PhD vs Doctorate: Difference and Comparison

A PhD and a Doctorate are advanced, high-level academic degrees students earn throughout three years or more of graduate-level studies.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) is a specific type of doctorate awarded in various fields of study. In contrast, a doctorate is a general term for the highest level of academic degree in a discipline.
  2. A Ph.D. focuses on original research, critical analysis, and the creation of new knowledge. At the same time, other doctorate degrees may emphasize professional practice, such as a Doctor of Education (EdD) or a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).
  3. Ph.D. and other doctorate degrees require extensive study and research, with the main difference being the focus and nature of the research.

PhD vs Doctorate

The difference between a PhD and a Doctorate is that the former is a more theoretical study based on new theories. At the same time, the latter explores studying already existing ideas more profoundly and practically.

PhD vs Doctorate

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A PhD or a “Doctorate of Philosophy” is a degree that certifies a person as being theoretically well-versed and up-to-date in the field of study they have chosen. It is done right after the student has completed their master’s degree.

A Doctorate or “Professional Doctorate” is a much more research-based degree that allows the student to get mastery their field of study and also get field application.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPhD.Doctorate
Nature of StudyThe Doctorate of Philosophy is a theoretical study of the student’s subject of interest.A professional doctorate is a research-based field study program.
GoalThe candidate studies and develops new theories without any real research.The students are expected to carry out their research on existing knowledge and solve real-world problems.
Fields of studyDone in sciences and humanities and further divided based on the field of study.Doctorates can be done in many departments of study, such as Medicine and law.
PurposeA certification stating that a person possesses exceptionally vast knowledge about a subject and can teach it.A degree for working professionals who, through their practical research, wish to lead and innovate.
OutcomeThere are no empirical findings; a peer panel reviews the scholar’s theoretical paper. Scholars can then attain a tenure.The panel reviews the research findings. Once accepted, the professional can lead in the industry of their field.


What is PhD?

A PhD or a “Doctorate of Philosophy” is a high-level degree or a “Terminal degree,” which gives a person full authority of their subject or field of study and extends existing knowledge.

The word philosophy in PhD is not to be confused with the subject “Philosophy.” Instead, it means “Love of wisdom” in Greek, while Doctor means “Possessing the highest form of a degree.”

Hence, a PhD is the highest degree awarded to someone who loves and wishes to explore the wisdom in their field.

Students apply for a PhD in mainly sciences and humanities after achieving their master’s. To attain a PhD requires three or more years of graduate study.

A PhD is a theoretical study that explores new and innovative theories in a field or subject matter. No practical research is done here.

During a PhD dissertation program, the possible breakthroughs in new theories are judged and reviewed by a panel based on the scientific findings or adequate proof provided by the scholar.

The stages in a PhD program are –

  1. Creation of Theory
  2. Submission
  3. Presentation
  4. Supportive proof and scientific findings

Once a PhD candidate’s dissertation paper is accepted, they are awarded the certification and the title of “Doctor” as a sign of recognition of the work accomplished.


What is Doctorate?

A professional Doctorate is an advanced degree or “terminal degree” that allows one to attain the highest knowledge and wisdom attainable in any given field, whether engineering, Law or Medicine.

A person applies for a doctorate after they have completed their master’s program (a requirement to be eligible for a doctorate).

The Doctorate course period varies from the field of study to the type of study matter and may take three or more years to complete.

A Doctorate is a much more hands-on or practical-based research in the student’s field of interest.

The student does not mainly come up with innovative new theories but instead explores already existing knowledge and raises questions to solve real-world problems.

The stages in a Doctorate program are –

  1. Exploration of existing theories
  2. Submission
  3. Presentation
  4. Supportive proof and scientific findings
  5. Supportive research findings

Once all the research is complete and the final results and findings have been compiled and submitted, the board or panel reviews the scholar’s work. If accepted, the person is awarded the certification along with the title of “Doctor.”


Main Differences Between PhD and Doctorate

  1. A PhD is a study in the field of sciences and humanities. A Doctorate is done in many education departments, such as Medicine and law.
  2. A PhD is a theoretical study of the student’s subject of interest. A professional doctorate is a practical based research study program.
  3. The candidate studies and develops new theories in a PhD program without research. In a doctorate program, scholars carry out their research on existing knowledge and solve real-world problems.
  4. A PhD allows a person to hold high authority over their subject and will enable them to teach it. A Doctorate is done by working professionals to advance in their field and lead the industry.
  5. No empirical findings are judged in a PhD program, only the dissertation paper. While in a doctorate program, research findings through actual work must be presented to attain the degree.
Difference Between PhD and Doctorate


Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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