Ph.D. or a Doctorate?

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Choosing between a Ph.D. or a Doctorate isn’t something most people would understand at first thought. I mean, some would question if there is any difference between the two, and with good reason too. Is there any difference between the two academic honours? What are the merits and demerits of achieving either of the academic honours? Can one answer both? etc.

There are so many questions that need to be answered, but where do we find the answers? Who do we go to? Is there any article, research paper, thesis, blog post, or even Twitter thread on the subject matter? I could go on and on with questions that seemingly have no answers, but that will get us nowhere.

So what do we do? How do we approach this in a way that choosing either a Ph.D.or a Doctorate would come from a place of knowledge? I will order a solution, and it’s pretty simple. I suggest you read this article. Seriously, that’s my solution. I’m very sure your questions will be answered and more.

How do I start? Well, it’s pretty obvious, to choose a Ph.D. or a Doctorate, to know their differences and similarities, we will start at their definitions and origins.

Definitions and Origins

Ph.D. or a Doctorate

Definitions of the Ph.D. and the Doctorate

In order for us to choose either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate, we will simply define them, to make it easy for readers who may have challenges with ambiguous vocabulary.

Ph.D. – an academic degree focused on authentic research and analysis to expand the knowledge base in a particular field of expertise.

Doctorate – a professional degree focused on the application of theories, thesis, research, and analysis taken and recorded in a field of expertise, to solve problems and create effective designs that will improve work in one’s field.

Based on the definitions above, the following can be derived;

  1. Choosing a Ph.D. or a Doctorate clearly shows your intended destination, whether it be the academic side or professional side.
  2. Choosing a Ph.D. or a Doctorate will still lead to one earning a higher degree, that is, after the master’s degree.
  3. Ph.D. holders seem to have a limited scope of opportunities compared to Doctorate holders because their qualifications are academic and not practical or professionally based.
  4. Ph.D. holders create the theories and formulations which Doctorate holders use in solving the complex issues that they work on in the field.
  5. The two have to work in tandem as Doctorate holders must use theories proposed by Ph.D. holders, while the latter must create principles that will work when applied by those who hold a Doctorate.

In all, the two degrees can be seen to be very similar, even in all their differences. None is more important than the other and holders of both degrees have equally important roles to play in the development of society.

Origin of the Ph.D. and the Doctorate

The doctoral degree originated in the ninth-century schools of the Muslim world before spreading to European universities. Originally awarded in the professions of law, medicine, and theology, the Doctor of Philosophy became the designation for doctoral degrees in disciplines outside of these fields. The first Ph.D. was awarded in Paris in 1150, but it was the early 1800s before the degree gained its contemporary status as the highest academic honor.

Coined from You can read up the very extensive study on the history of the doctoral degree from the site.

When choosing a Ph.D. or a Doctorate, from the little piece of history above, it is evident that the Doctorate was the degree first awarded.  It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Ph.D. was first granted in Germany.

Over the years, the degrees have taken on various forms and titles, and now, are offered in almost every academic field possible. This has made the choice

If you are being duly informed and enjoy this piece, you can read more here from us at Startskool.

Differences to note when choosing a Ph.D. or a Doctorate

There are obvious differences that would come to one quickly, while some will have to be researched before they are made clear. We shall look at these differences in order to clearly draw a line between the two.

  • A Ph.D. is an academic-based degree focusing on original research, while a Doctorate is an application-based degree focusing on developing practical skills needed in a field of expertise.
  • Ph.D. holders work on expanding the body of knowledge in their field, while Doctorate holders utilise the knowledge in their fields to solve practical problems they are faced with.
  • In most cases, Ph.D. students are required to complete a dissertation, while Doctorate students are required to complete a doctoral study.
  • Most Ph.D. graduates seek opportunities and careers in academia, while those with Doctorate degrees will seek out such opportunities in professional fields etc.

There are so many more differences between these types of degrees. I will leave you with this picture from on some of the differences you need to remember when choosing either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate.

Ph.D. or a Doctorate

Advantages of obtaining either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate

Ph.D. or a Doctorate

There are obvious perks that come with gaining either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate degree. We shall now look at them, and try to find any that may not be as clear.

Pros of gaining a Ph.D.

  1. You can now answer Dr. as a title (assuming you like that kind of thing, petty much? 😅. Just joking.).
  2. You will seriously develop mentally. Your mentality to work will drastically change after the grilling and criticism you will face from senior colleagues and professors.
  3. The recognition that comes with obtaining a Ph.D. can’t be underestimated here. You will be highly respected in the world of academia, especially by individuals within your field.
  4. It positions you for the top jobs and positions possibly on offer in the academic setting. Rectors, Vice-Chancellors, Deans, and other senior positions within a school’s administration are reserved for Ph.D. holders. It is expected that they are truly competent enough to handle the responsibilities with swiftness and critical assertion.
  5. For people who have life goals, obtaining a Ph.D. must be a very high achievement. You have completed the most grueling pursuit in academics. That takes some doing. Kudos!

For more on the Ph.D., refer to this article by

Pros of obtaining a Doctorate

  1. You gain enhanced skills for productively solving issues and problems in your place of work. Due to its practical-inclined nature, the skills you gain from completing this degree will go a very long way in helping you make great strides in the industry.
  2. The vast number of jobs you are exposed to is very large. As a Doctorate holder, you have the entire professional world at your feet. Your skills are in high demand. Companies and organisations are looking for your skillset. Your marketability increases exponentially.
  3. Your average annual wage will skyrocket. You can now command a very impressive salary in your field, especially if you work in a very lucrative field like engineering, medicine, or finance.
  4. You will be able to create an expanded professional network as colleagues and other acquaintances who have similar or same ambitions as you will make great partners moving forward.

With these, you can now see that whether it’s a Ph.D. or a Doctorate that you choose, there are a plethora of benefits waiting for you.

Institutions offering either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate

To round off, I will link you to some institutions where you can take on doctoral studies. Note that some of these institutions offer part-time courses, full-time programmes, online-only degrees, or in-person-only degrees. Finding what suits you is well and truly up to you, your tastes, and your budget.

1. UoP (University of People)

A completely online university that is 100% tuition-free, making access to quality education possible for everybody willing to undergo a programme. A comprehensive l8st of doctoral programmes they have on offer is made available on their site.

2. AIU (Atlantic International University.)

The school offers programmes for awards such as DBA, DSc, and Ph.D. It also offers a unique online learning experience.

3. Liberty University

4. Athabasca University

This Canadian university offers the chance to study for either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate.

5. Columbia GSAS


These are just 5 of the hundreds of institutions that have a Ph.D. or a Doctorate on offer.

The institutions mentioned above are gotten by pure, random selection. This is not a ranking nor an endorsement.

That’s it, folks, we have gone through m extensive research to bring this to you and we hope you found it very informative. We appreciate you for taking the time to read this piece.

Knowing that just has been done to this very unfriendly yet important topic, I wish to sound a clear word of caution to all seeking to offer either a Ph.D. or a Doctorate. If you do not succeed the first time, never give up. Doctoral studies aren’t an easy ride over. Dedication, consistency, and grit must be mixed to create a successful doctoral study. Pursue your choice with every once of seriousness in you. You owe it to yourself to become successful in your programme.

So choose wisely, a Ph.D. or a Doctorate. The choice is yours, and good luck on your path the success.

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