When is a 'PhD' not a PhD? When it's a DPhil, DBA, EdD or other type of doctorate.
The traditional PhD (or 'Doctor of Philosophy') is the best-known advanced research qualification, but several other varieties of doctoral degree exist. Some of these are academic qualifications in specific subject areas. Others are professional doctorates with a slightly different format.
But there's no need to be confused. This page explains and compares the options available to you.
Need to balance PhD research with other commitments? Our guide introduces the process of studying a part-time PhD.Read more
Wondering which type of doctorate is right for you? The following table offers a quick overview of the most common types of PhD and other doctorates:
|PhD / DPhil||Doctor of Philosophy||All||Academic|
|DBA||Doctor of Business Administration||Business and Management||Professional|
|EngD / PhD (Eng)||Doctor of Engineering||Engineering||Professional|
|EdD / D.Ed||Doctor of Education||Education||Professional|
|DSocSci||Doctor of Social Science||Social Sciences||Professional|
|DProf||Doctor of Professional Studies||All||Professional|
|DArch||Doctor of Architecture||Architecture||Professional|
|MD||Doctor of Medicine||Medicine and Health Sciences||Professional / Higher|
|Th.D||Doctor of Theology||Theology and Religious Studies||Academic|
|DD / DDiv||Doctor of Divinity||Theology and Religious Studies||Higher / Honorary|
|Dsc / ScD||Doctor of Science||Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)||Higher / Honorary|
|DLitt / LitD||Doctor of Science||Arts and Humanities||Higher / Honorary|
‘DPhil’ and ‘PhD’ are simply two different ways of referring to the same kind of doctoral research degree – namely, the Doctor of Philosophy. Most universities around the world use the term ‘PhD’, but a few UK universities award DPhils (most notably, the University of Oxford).
The doctorates in the above table are divided into different types, as follows:
As a prospective postgraduate student, you only really need to concern yourself with academic or professional research degrees.
We've included higher and honorary doctorates here in order to try and prevent them being confused with more 'conventional' PhDs (and to give you some inspiration for later in your career!).