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Phd vs. Doctorate: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A PhD is a specific type of doctorate focusing on original research, theory, and knowledge creation, while a doctorate is an umbrella term for the highest degree in a field.
Phd vs. Doctorate

Key Differences

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a specific type of doctorate, generally focused on academic research and theoretical knowledge. PhD programs emphasize original contributions to a field of study. A doctorate, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses various highest-level degrees across disciplines, including professional and research-based doctorates.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
PhD studies are primarily research-oriented, requiring a dissertation based on original research and contributing new knowledge to the field. Doctorate degrees can be research-based like a PhD or practice-oriented, such as a Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), focusing on applying existing knowledge in professional settings.
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Nov 15, 2023
PhD graduates often pursue academic, research, or specialist roles in their field, emphasizing scholarly contributions. Doctorate holders may follow a wider range of career paths, including high-level professional roles, leadership positions, or academic careers, depending on the nature of their degree.
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PhD programs usually have longer durations due to the emphasis on comprehensive research and a dissertation. Doctorate degrees can vary in length and requirements, with some professional doctorates being shorter or more flexible, tailored to working professionals.
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PhDs are typically more specialized, focusing on a narrow area of study within a discipline. Doctorate degrees can be either highly specialized or more broad, depending on the program, such as professional doctorates which often cover broader aspects of a field.
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Comparison Chart

Focus

Original research and theory
Broad, including both research and practice
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Typical Outcome

Academic, research careers
Varied, including academic, professional, leadership roles
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Nature of Study

Research-oriented, requiring a dissertation
Can be research or practice-oriented, with varying requirements
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Duration

Typically longer due to research emphasis
Varies, often shorter for professional doctorates
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Specialization

Highly specialized in a specific area
Can be either specialized or broader, depending on the field
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Phd and Doctorate Definitions

Phd

A PhD is an advanced academic degree focused on original research and dissertation in a specific field.
She earned her PhD in astrophysics, exploring dark matter distributions in galaxies.
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Doctorate

A doctorate is the highest degree in a field, representing advanced knowledge and expertise.
He received his doctorate in clinical psychology, focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy.
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Phd

PhDs represent the highest academic achievement in a specific scholarly discipline.
After receiving his PhD in history, he published a groundbreaking book on medieval trade routes.
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Doctorate

A doctorate can be either research-based, like a PhD, or practice-oriented in various fields.
After completing her doctorate in education, she implemented innovative teaching methods in schools.
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Phd

A Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, is a doctorate emphasizing theoretical knowledge and research methodology.
His PhD in philosophy challenged conventional ethics in artificial intelligence.
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Doctorate

A doctorate degree often leads to advanced professional opportunities and leadership roles.
Her doctorate in public health played a crucial role in shaping her career as a health policy advisor.
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Phd

A PhD degree requires the creation of new knowledge through in-depth research and analysis.
Completing her PhD in marine biology, she contributed significant findings on coral reef ecosystems.
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Doctorate

Doctorate degrees encompass a wide range of disciplines, both academic and professional.
Her doctorate in law enabled her to become a prominent legal scholar.
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Phd

A PhD qualifies individuals to teach at the university level and conduct advanced research.
With her PhD in economics, she became a leading expert in macroeconomic policy.
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Doctorate

The degree or status of a doctor as conferred by a university.
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Oct 19, 2023

Phd

An American doctorate usually based on at least 3 years graduate study and a dissertation; the highest degree awarded by a graduate school
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Doctorate

The highest degree awarded by a university faculty.
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Doctorate

(archaic) To make (someone) into a doctor.
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Doctorate

The degree, title, or rank, of a doctor.
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Doctorate

To make (one) a doctor.
He was bred . . . in Oxford and there doctorated.
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Doctorate

One of the highest academic degrees conferred by a university
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Doctorate

Holding a doctorate signifies a high level of proficiency and authority in a specific area.
With his doctorate in business administration, he led major corporate transformations.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is a PhD higher than a doctorate?

No, a PhD is a type of doctorate, not higher or lower.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What is a doctorate?

A doctorate is the highest degree in a field, encompassing both academic and professional degrees.
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How long is a doctorate program?

Doctorate programs vary, ranging from 3 years to over 7, depending on the discipline and degree type.
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What careers do PhD graduates pursue?

PhD graduates often pursue academic, research, and specialized professional roles.
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What careers do doctorate holders pursue?

Doctorate holders pursue varied careers including academia, high-level professional roles, and leadership positions.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What is a PhD?

A PhD is a specific type of doctorate focusing on original research in a particular field.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can you teach with any doctorate?

This depends on the field and institution; some professional doctorates also lead to teaching roles.
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Is a dissertation required for a PhD?

Yes, a dissertation based on original research is a key requirement for a PhD.
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Can anyone apply for a PhD?

Applicants typically need a relevant master’s degree or equivalent to apply for a PhD.
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How long does a PhD take?

Typically, a PhD takes 3-7 years, depending on the field and research scope.
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Can you teach with a PhD?

Yes, a PhD qualifies individuals to teach at university level.
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What's the focus of a PhD?

The focus of a PhD is on conducting original research and contributing new knowledge to a field.
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What's the focus of a doctorate?

Doctorates focus on advanced study and expertise in a field, which can be either academic or professional.
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What is a PhD candidate?

A PhD candidate is a student who has completed coursework and is working on their dissertation.
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Do doctorates always work in academia?

Doctorate holders work in various fields, including academia, industry, and leadership roles.
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Is funding available for PhDs?

Many PhD programs offer funding through scholarships, grants, or teaching assignments.
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Is a dissertation required for all doctorates?

Not always; some professional doctorates may require a project or practical application instead.
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Do PhDs always work in academia?

Not necessarily; PhDs also work in industry, research organizations, and government.
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Is funding available for doctorates?

Funding availability varies widely among doctorate programs and disciplines.
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Can anyone apply for a doctorate?

Doctorate programs often require a master’s degree or equivalent, but requirements vary by program.
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What is a doctorate candidate?

A doctorate candidate is a student who has met the coursework requirements and is completing their final project or dissertation.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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