Differences between PHD and doctorate

06 Nov 2021

Many students think that PHD and doctorate are the same thing, but in reality there are some differences between these two postgraduate studies.

What does PHD stand for?

PHD is the abbreviation for Philosophie Doctor which means Doctor of Philosophy. It is therefore a type of doctorate in original research that is achieved by defending a thesis that documents the research and development of the topic you have chosen to study. Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that it can cover all kinds of subjects: from scientific disciplines to more social ones.

While it is true that all doctorates require extensive research, similar course hours and a doctoral thesis, the purpose of a PHD is an academic or research career that is often oriented towards the teaching profession.

What does a doctorate mean?

In contrast, most other doctoral degrees are oriented towards a profession outside the university or research environment. For example, lawyers are usually required to have a J.D. or doctors an M.D.

Therefore, in certain settings, the term PHD or doctorate is used interchangeably, as a PHD is a type of doctorate. However, it is important to note that not all doctorates belong to PHD. In any case, it is the highest academic degree available at university level and therefore requires a lot of dedication. It usually takes between 4 and 10 years to obtain it.

What are the admissions procedures for both systems?

Although there are some differences between PHD and doctorate, the entry requirements for these two postgraduate programmes are the same. To access them, it is essential to have an official Master’s or Master’s degree.

But… How do you know if a Master’s degree is officially recognised? Especially if you want to study a postgraduate programme abroad, it can be difficult to distinguish between officially recognised master’s degrees and those that are not. In this regard, any school or university that offers an official Master’s degree should indicate this in the description of the course programme.

This is the case, for example, of our University Master in Design and Communication, an official master’s degree that allows subsequent access to a doctoral programme in the field of communication and design.

Official master’s degree in Spain

The official master’s degree is an excellent training option for students with a bachelor’s degree who wish to continue their postgraduate studies. Among the different options that exist, studying a Master’s degree abroad is highly recommended and doing so in Spain, a country with a wide cultural offer and an advanced training system, is a guarantee of success.

Many students come to our country from all over the world to study an official master’s degree. In fact, every year our school receives hundreds of foreign students who contribute to the creation of an open and plural space. Elisava thrives in a multicultural, highly innovative and constantly changing society.

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for students from LATAM countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Peru. One of the main advantages of students from these countries is that they already have a good command of the language. Therefore, the process of adapting to the new country is much easier.

Finally, we would like to remind you that if you are a student from Mexico, Colombia, Peru or any other country, you can contact us to find out about all the training options that Elisava can offer you. We are the first design school in Spain and we have a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate studies. We especially recommend our Master’s Degree in Design and Communication, as it will enable you to access any doctoral programme you wish.