Doctor of Philosophy

Why it’s called Doctor of Philosophy

What is the reason behind the designation “Doctor of Philosophy”?

  • A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an advanced academic degree conferred by universities in various disciplines.
  • Universities grant the title of Doctor of Philosophy to individuals who have made significant contributions to their respective fields of knowledge.
  • For many years, numerous subject areas have bestowed the PhD degree upon individuals.

In this article, we aim to elucidate why we refer to the PhD degree as a Doctor of Philosophy. However, prior to delving into that topic, it is important to establish some fundamental aspects of this degree.

What is a PhD – Doctor of Philosophy?

  • The PhD, which stands for Doctor of Philosophy, is a prestigious academic distinction awarded to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional proficiency in their field of study.
  • The tradition of conferring this degree has its roots in ancient times, particularly in Europe and the Middle East.
  • The term “Doctor of Philosophy” derives from a Greek word, the significance of which we will explore later, as it holds the answer to our question.

The Challenging Path to a Doctoral Degree:

  • Attaining a PhD is a challenging endeavor that requires individuals to overcome various obstacles in their academic journey.
  • In order to preserve the significance of the degree, universities nowadays typically conduct entrance exams for aspiring PhD students.
  • While individuals holding a master’s degree or a Master of Philosophy may be eligible to directly apply for a PhD, the admission process remains intricate and demanding.

Admission Process and Requirements:

  • To begin with, the university administers an entrance exam that applicants must clear or requires them to submit a research proposal focusing on a specific problem.
  • Even after successfully completing the entrance exam, the submission of a research proposal is mandatory.
  • The university’s review committee evaluates the proposal and makes a decision based on its quality and potential.
  • Admission to a PhD program is only granted if an expert professor expresses interest in the research proposal.
  • However, the evaluation process doesn’t end there; one’s academic achievements, research background, and publications are also taken into consideration.

Duration and Financial Considerations:

  • Typically, a PhD program requires a minimum of three years to complete, although the duration can extend beyond that.
  • Depending on the nature of the research, it may take five to eight years or even longer.
  • Cost is another significant factor associated with pursuing a PhD.
  • With tuition fees and additional expenses, individuals can expect to invest anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 during their PhD journey.
  • Many universities provide financial support and assistance to students, thereby alleviating concerns regarding the financial burden.
  • Part-time jobs, fellowships, scholarships, and project funds are some options available to students to sustain themselves financially throughout their PhD program.
  • The duration and cost of obtaining a PhD in philosophy are contingent upon the chosen subject and field of study.
  • For instance, science students often require more time and financial resources compared to students in the arts.
  • This distinction arises from the extensive wet and dry lab work undertaken by science students, which entails higher costs for laboratory utilities, chemicals, and assays.

Now, let us return to our initial question.

Why is it called ?

The term “Doctor of Philosophy” is attributed to a philosophical rationale.

Examining the Greek Roots: “Philosophia” and Wisdom

  • The Greek term “philosophia,” which translates to “love of wisdom,” traces back to the origin of the word “philosophy.”
  • People consider individuals with a PhD degree to possess greater wisdom than others because of their extensive experience, knowledge, and decision-making skills.
  • The designation of “doctor” in the context of a PhD stems from its status as a challenging and esteemed achievement.
  • Traditionally, the term “doctor” refers to a physician or medical practitioner.
  • However, in the case of a PhD, it represents an individual who possesses exceptional wisdom and expertise, capable of applying their knowledge to solve real-world problems in their respective fields.
  • By doing so, they contribute valuable knowledge and insights.
  • The title “doctor of philosophy” is therefore bestowed upon individuals who exemplify profound wisdom, driven by their love for knowledge and understanding.
  • It is worth noting that while the exact meaning of “doctor of philosophy” has not been officially elucidated by authorities or universities, it symbolizes the profound intellectual capabilities of the degree holder.
  • Certain fields use alternative designations such as “Doctor of Science” (DSc) or “Doctor of Education” (EdD), although these degrees share similarities with the PhD.

During Doctor of philosophy:

Milestones and Key Requirements:

  • During the course of pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, students must fulfill several key requirements.
  • These include the completion of three major milestones: thesis writing, research paper publication, and a viva voce examination.
  • The essence of a PhD revolves around the activities of reading, researching, and writing.
  • Research entails uncovering new knowledge or contributing novel insights to existing understanding.
  • As a result, it is crucial to engage in extensive reading of relevant literature to comprehend the subject matter and inform one’s research.

Thesis Writing: Crafting a Comprehensive Document

  • A thesis serves as a comprehensive written document encapsulating the entirety of one’s doctoral research.
  • Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you meticulously craft your thesis, as it reflects the precision and thoroughness with which you have conducted your research.
  • A well-structured and articulate thesis is of paramount importance.

The Importance of Research Paper Publication:

  • In order to fortify the scholarly foundation of one’s research, it is highly recommended to publish findings in reputable peer-reviewed journals.
  • Universities often emphasize the significance of at least one publication during the PhD journey, as it validates the rigor and contribution of the research to the academic community.

The Viva Voce Examination: Defending the Research

  • The final milestone is the PhD viva voce, or oral examination.
  • During this process, an external examiner evaluates the thesis and conducts an oral defense, focusing specifically on the PhD candidate’s research.
  • This interactive session involves defending the research through persuasive arguments and engaging in scholarly discourse.
  • It is worth noting that some universities may not require a viva voce examination, with the evaluation of the thesis being the sole criterion for conferring the degree.


In conclusion, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) symbolizes profound wisdom, love for knowledge, and exceptional expertise. The designation of “doctor of philosophy” or “doctorate” is bestowed upon individuals due to their profound love for wisdom and knowledge. It is a transformative journey, demanding rigorous research, thesis writing, publication, and a viva voce examination. Earning a PhD confers respect, recognition, and the ability to solve real-world problems with expertise.

What is the reason behind the designation “Doctor of Philosophy”? In this article, we aim to elucidate why we refer to the PhD degree as a Doctor of Philosophy. However, prior to delving into that topic, it is important to establish some fundamental aspects of this degree. What is a PhD – Doctor of Philosophy?…

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