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Home > Education > Qualifications > PhD and Doctorate Compared

Difference Between PhD and Doctorate

PhD vs Doctorate

There are many who think that PhD and doctorate is one and the same thing, and to an extent they are right. Doctoral degrees are the highest point of learning in any field of study and people who complete their doctoral degrees get an honorary title of doctors in their chosen field of study. Indeed PhD is a doctoral degree, but it is not the only certification that leads to a doctoral degree. There are many other degrees that are not PhD’s but still considered equivalent to a PhD. Let use find out the difference between a PhD and a doctorate to make things clearer.

PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy and such degrees are awarded in many fields. For example there is J.D in the field of law known as Juris Doctor or a doctor of law. Similarly, a Doctor of medicine is what you commonly refer to as an M.D, a doctor of Business Administration is called a D.B.S and a Doctor of Dentistry is called a D.D.S. All these, and many more degrees are doctoral degrees as they are considered to be the highest learning points in these fields of study. However, these doctoral degrees are not called PhD’s.

A PhD, on the other hand is a generic degree that is awarded in many subjects and the recipient is referred to as a doctor in that field of study. For example, a person can be a doctor of economics and may use the honorary title of Doctor in front of his name. That doesn’t mean that he is a doctor who treats patients. All it means is that he has done PhD in his subject. The degree of PhD is a prerequisite to get tenure as a teacher in most Universities and colleges, and a person can become a professor later in his life only when he has submitted his thesis in his chosen field of study. As such, a PhD is more academic in nature than other doctoral degrees like an M.D or D.D.S who are focused on private practice or government service. PhD is chosen by students who are more interested in teaching as a profession as they do research and plan to be a teacher rather than indulge in any other service or do private practice.

PhD vs Doctorate

• Though PhD and Doctoral degrees are similar in the sense that they are considered to be the highest learning point in a field of study, they are not identical.

• A PhD is more focused on research and teaching profession whereas a doctoral degree is more academic in nature and completed to engage in professions other than teaching

• PhD is a prerequisite for tenure as a teacher in colleges and universities

• PhD is also awarded by universities to persons who have provided exceptional services to the community. These PhD’s are honorary in nature.


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