develops leaders who create new models that explain, predict and improve organizational performance in their fields. The practitioner degrees offered through the School of Advanced Studies at University of Phoenix are designed around the Scholar, Practitioner, Leader™ Model, incorporating lifelong learning (scholarship), social and workplace contribution (practice), and the ability to exert positive influence (leadership). More information can be found at www.phoenix.edu/schoolofadvancedstudies.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

[1] Pew Research Center: Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force

[2] Pew Research Center: How Millennials today compare with their grandparents 50 years ago