PhD vs Doctorate: What is the Difference Between Doctoral And PhD Degree?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

PhD vs Doctorate: If you looking forward to pursuing a doctoral degree there are two options PhD Vs Doctorate. However, the question of the difference between a doctorate and PhD might get confusing sometimes. You can choose between a PhD degree and a professional doctorate in many fields of study. For example, you can choose to earn a degree of PhD in Education or a Doctor of Education (EdD). PhD is considered to be a doctor. the title of ‘Doctor’ goes both to the one who has pursued PhD as well as to the one with a professional doctorate like an EdD. However, there are still a lot of differences between PhD vs Doctorate.

Scroll down the full article to understand the various factors of PhD vs Doctorate in terms of Professionalism, Study Requirements, the type of study, Earning, and much more. 

PhD Vs Doctorate: Are They Both Same?

There has been a lot of misconception about the PhD and Doctorate being the same. They are both considered the highest degrees in the fields they pursued their Phd or Doctorate, enhancing the student’s knowledge in the certain field. This both help enhance the career opportunities for the students and help them earn more. Check Phd Salary for clarity about the earnings.

A PhD degree is based focused on academics and based on data analysis, original research, and the evaluation of the theory of their field. However, the professional doctorate focuses more on applying research to formulate the solution to complex issues, solving practical problems, etc. There is no competition in the level of degree in PhD Vs Doctorate.

Check the various PhD Admission process in India.

What Is The Difference Between PhD And Doctorate?

There are a lot of differences between a PhD degree and a Doctorate Degree, with the similarity that they both are considered to be doctoral degrees. The candidates must choose these degrees based on the goals and careers they want to attain. Check the table given below to acknowledge the difference between the Doctorate and PhD Degree.

Key Areas


Professional Doctorate


Advance the field through theoretical research

Construct new knowledge or theories

Advance the field through applying an existing body of knowledge, research, and theory

Enrich your knowledge base and research skills


Conduct theoretical research


Seek a tenured academic position in higher education

Practice in the field and advance to leadership


Teach in higher education institutions

Student Population Those seeking theoretical research experience Those seeking to solve practical problems in their field
Admission Requirements Master’s degree Master’s degree
Assessment Dissertation Field-related doctoral study

Check the various PhD Entrance Exam conducted in India.

Study Requirements For Doctorate And Dissertation

The study requirements for PhD and a Doctorate vary on a lot of factors. PhD Degrees are usually based on the completion of a Dissertation. Check the information below to understand the different pointers for differences in the study requirements for both degrees. Check PhD Eligibility for more clarity.

Doctoral Degree Study Requirements

Gaining the Doctoral Degree requires the following steps on completion of the study-

  • The students must create a proposal describing the problem they want to solve, the design of their study, and the methodology they’ll use.
  • The students are expected to defend their proposal orally to the committee.
  • Collection of data
  • Write your findings
  • Explain your finding to the committee orally.

Study Requirements For Dissertation For PhD

Completion of the dissertation includes multiple steps as-

  • Drafting of a dissertation prospectus
  • Orally defending your dissertation proposal to the committee.
  • Writing the research dissertation includes your research methods, findings, reviews, and conclusions.
  • Completion of the research you are working on.
  • Explain your completed dissertation to a committee.

Check the various PhD Scholarship by different departments of government to promote research work in the respective fields.

Things Learned When Studying For a PhD Vs Doctorate?

The doctorate and PhD degrees are considered the highest level of knowledge that one can attain in their fields. A PhD course program can help you learn the following things-

  • Analyzing the concept and theories of your field.
  • Evaluate the relevance current situation and knowledge about your field.
  • Growing advanced knowledge about their fields.
  • Researching various aspects of your field.

A professional doctorate program can help you learn the following things-

  • Evaluating the theories and practices in your field.
  • Effectiveness in finding various effective solutions to practical problems.
  • Effective Practical knowledge in their field
  • Effective designing of Research that contributes to expanding the knowledge in the field.

Can A Phd Degree Holder be Called a Doctor?

This is one of the most debatable topics in the field of education. There are two sides to the argument. As the PhD full form suggests the PhD holder can add a Dr. prefix with their name. They are the expert in their field and must be treated with high regard. Those who are against it will argue that there are Doctors of Musical Arts (DMA) should we call them doctors. There is a debate going on that female Phd degree holders should be called doctors as they are experts in their field.

There is no single answer to can a PhD holder be called a Doctor question. One can use the Dr. in their name if they have PhD if you want to avoid it you can focus on your expertise.

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