is an academic degree
or professional degree
that in most
countries represents the highest level of formal study or research
in a given field. In some countries it also refers to a class of
degrees which qualify the holder to practice in a specific
profession, such as law or medicine. The best-known example of the
former is the Ph.D. (Doctor of
), while examples of the latter include the U.S.
degree of Doctor of Medicine
the Dutch Professional Doctorate in
In some countries, the highest degree in a given field is referred
to as a terminal degree
this is by no means universal (the phrase is not in general use in
the U.K., for example), practice varies from country to country,
and a distinction is sometimes made between terminal professional
degrees (such as the J.D.
) and terminal
research degrees (such as the LL.D.
The term doctorate
comes from the Latin docere
, meaning "to teach", shortened
from the full Latin title licentia docendi
The origin of the doctorate dates back to the ijazat attadris wa 'l-ifta'
التّدريس والإفتاء ("license to teach and issue legal opinions") in
the medieval madrasahs
. It was equivalent to the
Doctor of Laws
qualification and was
developed during the 9th century after the formation of the
legal schools. To obtain
a doctorate, a student "had to study in a guild school of law
four years for the basic undergraduate
course" and at least
ten years for a post-graduate
course. The "doctorate was obtained after an oral examination
to determine the
originality of the candidate's theses
and to test the student's "ability to defend them against all
objections, in disputations
set up for
the purpose" which were scholarly exercises practiced throughout
the student's "career as a graduate student of law
." After students completed
their post-graduate education, they were awarded doctorates giving
them the status of faqih
"master of law
(meaning "professor of legal opinions
") and mudarris
"teacher"), which were later translated into Latin as magister
The concept of a doctorate was soon introduced into medieval Europe
as a license to teach at a
. In this sense, doctoral
training was a form of apprenticeship
to a guild
. The traditional term of study
before new teachers were admitted to the guild of "Masters of
Arts", seven years, was the same as the term of apprenticeship for
other occupations. Originally the terms "master" and "doctor" were
synonymous, but over time the doctorate came to be regarded as a
higher qualification than the master's
The usage and meaning of the doctorate has changed over time, and
it has also been subject to regional variations. For instance,
until the early 20th century few academic staff or professors in
held doctorates, except for very senior scholars and those in
. After that time the
German practice of requiring prospective lecturers to have
completed a "research doctorate" became widespread.
Additionally, universities' shifts to "research oriented" education
increased the importance of the doctorate. Today such a doctorate
is generally a prerequisite for pursuing an academic
career, although not everyone who receives
a research doctorate becomes a member of a university. Many
universities also award "honorary
" to individuals who have been deemed worthy of
special recognition, either for scholarly work or for other
contributions to the university or to society.
Although the research doctorate is almost universally accepted as
the standard qualification for an academic career, it is a
relatively new invention.The older-style doctorates (now usually
called "Higher Doctorates" in the United Kingdom) take much longer
to complete, since candidates must show themselves to be leading
experts in their subjects. These doctorates are now less common in
some countries, and are often awarded honoris causa
. The habilitation
is still used for academic
recruitment purposes in many countries within the EU and involves
either a new long thesis (a second book) or a portfolio of research
publications. The habilitation demonstrates independent and
thorough research, experience in teaching and lecturing and, more
recently, the ability to generate funding within the area of
research. The "habilitation" is regarded as a senior post-doctoral
qualification, many years after the research doctorate, and can be
necessary for a Privatdozent
Germany) or professor position.
A similar system traditionally holds in Russia. Already in the
Russian Empire the academic degree doctor of science
(doktor nauk) marked the highest academic degree which can be
achieved by an examination. This system was generally adopted by the
USSR/Russia and many
Types of doctorate
- See Doctor for more
Since the Middle Ages
, there has been
considerable evolution and proliferation in the number and types of
doctorates awarded by universities throughout the world, and
practices vary from one country to another. While a doctorate
usually entitles one to be addressed as "doctor", usage of the
title varies widely, depending on the type of doctorate earned and
the doctor's occupation.
Broadly speaking, doctorates may be loosely classified into the
Research doctorates are awarded in recognition of academic research
that is (at least in principle) publishable in a peer-refereed
. The best-known
degree of this type is that of Doctor of Philosophy
(PhD, or sometimes
DPhil) awarded in many countries throughout the world. Others
include the degree of Doctor of
, various doctorates in engineering (such as the US
Doctor of Engineering
, the UK
German Engineering Doctorate (Dr-Ing)) and the German degree of
Doctor rerum naturalium
Criteria for award of research doctorates vary somewhat throughout
the world, but typically requires the submission of a substantial
body of original research undertaken by the candidate. This may
take the form of a single thesis
dissertation, or possibly a portfolio of shorter project reports,
and will usually be assessed by a small committee of examiners
appointed by the university, and often an oral examination of some
kind. In some countries (such as the US) there may also be a formal
taught component, typically consisting of graduate-level courses in
the subject in question, as well as training in research
The minimum time required to complete a research doctorate varies
by country, and may be as short as three years (excluding
undergraduate study), although it is not uncommon for a candidate
to take up to ten years to complete.
countries, especially the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and some
Scandinavian, Commonwealth nations, or former
USSR and other Eastern Bloc
countries, there is a higher tier of research doctorates, awarded
on the basis of a formally submitted portfolio of published
research of a very high standard. Examples include the
Doctor of Sciences (DSc/ScD) and
Doctor of Letters (DLitt/LittD)
degrees found in the UK, Ireland and some Commonwealth countries,
and the traditional doctorates in Norway and Denmark, like
(Theology), dr. jur
(Medicine) and dr. philos.
(after both countries introduced a doctorate at a lower
level, the ph.d.). In Sweden the
post-doctorate degree is Docent.
German habilitation (a formal
professorial qualification with thesis and exam) is commonly
regarded as belonging to this category.
However, in some
German states, the Habilitation is not an academic degree, but
rather a professorial certification ("facultas docendi") that the
regarding person holds all formal qualifications to teach
independently at a German university. In other German states, the
"Habilitand" is awarded a formal "Dr. habil." degree. In some cases
where such degree is awarded, the regarding person may add "habil."
to his or her research doctorate such as "Dr. phil. habil." or "Dr.
rer. nat. habil."
Higher doctorates are often also awarded honoris causa
when a university wishes to
formally recognize an individual's achievements and contributions
to a particular field.
Professional doctorates are awarded in certain fields where most
holders of the degree are not engaged primarily in scholarly
research, but rather in a profession, such as law, medicine,
dentistry, pharmacy, music or ministry. Examples include the
U.S. and Canadian degrees of Medicinae Doctor (MD) and Juris Doctor (JD), and the Czech and Slovak degrees of
Doctor of Medicine (MUDr.
- Medicinae Universae Doctor) and
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (MVDr. - Medicinae Vetenariae
Professional doctorates originated in the United States, with the
introduction of the M.D. or Medicinæ Doctor at Columbia University
in 1767, or almost 100 years before a research doctorate, or Ph.D.,
was ever awarded in that country (at Yale in 1861). The Juris
Doctor, the professional degree for lawyers, was introduced in
1870--just a few years after the Ph.D.
The term Professional Doctorate
is also used to refer to
research doctorates with a focus on applied research, or research
as used for professional purposes. Among others, these include the
degrees of Doctor of
(DBA), Doctor of Practical Theology
(DPT), and Doctor of
(DPS in the U.S. or DProf in the U.K.),
Doctor of the Built Environment
(DBEnv), Doctor of
Science in Physical Therapy (DSc or DScPT), and some others in
various specified professional fields.
In Australia, the term is also applied to the S.J.D.
, while that degree is also categorized as a
research degree. It appears that the reasoning is not that S.J.D.
program in Australia has the goal of preparing better practitioners
(as the term is normally applied), but that the research from the
degree shall contribute to the practice of law for other
When a university wishes to formally recognize an individual's
contributions to a particular field or philanthropic efforts, it
may choose to grant a doctoral degree honoris causa
"for the sake of the honor"), the university waiving the usual
formal requirements for bestowal of the degree. Some universities
University, the University of Virginia) do not award honorary degrees.
Argentina the doctorate (doctorado) is the highest
The intention is that candidates produce
true and original contributions in a specific field of knowledge
within a frame of academic excellence. The doctoral candidate's
work is presented in a dissertation or thesis prepared under the
supervision of a tutor or director, and reviewed by a Doctoral
Committee. The Committee is composed of examiners external to the
program, and at least one examiner external to the institution. The
academic degree of Doctor is conferred after a successful defense
of the candidate’s dissertation. Currently, there are approximately
2,151 postgraduate careers in the country, of which 14% were
doctoral degrees. Doctoral programs in Argentina are overseen by
National Commission for University Evaluation and
, which is a decentralized agency in Argentina’s
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Denmark there are
five levels of degrees: Bachelor's, Candidate's (may be compared to
Master), Magister (similar to an MPhil in the
Kingdom system; a degree by research, higher than a
Master's but lower than a Ph.D.), Ph.D.
in 1988), and finally Dr., which is
the higher doctorate.
For the Ph.D., the candidate writes a major thesis and has to
defend it orally at a formal disputation
. In the disputation, the candidate
defends his or her thesis against three official opponents as well
as opponents from the the auditorium
For the higher doctorate, the candidate writes a major thesis and
has to defend it orally at a formal disputation
. In this disputation, the candidate
) defends his thesis against two official
opponents as well as opponents from the auditorium (ex auditorio)
In Egypt, Doctorate degree - abbreviated as MD - is eqivalant to
degree. To earn an MD in a speciality of
Science you must have a Master degree (M.Sc.) before applying to MD
degree. Earning MD degree involves studying a course in the
subspeciality that usually takes from 3-5 years and
presenting/defending a Thesis.Many Medical and Surgical
specialities Postgraduate students earn a Doctorate degree in thier
specialities. After finishing medical school doctors and Surgeons
earn M.B. B.Ch. degree which is equivelant to the
MD degree of the USA medical
After that they can apply to earn a Master degree
then an MD degree in a speciality.MD degree in Egypt is followed by
writting the speciality that one has earned his degree, e.g. MD
(Geriatrics) meaning a Doctorate Degree in Geriatrics
which is equivelant to a Ph.D degree
Prior to introduction of Bologna
, Finland required at least 42 credit weeks (1800 hours)
of formal coursework of doctoral students. The general requirement
was removed in 2005, leaving the decision on the scale of
coursework needed to individual universities, which may delegate
the authority to faculties and even to individual professors. In
fields of Engineering and Science, the required amount of
coursework varies between 60 and 70 ECTS
Receiving the doctorate also requires a written thesis, the
research for which usually takes three to six years. Thesis can
either be a monograph or it can be edited from a collection of 3 to
7 journal articles, including an introduction tying together the
individual parts. If a student is unable or unwilling to write a
dissertation, he may qualify for licenciate
degree of his field by completing the
coursework requirement and writing a shorter thesis, usually worth
of one year of research.
In the area of fine arts, the dissertation may be substituted by
artistic merits and performances as decided by the degree-awarding
In the Finnish education system, the requirement for the entrance
into the doctoral studies is a Master's degree or equivalent
qualification. All universities have the right to award doctorates
in their assigned fields. Universities of applied sciences
) do not award doctoral degrees. The
aim of the studies for the doctoral degree is three-fold:
- The student must obtain sublime understanding of their field
and its meaning to the society, while becoming prepared to use the
methods of scientific or scholarly study in their field, creating
new scientific or scholarly knowledge.
- The student must obtain a good understanding of development,
basic problems and research methods of their field
- The student must obtain such understanding of the general
theory of science and letters and such knowledge of the
neighbouring research field that they are able to follow the
development of these fields.
The way to show that these general requirements have been met is
- the graduate coursework required by the university
- a show of critical and independent thought in the research
- preparation and a public defence of a dissertation, which may
be a monograph or a collection of peer-reviewed articles with an
In Finland, the entrance into the graduate studies is not as
controlled as in undergraduate studies, where a strict numerus clausus
is applied. Usually, a prospective graduate student discusses his
plans with a professor of his choice. If the professor wishes to
accept the student, the student applies the faculty for a study
place. Nonetheless, in some cases, the professor may recruit the
student to his group after a successful completion of a master's
thesis, for instance. In any case, a formal graduate study place
does not guarantee funding. The student must obtain funding either
by working in a research unit or through scholarships handed out by
private foundations. Typically, it is easier to obtain funding for
graduate studies in natural and engineering sciences, while
graduate studies in letters are more difficult to finance.
Sometimes, it may be possible to combine normal work and research
The time for the completion of graduate studies varies, as there
are no fixed time limits written into the law or to most university
regulations. It is possible to graduate even in three years after
the master's degree, while much longer periods are by no means
uncommon. In any case, the study ends with the completion of a
dissertation, which must make a substantial contribution to the
field by presenting new scientific or scholarly knowledge. After
the dissertation is ready, it is submitted to the faculty, which
names two pre-examiners with doctoral degrees from the outside of
the university. These pre-examiners must be noted experts of the
field. Their acceptance of the work is necessary for the permission
to defend the work. During the pre-examination process, the student
may receive comments on the work and if necessary, requirements to
modify it. After the pre-examiners approve, the doctoral candidate
applies the faculty for the permission to print the thesis.
Simultaneously with the printing permission, the faculty names the
for the thesis defence, who must also be an
outside expert of the field, with at least a doctoral degree. In
all Finnish universities, an archaic tradition requires that the
printed dissertation must hang on a chord by a public university
noticeboard for at least ten days after the printing permission has
been given in order for the defence of the dissertation to be
The doctoral dissertation takes place in public, usually in a
university auditorium, with the opponent and the candidate
conducting a very formal debate, usually wearing white tie
, under the supervision of the thesis
supervisor. It is customary for the family, friends, colleagues and
the members of the research community to attend the defence
proceedings. After a formal entrance, the candidate begins the
proceeding by a circa 20-minute popular lecture (lectio
), which is meant to introduce the laymen present
to the topic of the thesis. After this, the opponent gives a short
talk on the topic of the defence, after which the pair critically
discusses the dissertation. The proceedings take two, maybe three
hours. At the end of the proceeding, the opponent presents his
final statement on the work, and reveals whether he/she will
recommend that the faculty accept it. After the opponent has
finished, any member of the public has an opportunity to raise
questions on the dissertation, although such opponents
are rare. Immediately after the defence, the
supervisor, the opponent and the passed candidate drink coffee with
the public. Usually, the attendees of the defence are handed out
the printed dissertation and leave with it. In the evening, the
passed candidate is obligated to host a dinner ( ) in the honour of
the opponent. Usually, the candidate invites his family and
colleagues and collaborators.
In France, the doctorate (doctorat
) is always a
research-only degree. It is a national degree and its requirements
are fixed by an official text of the minister of higher education
and research. Except for a very small number of private
institutions, only public institutions of higher education and
research can award the doctorate. It can be awarded in any field of
study. The master's degree in research (Master Recherche
) or the former
(DEA) is a prerequisite for pursuing a
doctoral program. The official normal duration of the doctoral work
is three years. The redaction of a comprehensive thesis constitutes
the bulk of the doctorate's work. While the length of the thesis
varies according to the discipline, it is rarely less than 150
pages, and often substantially more (unlike in the US for example).
There are ~15000 new matriculations for the doctoral program every
year and ~10000 doctorates awarded.
Doctoral candidates can apply for a three-year fellowship, the most
well known being the allocation de recherche du ministère de
l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche
every years, gross salary of 18,369 euros in February 2007).
During the preparation of the doctorate, the candidate has had,
since 2002, to follow a limited number of courses, but there is no
written examination for the doctorate. The candidate has to write
an extensive thesis which is read by two external reviewers
designated by the head of the institution. According to the reports
of the reviewer, the head of the institution decides whether the
candidate can defend his thesis or not. The members of the jury are
designated by the head of the institution and must be composed of
external and internal academics. The supervisor of the candidate is
generally member of the jury, as well as the reviewers of the
thesis. The maximum number of members in the jury is 8. The defense
lasts generally 45 minutes in scientific fields and are followed by
1h - 2h30 of questions from the jury or other doctors present in
the assistance. Defense and questions are public. At the end of the
series of questions, the jury deliberates in private for 20-30 min
and comes back to declare the candidate admitted or "postponed".
"Postponement" is very rare. The admission of the candidate is
generally followed by a distinction: "honourable", which is not
highly considered, "very honourable", which is the usual
distinction, and "very honourable with the congratulation of the
honorable avec félicitations
). Because there exist no national
criteria for the award of this last distinction, many institutions
have decided not to award it. New regulations concerning this
distinction were set in 2006. Many institutions have decided not to
award any distinction, as it is now permitted by the law.
Confusingly the title of doctor (docteur
) is used only by
the medical and pharmaceutical practitioners who hold not a
doctorate but a doctor's state diploma (diplôme d'État de
), which is a first-degree and professional doctorate
obtained after at least 9 years of studies. As they do not pursue
research studies, they are not awarded a doctorate.
Before 1984 three research doctorates existed : the state doctorate
, the old doctorate introduced in 1808),
the third cycle doctorate (doctorat de troisième cycle
created in 1954 and shorter than the state doctorate, and the
diploma of doctor-engineer (diplôme de docteur-ingénieur
created in 1923, for technical research. Since 1984, there is only
one type of doctoral degree, simply called "doctorate"
). A special diploma has been created called the
"habilitation to supervise research" (habilitation à diriger
), which is a professional qualification to
supervise doctoral work. (This diploma is similar in spirit to the
older state doctorate, and the requirements for obtaining it are
similar to those necessary to obtain tenure
in other systems.) Before only professors or senior full
researchers of similar rank were normally authorized to supervise a
doctoral candidate's work. Now the habilitation is a prerequisite
to the title of professor in university (Professeur des
) and to the title of Research Director
(Directeur de recherche
) in national public research
agency such as CNRS
A research doctorate usually takes three to five years to complete.
In Germany, most doctorates are awarded with specific designations
for the field of research instead of a general "PhD" for all
fields, the most important ones being: Dr. rer. nat.
(Doctorate in Natural Sciences, i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Biology,
Maths, often also Computer Science and Information Technology),
(Doctorate of philosophy, i.e. the humanities
like Philosophy, philology, History, and social sciences like
sociology or Psychology), Dr. iur.
(Doctorate in Law),
Dr. rer. oec.
(Doctorate in Economics), Dr. rer.
(Doctorate in Political Science), Dr. med.
(Doctorate in Medicine), Dr.-Ing.
Engineering). There are over fifty such specific designations, many
of which are highly specialized and rarely awarded. The degree can be
written in front of the first name for addresses (within texts, the
abbreviation "Dr." is common) and accompanies the person's name
(unlike in German-speaking Switzerland, where some doctoral programs issue a PhD ).
However, the "Dr." does not become part of a person's name and
naming the title is, even in official documents, not
Upon the completion of the habilitation thesis
) a senior doctorate (Dr. habil.) is
awarded. This senior doctorate is known as the Habilitation
. It is not considered a formal
degree but an additional academic qualification. It qualifies the
owner to teach at (German) universities ("facultas docendi"), plus
the holder of the "habil." can apply for the authorization to teach
a certain subject ("venia legendi"). This has been the traditional
prerequisite for attaining the title Privatdozent
and employment as a Professor
at universities. With the introduction
- around 2005 in Germany - as an
alternative track towards becoming a professor at universities
(with tenure), this has changed partially, and the Habilitation
is no longer the only career track
India doctorate level degrees are offered by the
universities or institutions of national level importance deemed to
Entry requirements for doctorate degrees by
most of the universities include good academic background at
masters level(post graduate degree). Some universities also
consider undergraduate degrees in professional areas such as
engineering, medicine or law for entrance to doctorate level
degrees. Entrance examinations are held for almost all the
universities for admission to doctoral level degrees. The duration
of the coursework and thesis for award of the degree is about 5
years. The most commonly awarded doctoral level degree is Ph.D.
There are some other doctoral level degrees such as DBA ( Doctorate
of Business Administration), DIT ( Doctorate of Information
Technology), LLD (Doctorate in Laws) and D.Sc (Doctorate in
Science). Some of the institutions of the national level importance
such as Indian Institute of Management call their doctoral level
programmes as fellow programme. Recently Pharmacy Council of India
has permitted few colleges for Pharm D course (Doctorate in
The traditional academic system of The Netherlands provides four
basic academic diplomas and degrees: propaedeuse
(drs.) and doctor
(dr.). After successful completion of the first year of University,
the student is awarded the propaedeutic diploma (not a degree). The
degree, which was all but abolished by 1989,
used to be attained after three years of academic study, after
which the student was allowed to begin work on his doctorandus'
thesis. The successful completion of this thesis allows one to use
attainment of which means one's initial studies are finished. In
addition to these 'general' degrees, a number of specific titles
for certain subjects are available, each of which is equivalent to
degree: for law: meester ('master') (mr.),
and for engineering: ingenieur ('engineer')(ir.).In the last few
years, the Dutch have incorporated the Anglo-Saxon system of
academic degrees into their own. The old candidate's degree has
been revived as bachelor's degree, the doctorandus' by the master's
Those who choose to can enroll in a doctorate system after
achieving a masters degree (or equivalent) recognised by the Dutch
government. The most common way is to be hired as
with additional courses and supervision), perform
extensive research, and write a doctoral dissertation (this course
is normally four years, although the average duration to
completions is about 5.5 years). It is also possible to conduct
research without the research assistant status, for example through
a business sponsored research laboratory, or in spare time.
Regardless of the way, every thesis has to be supported by a
promotor (full university professor who has the role of principal
advisor) before it can be submitted. The written thesis is
subjected to review by a committee of experts in the relevant
academic field; who either approve or do not approve the submitted
thesis. Failures at this stage are rare as the supervisors will
rather hold back submission (causing delay beyond the 4 years) than
allowing a substandard thesis to be submitted. Especially the
promoter loses face with her/his colleagues allowing a substandard
thesis to be submitted. After approval by the reviewers, the
doctor's degree is awarded in a formal, public, defense session
(failure during this session is in theory possible but in practice
this never happens).
The doctor title is the highest academic degree one can attain in
the Netherlands. There is only one title "doctor", which is
equivalent to PhD. There have been some attempts to introduce a
professional doctorate, e.g. at the three Universities of
Technology in the Netherlands (Eindhoven
University of Technology, Technical University Delft, and University of Twente) who award the "Professional Doctorate in
Engineering" (PDEng) (which replaced an old post-master
In the Netherlands, although the title doctor (dr.) is informally
called PhD, there is no such thing as a PhD degree; there is the
title doctor (dr.) instead of PhD. It follows that Dutch doctors
are not allowed by law to use the shortcut PhD; if they do so it
may be seen as fraud, though according to the opportunity principle
there is little
incentive to punish such fraud. Dutch doctors may use the letter D
behind their name instead of the shortcut dr. before their name.
Bearers of foreign PhD degrees may use the Dutch title doctor (dr.)
only after obtaining a permission to bear such title from the
Informatie Beheer Groep, but they are free to use the shortcut PhD,
since they are free to use their foreign title
Those who have multiple doctor (dr.) titles may use dr.mult. before
their own name. Those who have received honoris causa doctorates
may use dr.h.c. before their own name.
Polish system is similar to the one adopted in Germany, with Ph.D.
as a first level doctorate and habilitation
) as second.
The award of the title of doktor
(Ph.D.) is usually
preceded by 4–5 years of doctoral study (a post-graduate study
offered at most universities, with or without an obligation to
teach some classes), but can also be obtained without a formal
participation in the doctoral studies. In order to become a
(i.e. being awarded second level
doctorate) a candidate has to publish a dissertation, preceded with
several years of deep field studies and have recognized research
record. While recently, according to Polish law, also candidates
eligible to become professors, in practice it is extremely
To become a doctor one needs to write a dissertation
(varying in length), which then
must be accepted by a panel of professors during a so-called
defence of the dissertation
). There are several other requirements, like
passing an exam in a foreign language and subject related to
A prospective doctor must have also published some works (articles,
books) beforehand, otherwise s/he would not be allowed to start the
doctoral proceedings (przewód doktorski
The title of a doctor is abbreviated as dr
(without a full
stop) before the surname of a person, e.g. dr
is also a common form of addressing a physician,
but that does not indicate that the person actually holds a
doctoral degree. Doctors of medicine have the abbreviation dr
(doctor of medical studies) before or after their
The title of dr inż.
(doctor of engineering) is another
specific doctoral titles. Dr n.hum.
means doctor of
humanities (incl. psychology and sociology), but is rarely used to
differentiate from doctors of other fields. All other doctorates
have no indications of their field.
In Portugal and in the African Countries of Portuguese Official
Language it is common to use the title "Dr." (supposedly the
abbreviation of "Doutor") in reference to people with
"Licenciatura" degrees (a "Licenciatura" is something between a
Bachelor and a Master Degree in most countries, and currently (Jan
2006) represents 4 or 5 years of graduate studies; except in the
following Licenciaturas: Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine,
Veterinary Medicine and Dental Medicine, which are six years long
and the degree is equivalent to DPharm, DM/MD, etc. After the
reform takes place
in Portugal, it will have 3 to 4 years and be equivalent to any
Bachelor degree in the E.U. countries that adopt this process).
Some professionals have, however, different titles. For example:
"Eng." (Engenheiro, Engineer), "Arq." (Arquitecto, Architect). The
term "Doctor" in Portugal is used for those with a PhD and, instead
of the title "Dr.", use "Doutor" (the extended form) or "Professor
Doutor" (because, usually, PhD's are university professors).
post-Soviet countries, including Russian Federation, have a two-stage research degree obtaining path,
generally similar to the doctorate system in Europe.
first stage is named "Kandidat of
(literal translation means "Candidate of
Sciences",) (for instance, Kandidat
Medical Sciences, of Chemical Sciences, of Philological Sciences,
and so on). The Kandidat of Sciences degree is usually
recognised as an equivalent of Philosophy Doctor (Ph.D.) degree and
requires at least (and typically more than) three years of
post-graduate research which is finished by defence of a
thesis. Additionally, a seeker of the degree has to pass
three examinations (a so-called "Kandidate's minimum"): in his/her
special field, in a foreign language, and in the history and
philosophy of science. After additional certification by
the corresponding experts, the Kandidat degree may be recognized
internationally as an equivalent of Ph.D. (An
unconditional Ph.D. equivalence has been recognized before the
dissolution of the
Soviet Union, and the additional certification in many
countries has become required after the steep increase flow of
post-Soviet emigration.) The second stage, Doktor nauk, "Doctor of <...>
Sciences". It requires many years of research
experience and writing of a second dissertation.
The degrees of Kandidat and Doktor of Sciences are only
awarded by the special governmental agency (Higher Attestation
Commission); a university or a scientific institute where the
thesis was defended can only recommend to award a seeker the sought
Doctor Degrees are regulated by Royal Decree (R.D. 778/1998),
They are granted by the University on behalf of the King, and its
Diploma has the force of a public document. The Ministry of Science
keeps a National Registry of Theses called TESEO . According to the
National Institute of Statistics (INE), less than 5% of M.Sc.
degree holders are admitted to Ph.D. programs, and less than 10% of
1st year Ph.D. students are finally granted a Doctor title.
All doctoral programs are of research nature. A minimum of 5 years
of study are required, divided into 2 stages:
1) A 3-year long period of studies, which concludes with a public
dissertation presented to a panel of 3 Professors. If the projects
receives approval from the university, he/she will receive a
"Diploma de Estudios Avanzados" (part qualified doctor).
2) A 2-year (or longer) period of research. Extensions may be
requested for up to 10 years. The student must write his thesis
presenting a new discovery or original contribution to Science. If
approved by his "thesis director", the study will be presented to a
panel of 5 distinguished scholars. Any Doctor attending the public
presentations is allowed to challenge the candidate with questions
on his research. If approved, he will receive the doctorate. Four
marks can be granted (Unsatisfactory, Pass, "Cum laude", and "Summa
cum laude"). Those Doctors granted their degree "Summa Cum Laude"
are allowed to apply for an "Extraordinary Award".
A Doctor Degree is required in order to apply to a teaching
position at the University.
The social standing of Doctors in Spain is evidenced by the fact
that only Ph.D.
seat and cover their heads in the presence of the King. All
Doctorate Degree holders are reciprocally recognized as equivalent
in Germany and Spain ("Bonn Agreement of November 14 1994").
All doctorates (except for those awarded honoris causa
granted by British universities are research doctorates in the
sense described above, in that their main (and in many cases only)
component is the submission of a thesis or portfolio of original
research, examined by an expert panel appointed by the university.
The Quality Assurance
(for England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not
Even the relatively new 'vocational doctorates' such as the
and DClinPsych require the
submission of a body of original research of a similar length to a
PhD thesis. In the case of the EngD, however, this might be in the
form of a portfolio of technical reports on different research
projects undertaken by the candidate as opposed to a single, long
monographical thesis. Another important difference is that
traditional PhD programs are mostly academic-oriented and normally
require full-time study at the university, whereas, in an EngD
program, the candidate typically works full-time for an industrial
sponsor on application-oriented topics of direct interest to the
partner company and is jointly supervised by university faculty
members and company employees.
The PhD itself is a comparatively recent introduction to the UK,
dating from 1917. It was originally introduced in order to provide
a similar level of graduate research training as was available in
several other countries, notably Germany and the USA. Previously,
the only doctorates available were the higher doctorates, awarded
in recognition of an illustrious research career.
universities of Oxford, Sussex and Buckingham denote the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with the
postnominal initials DPhil. The University of York also did this for some years, switching to the more
conventional PhD quite recently.
Higher doctorates in the United Kingdom
Higher doctorates are awarded in recognition of a substantial body
of original research undertaken over the course of many years.
Typically the candidate will submit a collection of work which has
been previously published in a peer-refereed context and pay an
examination fee. The university then assembles a commitee of
academics both internal and external who review the work submitted
and decide on whether the candidate deserves the doctorate based on
Most universities restrict candidacy to graduates or academic staff
of several years' standing. The most common doctorates of this type
are those in Divinity
(LLD), Civil Law
(DMus or MusD), Letters
(DLitt or LittD) and Science
(DSc or ScD). Note, however that
the doctorate in medicine (MD or DMed) in most British universities
is a research doctorate by thesis, roughly equivalent to a PhD, but
awarded by a Faculty of Medicine. In the University of London, the
consequent gap in higher doctorates is filled with the degree of
DSc(Med), which ranks with the LLD, DMus, etc.
Of these, the DD historically ranked highest, theology being the
senior faculty in the mediaeval universities. The degree of
Doctor of Canon Law
was next in
the order of precedence, but (except for a brief revival during the
reign of Mary Tudor
) did not survive the
consequence of the fact that the teaching of canon law at Cambridge
and Oxford was forbidden by Henry VIII
Church of England
. The DMus was,
historically, in an anomalous situation, since a candidate was not
required to be a member of Convocation
(that is, to be a Master
). The DLitt and DSc are relatively recent innovations,
dating from the latter part of the 19th century.
Higher doctorates awarded through examination are getting rare;
most being awarded honorarily. Academics who do have a substantial
portfolio of work tend to be Professors and some see it as
unnecessary to go through an examination for a higher doctorate
given their position.
Honorary doctorates in the United Kingdom
Most British universities award degrees honoris causa
order to recognise individuals who have made a substantial
contribution to a particular field. Usually an appropriate higher
doctorate is used in these circumstances, depending on the
achievements of the candidate. However, some universities, in order
to differentiate between honorary and substantive doctorates, have
introduced the degree of Doctor
of the University
(DUniv) for these purposes, and reserve the
higher doctorates for formal academic research.
Research doctorates in the United States
The most common research doctorate is the Doctor of Philosophy
degree was first awarded in the U.S. at the 1861 Yale
commencement. The University of Pennsylvania followed shortly thereafter in 1871, while Cornell (1872), Harvard (1873), and Princeton (1879) also followed suit.
introduction of the professional doctorate M.D., there was
considerable controversy and opposition over the introduction of
the Ph.D. into the U.S. educational system, even through the
1950's, as it was seen as an unnecessary artificial transplant from
a foreign educational system (that of Germany), which corrupted a
system based on the Oxbridge model of England.
The requirements for obtaining Ph.D.s and other research doctorates
in the U.S. typically entail successful completion of pertinent
classes, passing of a comprehensive examination, and defense of a
The mean number of years to completion of doctoral degrees for all
fields in the US is seven years. Students are often discouraged
from taking unnecessarily long to graduate by having their
financial support (stipends
, research funds,
etc.) relinquished and/or by being required to re-take
comprehensive exams. Furthermore, doctoral applicants were
previously required to have a master's
, but many programs will now accept students immediately
following their undergraduate studies. When so admitted, the
student is expected to have mastered the material covered in the
masters degree even though the student does not officially hold a
masters degree. However, for many programs a master's degree
is not required for
acceptance into their Ph.D program, nor are they expected to have
mastered the material covered for a masters degree. Many programs
simply gauge the potential of a student applying to their program
and will give them a masters degree upon completion of the
necessary Ph.D course work. Once the person has finished Ph.D
qualifying exams he/she is considered a Ph.D candidate, and may
begin work on his/her dissertation
Some fields of study have their own research doctorates, including
the Doctor of Education
Doctor of Theology
, the Doctor of Juridical Science
among many others. The International Affairs Office of the U.S.
Department of Education lists over 20 frequently awarded research
doctorate degree titles accepted by the National Science Foundation
(NSF) as representing degrees equivalent in content and level to
the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
Professional doctorates in the United States
States numerous fields of study have professional
doctorates, such as law, medicine, dentistry,
Advanced Practice Nurse,
optometry, chiropractic, pharmacy,
physical therapy, psychology, and many others that usually require
such degrees for licensure.
these degrees are also termed "first professional degrees
they are also the first degree in their field.
Professional doctorates were developed in the United States in the
19th century during a movement to improve the training of
professionals by raising the requirements for entry and completion
of the degree necessary to enter the profession. These first professional degrees
created to help strengthen professional training programs. The
first professional doctorate to be offered in the United States was
in 1807, which was
nearly sixty years before the first Ph.D. was awarded in the U.S.
in 1861. The Juris Doctor
subsequently established by Harvard University for the same reasons
that the M.D. was established. There are also religious-exempt
Recently there has been a trend for introducing professional
doctorates in other fields as well, including the Doctor of Audiology
in 2007. Advanced
Practice Registered Nurses are expected to completely transition to
the Doctor of Nursing
by 2015 and physical therapy to the Doctor of Physical Therapy
Doctorate by way of dissertation
Until 1990's, most doctorates in the natural sciences and
engineering in Japan were earned by industrial researchers in
Japanese companies. These degrees are awarded by the employees'
former university, usually after many years of research in
industrial laboratories. No matriculation is necessary, only
submission of a dissertation with some articles published in
well-known journals . This program, called ( ), represented the
majority of engineering doctoral degrees from national
universities. With the expansion of university-based doctoral
programs called Katie-Hakase, however, the proportion of these
degrees earned is decreasing. By 1994, more doctoral engineering
degrees were earned for research within university laboratories
(53%) than industrial research laboratories (47%). Since 1978,
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) provides tutorial
and financial support for promising researchers in Asia and Africa
to earn their PhD degrees through this route. The program is called
The only professional doctorate in Japan is the Juris Doctor.
Japan the J.D. is known as Homu Hakushi (法務博士)
and has replaced the bachelor of law as the first entry law
The program generally lasts three years. This
curriculum is professionally oriented, but unlike in the United
States the program does not provide the education sufficient for a
license, as all candidates for a license must attend the Legal
Training and Research Institute.
- See Forni, P. (1989). "Models for Doctoral Programs: First
Professional Degree or Terminal Degree?" Nursing and Health Care,
v. 10, n. 8, pp. 428-434.
- Research Doctorate Programs
- EPSRC: Engineering Doctorates
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- University of Berkley. Doctoral, Masters, Bachelors and
Associate Degrees Online
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Science and Technology, and Public Policy
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2003 - Cornell University
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became the second dental school affiliated with a university to
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