What’s the difference between a PhD and a doctorate? That’s a question that has bugged many people for long. Let’s look at it this way: What’s the difference between a medicine and a drug? What’s the difference between a bungalow and a house? What’s the difference between a Mercedes and a car? All those questions follow a general line of thought.

All medicines are drugs, but not all drugs are medicines. All bungalows are houses, but not all houses are bungalows. You get the drift. In the same way, all PhD’s are doctorates, but not all doctorates are PhD’s. So yes, all of them are rightfully titled “doctors”.

Difference between PhD’s and Doctorates

They are similar to some extent. Doctoral degrees are the peak point of learning in any field of study. If you complete a doctoral degree it’s your right to be called Doctor.

A PhD (doctor of philosophy) is a doctoral degree. It’s one of a number of types of doctoral degrees. What separated it from the rest is the primal focus and methods of study used. Consequently, there are many other types of degreed equivalent to PhD’s but not in essence PhD’s.

Doctorate vs PHD: What they Are

As stated, doctorates are the highest learning points in any field of study. The U.S. Department of Education’s International Affairs Office calls the Ph.D. and other research doctorates “the highest academic qualification” in American education. They are awarded to all fields. In the field of law, they are called Doctor of Law or Juris Doctor. In medicine you’ll hear them being referred to as M.D (Doctor of Medicine). Go to Business Administration, they are there (Doctor of Business Administration). Even in Dentistry, there is a doctorate, the Doctor of Dentistry, D.D.S. In the same way, there exists the Doctor of Philosophy, the PhD. The doctorate is a prestigious and hard-earned accomplishment. In fact, most universities require you to obtain one in order to qualify to become a lecturer.

A PhD is a type of doctorate. It’s a post graduate academic degree awarded for several subject areas. Contrary to popular belief, it does not only refer to the field of Philosophy. Where and how it is used depends on the country, region, time period, and the institution giving it. Take most parts of Europe for instance. There, all fields save for medicine, theology and law are categorized under philosophy. In places like Germany, the faculty of Liberal Arts is termed as the faculty of Philosophy. Of course, you get a PhD and you are automatically awarded the title ‘Doctor’. In order to qualify for a PhD, one has to have attained either Honors Degree or a Masters Degree. Whichever it is, it must come with a high academic standing. In addition, the PhD candidate submits a thesis or dissertation of an original academic research. The thesis/dissertation has to be worthy of a publication. Moreover, the candidate has to defend that work before an expert panel of examiners that is appointed by the university.

Getting the highest degree in a field of study comes with a certain level of intellectual satisfaction. If you’re going for a doctorate or a PhD, you’ll be constantly criticized, second-guessed and grilled about your analysis. When you complete one student seminar presentation, you’ll have at least ten more to go. It’s not going to be easy, but you’ll develop a good amount of mental toughness. You’ll come out more analytical, and can apply the skills to other spheres of your life. Of course, also get to enjoy being called “Dr.”

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