difference between a doctor and phd

  • October 11, 2023
  • Education Advice

Ph.D. vs. Doctorate: What are the Differences?

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For those who have a deep-seated attitude, pursuing a doctoral degree can be a tough yet beneficial journey. Currently enrolled in a doctorate program means that a person has already scooched over college admissions, went through high stake tests and exams, and finished all those research papers and long hours spent in university libraries hitting the books. While studying for a doctorate entails asserting oneself to an extensive amount of quality time and money , its significance and purpose usually pave the way to a lucrative end.

After having finished the Master’s Degree , students begin to think about their next step in their academic career. Then, paradoxically, while navigating through academia, they find themselves baffled by the immense terms and terminologies used to label specific degrees. Because the terms “Doctorate” and “Ph.D.” are somehow interlocked and overlap, and because “PhD” is sometimes used inconsistently, it can lead to considerable confusion. Ph.D. vs. Doctorate? You might wonder what their difference is, and why they are important. E xplaining what each of these terms stands for, the difference between them, and why they are valuable, can help you steer yourself down the right path from the outset.

Doctorate Degree vs. Ph.D.

what-is-a-phd

At first glance, it is pretty easy to confuse these two terms. But it is important for everyone to be able to make a distinction between the two. In this article, we will discuss the difference between Ph.D. and Doctorate in detail in order to get rid of any confusion you may have. In the academic world, the terms Doctorate and Ph.D. are currently used interchangeably. Both of them are the top cap of the ladder. However, a doctorate is mostly used as an umbrella term covering many fields ranging from professional degrees, humanities, and scientific disciplines.

A Ph.D. or Doctor of Philosophy, on the other hand, is a subcategory of a doctoral degree, it is much more distinct and clear-cut and is usually narrower in nature encompassing only humanities and scientific fields. In plain English, when someone says they are enrolling on a doctoral degree, it means they are doing a Ph.D. in a specific field. So, technically, in common parlance, there is no difference between the two terms.

But at the other end of the spectrum, one should be careful not to confuse a professional doctoral degree with a Ph.D. The former is more practical and is designed to prepare students to apply existing knowledge to find solutions to real-life problems and has a direct application to a particular profession.

A Ph.D. is theoretical by nature and is more academic and research-focused. it is often fixed on disseminating knowledge by conducting authentic research which means reviewing and identifying gaps in current literature and evaluating the relevance of existing and emerging theories within a particular field.

What Is a Ph.D. Degree and Why Should You Go for It?

Students who acquire a Ph.D. are justly proud — they wear it as a badge of identity in the academic elite. Traditionally, a Ph.D. was associated with teaching, which from Latin licentia docendi meant “license to teach”. However, the concept of Ph.D. has been on shifting sands nowadays and has become a more general term that isn’t necessarily confined to teaching only.

The Value of a PhD

types-of-doctorate-degrees

Obtaining a Ph.D. helps you capitalize on the emerging academic opportunities making you more easily identifiable to employers or businesses seeking to fill professional, higher-level job positions. Many of these career options, conversely, are not available to those who do not belong to the Ph.D. club. While pursuing a Ph.D. requires devoting a tremendous effort and time and making significant personal sacrifices pushing the boundaries of knowledge, it’s all in service of the area of study you’re most passionate and zealous about. Ultimately, once you’ve attained your Ph.D., you will have achieved the pinnacle of education— something not too many people have or are able to accomplish.

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difference between a doctor and phd

A Guide to Choosing and Applying to Ph.D. Programs

Learn everything you need to know about selecting and applying to Ph.D. programs. Learn tips and tricks for a successful application and find your ideal program today!

What Is a Doctorate Degree?

A doctoral or doctorate degree is usually the most advanced degree one can earn in an academic discipline. Many pursue a doctorate degree to increase their professional credibility, be acknowledged as an expert in a specific field, and improve their resume.

A doctorate degree is a graduate-level credential that is usually earned after multiple years of graduate school. Earning a doctoral degree requires a significant level of research and work. In order to get this degree, one has to research a subject thoroughly, conduct new research and analysis, and provide a solution or interpretation into the field. But what types of doctoral degrees are available?

Types of Doctorate Degrees

There are two categories of doctorate degrees: an academic degree and a professional doctorate degree. An academic degree focuses on research, data analysis, and the evaluation of theory. A professional doctorate degree, on the other hand, is considered a terminal degree, which means that one has achieved the most advanced degree in the field. This degree is specifically designed for working professionals who want to grow in their careers.

Professional Doctorate Degrees

A professional doctorate is designed for working professionals who have experience in the field and want to increase their knowledge, improve their credibility, and advance their careers. This degree focuses on applying research to practical issues, coming up with interpretation and solutions, as well as designing effective professional practices within a particular field.

Professional doctoral degrees include:

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

The DBA degree is ideal for students who already have a general business background and are interested in delving deeper into the practical and theoretical aspects that underpin business education. More to the point, in DBA you will develop the ability to solve real-life problems, discover the relevant expertise to innovate and uphold complex business issues and so much more. Upon completion, DBA students will possess enhanced leadership and strategic skills as well as the tools to propel their careers in today’s marketplace. The Business Administration industry is keen on finding such graduates with business skills and this is indicated by the immense job positions currently available.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

If you are interested in setting your eyes on creating lifelong learning among your students, making a positive influence in educational culture, contributing to the growing body of research in the education realm , or just enhancing your subject matter expertise, the Doctor of Education program ticks all the boxes. This degree maintains a rigorous approach in academic education that prepares graduates to showcase the skills and expertise to devise solutions in tackling the challenges in contemporary education practice and become transformational leaders in the industry.

Doctor of Computer Science (DCS)

The demand for computer scientists has reached its peak and it is among the most sought-after positions nowadays. With a degree in DCS, you will have the opportunity to design, apply innovative experiments, predict trends and, ultimately, develop a richer understanding and contribute to your area of expertise. After all, who doesn’t want an exciting and financially stable career?

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Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)

The Doctor of Medicine degree is designed to prepare you for various medical challenges in different settings nationally and internationally. This program will further develop your critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills required for safe, high-quality medical practices. It will also improve your leadership, communication, and teamwork skills for collaborative patient care.

Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

This professional degree typically requires four years of study. It focuses on basic biological sciences such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, neuroanatomy, and so on. This doctoral degree will prepare, educate, and train professionals to practice at the highest level of proficiency, professionalism, and integrity.

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

The Doctoral of Psychology degree concentrates on the clinical and applied aspects of psychology. This type of doctorate prepares students for professional practice and clinical placement. This degree will be highly beneficial when working directly with patients who need psychology services. In addition, this degree allows doctors of psychology to confidently function as researchers and clinicians.

How to Choose a Ph.D. Program?

Choosing a Ph.D. program can be pretty challenging; it is a big academic decision and investment that requires commitment and perseverance. But how can you pick the right Ph.D. program for you? Well, there are some tips to help you choose the best fit for your goals and preferences:

  • Think about the reasons why you want a Ph.D., what you expect to gain from it, and whether it is compatible with your professional goals.
  • Consider your research environment.
  • Take your time to research, compare, and consider multiple opportunities carefully.
  • Pick a subject that interests and motivates you but is also practical.
  • Ask your professors and other scholars in the field for advice.

All in all, the terms “Doctorate’’ and “Ph.D.” are in essence the same, which means all Ph.D. students are Doctoral students as well. On the other hand, earning a Ph.D. degree is no joke. If anything, Ph.D. students have the tenacity, patience, persistence, and years of hard work that you can vouch for. Ultimately, deciding what type of doctoral degree you should hop on, depends on your career goals, what you are passionate about and how you are going to achieve it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a doctorate and a ph.d..

In academic contexts, the terms “Doctorate” and “Ph.D.” are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction. A Doctorate is an umbrella term covering a wide range of fields, including professional degrees, humanities, and scientific disciplines. A Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy, is a specific type of doctoral degree, typically focused on research and academic pursuits in the humanities and scientific fields.

Why should I pursue a Ph.D.?

Pursuing a Ph.D. can be a valuable endeavor, as it opens up academic and research opportunities, enhances your expertise in a specific field, and makes you more attractive to employers seeking candidates for high-level positions. It’s a chance to push the boundaries of knowledge and become an expert in your chosen study area.

What are the benefits of a professional doctorate?

Professional doctorate degrees, such as Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), are designed for working professionals who want to apply research to practical issues in their field. These degrees can enhance your career prospects, leadership skills, and problem-solving abilities within your profession.

How do I choose the right Ph.D. program?

To choose the right Ph.D. program, consider your career goals, research environment, and personal interests. Take your time to research and compare programs, seek advice from professors and experts in your field, and ensure that the program aligns with your professional aspirations.

What are the main differences between academic and professional doctorate degrees?

Academic doctorate degrees focus on research, theory evaluation, and data analysis, often leading to careers in academia or research. Professional doctorate degrees are more practical, designed for working professionals, and concentrate on applying research to real-world problems within a specific field.

Can I earn a Ph.D. in any field?

Ph.D. programs are available in various fields, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and more. However, the specific availability of Ph.D. programs may vary by field and university.

Is a Ph.D. a challenging journey?

Yes, pursuing a Ph.D. can be a challenging journey that requires dedication, patience, and years of hard work. It involves conducting original research, writing a dissertation, and often teaching or assisting in courses. It’s a significant commitment, but it can be highly rewarding.

What are the potential career opportunities after earning a Ph.D.?

With a Ph.D., you can pursue careers in academia as a professor or researcher, work in research and development roles in various industries, or take on leadership positions in organizations. The specific career path will depend on your field of study and personal interests.

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Doctorate vs. PhD: Understanding the Key Differences [2024]

If you’re interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, you may wonder about the differences between a doctorate vs. PhD.

Doctorate vs. PhD: Understanding the Key Differences

A doctorate and a PhD are both terminal degrees that allow you to develop specialized knowledge and skills in your chosen field. But these degrees typically have different areas of focus, requirements, and career outcomes.

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Understanding the difference between PhD and doctorate can help you pick the degree that most aligns with your career aspirations and interests.

What’s the Difference Between Doctorate vs. PhD Degrees?

is a doctorate a PhD

A doctorate and a Ph.D. are the highest college degrees students can earn. Graduates of both types of programs receive the title of “doctor” and may qualify for specialized careers in their fields.

But, while doctorate programs focus on professional competencies and knowledge, PhD programs prioritize academic research.

What Is a Doctorate Degree?

Man pursuing a Doctorate degree

A doctorate degree is a professional degree that enables students to become experts in a specific field or industry. This degree focuses on applying academic research and theories in the workplace to improve performance and solve problems.

Courses vary by field and program but typically emphasize professional skills like collaboration, leadership, and project management. Additionally, many doctorate programs require students to complete a capstone project that addresses real issues affecting their industry.

Graduates often qualify for advanced administrative, leadership, and managerial positions in their fields.

What Is a PhD Degree?

Woman taking PhD degree

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is an opportunity to strengthen your academic research skills and generate original knowledge. This degree trains students to become independent scholars who conduct cutting-edge research in their areas of expertise.

PhD curriculums cover advanced concepts and theories in a discipline. They also teach students qualitative and quantitative methodologies to design studies and conduct research. Additionally, most PhD programs require students to produce a dissertation that contributes fresh knowledge to the field.

Current professionals with PhDs often work as academic researchers and professors. They may also secure government and industry jobs.

Key Differences Between a PhD vs. Doctorate Degree

What’s a PhD degree ? What’s a doctorate degree? The main difference between a doctorate and a PhD is their area of focus. A doctorate prioritizes applied knowledge and professional skills, while a PhD emphasizes academic research. Let’s compare some more differences between a professional doctoral degree vs. PhD.

students taking PhD degree doing research works

A doctorate enables students to become expert practitioners in their discipline. Students study existing concepts and theories and learn how to apply these ideas in the workplace.

By contrast, a PhD prepares students to conduct innovative research and educate others.

Goals and Outcomes

Doctorate students working on their research task

Doctorate programs help prepare students for senior administrative and leadership positions in their industries. They also help students enhance their professional competencies and tackle industry-specific challenges.

Students who pursue PhDs aim to advance their disciplines by generating new knowledge. They may also publish peer-reviewed research and teach undergraduate courses.

Student Population

students attending a doctorate program

Doctorate degrees are designed for current or aspiring working professionals who want to become industry leaders. These programs also enable students to increase their knowledge and credibility.

PhD programs attract students who want to expand their knowledge of research methodologies and theories. These learners also frequently pursue academic careers.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for PhD degree

Doctorate and PhD programs typically require students to have bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Additionally, prospective doctorate students may be asked to provide evidence of work experience, while PhD students might demonstrate their research abilities with a writing sample.

Program Length

People pursuing PhD degree

Requirements vary by program, but full-time students typically complete a doctorate in 3 to 5 years. Programs that require a capstone project may take longer. For those considering quick degrees, a number of universities now offer accelerated doctoral programs online .

PhD programs often take 4 to 7 years to finish. The speed at which students research and write their dissertations can significantly impact the timeline.

Doctorate student doing online research works

The curriculum for doctorate programs typically centers on practical skills and contemporary issues in the field. Topics may include communication, ethics, and leadership.

PhD programs offer classes on research methods, theories, and disciplinary trends. Students also learn how to write journal articles and present at conferences.

Assessment and Completion Requirements

PhD student working on his dissertation

Doctorate and PhD students both complete 2 or more years of coursework. They also demonstrate their knowledge during comprehensive exams.

Doctorate students may produce a capstone project that applies their knowledge to real problems. By contrast, PhD students write dissertations based on original research.

If You Have a PhD, Are You a Doctor?

are PhD doctors

Is a PhD a doctor ? While graduates who earn a PhD are referred to as doctors, a PhD is different from a Doctor of Medicine (MD).

Doctors with MDs are medical doctors who can legally prescribe medications, perform surgery, and treat patients. They typically apply existing medical knowledge instead of conducting research. Doctors with PhDs don’t have any of these abilities. Instead, they have specialized knowledge and perform academic research in a particular field.

PhD or Doctorate Degree – Which Is Right for You?

students taking doctorate degree

Understanding the difference between a doctorate and a PhD can help you select the right degree for you.

Professional doctorate degrees help students become leading practitioners and problem solvers. By contrast, PhD degrees enable students to hone their research skills and learn advanced concepts. Both degrees allow you to enrich your understanding of your chosen discipline or profession. They also help you boost your credentials and develop new skills.

After you decide between a doctorate degree vs. PhD, you can explore program options from accredited schools to find the best fit.

difference between a doctor and phd

What Is a Doctorate Degree?

A doctorate is usually the most advanced degree someone can get in an academic discipline, higher education experts say.

What Is a Doctorate?

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It's unwise to apply to a doctoral program if you don't have a clear idea of how you might use a doctorate in your career.

In many academic disciplines, the most advanced degree one can earn is a doctorate. Doctorate degree-holders are typically regarded as authorities in their fields, and many note that a major reason for pursuing a doctorate is to increase professional credibility.

"If someone wants to be respected as an expert in their chosen field, and also wants to have a wider array of options in research, writing, publishing, teaching, administration, management, and/or private practice, a doctorate is most definitely worth considering," Don Martin, who has a Ph.D. in higher education administration , wrote in an email.

A doctoral degree is a graduate-level credential typically granted after multiple years of graduate school, with the time-to-degree varying depending on the type of doctoral program, experts say.

Earning a doctorate usually requires at least four years of effort and may entail eight years, depending on the complexity of a program's graduation requirements. It also typically requires a dissertation, a lengthy academic paper based on original research that must be vetted and approved by a panel of professors and later successfully defended before them for the doctorate to be granted.

Some jobs require a doctorate, such as certain college professor positions, says Eric Endlich, founder of Top College Consultants, an admissions consulting firm that helps neurodivergent students navigate undergraduate and graduate school admissions.

Endlich earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree, commonly known as a Ph.D., from Boston University in Massachusetts. He focused on psychology and notes that a doctoral degree is generally required to be a licensed psychologist.

"Since a Ph.D. is a research-focused degree, it can be advantageous to those seeking high-level research positions in scientific fields such as astrophysics or biotechnology," he says.

How Long it Takes to Get a Doctorate Degree

Martin, founder and CEO of Grad School Road Map, an organization that helps grad school applicants navigate the admissions process, says obtaining a doctorate is often a lengthy endeavor.

"Typically it can take between four and six years to complete any doctoral program," he says. "If comprehensive examinations and a dissertation are part of the graduation requirements, it may take a year or two longer. There is no standard amount of time – some students take seven to 10 years to finish."

Endlich says doctoral degree hopefuls should be aware that completing a dissertation may take a long time, especially if unexpected hurdles arise.

"My dissertation, for example, involved recruiting college students to complete questionnaires, and it took much longer than I anticipated to recruit enough subjects for my study," he says.

The standards for a dissertation, which include the proposal and research, are rigorous and usually involve a review and approval by a faculty committee, says Hala Madanat, vice president for research and innovation at San Diego State University in California.

"As part of dissertation requirements, some programs will require publication of the research in high-impact peer-reviewed journals," Madanat wrote in an email.

Types of Doctoral Degree Programs

According to professors and administrators of doctoral programs, there are two types of doctorates.

Doctor of Philosophy

A doctor of philosophy degree is designed to prepare people for research careers at a university or in industry, and teach students how to discover new knowledge within their academic discipline. Ph.D. degrees are offered in a wide range of academic subjects, including highly technical fields like biology , physics, math and engineering; social sciences like sociology and economics; and humanities disciplines like philosophy.

A Ph.D. is the most common degree type among tenure-track college and university faculty, who are typically expected to have a doctorate. But academia is not the only path for someone who pursues a Ph.D. It's common for individuals with biology doctorates to work as researchers in the pharmaceutical industry, and many government expert positions also require a Ph.D.

Professional or clinical doctorates

These are designed to give people the practical skills necessary to be influential leaders within a specific industry or employment setting, such as business, psychology , education or nursing . Examples of professional doctoral degrees include a Doctor of Business Administration degree, typically known as a DBA; a Doctor of Education degree, or Ed.D.; and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, or DNP.

A law degree, known as a juris doctor or J.D., as well as a Doctor of Medicine degree, or M.D., are also considered professional doctorates.

How to Get a Doctorate

Getting a doctorate is challenging. It ordinarily requires a series of rigorous classes in a field of study and then passage of a qualification exam in order to begin work on a dissertation, which is the final project.

Dissertations are difficult to write, says David Harpool, vice president of graduate and online programs at Newberry College in South Carolina. Some research indicates that only about half of doctoral students go on to finish their degree, and a main reason is that many never finish and successfully defend their dissertation

"Many of them are in programs that permit them to earn a master’s on the way to a doctorate," Harpool, who earned a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in Missouri and a J.D. from the University of Missouri , wrote in an email. "The transition from mastering a discipline to creating new knowledge (or at least applying new knowledge in a different way), is difficult, even for outstanding students."

Learn about how M.D.-Ph.D. programs

There is a often a "huge shift in culture" at doctoral programs compared to undergraduate or master's level programs, says Angela Warfield, who earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa.

Doctoral professors and students have more of a collaborative relationship where they function as colleagues, she says. And there's pressure on each student to produce "significant and original research."

Many full-time doctoral students work for the school as researchers or teaching assistants throughout their program, so time management is crucial to avoid burnout. However, the dissertation "is by far the biggest battle," she says. The goal is to avoid an "ABD," she says, meaning "all but dissertation."

"In my writing group, we had two motivational slogans: 'ABD is not a degree,' and 'a good dissertation is a done dissertation,'" Warfield, now the principal consultant and founder of admissions consulting firm Compass Academics, wrote in an email.

How Are Doctorate Admissions Decisions Made?

Admissions standards for doctoral programs vary depending on the type of doctorate, experts say.

The quality of a candidate's research is a distinguishing factor in admissions decisions, Madanat says. Meanwhile, leaders of clinical and professional doctorate programs say that the quality of a prospective student's work experience matters most.

Doctoral programs typically expect students to have a strong undergraduate transcript , excellent letters of recommendation and, in some cases, high scores on the Graduate Record Examination , or GRE, Endlich says.

"The size of the programs may be relatively small, and universities need to be sure that applicants will be able to handle the demands of their programs," he says.

Because professional doctorates often require students to come up with effective solutions to systemic problems, eligibility for these doctorates is often restricted to applicants with extensive first-hand work experience with these problems, according to recipients of professional doctorates.

In contrast, it's common for Ph.D. students to begin their programs immediately after receiving an undergraduate degree. The admissions criteria at Ph.D. programs emphasize undergraduate grades, standardized test scores and research projects , and these programs don't necessarily require work experience.

Admissions decisions may also depend on available funding, says Madanat, who works with doctoral students to provide funding, workshops and faculty support to help their research.

Who Is a Good Fit for a Doctoral Program?

Doctoral degree hopefuls "should be interested in making a deep impact on their field, open-minded, eager to learn, curious, adaptable and self-motivated," Madanat says. "Doctoral programs are best suited for those whose goals are to transform and change the fields they are studying and want to make a difference in the way the world is."

Someone who loves to study a subject in great depth, can work alone or in teams, is highly motivated and wants to develop research skills may be a good candidate for a doctoral program, Endlich says.

Because of the tremendous effort and time investment involved in earning a doctorate, experts say it's foolish to apply to a doctoral program if it's unclear how you might use a doctorate in your career.

"The students are being trained with depth of knowledge in the discipline to prepare them for critical thinking beyond the current state of the field," Madanat says. "Students should consider the reasons that they are pursuing a doctoral degree and whether or not it aligns with their future professional goals, their family circumstances and finances."

Rachel D. Miller, a licensed marriage and family therapist who completed a Ph.D. degree in couples and family therapy at Adler University in Illinois in 2023, says pursuing a doctorate required her to make significant personal sacrifices because she had to take on large student loans and she needed to devote a lot of time and energy to her program. Miller says balancing work, home life and health issues with the demands of a Ph.D. program was difficult.

For some students, the financial component may be hard to overlook, Warfield notes.

"Student debt is no joke, and students pursuing graduate work are likely only compounding undergraduate debt," she says. "They need to really consider the payoff potential of the time and money sacrifice."

To offset costs, some programs are fully funded, waiving tuition and fees and providing an annual stipend. Some offer health insurance and other benefits. Students can also earn money by teaching at the university or through fellowships, but those adding more to their plate should possess strong time management skills, experts say.

"Graduate school, and higher education in general, can be brutal on your physical and mental health," Miller wrote in an email.

But Miller says the time and effort invested in her doctoral program paid off by allowing her to conduct meaningful research into the best way to provide therapy to children affected by high-conflict divorce and domestic violence. She now owns a therapy practice in Chicago.

Miller urges prospective doctoral students to reflect on whether getting a doctorate is necessary for them to achieve their dream job. "Really know yourself. Know your purpose for pursuing it, because that's what's going to help carry you through."

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PhD vs. Doctorate: Everything You Need to Know

difference between a doctor and phd

Karla Ibarra is a content writer at Scholarships 360. She has worked as an English teacher and writing tutor. As a writing tutor, she has experience editing scholarships and college application essays. Karla graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Communication and a minor in English.

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Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

difference between a doctor and phd

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

PhD vs. Doctorate: Everything You Need to Know

Deciding whether or not a postgraduate education is something you want to pursue? It might be overwhelming to think about postgraduate education when you aren’t even sure what the difference between a PhD and a doctorate is. Learning about each will help you decide whether  a PhD or doctorate degree is best for you. Let’s get started!

What is a PhD?

“Doctor of Philosophy” is commonly referred to as a “PhD.”  A PhD is a kind of doctoral degree that focuses on theoretical research. “Theoretical” has to do with assumptions  that people have on a topic. The research explores ideas related to a particular subject rather than the practical application to real life. Earning a PhD is a popular option for those that want to pursue teaching at a university level.

What is a doctorate?

Doctoral degrees emphasize research and practical application. Students pursuing doctoral degrees often conduct observation based research in their chosen fields. Earning a doctorate degree often leads to research professional careers. An example of 

Which degree is “higher” academically? 

Both PhDs and doctorates are known as “terminal” degrees, meaning  they are the highest degrees you can earn. A PhD falls into the category of doctorate, so one is not “higher” than the other. 

See also : Everything you need to know about a doctorate degree 

Basic similarities and differences

As a PhD falls into the doctorate category, they share similar attributes. However, they are not completely the same. Here are some basic similarities and differences to help avoid confusing them.

Similarities

  • The highest level of a graduate degree
  • Requires rigorous research
  • Students gain a deeper understanding of the area of study
  • Able to teach as a professor at a university
  • Must complete dissertations
  • Leads to higher paying jobs

Differences

  • Doctorates require a more hands-on approach to coursework
  • PhDs follow a more theoretical approach
  • Doctoral dissertations focus on real-world issues and how to apply them
  • PhD dissertations use data to theorize and form hypotheses

Which one is more expensive: a PhD or a doctorate degree?

The cost of earning either a PhD or doctorate varies depending on many factors, such as institution attended  and years of completion. Nevertheless, the average price for a doctorate degree is about $114,300 . For a PhD, the average cost is about $98,800 total. 

See also: How much does a PhD cost?  

Key Takeaways

  • Both a PhD and doctorate are the highest level graduate degrees one can earn
  • PhDs focus on theoretical research while doctorates put theory into practice
  • On average, PhDs require a more time to complete vs doctorate
  • Salaries for PhD or doctorate degree earners vary depending on the career entered

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Frequently asked questions about a PhD vs. a doctorate degree

Does a phd vs. doctorate take longer to complete, is a phd or doctorate degree easier to apply for, does a phd or a doctorate degree pay more, how can i pay for my phd or doctorate degree, scholarships360 recommended.

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What’s the Difference Between a Ph.D. and a Doctorate?

  • May 1, 2023

Table of Contents

Research (academic), applied (professional), what is a ph.d., is a ph.d. higher than a professional doctorate, doctoral study vs. dissertation, who is it for, what do you learn in each, can a ph.d. be called a doctor, the bottom line.

The terms Ph.D. and Doctorate are often used interchangeably when considering advanced degrees in academia. Both degrees involve rigorous academic study and research, but their focus, duration, and requirements differ. Hence, these significant differences between the two are worth understanding before deciding which path to pursue.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between doctorate vs. Ph.D., including their definitions, the types of programs they are offered in, and the career opportunities they lead to. By the end, you should have a clear understanding of the differences between these two degrees and which one is right for you.

What Is a Doctorate?

A doctorate degree is the highest level of academic degree that can be awarded by a university. It typically requires a minimum of three to five years of advanced study and research beyond a bachelor’s or master’s degree . Doctoral programs are designed to prepare individuals for advanced careers in academia, research, or other professional fields. There are two main types of doctorates: Research (Academic) and Applied (Professional). Let’s talk about each in more detail.

A research doctorate, also known as an academic doctorate, is a type of doctoral degree focused on original research and advancing knowledge in a specific academic field. These programs require students to take advanced coursework in their field and complete original research contributing to the body of knowledge in their study area. The research component is typically the program’s centerpiece, and students are expected to produce a dissertation or thesis that represents a significant contribution to their field of study.

A research doctorate is highly valued in academia, and graduates often pursue careers as professors, researchers, or scholars in their field. While a significant time commitment and dedication are required, they provide individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to make contributions to their field and advance their careers in academia. Examples of research doctorates include the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Science (D.Sc.), and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) , among others.

An applied doctorate, or professional doctorate, is a type of doctoral degree that focuses on applying knowledge and skills in a specific profession or industry. These programs emphasize the practical application of research and theories to solve real-world problems in their field.

The curriculum includes coursework designed to enhance students’ professional skills, including leadership, management, or organizational behavior. An applied doctorate program’s capstone project or dissertation addresses a real-world problem or issue within the student’s profession or industry. The research is conducted in collaboration with professionals in the field.

While applied doctorate programs require a significant time commitment and dedication to a specific profession, they provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become experts in their field and make a great impact. Graduates of such programs are well-prepared to take on leadership roles in their profession. The degree can lead to career advancement and higher salaries.

Examples of applied doctorates include the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), among others.

Students who have completed advanced studies in a particular academic field and contributed original research to that field are awarded a Ph.D., also known as a Doctor of Philosophy. Ph.D. programs are geared toward developing independent scholars who can conduct original research and advance knowledge in their chosen fields.

The coursework of a Ph.D. program involves advanced studies in the student’s area of interest, coupled with a significant research component. Students must produce a dissertation or thesis that adds to the existing body of knowledge in their field of study.

Ph.D. programs generally require multiple years to complete and lead to opportunities for graduates to work as professors, scholars, or researchers within their field of specialization. While Ph.D. degrees are commonly associated with academic careers, they can also offer advantages for graduates seeking positions in government or industry, as they demonstrate expertise in a specific area and an aptitude for original research.

Comparing a Ph.D. to a professional doctorate is difficult, as both degrees have distinct characteristics and are designed for different purposes.

A Ph.D. is primarily a research-focused degree focused on producing independent scholars who can conduct original research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in a particular field. On the other hand, a professional doctorate focuses on the application of knowledge and skills in a specific profession or industry.

These programs typically emphasize the practical application of research and theories to solve real-world problems in their field. Graduates of professional doctorate programs are well-prepared to take on leadership roles in their profession, and the degree can lead to career advancement and higher salaries.

So, in terms of purpose and focus, Ph.D. and professional doctorate degrees are different. It’s not a matter of one being higher than the other, but rather, it depends on an individual’s career goals and aspirations. Both degrees are considered terminal degrees, meaning they represent the highest level of academic achievement in their respective fields.

Ph.D. vs. Professional Doctorate: Differences

Understanding the differences between a Ph.D. and a professional doctorate can help you make an informed decision about which program is right for you and your career goals. And while both types of degrees require extensive study and research, there are significant differences between the two.

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One of the key differences between a Ph.D. and a professional doctorate is the focus of the doctoral study. Ph.D. programs typically focus on producing independent scholars who can conduct original research and advance knowledge in their chosen field. In contrast, professional doctorate programs emphasize the practical application of research and theories to solve real-world problems in their field.

While both degrees require extensive research, Ph.D. programs often require a significant original contribution to the field in the form of a dissertation, while professional doctorate programs typically require a capstone project or applied research project that demonstrates the student’s ability to apply their knowledge to a real-world problem.

Ph.D. programs are geared toward individuals interested in pursuing an academic career, such as becoming a professor or researcher. These programs prepare students for a life of scholarship and original research.

On the contrary, professional doctorate programs are geared toward professionals already working in a specific profession or industry and wanting to advance their careers through further education. These programs provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to take on leadership roles in their profession or industry.

The content of the curriculum in Ph.D. and professional doctorate programs differs significantly. Ph.D. programs aim to give students extensive knowledge of their field of study and equip them with the skills to conduct original research. On the other hand, professional doctorate programs have a practical focus, with students taking courses that prepare them for leadership positions in their respective professions or industry, including management, ethics, and professional communication.

The title “Doctor” is used to refer to someone who has earned a doctoral degree, whether it is a Ph.D. or a professional doctorate. In academic and professional settings, it is common for individuals with a Ph.D. to be referred to as “Dr.” along with their name, just as someone with a professional doctorate would be.

However, it’s important to note that the title “Doctor” does not necessarily indicate that the person is a medical doctor or a physician. Additionally, it is worth noting that different countries and cultures have different conventions for how the title “Doctor” is used, so it’s always a good idea to check local customs and norms to ensure proper usage.

In conclusion, the decision to pursue a Ph.D. or a professional doctorate ultimately depends on your individual career goals and aspirations. Both degrees are highly respected and can lead to exciting and fulfilling careers.

Remember, the pursuit of advanced education is a challenging but rewarding journey that leads toward new opportunities, personal growth, and the chance to make a positive impact in your field.

Bay Atlantic University

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A Doctor of Philosophy or Doctorate

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More than 54,000 students earned doctoral degrees in 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, a 30 percent increase since 2000, according to the  National Science Foundation . A Ph.D., also called a doctorate, is a "Doctor of Philosophy" degree, which is a misleading moniker because most Ph.D. holders are not philosophers. The term for this increasingly popular degree derives from the original meaning of the word "philosophy," which comes from the ancient Greek word  philosophia , meaning "love of wisdom."

What Is a Ph.D.?

In that sense, the term "Ph.D." is accurate, because the degree has historically been a license to teach, but it also signifies that the holder is an "authority, in full command of (a given) subject right up to the boundaries of current knowledge, and able to extend them," says  FindAPhD , an online Ph.D. database. Earning a Ph.D. requires a hefty financial and time commitment— $35,000 to $60,000  and two to eight years—as well as research, creating a thesis or dissertation, and possibly some teaching duties.

Deciding to pursue a Ph.D. can represent a major life choice. Doctoral candidates require additional schooling after completing a master's program to earn their Ph.D.: They must complete additional coursework, pass comprehensive exams , and complete an independent dissertation in their field. Once completed, though, a doctoral degree—often called a "terminal degree"—can open doors for the Ph.D.holder, especially in academia but also in business.

Core Courses and Electives

To obtain a Ph.D., you need to take a group of core courses as well as electives, totaling about 60 to 62 "hours," which are roughly the equivalent of units at the bachelor's degree level. For example, Washington State University offers a  Ph.D. in crop science . Core courses, which make up about 18 hours, include such subjects as introduction to population genetics, plant transmission genetics, and plant breeding.

Additionally, the student must make up the remaining required hours through electives. The  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  offers a doctoral degree in Biological Sciences in Public Health. After core courses such as laboratory rotations, biological sciences seminars, and core principles of biostatistics and epidemiology, the Ph.D. candidate is required to take electives in related fields such as advanced respiratory physiology, advanced respiratory physiology, and ecological and epidemiological control of parasitic diseases. Degree-granting institutions across the board want to ensure that those who earn Ph.D.s have broad knowledge in their chosen field.

Thesis or Dissertation and Research

A Ph.D. also requires students to complete a large scholarly project known as a  dissertation , a research report—usually 60-plus pages—which signifies that they are able to make significant independent contributions to their chosen field of study. Students take on the project, also known as a  doctoral thesis , after completing the core and elective coursework and passing a  comprehensive examination . Through the dissertation, the student is expected to make a new and creative contribution to a field of study and to demonstrate her expertise.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, for example, a strong medical dissertation relies heavily on the creation of a specific hypothesis that can be either disproved or supported by data collected through independent student research. Further, it must also contain several key elements starting with an introduction to the problem statement, conceptual framework, and research question as well as references to literature already published on the topic. Students must show that the  dissertation  is relevant, provides new insight into the chosen field, and is a topic that they can research independently.

Financial Aid and Teaching

There are several ways to pay for a doctoral degree: scholarships, grants, fellowships, and government loans, as well as teaching.  GoGrad , a graduate school information website, provides such examples as the:

  • Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program, which provides full tuition and an annual stipend of $25,000 to $38,000.
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a three-year graduate fellowship that is designed to support doctoral students across 15 engineering disciplines
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, a three-year program that provides an annual stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees

As it does for bachelor's and master's degrees, the federal government also offers several  loan programs  to help students finance their Ph.D. studies. You generally apply for these loans by filling out the free application for federal student aid ( FAFSA ). Students planning to go into teaching after obtaining their doctoral degrees often also supplement their income by teaching undergraduate classes at the schools where they are studying. The University of California, Riverside, for example, offers a "teaching award"—essentially a stipend applied toward tuition costs—for Ph.D. candidates in English who teach undergraduate, beginning-level, English courses

Jobs and Opportunities for Ph.D. Holders

Education accounts for a large percentage doctoral awards, with elementary education, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and administration, special education, and counselor education/ school counseling topping the list. Most universities in the United States require a Ph.D. for candidates who seek teaching positions, regardless of the department.

Many Ph.D. candidates seek the degree, however, to boost their current salaries. For example, a health, sports, and fitness educator at a community college would realize a bump in annual pay for obtaining a Ph.D. The same holds for educational administrators. Most such positions require only a master's degree, but obtaining a Ph.D. generally leads to an annual stipend that school districts add to the annual salary. That same health and fitness instructor at a community college could also move on from a teaching position and become a dean at a community college—a position that requires a Ph.D.—boosting his pay to  $120,000 to $160,000  a year or more.

So, the opportunities for a doctoral degree holder are wide and varied, but the cost and commitment required are significant. Most experts say you should know your future career plans before you make the commitment. If you know what you want to get out of the degree, then the years of required study and sleepless nights may well be worth the investment.

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difference between a doctor and phd

Applied Doctorate vs. Ph.D.: What are the Differences?

Making a choice between two similar but different things can be a challenge.

Oh, sure, some things don’t fall under the “do-or-die” category of decision making. With some things, there simply is no wrong choice.

Take a sports car versus an SUV, for example. Either is a great choice, depending on your budget, your lifestyle and your personal preferences.

What about an angus beef burger versus a textured soy protein patty? When it comes to radically opposing food choices, there’s usually a clear-cut winner.

Yet what about the more important things in life … like your career, your future and your doctoral education?

You already know the drill when it comes to deciding if a Ph.D. or doctorate is right for you:

  • Investigate each type of degree program.
  • Make a list of personal and professional pros and cons for each type of degree.
  • Seek the wise counsel of colleagues, academic advisors and professional mentors.
  • Make a confident decision about which degree is right for.

But first, let’s define the Ph.D. and the professional doctorate and then look at how they’re different from one another.

What is a Ph.D.?

A Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy, is a high-level degree earned after a period of three or more years of graduate-level study, culminating in the creation, submission, presentation and defense of a research dissertation.

The Ph.D. can be awarded in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, engineering and humanities. The term “philosophy,” according to Wikipedia, “does not refer solely to the field or academic disciple of philosophy, but is used in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek meaning, which is ‘love of wisdom.’”

For some professions, such as university professor or researcher, the Ph.D. is pretty much de rigueur. Most Ph.D.s are earned as a means of contributing original research findings to an academic community, field of study or professional discipline.

Earning a doctorate is challenging and rewarding, but do you know what to really expect? Download this free guide for tips and insights to help you prepare for success.  

What is an applied professional doctorate.

This doctorate is an advanced, high-level degree, too, earned after a period of three or more years of graduate-level study across a wide variety of disciplines. Like the Ph.D. it, too, culminates in the creation, submission, presentation and defense of a research dissertation or similar type of comprehensive final project.

The professional doctorate is also a research-based degree, only it emphasizes looking at existing bodies of knowledge and raising questions for the purposes of solving a problem and applying theories to a real-world setting.

Applied doctorate degrees first became well established in the United Kingdom and Australia and were initially offered in the United States by for-profit colleges and universities. Employer demand for higher skill levels and actionable problem-solving, however, opened up new programs at accredited non-profit institutions.

Different than a theoretical, Ph.D. degree, the professional doctorate is often the best terminal degree for the working professional who’s driven to lead and innovate.

Applied doctoral degree programs offer the opportunity to earn a practical degree that enables both subject mastery and field application.

What is the difference between the Ph.D. and doctorate?

It’s often assumed that a Ph.D. is a teaching-only degree while a professional doctorate is for the corporate player. The truth is, either degree can be valued in an academic or professional setting, depending on the type of institution or organization. Furthermore, either degree could be right for you.

Dr. Christopher Washington, Franklin University’s provost and chief academic officer explains the fundamental difference between the Ph.D. and the applied professional doctorate degree this way:

“With a Ph.D., you generate new theory. With the professional doctorate, you start from a place of practice and what’s going on in the world. You look at existing bodies of knowledge to see what theories have been created. Then you raise questions to determine how to design experiences that test theory to practice. In cultivating these types of practitioner-oriented scholars, there’s potential for a stronger and better relationship between the scholar and the community he or she serves. Such a connection helps us convene people to tackle the hard questions.”

Here we offer a side-by-side comparison of the Ph.D. and the professional doctorate to further demonstrate the differences (and similarities):

As you can see, the differences between the Ph.D. and the applied doctorate are few – and many – most of which are directly related to how earning the degree will impact your career.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before deciding which degree is right for you :

  • Do you want to conduct research or analyze and apply it?
  • Do you want to work in an academic or professional setting?
  • Do you want to identify problems or lead solutions to them?

Explains Dr. Washington, “If you want to generate new theory and conduct pure science within the pursuit of an academic life, then the Ph.D. is probably more in line with what you’ll need. If, however, you want to advance knowledge within a complex, global practice context while challenging yourself professionally, consider the applied doctorate degree.”

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Doctor Of Science Vs Phd: What Are The Key Differences?

For those considering an advanced research degree, two options often come to mind – the Doctor of Science (DSc) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). But what exactly is the difference between these two doctoral degrees?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the key distinctions between the DSc and PhD, from program focus and format to career outlook, so you can determine which advanced degree is the best fit for your goals.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While both are research-focused doctoral degrees, the main differences lie in prestige, structure, and research focus . The DSc is seen as a higher-level degree compared to the PhD.

DSc programs are less structured, take longer to complete, and focus more on applying research to practice, while PhDs are more academic and theory-based.

Overview of the Doctor of Science Degree

The Doctor of Science (DSc) degree is a prestigious academic title awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to their field of study. It is considered the highest level of academic achievement and is often seen as equivalent to a PhD.

However, there are some key differences between the two degrees.

What is a DSc?

A Doctor of Science degree is typically awarded in scientific or technical disciplines such as engineering, computer science, or natural sciences. It is a research-based degree that requires students to conduct extensive original research in their chosen field.

The focus of a DSc program is on advancing scientific knowledge and solving complex problems through research.

Unlike a PhD, which is more commonly awarded in social sciences, humanities, and some technical disciplines, the DSc is specifically designed for individuals who have already made significant contributions to their field and wish to further their expertise.

Program Format and Duration

The format and duration of DSc programs can vary depending on the university and field of study. However, most DSc programs are structured similarly to PhD programs, with a combination of coursework and research components.

On average, a DSc program can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to complete, although this can vary depending on the student’s research progress and the requirements of their specific program.

Research Focus and Dissertation

The primary focus of a DSc program is on conducting original research that contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Students are expected to undertake a significant research project and produce a dissertation that demonstrates their expertise in their chosen field.

The dissertation for a DSc program is typically more focused and specialized compared to a PhD dissertation. It may involve cutting-edge research, innovative methodologies, and the development of new theories or technologies.

It is important to note that the specific requirements for a DSc degree can vary between universities and disciplines. Some universities may require additional coursework or examinations in addition to the research component, while others may have specific requirements for publication or presentations at academic conferences.

Overview of the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is one of the highest academic achievements that individuals can pursue in their field of interest. It is a research-based degree that requires students to contribute original knowledge to their chosen field through an extensive dissertation.

The PhD degree is highly respected and is generally considered the standard qualification for pursuing a career in academia or research.

What is a PhD?

A PhD is an advanced degree that allows students to specialize in a specific area of study and conduct original research. It requires a significant amount of independent work and self-motivation. During their PhD journey, students are expected to develop critical thinking skills, conduct in-depth research, and contribute new knowledge to their field.

The degree is awarded based on the completion and successful defense of a dissertation, which is a lengthy and comprehensive research project.

PhD programs are typically full-time, although some universities offer part-time options for working professionals. The duration of a PhD program can vary depending on the field of study and the individual’s progress.

On average, it takes about 4 to 6 years to complete a PhD, but it can take longer for some students. The program usually consists of coursework, comprehensive exams, and the completion of a dissertation.

The main focus of a PhD program is the dissertation, which is a substantial piece of original research that contributes to the existing knowledge in the field. The topic of the dissertation is chosen by the student and is usually based on their research interests.

The dissertation requires students to demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research, critically analyze data, and present their findings in a clear and coherent manner. It is often a lengthy and time-consuming process, but it is also a valuable opportunity for students to make a significant contribution to their field.

Key Differences Between DSc and PhD Degrees

Prestige and perception.

When it comes to prestige and perception, both the Doctor of Science (DSc) and PhD degrees are highly respected and regarded in the academic community. However, there are some key differences in how these degrees are perceived in certain fields or regions.

The DSc degree is often associated with scientific and technical disciplines, such as engineering, computer science, and natural sciences. It is typically seen as a higher level of achievement and expertise in these fields.

On the other hand, the PhD degree is more commonly associated with humanities, social sciences, and some scientific disciplines. It is widely recognized as a research-based degree that demonstrates a deep understanding of a specific subject.

It is important to note that the perception of these degrees may vary across different countries and institutions. In some regions, the DSc degree may be more prevalent and preferred, while in others, the PhD degree may hold more weight.

Program Structure

The structure of DSc and PhD programs can vary depending on the institution and field of study. In general, both degrees require a significant amount of research and a dissertation or thesis as a culmination of the program.

PhD programs typically have a more structured curriculum, with required coursework and examinations in addition to the research component. These programs aim to provide students with a broad foundation in their field and develop their research skills.

On the other hand, DSc programs often focus more on the research aspect and may have fewer coursework requirements. These programs are designed for individuals who have already acquired a substantial amount of knowledge and experience in their field and wish to further their research expertise.

Research Focus and Application

The research focus and application of DSc and PhD degrees can also differ based on the field of study.

In DSc programs, the emphasis is often on applied research and the development of practical solutions to real-world problems. This degree is commonly pursued by professionals who are already working in industry or applied research settings and want to advance their knowledge and expertise in their specific field.

PhD programs, on the other hand, tend to have a more theoretical and academic focus. The research conducted in these programs often contributes to the broader knowledge and understanding of a particular subject.

PhD graduates typically pursue careers in academia, research institutions, or other scholarly settings.

Career Paths

Career paths for DSc and PhD graduates can vary depending on the field, industry, and individual goals.

Individuals with a DSc degree often find opportunities in industry, government agencies, and applied research settings. They may work as senior researchers, consultants, or experts in their field. The DSc degree is highly valued for its practical applications and the ability to solve complex problems.

PhD graduates, on the other hand, often pursue careers in academia as professors or researchers. They may also work in research and development roles in industry or government organizations. The PhD degree is highly regarded for its research and analytical skills, as well as the ability to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in a particular field.

In short, while both the DSc and PhD are advanced research degrees, there are some notable differences when it comes to prestige, flexibility, research focus, and career outcomes. Those wanting a more structured path that leads to academic research and teaching roles may find the PhD a better fit.

For individuals seeking a degree to support applied research and expert-level clinical practice, the DSc may be more aligned. Weighing your own research interests, career aspirations, and academic capabilities can help determine which of these prestigious doctoral degrees is right for you.

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Doctorate vs PhD: What’s the Difference?

Quick Highlights:

  • Professional doctorates and PhDs differ in focus , duration , and potential career earnings .
  • Both are doctoral degrees, but a PhD is specifically academic and focused on original research.
  • Professional doctorates (like an Ed.D, M.D., DBA) are applied and tailored to specific professions.
  • In most cases, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree before pursuing a doctoral degree.

In the academic world, achieving a doctoral degree represents the highest level of study within a field. These degrees grant their recipients not only more knowledge within their particular field, but also more respect and more upward mobility in their careers. 

Is a doctorate a PhD? Often, the terms doctoral degree and doctor of philosophy, or Ph.D., are used interchangeably. This isn’t 100% accurate, though. There are subtle but important differences that set a doctoral degree apart from a Ph.D. degree. These differences are critical to understand before you plan your own path through higher education.  Doctorate vs PhD, what is the difference ?

Related:  How to Prepare for your Graduate School Interview

What Is a Doctoral Degree?

Doctorate vs PhD: Diploma and tassel

A doctoral degree is a general term for a terminal degree that usually is awarded when someone pursues their studies beyond the level of a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Doctoral degrees can be awarded in any number of fields, from education and English literature to chemistry and calculus.

Doctoral degrees typically come in two forms:

  • a professional (also known as applied doctorate)
  • an academic doctorate

Related: What is a Terminal Degree?

What is an Applied Doctorate Degree?

Professional or applied doctorate degrees qualify someone to work in a specific profession. This includes things like:

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree holders with a professional doctorate degree are qualified to work at the highest level within their field. 

These professional degrees require academic research. It will culminate in a dissertation which must be defended in front of a group. A dissertation, like a thesis, is a lengthy and involved paper that incorporates research and applies a theory to make advances within the field.  

Some of the most common fields for a professional doctoral program are:

  • Physical therapy
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Occupational therapy
  • Educational leadership
  • Medicine 

We’ll discuss a few of the most common professional doctorate degree programs below.

Related: What Is The Difference Between College and University?

An Ed.D. is a professional doctorate for educators with teaching and administration responsibilities as well as those working in nonprofits and governmental agencies. These programs offer advanced leadership training which can help students advance their career. Students learn effective strategies to solve real-world problems they’ll encounter out in the field.

Ed.D. programs do not follow a standard curriculum. Each program is unique, and many can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual student. Some are offered online while others follow a more traditional format.

Doctor of Business Administration

The DBA is a professional degree for business professionals. These programs build upon the skills taught in an MBA program. Students are often accomplished executives who want to be better, more innovative business leaders.

DBA students conduct practical research that directly applies to the business world. Students will develop new insights and solutions to business challenges.

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Psychology is an area where students can choose to complete either a Ph.D. or a PsyD degree. A PsyD degree emphasizes the clinical and applied aspects of psychology. This degree is growing in popularity for several different reasons:

  • Completion time is often less than a traditional PhD
  • Specialization options
  • Opportunity to complete a dual degree (MSW or MPH are popular)

The PsyD focuses on practice over research so students begin working on fieldwork sooner in the program. This hands-on experience is valuable as students begin to build their professional portfolio.

Related: Best Online Doctorates in Psychology

An M.D. is the degree of choice for students planning a career in medicine. These highly competitive and rigorous programs include the classroom and intensive training students need to join the medical field.

M.D. programs usually require students to complete four years of medical school followed by a residency. The residency can take between two and five years depending on the area of medicine.

While an M.D. degree requires a significant commitment of time and money, the investment plays off with a high salary and job security.

Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

An O.D. an expert in primary eye care. They diagnose and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. An O.D. degree can take between eight and nine years of education beyond high school. Students take classes in areas like:

  • gross anatomy
  • neuroscience
  • biochemistry

An optometrist can determine if an individual needs corrective lenses or contacts to improve their vision. They can check for signs of glaucoma or other degenerative eye conditions. In some states, an optometrist can prescribe certain medications.

Regardless of the individual field that you pursue, you can know that a doctoral degree will make you a highly qualified candidate for upper level positions in your field. 

What Is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree?

Doctorate vs PhD: Graduates wearing toga

Academic doctorates, on the other hand, are degrees that qualify someone to study, research, or teach at the highest level in his or her field. At some schools, like Franklin University, professional doctorates are referred to as an application oriented-degree while Ph.D.s, or academic doctorates, are referred to as research degrees. 

A Ph.D. is actually a specific type of doctoral degree. This means that rather than being completely separate from one another, Ph.D.s are really just a specific subtype of the umbrella term “doctorate degree.” 

A Ph.D. is an academic degree focused on original research and the application of new ideas to existing knowledge. This research based degree emphases research skills that allow student to contribute to the advancement of their field. Lots of people falsely believe that a Ph.D. is limited to fields in the social sciences. This is likely due to the word “philosophy” in the title. Rather than meaning philosophy in the modern sense, though, the word philosophy in a Ph.D. refers to its Latin origins, meaning “love of wisdom”. 

The reality is that Ph.D.s are research degrees available in many fields. Some of the most common degree fields for a Ph.D. include:

  • Applied mathematics
  • Accounting and finance
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemical engineering 
  • Clinical psychology
  • Computer science
  • Counseling psychology
  • Data analysis

No matter what kind of Ph.D. you undertake, you will always graduate from a Ph.D. program with a high level of competence, respect, and mobility within your career field. 

How To Apply for a PhD vs Doctorate Program

Doctorate vs PhD: Application form

Once you’ve made the choice between a professional degree versus doctorate , you’ll need to figure out how to apply to your chosen program. Because Ph.D. programs are simply a specific type of a doctorate program, the application process varies more by school than it does by degree type. 

In general, when you apply to a doctoral program, you’ll need to have already completed a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. In many cases, your bachelor’s degree can be in any field. It does not need to be related to the field you’re pursuing at the professional level. In most cases, your master’s does need to be related in some way. 

If it’s not, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll need to complete some prerequisite graduate-level classes before you can apply for your doctorate program. You’ll need to check with each program about the prerequisites before you apply. 

Once you’re sure that you meet the prerequisites required of a doctoral student, you’ll also need to get your application materials. Generally this means:

  • transcripts from your undergrad and graduate school coursework
  • letters of recommendation
  • an essay or statement of purpose
  • recent GRE or GMAT scores

Again, application requirements will vary by school so you’ll want to check directly with those you’re applying to. 

PhD vs Doctorate Degree: Which is Longer?

Doctorate vs PhD: Doctorate toga

The amount of time it takes to complete your doctorate vs PhD degree will largely depend on what work you’ve done before it, and whether you’ll be pursuing it part-time or full-time. If you have completed a master’s in the field already, you will need to complete fewer credits to complete the doctoral degree. 

At some schools, there is an option to combine your master’s with your doctorate degree. These accelerated programs usually allow you to take a year of study off your total commitment.

Still, terminal degrees are no small time commitment. Most degrees take anywhere from five to eight years to complete when pursued full-time. In general, Ph.D. programs tend to take slightly longer than professional doctorates. For example, to complete a doctor of education (Ed.D.) degree, doctoral students must complete at least 60 credits. In contrast, Ph.D. students completing a Ph.D. in Education must complete 90 credits. 

Earning Potential of a Professional Doctorate vs PhD

Doctor using microscope

While a professional doctorate and a Ph.D. are seemingly very similar, they do differ in terms of earning potential. 

This is likely because many Ph.D. programs lead to careers in teaching or research. These are two fields that are notoriously low in funding, unless you find one of the relatively less common highly paid positions in these fields. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a postsecondary teacher at colleges or universities is about $80,000. The average salary of postsecondary teachers in the field of scientific development and research is more, at nearly $110,000, and the average salary of a researcher in the field of medical science is nearly $90,000. 

Compare these salaries to those of professional doctorates like a medical doctor or a lawyer. A medical doctor earns an average salary of $208,000 while a lawyer receives an average salary of roughly $123,000. 

Doctoral Degree vs PhD: How Do They Stack Up?

Toga hat, diploma and books

While a Ph.D. is simply a subtype of doctorate, there are some distinct differences that set it apart from professional doctorate degrees. 

While Ph.D.s are typically heavy on research, professional doctorates are heavy on application of knowledge to a specific professional field. The body of knowledge developed in a Ph.D. program may be slightly broader, while the knowledge built in a professional doctorate program is tailored more directly to a specific career. 

Both programs have similar application processes, but the Ph.D. program may take slightly longer to complete on average than the professional doctorate program does. Finally, professional degree PhD program graduates tend to earn slightly more than Ph.D. graduates. 

If you’re interested in pursuing a doctorate degree, you’ll need to consider a professional doctorate degree vs PhD. You’ll want to research your programs before applying. Sites like CollegeRank can help you to narrow your options by providing curated college rankings geared to a number of different factors, from campus size to return on investment, and more. 

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  • Capella University Blog
  • PhD/Doctorate

The difference between a PhD and professional doctorate

March 27, 2018

What’s the difference between a PhD and a professional doctorate?

Some people say that a PhD prepares you to teach, while a professional doctorate is more geared toward a professional career. But the answer to the question is more complex.

Leaders in corporate organizations often benefit greatly from having a PhD, and individuals with a professional doctorate may hold adjunct or even regular faculty posts at universities. Everyone who obtains a doctoral degree from Capella University is a scholar-practitioner—meaning they are equipped with a deep understanding of foundational theory and how it directly applies to the current and future needs of their profession, as well as the skills and knowledge to research, teach, consult, and lead.

Deciding whether to pursue a PhD or professional doctorate can be a complex process. The differences between the two doctoral program types vary in every field—and they are also evolving. In terms of programs at Capella, all doctoral programs require coursework and an independent research project. Some require comprehensive exams, and many include residencies.

The primary difference between PhD and professional doctorate programs is the type of research conducted in the independent research phase.

PhD students are expected to create, expand, and contribute to knowledge, research, and theory in their field of study. This kind of discovery is often called original research.

Professional doctorate students are expected to expand and apply existing knowledge and research to existing problems in their professional field. This is often referred to as applied research.

The following graphic shows the differences between a PhD program and a professional doctorate program:

  • Degree Focus
  • Independent Research Project
  • Career Intention*

Contribute new knowledge aimed at solving real-world problems.

Professional Doctorate

Apply existing knowledge aimed at solving real-world problems.

Five-chapter dissertation.

Five-chapter applied dissertation or paper, product, or portfolio

More interest in consulting and/or conducting research.

More interest in practicing directly in the profession.

*In many instances, both a PhD and professional doctorate prepare students for teaching at the college or university level.

Ultimately, deciding whether to pursue a PhD or professional doctorate in your field of study should start with assessing your career goals  and how you plan to apply your degree, and determining the kind of research that interests you most.

Capella University offers PhD and/or professional doctorate degree programs in business, information technology, education, nursing, health care, psychology, counseling, social work, and public service. Learn more about Capella’s doctoral degree programs.

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  • What’s the difference between a PhD and a doctorate?

25 Aug 2022

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In this post, we’ll explore the definitions, differences and similarities of PhDs and doctorates, as well as what a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) entails.  

After completing a master’s degree and spending time building a career, many professionals consider continuing their education and pursuing a higher level of academic achievement.

Two of the most common options are a PhD or a doctorate, but what is the difference between the two?

Defining a PhD and a doctorate 

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a specific type of doctorate degree that focuses on research in a particular field. It is highly theoretical and involves extensive research to generate new knowledge.

On the other hand, a doctorate degree is an umbrella term for any doctoral-level degree. It can be further categorised into two types: academic and professional.

Academic doctorates, such as a PhD, are focused on research, while professional doctorates, like the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) , focus on practical application in professional settings.  

Want to know more about the benefits of a DBA? Explore our guide:

Show me DBA benefits 

Differences between a PhD and a doctorate 

While both a PhD and a doctorate are doctoral-level degrees, there are some key differences between the two. One of the main differences is that a PhD is typically an academic degree, while a doctorate can be either academic or professional. Additionally, a PhD is highly theoretical and research-focused, while a professional doctorate is practical and geared toward applying research to specific professional settings.  

Similarities between a PhD and a doctorate 

Despite their differences, there are also some similarities between a PhD and a doctorate. Both degrees require significant research, critical thinking, and independent study. They are both highly respected and recognised as top-level degrees in their respective fields, and both confer the title of “Doctor” upon completion.  

Weighing up your options? Read our guide to the benefits and drawbacks:

PhDs and doctorates: Pros and cons 

Examples of professional doctorates 

Examples of professional doctorates include the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA), Doctorate of Education (EdD), Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), and Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD), among others. These degrees are typically designed for individuals who want to apply research to specific professional settings.  

What is a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA)? 

A DBA is a professional doctorate degree that is focused on applying research to real-world business problems. It is typically designed for individuals who are in senior-level or executive positions in private or public sector organisations. A DBA is often seen as a practical alternative to a PhD in business, as it allows professionals to apply research directly to their work .  

Benefits of pursuing a Global DBA 

Portsmouth Online offers a Global DBA that is online and part-time, making it accessible from anywhere in the world. This course  is specifically designed for senior-level professionals who want to become more qualified in the field of business.

The structured modules will help you develop your ability to challenge current thinking and provide authoritative solutions to practical and research problems. Additionally, the applied research in the DBA thesis will allow you to conduct research on a topic that is directly relevant to your organisation.  

Choosing between a PhD and a doctorate 

Choosing between a PhD and a doctorate depends on your goals and aspirations. If you are interested in academic research and generating new knowledge, a PhD may be the right path for you.

However, if you want to apply research to specific professional settings, a professional doctorate like a DBA may be a better fit. Ultimately, it is important to choose the degree that aligns with your career goals and interests.  

Get more guidance on whether a PhD or a doctorate is right for you:

PhD or doctorate: How to choose 

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difference between a doctor and phd

  • PhD vs MD – Differences explained
  • Types of Doctorates

A MD is a Doctor of Medicine, whilst a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy. A MD program focuses on the application of medicine to diagnose and treat patients. A PhD program research focuses on research (in any field) to expand knowledge.

Introduction

This article will outline the key differences between a MD and a PhD. If you are unsure of which degree is suitable for you, then read on to find out the focuses and typical career paths of both. Please note this article has been written for the perspective of a US audience.

What is a MD?

MD (also seen stylized as M.D and M.D.) comes from the Latin term Medicīnae Doctor and denotes a Doctor of Medicine.

MDs practice allopathic medicine (they use modern medicine to treat symptoms and diseases). A common example would be your physician, though there are numerous types of medical doctors, with different areas of speciality and as such may be referred to differently.

What is a PhD?

A PhD (sometimes seen stylized as Ph.D.) comes from the Latin term Philosophiae Doctor and denotes a Doctor of Philosophy.

A PhD can be awarded for carrying out original research in any field, not just medicine. In comparison to an MD, a PhD in a Medicinal field is focused on finding out new knowledge, as opposed to applying current knowledge.

A PhD in Medicine therefore does not require you to attend medical school or complete a residency program. Instead, you are required to produce a thesis (which summarizes your research findings) and defend your work in an oral examination.

What is the difference between a MD and a PhD?

Both are Doctoral Degrees, and someone with either degree can be referred to as a doctor. But for clarity, MDs are awarded to those with expertise in practicing medicine and are therefore more likely to be found in clinical environments. PhDs are awarded to researchers, and are therefore more likely to be found in academic environments.

This does not mean that MDs cannot pursue a research career, nor does it mean that a PhD cannot pursue clinical practice. It does mean, however, that PhDs are more suited to those who would wish to pursue a career in research, and that MDs are more suited to those who prefer the clinical aspects of medicine or aspire to become a practicing physician.

It should also be noted that a medical PhD doctorates possess transferable skills which make them desirable to various employers. Their familiarity with the scientific method and research experience makes them well suited to industry work beyond medical research.

Program structure and time

The standard MD program structure sees students undertake 2 years of coursework and classroom-based learning, before undertaking 2 years of rotational work in a clinical environment (such as a hospital). Getting an MD requires attending a medical school (accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education) and completing a residency program. Both of which prepare students to diagnose patients and practice clinical medicine.

The standard PhD program lasts 5 to 7 years and sees students undertake original research (monitored by a supervisor). Getting a PhD requires the contribution of novel findings, which leads to the advancement of knowledge within your field of research. With the exception of some clinical PhDs, a PhD alone is not enough to be able to prescribe medicine.

PhD doctorates are required to summarize the purpose, methodology, findings and significance of their research in a thesis. The final step is the ‘ Viva Voce ’ where the student must defend their thesis to a panel of examiners.

To summarize, a MD program usually lasts 4 years, whilst a PhD program lasts 5 to 7 years. Before being licensed to practice medicine, however, you must first complete a residency program which can last between 3 to 7 years.

What is a MD/PhD?

A MD/PhD is a dual doctoral degree. The program alternates between clinical focused learning and research focused work. This is ideal for those who are interested in both aspects of medicine. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, an estimated 600 students matriculate into MD-PhD programs each year .

The typical length of a MD/PhD program is 7 to 8 years, almost twice the length of a MD alone. As with a MD, MD/PhDs are still required to attend medical school and must complete a residency program before being able to practice medicine.

In comparison to PhD and MD programs, MD/PhD positions in the United States are scarce and consequently more competitive. The tuition fees for MD/PhD positions are typically much lower than MD and PhD positions are sometimes waived completely.

Those who possess a MD/PhD are commonly referred to as medical scientists. The ability to combine their medical knowledge with research skills enables MD/PhDs to work in a wide range of positions from academia to industrial research.

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EdD vs. PhD in Education: What’s the Difference?

EdD vs. PhD in Education: What’s the Difference?

Industry Advice Education

If you’re interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in education, one of the first questions you’ll face is: Should I apply for a Doctor of Education (EdD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education?

The decision between these two culminating degrees can be career-defining as each serves a very different purpose despite being equivalent in level. In order to ensure you choose the path that best aligns with your future goals and career path, it’s important to take the time to first understand the differences in program curriculum and future career opportunities that relate to each degree.

Read on to learn about the defining qualities and key differences of an EdD and a PhD in Education to determine which program is the right fit for you.

EdD vs. PhD in Education

A Doctor of Education (EdD) is a professional degree designed for practitioners pursuing educational leadership roles. A PhD in education , on the other hand, is designed to prepare graduates for research and teaching roles.

“With a PhD, [students are] reviewing the research, seeing a gap in the literature, and generating new knowledge based on a theory or hypothesis,” Joseph McNabb , a professor of practice in Northeastern’s Graduate School of Education , explains. “Conversely, an EdD student starts with a problem of practice and [works to learn] the skills it will take to resolve that complex problem of practice.”

EdD vs PhD

What is an EdD Degree?

An EdD, or Doctor of Education , is a professional doctorate best suited for experienced educators and mid- to senior-level working professionals who want to lead and implement change within their organization.

EdD candidates work in a broad range of fields ranging from K-12 and higher education to nonprofits, government, healthcare, and the military. What each share is a desire to transform their everyday environment and apply the lessons learned through their doctorate to a complex, critical issue facing their workplace. 

The EdD is practice-based. Students in an EdD program don’t want to just research their area of interest, but leverage that research in ways that could positively influence their community or organization’s decision-making process.

Learn More: 5 Tips for Choosing Your EdD Concentration

Those who pursue an EdD focus on qualitative, exploratory research. Students collect data and conduct individual interviews, observations, or focus groups to construct hypotheses and develop strategies that can help solve or clarify a specific problem of practice, such as how to support student veterans transitioning to civilian life or how to foster more female leaders in higher education—two dissertation topics recently explored through Northeastern’s EdD program .

Download Our Free Guide to Earning Your EdD

Learn how an EdD can give you the skills to enact organizational change in any industry.

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What Can You Do with an EdD Degree?

While an EdD can be applied to a variety of industries and career options—such as K-12, higher education, the nonprofit sector, or civic service—there are several job titles you’ll likely come across within your cohort of classmates. They include:

  • Postsecondary Education Administrators: Postsecondary education administrators work in colleges or universities, and typically oversee faculty research, academics, admissions, or student affairs. Some job titles that fall under this category include president, vice president, provost, and dean. The average annual salary for a postsecondary education administrator rings in at $99,940 .
  • Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrators: Superintendents, who are the top executives of a school district, fall under this category. They manage academic programs, spending, and the staffing of all educational facilities within their district, and typically earn an average of $106,850 per year .
  • Top Executives : In education, a top executive could be a “chief learning officer” or “chief academic officer”—senior-level professionals who drive and develop strategies that help their organization meet critical business goals. Top executives make an average of approximately $100,090 per year .
  • Instructional Coordinators : Instructional coordinators create and manage school curricula and other educational materials. They help teachers implement effective classroom learning strategies and measure the effectiveness of what’s being taught and how. The average annual salary for instructional coordinators is roughly $66,490 .

difference between a doctor and phd

These are just a few of the many career opportunities available to EdD graduates.

Learn More: Top Careers with a Doctorate in Education

What is a PhD in Education?

A PhD in Education is a terminal degree best suited for individuals who want to pursue a career in academia or research at the university level.

Students in PhD or doctoral programs take a more theoretical, study-based approach to learning. In most cases, their goal is to master a specific subject or add their unique findings to a body of existing literature. PhD candidates conduct original research in the hopes of driving change in their field or inspiring others to make change based on their work.

A PhD is the degree most popular amongst those who aspire to become a professor or obtain a tenure position. Through these programs, students tend to focus on getting published in well-respected journals, presenting at national conferences, and learning how to teach future educators.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Education?

While some of the above roles can also be earned through a PhD program, the most common job titles for PhD-holders include:

  • Postsecondary Teachers: Postsecondary teachers instruct students at a college or university. When they’re not in the classroom, they’re often focused on conducting research, attending conferences, and publishing scholarly papers and books. Postsecondary teachers earn an average $80,840 per year .
  • Academic Researcher : Researchers often have the opportunity to create their own centers or institutes, hire staff to help carry out their work, and secure funding for that work. Salaries often vary by subject area, but a general academic researcher typically earns an average $83,971 per year .

EdD or PhD: Which is Better For You?

Once you’ve explored the differences between an EdD and PhD in Education, the most relevant question to consider will be: What’s the next step I want to take in my career, and which degree can help me achieve my professional goals? The answer to this question will determine which degree program you ultimately pursue.

Earning your doctorate can pay off no matter which path you choose. Professionals with a doctoral degree earn an average $98,000 a year —nearly $20,000 more a year than master’s degree holders. Similarly, doctoral degree holders see an unemployment rate of only one percent compared to the national unemployment rate of two percent.

Regardless of which degree you ultimately pursue, there is enormous potential for you to advance your career in the field of education. Evaluating your needs and values will help you understand whether an EdD or PhD in Education is best suited to your personal and professional goals.

Download Our Free Guide to Earning Your EdD

This article was originally published in July 2017. It has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.

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About scott w. o'connor, related articles.

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The median annual salary for professional degree holders is $97,000. (BLS, 2020)

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The U.S. Is Easing Marijuana Restrictions. Here’s How It Works.

A new federal rule would reclassify marijuana as a less-dangerous, Schedule III drug. It’s a significant shift, even as it does not legalize the drug.

A close-up of an individual’s hands trimming a large marijuana bud with scissors.

By Eileen Sullivan

Reporting from Washington

The Biden administration moved on Thursday to downgrade marijuana from the most restrictive category of drugs.

The proposed rule, submitted to the Federal Register, is subject to a 60-day comment period, kicking off a lengthy approval process before it takes effect.

The proposal, which would move marijuana to Schedule III, from Schedule I, signals a significant shift in how the federal government views the substance, even as it does not legalize the drug. Its classification as one of the most dangerous and habit-forming substances has long drawn criticism, and recategorizing the drug is an acknowledgment by the federal government that the drug has some medicinal value and lower potential for abuse.

The categories of controlled substances determine production amounts, access, research and legal consequences. Some experts have argued that cigarettes and alcohol, which are not in any of the five categories of controlled substances, should be included in Schedule I because of their demonstrated high risk of abuse and addiction.

In a recorded video, President Biden praised the step, describing it as “monumental.”

“Far too many lives have been upended because of a failed approach to marijuana, and I’m committed to righting those wrongs,” Mr. Biden said. “You have my word on it.”

Here is a look at the five categories, or schedules, including some of the drugs in each designation. Opioids fall into all five schedules, depending on the exact drug.

The federal government classifies these drugs as having no currently accepted medical use. It also says these drugs pose a high risk for abuse. Marijuana has been in this category, along with drugs like heroin, L.S.D., ecstasy and magic mushrooms.

Schedule II

The government says substances in this category have some medical value, even as they pose a high risk for abuse. This includes cocaine, methamphetamine, painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin and fentanyl; and Dexedrine, Adderall and Ritalin, which are most commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have sought to push fentanyl into a more stringent classification given that it has become a leading cause of death in the country. But doing so would have a detrimental impact on surgery patients because fentanyl is one of the best anesthetics, said Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University. It also would not address the illegal production of fentanyl, which is what is fueling the overwhelming number of fentanyl-related deaths.

Schedule III

These drugs are considered to have a low to moderate risk of abuse, such as Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone and, eventually, marijuana. Drugs in this category are not subject to the federal income tax rule that has hampered producers in states where marijuana is legal. By law , producers of drugs in the top two categories cannot take tax exemptions for their business expenses like rent, employee salaries and utility bills that support operations.

Until 2014, hydrocodone combination products, most often prescribed as a painkiller — such as Vicodin — was considered a Schedule III drug. But the Drug Enforcement Administration changed that to try to curb the prescription drug abuse that had been sweeping the country at the time.

Schedule IV

Drugs in this group are considered to have a low risk of abuse and addiction and require a prescription. They include anti-anxiety medicine like Xanax and Valium; muscle relaxants; and low-grade pain killers like Tramadol. The sleeping drug Ambien is also in this category.

These are considered the lowest-risk drugs and still require a prescription. Examples include certain cough medicine, drugs to treat diarrhea, such as Lomotil, Motofen and Parepectolin, and the anti-epileptic drug, Lyrica.

Eileen Sullivan  covers breaking news, the Justice Department, the trials against Donald J. Trump and the Biden administration. More about Eileen Sullivan

Inside the Biden Administration

Here’s the latest news and analysis from washington..

War in Ukraine:  President Biden barred Ukraine from firing U.S. weapons into Russia to “avoid World War III.” After a sobering trip to Kyiv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken wants to ease that rule .

Live Nation:  The Justice Department is suing Live Nation Entertainment , the owner of Ticketmaster, asking a court to break up the company over claims it illegally maintained a monopoly in the live entertainment industry.

Relations With Kenya:  During the Kenyan president’s state visit , Biden will designate the East African nation as a “major non-NATO ally.”

Hidden Fees:  Biden’s effort to crack down on “junk fees”  from airlines and credit-card companies is doubling as a war against inflation.

Student Loans:  Biden announced the cancellation of another $7.7 billion in student loans , building on his strategy of chipping away at college debt by tweaking existing programs.

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  1. Doctorate or PhD? What’s the Difference?

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  2. What Is The Difference Between PHD And Doctorate Degree

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  3. F.A.Q.s About A Ph.D.

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  4. Know The Differences Between Professional Doctorate And PhD

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  5. PhD vs Doctorate: Difference and Comparison

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  6. Masters Vs PhD: The Difference Between Masters & PhD/Doctorates 2022

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COMMENTS

  1. Ph.D. vs. Doctorate: What are the Differences?

    A Ph.D. or Doctor of Philosophy, on the other hand, is a subcategory of a doctoral degree, it is much more distinct and clear-cut and is usually narrower in nature encompassing only humanities and scientific fields. In plain English, when someone says they are enrolling on a doctoral degree, it means they are doing a Ph.D. in a specific field.

  2. PhD vs Doctorate: What's the Difference?

    The primary difference in coursework between Ph.D. and doctorate programs primarily involves the type of assignments the students complete. Ph.D. students mainly concentrate on a curriculum that emphasizes philosophical ideas, theories and research. The coursework of a doctorate focuses on practical applications, problem-solving and innovation.

  3. Doctorate vs. PhD: Understanding the Key Differences [2024]

    A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is an opportunity to strengthen your academic research skills and generate original knowledge. This degree trains students to become independent scholars who conduct cutting-edge research in their areas of expertise. ... Understanding the difference between a doctorate and a PhD can help you select the right ...

  4. What is the Difference Between a PhD and a Doctorate?

    Doctorate, or doctoral, is an umbrella term for many degrees — PhD among them — at the height of the academic ladder. Doctorate degrees fall under two categories, and here is where the confusion often lies. The first category, Research (also referred to as Academic) includes, among others: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)**.

  5. Ph.D.s vs. Doctorates

    The Ph.D. is the most common research doctorate. Although the title stands for "doctor of philosophy," students can earn Ph.D.s in a wide range of subjects, including science and technology. In contrast, applied research doctorates often relate to specific fields, such as education, music, or social work. The main difference between the two is ...

  6. What Is a Doctorate or a Doctoral Degree?

    A doctor of philosophy degree is designed to prepare people for research careers at a university or in industry, and teach students how to discover new knowledge within their academic discipline ...

  7. PhD vs. Doctorate: Everything You Need to Know

    Key Takeaways. Both a PhD and doctorate are the highest level graduate degrees one can earn. PhDs focus on theoretical research while doctorates put theory into practice. On average, PhDs require a more time to complete vs doctorate. Salaries for PhD or doctorate degree earners vary depending on the career entered. Start your scholarship search.

  8. What's the Difference Between a Ph.D. and a Doctorate?

    One of the key differences between a Ph.D. and a professional doctorate is the focus of the doctoral study. Ph.D. programs typically focus on producing independent scholars who can conduct original research and advance knowledge in their chosen field. In contrast, professional doctorate programs emphasize the practical application of research ...

  9. Doctorate Degree: What Is a Doctorate or Doctoral Degree?

    A doctorate degree — also called a doctoral degree — is the most rigorous and advanced type of degree that a student can earn in any field of study. Regardless of which academic area is being studied, successful completion of a doctorate program demands years of intensive research — and the ability to contribute meaningful new data ...

  10. A Doctor of Philosophy or Doctorate

    A Ph.D., also called a doctorate, is a "Doctor of Philosophy" degree, which is a misleading moniker because most Ph.D. holders are not philosophers. The term for this increasingly popular degree derives from the original meaning of the word "philosophy," which comes from the ancient Greek word philosophia, meaning "love of wisdom."

  11. Applied Doctorate vs. Ph.D.: What are the Differences?

    Dr. Christopher Washington, Franklin University's provost and chief academic officer explains the fundamental difference between the Ph.D. and the applied professional doctorate degree this way: "With a Ph.D., you generate new theory. With the professional doctorate, you start from a place of practice and what's going on in the world.

  12. Doctor Of Science Vs Phd: What Are The Key Differences?

    If you're short on time, here's a quick answer: While both are research-focused doctoral degrees, the main differences lie in prestige, structure, and research focus. The DSc is seen as a higher-level degree compared to the PhD. DSc programs are less structured, take longer to complete, and focus more on applying research to practice, while ...

  13. What's the Difference Between a Doctorate and a PhD

    Professional doctorates and PhDs differ in focus, duration, and potential career earnings. Both are doctoral degrees, but a PhD is specifically academic and focused on original research. Professional doctorates (like an Ed.D, M.D., DBA) are applied and tailored to specific professions. In most cases, you'll need to complete a bachelor's and ...

  14. PhD Types

    Many people believe that the DPhil and PhD are different degrees. This is not true. 'DPhil' is an abbreviation of 'Doctor of Philosophy'. Essentially, 'DPhil' and 'PhD' are two different ways of referring to the same doctoral degree. 'DPhil' is traditionally a British term and so only a few universities (most notably, the ...

  15. The difference between a PhD and professional doctorate

    The primary difference between PhD and professional doctorate programs is the type of research conducted in the independent research phase. PhD students are expected to create, expand, and contribute to knowledge, research, and theory in their field of study. This kind of discovery is often called original research.

  16. What's the Difference Between a PhD and a ...

    A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy. In answer to the question, "Is a PhD a doctor," the answer is yes. Both a PhD and a professional doctorate like an EdD earn you the title of "doctor.". But there are differences between the types of doctoral degrees. Learn more about a PhD vs. a professional doctorate below.

  17. What Is the Difference Between a PhD & Doctoral Degree?

    The title "doctor" applies, technically, to anyone who has earned any doctoral degree. It originally meant a learned person, an expert in any field, and in that sense modern higher education has formalized the term. (See Reference 1.) A Ph.D., or doctor of philosophy, degree is one of a number of type of doctoral degrees; the difference ...

  18. M.D. vs. PhD Degrees: What Are the Key Differences?

    An M.D. is a medical doctor who treats patients, while a Ph.D. is an academic with a doctoral degree in a specific field. The abbreviation M.D. comes from the Latin term medicinae doctor, which means teacher of medicine. People who have an M.D., or Doctor of Medicine, undergo practical training during graduate school to become physicians upon ...

  19. What's the difference between a PhD and a doctorate?

    While both a PhD and a doctorate are doctoral-level degrees, there are some key differences between the two. One of the main differences is that a PhD is typically an academic degree, while a doctorate can be either academic or professional. Additionally, a PhD is highly theoretical and research-focused, while a professional doctorate is ...

  20. Master's vs PhD

    The two most common types of graduate degrees are master's and doctoral degrees: A master's is a 1-2 year degree that can prepare you for a multitude of careers. A PhD, or doctoral degree, takes 3-7 years to complete (depending on the country) and prepares you for a career in academic research. A master's is also the necessary first ...

  21. PhD vs MD

    A MD is a Doctor of Medicine, whilst a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy. A MD program focuses on the application of medicine to diagnose and treat patients. A PhD program research focuses on research (in any field) to expand knowledge. Introduction. This article will outline the key differences between a MD and a PhD.

  22. How can one differentiate between Dr. (PhD) and Dr. (MD or DO)?

    3. While both have the title of "doctor," that is identifying the fact that they both have the same education level, a doctorate. The meaningful difference here is occupation: one might be a professor, the other a physician. To differentiate between the two you can use the actual doctorate type or the job title:

  23. EdD vs. PhD in Education: What is the Difference?

    A Doctor of Education (EdD) is a professional degree designed for practitioners pursuing educational leadership roles. A PhD in education, on the other hand, is designed to prepare graduates for research and teaching roles. "With a PhD, [students are] reviewing the research, seeing a gap in the literature, and generating new knowledge based ...

  24. She Just Earned Her Doctorate at 17. Now, She'll Go to the Prom

    Dorothy Jean Tillman II at Arizona State University's commencement in Tempe, Ariz., this month. Ms. Tillman earned her doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health from the school at age 17.

  25. The U.S. Is Making Marijuana a Schedule III Drug. Here's What That

    A new federal rule would reclassify marijuana as a less-dangerous, Schedule III drug. It's a significant shift, even as it does not legalize the drug. The classification of marijuana as one of ...

  26. Israel recalls envoys after Norway, Ireland and Spain recognize

    Hamas and the Palestinian Authority welcomed the plans for recognition. UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, said it paused food aid work in Rafah.

  27. Screening for Cervical Cancer

    Both tests can be done in a doctor's office or clinic. During the Pap test, the doctor will use a plastic or metal instrument, called a speculum, to look inside your vagina. This helps the doctor examine the vagina and the cervix, and collect a few cells and mucus from the cervix and the area around it. The cells are sent to a laboratory.