Doctor of Philosophy

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The Doctor of Philosophy, (PhD, Ph.D., DPhil or D.Phil.) is a degree a person gets from a university by finishing a doctorate program. In many areas of study, the PhD/DPhil is the highest degree that a person can earn (this is called the "terminal degree"). There are PhD/DPhil degrees for many different fields, such as PhDs/DPhils in literature, philosophy, history, science, mathematics, and engineering. Some PhD/DPhil degrees have existed for hundreds of years, such as the PhD/DPhil in Canon Law. Other PhD/DPhil degrees were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the PhD/DPhil in Women's Studies.

Requirements for degree[change | change source]

To be admitted to a PhD/DPhil program, a person usually has to have completed a Master's degree that is related to the PhD/DPhil degree. For example, a person applying to be admitted to a PhD/DPhil degree in Theater would normally have to have a Master's degree such as a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Theater, English Literature, or a related area.

Elements of a PhD/DPhil degree[change | change source]

The PhD/DPhil degree usually takes between three to six years of full time study to complete after a Master's degree. Many PhD/DPhil degrees begin with a period of graduate courses. After the PhD/DPhil student has passed a series of examinations called "comprehensive exams", they begin to do research for a long original research report called a dissertation (or a "thesis"). Many PhD/DPhil degrees also require students to pass exams in languages (such as French, German, or other languages). Most PhD/DPhil students teach undergraduate students or assist professors with research during their PhD/DPhil studies.

As a requirement for university teaching[change | change source]

A PhD/DPhil is required to become a university professor in many fields, such as English Literature, Economics, History, and Biology. In some fields, there is no PhD/DPhil, and so another degree is required to become a university professor. For example, the highest degree in Fine Arts fields such as printmaking or graphic design is the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. A person with an MFA degree can become a university professor in some Fine Arts fields.

Other websites[change | change source]