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Home Doctorate What Is A Doctoral Degree? - A Complete Guide to Doctorate Degree

What Is A Doctoral Degree? - A Complete Guide to Doctorate Degree

Apr 23, 2024 1.2K Reads

Have you pursued your master’s degree and looking to get ahead in your career? Then, you should be reading this blog. In this blog, we will cover everything about doctoral degrees, what are the top streams to pursue a doctorate.  Also, we will dig deeper to know about many more aspects related to doctorate degrees. 

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UGC NET 2024 starts its registration for the entrance exam and shares the details of eligibility, fees, and other criteria related to the entrance exam of UGC NET 2024 in the latest notice of NTAclick here for the more detailes.

Now, graduates with four-year undergraduate degrees can apply for a PhD program directly via UGC-NET ( National Eligibility Test), click here to know more details.

What is a Doctorate Degree?

Doctorate degrees are the highest degree of education which is offered to the candidates after the completion of the post-graduation. The doctorate program can be pursued in various streams and specialisations. Doctorate degrees can be offered to the students only after the successful completion and publishing of the thesis. They are highly focused on creating something unique and innovative that is relevant to the industry and society. Also Available | Pre Doctoral Program!

3 Years Doctorate Programs In Online mode? || Is it a valid option

After the completion of the doctorate program, students get the title of Dr. as a prefix to their name. This is a three to five-year program that can pursued on-campus or in online mode. The mode of education varies for different universities. The students must check the eligibility criteria before applying to the doctorate programs. Many public, and private universities and institutes offer Doctorate programs in science, commerce, and arts & humanities field.

Two Types of Doctorate Degrees?

The students mostly enrol in two types of doctorate degrees, one that is more research-oriented and the other that is a practical application-based degree. Here is a simple explanation of and difference between 

  • Professional Doctorate
  • PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

What is a Professional Doctorate?

The professional doctorate is specially designed for working executives who are eager to learn the in-depth concepts that can help them get better in industry roles and make them ready to take high positions and job roles. The students pursue professional doctorates online as well as on-campus mode. There are various universities where you can get the specialisation that aligns with your career field. 

Top Professional Doctorate degree for the working professionals are-

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Online

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Doctor of Professional Studies – Instructional Design Leadership

Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA.)

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Doctor of Hebrew Letters (DHL)

Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD, SJD)

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Doctor of Music Education (DME)

Doctor of Finance (DPH)

Doctor of Modern Languages (DML)

Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)

Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc)

Doctor of Arts (DA)

Doctor of Public Health (DPH)

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)

Doctor of Canon Law (JCD)

Doctor of Science (DSc, ScD)

Doctor of Design (DDes)

Doctor of Theology (ThD)

Doctor of Engineering or Engineering Science (DEng, DESc, DES)


Apart from this professional doctorate, there are many more. You can check the top universities that offer doctorate programs and opt for one as per your eligibility criteria. 

Duration of the professional doctorate program

Usually, the professional doctorate can be pursued within 3 to 5 years, but that completely depends on the thesis's final review & submission. It depends on your on-time submissions of the assignments, reports and case studies reports. The duration can vary depending on the specialisation opted. 

What are the benefits of pursuing a professional doctorate?

It is an amazing option for students who are willing to advance their skills in their respective study fields. Their work experience helps them to understand the concepts taught in the doctorate program better. Here are the top benefits of enrolling in a professional doctorate.

  • You will learn the advanced skills and career opportunities that are essential for getting a senior-level position in your sector.
  • There will be various opportunities waiting for you after completion of the professional doctorate.
  • These degrees equip the students with a perfect balance of understanding both theoretical concepts and later using these concepts at the market level on practical ground. 
  • Most of the working professionals feel stuck in their current job role and lag the growth. This doctorate program can help you get a career trajectory by getting a solid grip on the concepts and their application on the practical ground. 

What are the eligibility criteria to enrol in the professional doctorate?

The candidates have to meet some basic eligibility criteria to get into the professional doctorate program. However, the eligibility may vary depending on the type of program chosen and the university selected. 

  • Candidates having master’s degrees from a recognised institute can enrol.
  • Students with bachelor’s degrees can also apply but only with the required work experience. 
  • The years of work experience requirement varies for every institute. 

Top Colleges and Universities to Pursue Professional Doctorate

Such courses are offered by foreign universities and are recognised globally including India. Some Top Institutes offering professional doctorates are

  • Golden Gate University
  • Wilmington University
  • Liberty University
  • Swiss School of Business and Management
  • University of Missouri
  • Rushford Business School
  • Columbia Southern University
  • William Howard Taft University
  • George Fox University
  • Florida International University
  • Johnson & Wales University

What is a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)?

It is a research-oriented degree program and is considered to be the highest academic degree. It is abbreviated as PhD which means Doctor of Philosophy. It is essential to create an original and innovative research program that can help in expanding the boundaries of the subject knowledge. The student can become a university professor, scientist, or researcher in the relevant field after the completion of the PhD. The students have to complete the master's degree to enrol in the PhD program. However, this eligibility factor varies for different institutes and course fields. 

Doctoral Program (Working Professionals)

PhD for Working Professionals

PhD Online?

Distance PhD?

Part-Time PhD

Many students get confused after looking at the expanded form of PhD that says Doctor of Philosophy. The philosophy word here does not refer to any subject. PhD is the abbreviation of the Latin term (Ph)ilosophiae (D)octor. Here Philosophy's original Greek meaning is the “lover of wisdom”. 

PhD Courses List




  • Ph.D. Yoga
  • Ph.D. Soil Sci. & Agri. Chem.
  • Ph.D. Geoinformatics
  • Ph.D. Remote Sensing
  • PhD (chemistry)
  • PhD (Mathematics)
  • PhD (Computer Applications)
  • PhD (Physics)
  • PhD (Biotechnology)
  • PhD (Zoology)


  • Ph.D. Fine Arts
  • Ph.D. Humanities & Social Sci.
  • PhD (English)


  • PhD (Pathology)


  • PhD Pharmacy
  • PhD (Nursing)


  • PhD (civil engineering)
  • PhD (electrical engineering)
  • PhD (Architecture)


  • PhD (Design)
  • PhD (fashion design)


  • PhD (Management Studies)
  • PhD (Business Administration)


  • PhD (Agriculture)
  • PhD (Agronomy)


  • PhD (Commerce)
  • PhD (statistics)

Mass communications

  • PhD (Journalism and mass communication)
  • PhD (mass communication)


  • PhD (Law)
  • PhD (LL.D)

Veterinary sciences

  • PhD (Veterinary Science)
  • PhD (Veterinary Parasitology)


  • PhD (Education)
  • PhD (physical education)


  • PhD (Dental Sciences)
  • PhD (Orthodontics)

Hotel management

  • PhD (Hospitality)

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for the PhD?

There are some strict eligibility criteria that students have to fulfil to get into any PhD program. Some of them are-

  • The candidate must have pursued a master’s degree from a recognised institute with a minimum of 55% marks or equivalent. 
  • They must pass the entrance examination like NET/CSIR/ or other university entrance examinations.

Duration of the PhD

The PhD is 5 to 7 years long, and it can extend even further. The focus of PhD is to create freshly brewed and unique research work. That sometimes becomes so time-consuming and takes longer than expected. They focus on expanding the boundaries of the subject knowledge by doing various research and studying various case studies that lead to delay.

Top Colleges and Universities to Pursue PhD in India

Indian Institute of Science

Delhi Technological University

Anna University

Manipal Academy of Higher Education

Amity University

National Institute of Technology

Aligarh Muslim University

Lovely Professional University

University of Delhi

Jamia Millia Islamia

Birla Institute of Technology and Science

Jawaharlal Nehru University

Banaras Hindu University

Amrita University

Alagappa University

Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT)

Indian Institute of Technology

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)

zJamia Hamdard


The curriculum of the Doctorate Program

The syllabus and the concepts taught in both types of doctorate remain the same. The candidate gets to know the inside out of the whole concept, followed by creating innovative research work. The course curriculum varies for research-based doctorate programs and professional doctorates only because the latter has an in-depth understanding of the application of theoretical concepts. This gives an upper hand to the professionals to get better job and career opportunities. The rest curriculum remains the same for both. The Research work is the most crucial part of the doctoral program. Your doctorate can not be accomplished without this. The research topic has to be original and well-structured. In a professional degree, students have to do industry-relevant research. 

There lies a big confusion about which doctorate program to opt for, research Ph.D. or the professional doctorate program. The answer is simple and depends only on you. Candidates with a knack for getting into the research field can opt a research-based PhD, while the candidates who are working professionals and looking to upskill their existing knowledge can get into professional degree programs that can be done online, as well in regular mode. Both of them are valid for all types of job roles and carry equal status and recognition globally.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Yes, both are equivalent are the highest academic degrees and are globally recognised. The only difference between these two is that a PhD is an academic degree, more about research while a doctorate degree is both an academic and professional degree.

Both are equivalent and carry equal

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