A traditional Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) is different from a professional doctorate degree. In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the two and show you the differences.
Before we tell you the differences, we’ll explain the two for you. A doctorate refers to the highest degree obtainable in a university. It is the highest degree awarded in a university. A PhD is a kind of doctorate. All holders of doctoral degrees are considered experts in their field and they are allowed to use the title ‘doctor.’
Here are the differences between them.
A PhD has an academic focus. PhD students are heavily into research and they are tasked with creating new knowledge in their academic fields of study. Professional doctorate degrees are also tasked with creating new knowledge. But, they are intended to create knowledge that advances professional practices rather than the academics. So, a PhD is academically focused while a professional doctorate degree is focused on professional practice.
2. Degree awarded:
PhD holders are awarded Doctor of Philosophy degrees while professional doctorate degree holders are awarded degrees like EdD (Doctor of Education) or DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) and others.
A PhD is designed for students that want to create new knowledge in an academic field, explore theory and start a career in the academics. Professional doctorate degrees are designed for those that want to advance their professional career.
The research undertaken for a Ph.D. program is focused on contributing research findings to a field of study or an academic community. The research work for a professional doctorate degree involves looking at existing knowledge and finding new ways to apply knowledge and theories to real-world settings.
5. Career path:
Most Ph.D. holders go on to become lecturers and professors in an academic setting while most professional doctorate degree holders go on to become working professionals in companies and industries.
Both PhD and professional doctorate degree holders have the title ‘Doctor.’ Both can publish and submit papers for academic conferences. A lot of DBA holders are well accomplished in their fields and can hold their own anywhere. Professional doctorate degrees are not inferior to PhDs in any way. Their differences do not make anyone superior to another one.
Both are earned after a period of three or more years of graduate work. They are both research-oriented. Both degrees can be earned online. There are several schools that now offer online PhD degrees and online professional doctorate degrees.