The word Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy that originated from the Latin Phrase “Philosophiae doctor.” Through meaningful contributions to the chosen research field, it is the highest level of education that a student can achieve. A student attains a Ph.D. degree through independent and original research in a specific field or subject under a supervisor. In this article, we will cover all the basics of attaining a Ph.D. degree and different types of Ph.D. degrees.
It generally takes three to four years, full-time, depending on the research domain, university and supervisor, to complete. By the end of the Ph.D. program, the Ph.D. student is expected to publish a research paper, in a recognized journal.
Before we continue further, let’s understand the difference between a Ph.D. and a Doctorate. A Ph.D. is an academic degree focused on original research, data analysis, and theory evaluation. A professional doctorate focuses on applying research to practical problems, formulating solutions to complex issues, and designing effective professional practices within your field.
Please note that throughout this article, Ph.D. and Doctorate will mean the same thing.
Well, it depends. Having a master’s degree is not mandatory to get enrolled in a Ph.D. program. There have been many cases where a student with only an undergraduate degree got accepted to a prestigious Ph.D. programs. How are they able to do this, you ask? In short, they were able to enroll directly in a Ph.D. program because of their experience working in a lab or research they did during their undergraduate years along with a strong recommendation letter.
Some Ph.D. degrees often include a master’s degree with it. So, after completing your master’s, you can start right into your Ph.D. journey. In most instances like this, you will be only awarded a Ph.D. degree at the end.
Unlike graduate or undergraduate programs, a Ph.D. degree involves pure research. As a Ph.D. student,, you will undertake research, with supervisor guidance, take high-level academic courses and assist your supervisor in an academic capacity.
A typical Ph.D. normally involves:
Undertaking literature reviews
Conducting original research, collecting results and producing a thesis paper
A complete thesis that presents the conclusion and submits a dissertation
Defending your thesis paper in a viva voce exam. 'Viva voce' = with living voice (oral)
If everything goes in your favor, you will have a published academic journal(s), a book(s)s or other media.
There are four main types of doctorate/Ph.D. degrees:
1. Academic Doctorate: This is the most common doctorate. These doctorate degrees are awarded to students who take on original research in traditional academic subjects.
2. Professional Doctorate: Professional doctorates involve practical training, course work and doing original research and analysis. Doctor of Business administration is an example of a professional doctorate.
3. Higher Doctorate: Higher Doctorates are generally awarded to recognized researchers and practitioners. Work smart and diligently and one day, you may receive one.
4. Honorary Doctorate: Honorary Doctorates are awarded to celebrate an individual’s achievements (Not always exactly in the same field). This type of doctorate is purely honorary and doesn’t require any track record of academic or professional work in a particular field.
You will receive the “Dr.” title upon completion of any of the doctorate degrees mentioned above.
The pinnacle achievement in a particular domain, the Ph.D. Holders of this title establish themselves as experts in their field. That is why they are likely to earn 9 percent more, in their lifetime, than master’s degree holders. Professionals or academicians are trying to differentiate themselves, in the fastest-growing fields, with a Ph.D. degree. These are the most popular Ph.D. degrees around the world.
1. Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): The Doctor of Business Degree origram prepares a student to lead the innovation, evaluation and adaptation of the fastest growing industries. These students are taught to effectively lead and influence organizations by teaching them business tricks, how to be successful and how to analyse both successes and failures.
2. Doctor of Public Health (DPH): The Doctor of Public Health degree is tailored for individuals willing to lead policy making in public health sectors. It prepares a student to successfully develop critical skills to identify, validate and improve critical health strategies.
3. Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA): The Doctor of Healthcare Administration is similar to the Doctor of Public Health. This degree prepares students to lead health care businesses through administration, policy, regulation, marketing, communication and management.
4. Doctor of Social Work (DSW): If you get excited about social justice, reform, and equality, then a Doctor of Social Work is for you. A Doctor of Social Work teaches a student to take on independent practice or to work at driving social change and to improve the human experience, especially for marginalized populations.
Note: A Doctor of Social Work degree doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to study social work. You will be conferred a DSW if you undertake any of these: Criminal Justice, Family Studies, Public Policy... The other doctorates are similar.
Integrated Masters with Ph.D.: An Integrated Master's program is a four-year postgraduate degree combination, with a one-year master's program and three-year Ph.D. program. This type of integrated master’s program, with a Ph.D. degree, first familiarizes students with the necessary appropriate research methods, modules, topics, research proposal development and academic writing, in ordert o complete a Ph.D.
Students who lack specialized knowledge and research skills opt for this program. They undertake this program to confer a master’s and a Ph.D. degree instead of a single qualification.
Master of Philosophy (MPhil): Master of Philosophy is different from the traditional master's program. This advanced postgraduate research degree emphasizes independent research within a specific targeted topic. This degree is close to a Ph.D. degree. Students generally undertake MPhil to learn new research skills, explore research topicsand gain relevant research experience/doctoral training.
MPhil students are expected to produce a thesis paper within 1-2 years of pursuing this degree. In some countries, such as the U.K., it is expected or mandatory that a Ph.D. student first register for an MPhil, and then register for a Ph.D.
Have you ever got confused between Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)?
The key difference between the two is an M.D. focuses on the application of medicine to diagnose and treat patients. In contrast, a Ph.D. holder focuses on research in a chosen field to expand their and the 'world's' knowledge. One common thing is both degree holders are referred to as “Doctors”.
Doctor of Architecture
Doctor of Arts
Doctor of Arts in Teaching
Doctor of Applied Science
Doctor of Business Administration
Doctor of Canon Law
Doctor of Chemistry
Doctor of Church Music
Doctor of Criminal Justice
Doctor of Criminology
Doctor of Comparative/Civil Law
Doctor of Design
Doctor of Education
Doctor of Engineering
Doctor of Environment
Doctor of Fine Arts
Doctor of Forestry
Doctor of Geological Science
Doctor of Health and Safety
Doctor of Hebrew Letters/Literature
Doctor of Hebrew Studies
Doctor of Industrial Technology
Doctor of Juridical Science
Doctor of Juristic Science
Doctor of Library Science
Doctor of Medical Science
Doctor of Missiology
Doctor of Music
Doctor of Music Education
Doctor of Music Ministry
Doctor of Musical Arts
Doctor of Modern Languages
Doctor of Nursing Science
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Physical Education
Doctor of Professional Studies
Doctor of Public Administration
Doctor of Public Health
Doctor of Recreation
Doctor of Rehabilitation
Doctor of Religious Education
Doctor of Sacred Music
Doctor of Sacred Theology
Doctor of Science
Doctor of Science and Hygiene
Doctor of Science in Dentistry
Doctor of Science in Veterinary Medicine
Doctor of Science of Law
Doctor of Social Science
Doctor of Social Work
Doctor of Theology
Doctor of Acupuncture
Doctor of Athletic Training
Doctor of Audiology
Doctor of Behavioral Health
Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
Doctor of Clinical Laboratory Science
Doctor of Computer Science
Doctor of Professional Counseling
Doctor of Dental Surgery
Doctor of Dental Medicine
Doctor of Economic Development
Doctor of Health Administration
Doctor of Health Science
Doctor of Jurisprudence
Doctor of Management
Doctor of Medical Physics
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Ministry
Doctor of Practical Theology
Doctor of Biblical Studies
Doctor of Educational Ministry
Doctor of Religious Science
Doctor of (Christian) Ethics in Medicine
Doctor of Church Music
Doctor of Pastoral Music
Doctor of Sacred Music
Doctor of Worship Studies
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Doctor of Optometry
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctor of Law and Policy
Doctor of Pharmacy
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
Doctor of Psychology
Doctor of Social Work
Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine