Doctor vs Professor
The difference between Doctor and Professor is in the rank they hold at a university setting. Doctor is an honorary title that can be conferred on anyone having completed his PhD, or doctorate, as it is commonly known. However, there is a common perception that only people having passed the MBBS course and then having done specialization in some field of medicine are referred to as doctors. Many people think that the professional who writes prescriptions and whom they consult when they are ill is a doctor while it is wrong to call a professor of poetry a doctor. This article attempts to find out the differences between a doctor and a professor to make it clear for the readers.
Who is a Doctor?
Anyone who has passed his doctorate exam in any field of study can be technically referred to as a doctor. A doctorate is the highest possible degree in a field of study and, if there is a doctor of economics, it means that he is the person who has done a doctorate in economics. Thus, there are not just medical doctors in the real world but doctors in all fields of studies. If you encounter a doctor of literature, it only means that the person has achieved the highest possible degree in the study of literature. Doctor in this sense is an honorary degree. It is a degree one gets to achieve through research work.
Who is a Professor?
Professor, on the other hand, is a job title that differentiates between seniors and juniors in the teaching profession. If someone is a professor, it means that he is a senior faculty member in a department, in a University or college. A person cannot become a Professor until he has done Ph.D. To be eligible to be a teacher, Ph.D. is not necessary, and a simple B-Ed can start his career as a teacher in a college. To progress in this profession though, he has to become Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and finally a Professor to be at the top of the teaching profession.
The confusion people seem to have is that the professors being called doctors sometimes and being referred to as professors at other times. Technically, the first requirement for a person to become a professor is having a Ph.D. Once the person completes the doctorate successfully, he is known as a Doctor. However, in order to become a professor, this doctor has to dedicate his time to teaching at a university, and also he should be involved in research work. There is no test for a person to take to be declared as a professor. This is mainly given as an honorary title for doctors who have worked for their field of interest in many ways.
What is the difference between Doctor and Professor?
• Definitions of Doctor and Professor:
• A doctor is mostly a person from the medical world, and we think of all healthcare providers as doctors.
• This is true, but Doctor is also an honorary title that is awarded to people who complete the highest degree in their chosen field of study which is known as the Ph.D.
• A professor is the highest ranking position in a university.
• Connection to Ph.D.:
• People who complete Ph.D. are called Doctors. In this sense, Professors are also Doctors.
• Professor is a job title while Doctor only signifies that the person has passed his Ph.D.
• There can be Professors even in the fraternity of the medical world as they are doctors who become eligible to teach to junior doctors.
• Educational Qualifications:
• To be both a doctor and a professor one has to first complete the doctorate or the Ph.D.
• A doctor has involved in research work to obtain his Ph.D.
• A professor’s involvement in research work is more.
• Professor is a higher rank than a doctor.
These are the differences between Doctor and Professor. As you can see, both Doctor and Professor are very valuable titles. However, to become a professor, a doctor has to work harder and dedicate more time and energy into the field of his or her expertise. The journey to both titles begins with the doctorate or the Ph.D. degree.
- A University of Oxford Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in full academic dress by Quantumcomputing (CC BY 2.5)
- Professor Hans J. Naumann, 2011 by André Henschke (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Useful post. However, it is important to point out that in many countries one can be a professor without a PhD (25 percent of the full professors at my university do not have a PhD). Also, the title of professor is higher only in a university setting. A more highly qualified reesearcher with over a hundred research publications who does not work for a university will not be called a professor but will continue to use the title doctor (despite having more research papers than a typical full professor).
olivier cane says
Doctor is not an honorary title, unless you get an honorary doctorate from a university. It is an academic degree. In universities, usually we call professor someone who can supervise the research of doctorate students
John mucci says
What about an Ed.D.???
Professor and medical doctor is 2 different fields. Can’t tell which one is good than the other.
John Borer says
In Great Britain and Ireland and some other countries Doctor is a title earned by anyone who has followed a doctoral degree in any subject, including medicine. A medical doctor does not necessarily have a doctoral degree(PhD, DPhil etc.) but all doctors are accorded the honorary title of Dr. Universites in GB can also honour someone with an ‘Honorary doctorate’but this would not help the person to get a better position in society.
Other countries have different requirements for becoming a professor, though the title of Doctor is universally given to anyone with a doctoral degree. In Germany for instance the requirements are greater for a Doctor to be awared the title of professor. However the title is awarded to Engineers and Scientists who do not work in a university, whereas in GB it is individual Unversities who grant it. In France even a school teacher is refered to as proffesor – it merely means someone who teaches. In the USA someone who in GB would be refered to as a lecturer (a work title) is refered to as a professor (someone who teaches)
I’m afraid that all this causes great confusion, which is unfortunate because people interviewed on the media may be called professor even though they would not be entitled to be in GB. Again some highly qualified engineer might be introduced on television as professorif he/she came from Germany but not if he/she were British . So one cannot always judge the level of expertise by the title.
Thanks for clarifying this for me! Could you please, however, change “he” to “they”? As a female PhD student hoping to be a Doctor one day, the purely male pronouns and images in this article are disappointing.