Uni Compare  · Nov 19th 2021

The Doctorate degree may be essential for anyone that is trying to become a doctor, but does it have any other application outside of that?


A doctorate degree is a postgraduate qualification that focuses on presentation of research and qualifiying the research.

Doctorate degree

What is a doctorate degree?

To define doctorate, it is a postgraduate qualification at the highest level of academic excellence. An example would be that a PhD qualification is a type of doctorate degree. Once completed, candidates can be referred to as ‘Doctor’ as a title.

It is awarded after an individual produces an extensive piece of research and presented it via a thesis or dissertation under the guidance of a university.

There is little or no taught element to this type of degree, with a doctorate student typically being mentored by one or more supervisors at a university during their studies. Candidates will be assigned mentors to benefit them during the three to seven years of research they undergo in a particular field.

Some may wonder what is the easiest doctorate to obtain? Technically this could be seen as the honorary degree because you don’t have to produce ‘any research’ to obtain them.

What does doctorate mean?

A PhD doctorate is the name of the qualification, like a Masters degree or a Bachelor’s degree. This is the same level as a PhD. The same can be said for anyone wondering ‘what is a post-doctorate?’ which is the American equivalent.

It doesn’t matter whether candidates are wondering ‘what is a doctorate degree in psychology or media’, because they all hold the same weight as a postgraduate qualification.

How do you get a doctorate?

Now you know what it is, how to get a doctorate? This depends on whether you want to study a clinical psychology doctorate UK degree part-time, or a counselling psychology doctorate degree full-time, as an example. Students will produce a piece of original research in a particular field in the form of a thesis - which is a dissertation that is between 60,000 and 100,000 words.

Candidates will need to apply to individual universities themselves through a research proposal which outlines what topics they want to explore and what they want to investigate or analyse. They also need to decide if they want to fund their own studies, or find out what grants, studentships and scholarships are available.

How long does it take to get a doctorate degree?

This depends on whether you are studying full-time or part-time as most degrees can be available in either option, even for engineering doctorate degrees or a doctorate in education. Full-time tends to take three years and part-time can be up to seven years. Although this can change depending on your workflow and the university.

Uni Doctorate degree

What can you get a doctorate in?

One of the best things about studying this type of qualification, is that there is no limit in what subjects it is available in, from a doctorate in educational psychology to a doctorate in forensic psychology. Doctorate degrees appear in all subjects because they’re based on the original and specific research questions an individual focuses on.

So, what can you do with a doctorate in nursing and what can you do with a doctorate in psychology, if this is the case? A nursing doctorate degree will allow the candidate to progress in their career or specialise in a particular field of medicine or care, and the same can be said for psychology.

Your chosen research should be something you are passionate about and in an area you are comfortable exploring or hold relevant experience with.

What is the difference between a PhD and a doctorate?

If we consider doctorate vs PhD or the question ‘is a doctorate a PhD’?, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two. A PhD is a common type of doctorate, called a Doctor of Philosophy qualification, which someone is awarded once they complete research in a particular field that offers a true and new contribution. Whereas, a doctorate is the umbrella term used to describe degrees of of the highest level of academia.

There are other types of doctorate degrees that are titled differently for specific subjects, these include: Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Masters by Research (MbyRes), Engineering doctorate (EngD), Master of Surgery (MS) or Doctor of Medicine (MD). Candidates on other courses at this level will walk away with the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD), as mentioned above.

To define doctorate, it is a postgraduate qualification at the highest level of academic excellence.

What is PhD by publication?

First, we have the PhD by publication which involves a candidate submitting previously published work, like books, chapters or journal articles, which form a body of work when formed together. It will show evidence of an original contribution within that field and is usually taken on by mid-career academics who haven’t had the opportunity to undertake a standard doctorate degree. Generally, between five and eight published pieces of work are required to be included, but this amount can vary depending on the university and the length of each individual piece.

Even though they are previously published, they will still be assessed to the same standards as traditional PhD degrees that have a thesis.

Candidates looking to obtain a doctorate degree this way will have to write a supporting statement, from 5,000 and 20,000 words, to present the work to the academic committee. A supervisor can assist them on selecting what publications to include and with writing the supporting statement.

Some institutions only accept their own graduates for a PhD by publication, while others restrict it to their own academic staff. It’s best to check with your chosen university beforehand.

What is a PhD by professional practice?

PhD by professional practice is another type of degree, designed for individuals who are established professionals and creatives in any discipline. A candidate will complete a portfolio of publications, taking between two and four years full or part-time, or up to six years if they are still working on their portfolio.

University Doctorate degree

What is a professional doctorate?

This type of qualification is mostly geared for current professionals in vocational sectors, like, teaching and education, healthcare, engineering and manufacturing. A professional doctorate UK degree includes a taught component and a smaller research project, making it different to other doctorates which tend to rely solely on research.

They are commonly undertaken part-time and can take between two to eight years. Although they won’t help you get an academic job (due to the smaller amount of research included), but the research will still contribute to theoretical perspectives in that particular field. Some projects can revolve around real-life issues or topics that occur in professional or work life.

Some professional doctorates are accredited by professional bodies, like the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) and the Biritsh Psychological Society (BPS), and the doctorate in clinical psychology.

This is the same for others, like:

  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - this is typically offered as a full-time course, and aimed at young engineering graduates with little or no professional experience

What is an honorary doctorate degree?

An honorary doctorate degree is an academic qualification that a university awards someone who hasn’t essentially ‘completed the work’. The institution waives the residence, dissertation and exams that a student would normally do, to offer an individual with an honorary degree instead. It’s a great achievement and a sign of recognition, however, it is not a ‘real’ degree.

What can you do with an honorary doctorate?

There isn’t a lot you can do but it’s typically awarded to those who have contributed work into a particular field or who have significant professional experience instead of the academic kind. It’s more of a sign of appreciation and recognition over a qualification with any value or weight to it.

They do not come in all subjects, but the individual university will choose the type of honorary degree they would like to issue. For example, a health psychology doctorate degree would not be awarded as this is a ‘real’ degree that requires research and hard work like any other PhD, but an honorary degree with a similar title may be awarded to someone with professional experience instead.

What is a doctorate of humane letters? This is also usually awarded as an honorary degree, typically given to students who have distinguished themselves in other areas other than government, science, religion or literature, (which possess their own doctorate titles).

Some may wonder what is the easiest doctorate to obtain? Technically this could be seen as the honorary degree because you don’t have to produce ‘any research’ to obtain them. But, they are also not handed out to everyone or consistently, so they’re not that easy to achieve realistically. Celebrities, world thinkers, and professionals tend to receive honorary degrees.


Why do a doctorate?

Before you question ‘how do you get a doctorate in psychology?’ why not ask why you want to undertake one? There are so many different subjects available because the areas of research you can delve into are endless. There are thousands of possibilities into what research you can begin, whether it’s in an educational psychology doctorate or a doctorate in counselling psychology.

When thinking about taking on this degree, work out why you want to study the highest level of academia. Do you want to become an expert in your field, or is there a particular research area that you want to sink your teeth into?

Once you achieve a doctorate degree you:

  • Understand and acquire a substantial amount of knowledge at the forefront of your subject, discipline and area
  • Implement and design a project to accommodate new knowledge or insight
  • Create or interpret new knowledge, either through original research or through other secondary research in the field
  • Conduct research produced often is worthy of publication
  • Build a thorough understanding of conducting research, it’s techniques and how to put together these results

For most candidates, they choose to take on a doctorate if they want to work in academia, become a research fellow, lecturer or be perceived as someone who reached a high level in their chosen field.

Once you complete this degree you should feel extremely proud of the extensive amount of work you have done. Whether you achieved a UCL clinical psychology doctorate or a doctorate in engineering, it’s an incredibly feat.

Doctorate degrees appear in all subjects because they’re based on the original and specific research questions an individual focuses on.

What is the doctorate extension scheme?

The doctorate extension scheme enables international students who obtain a doctorate at a UK university to extend their visa in order to have more time to find work. This is for Tier 4 students who want to secure a placement with a Tier 2 employer, or want to explore setting up as an entrepreneur or to conduct work experience within a chosen field.

The Tier 4 doctorate extension scheme is eligible for individuals who hold a valid Tier 4 visa for PhD studies at a university that has sponsored them. Candidates usually have to apply for a new Tier 4 visa application before they complete their PhD studies, in order to continue on with the extension scheme. In most cases, the doctorate extension scheme (DES) is granted for a period of 12 months from the expected completion date of your PhD. As an example, if you expect to finish your degree in July, the DES will last until the following July.

To apply for this, eligible international students should speak with their university and supervisor to understand the process of the application.

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