ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Doctoral level degrees - titles and meanings

Updated on December 1, 2010

There is a multitude of fields for doctoral study in the United States. Would you believe that this was actually a topic on the game show Jeopardy recently?

The doctorate is a terminal degree and a credential indicating an individual's expertise in a particular field.

In many other countries, a particular doctoral title might not even be known or recognized and the Ph.D. specifically attains the most widespread recognition and respect. For example, the D.P.A. (Doctor of Public Administration) degree is most readily heard of in the United States and the Philippines. Elsewhere, many may not have heard of it.

Each doctoral degree carries its own title far beyond just the M.D. or the Ph.D. most popularly referred to when someone says "doctor". All of these degrees should be recognized for their merit. This article is to offer you the information to let you know a little more about the many doctoral titles that exist.

With the exception of the J.D. where degree recipients are likely to continue using the titles "Mr." or "Ms.", recipients of all forms of doctoral degrees use the salutation "Dr."

It could be difficult for us to keep all the various doctoral titles straight sometimes hence the idea that a Jeopardy category on the topic can indeed be challenging.

Here are some of the doctoral classifications and their meanings.:

1. M.D. - Doctor of Medicine

2. D.O. - Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

3. N.D. - Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

4. D.D.S./D.D.M. - Doctor of Dental Surgery / Doctor of Dental Medicine

5. D.V.M. - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

6. J.D. - Juris Doctorate (law)

7. Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy (various and not limited to English, Linguistics, Psychology)

8. D.Phil.- Doctor of Philosophy (some Universities grant the D.Phil not the Ph.D.)

9. Dr.Ph. - Doctor of Public Health

10. D.P.T - Doctor of Physical Therapy

11. D.P.M. - Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

12. D.S.W. - Doctor of Social Work

13. D.B.A. - Doctor of Business Administration

14. D.P.A. - Doctor of Public Administration

15. D.Div. - Doctor of Divinity

16. Ed.D. - Doctor of Education

17. Ed.L.D. - Doctor of Education Leadership (one program granting this degree was recently implemented at Harvard University)

18. Psy.D.- Doctor of Clinical Psychology

19. Sc.D. - Doctor of Science

20. Au.D. - Doctor of Audiology

21. O.D. - Doctor of Optometry

22. Pharm.D. - Doctor of Pharmacy

23. D.M.A.- Doctor of Musical Arts

24. D.F.A. - Doctor of Fine Arts


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      Very useful hub! There are so many classifications these days, it's hard to know what one is when placed behind a name. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Journey * profile imageAUTHOR

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      8 years ago from USA

      Hello, hello,-

      You're welcome.

      I'm glad you find it helpful. Thanks for posting your comment.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for such a helpful hub.

    • Journey * profile imageAUTHOR

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      8 years ago from USA

      alekhouse and richtwf, thanks so much for posting comments. alekhouse, that is funny- yes, let's add the ABD degree :-). richtwf, good luck to you. Don't give up on your dream. It will never be too late to pursue it.

    • richtwf profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this useful hub. I was aware of a few of these but I've certainly learnt a few more doctorate titles now! I would love to earn a PhD. It is a dream and one which would require a lot of hard graft indeed and is definitely not for the faint-hearted or work-shy!

      Cheers for sharing this one.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Interesting hub. You forgot ABD: All But Dissertation. I know this isn't really a degree, but let me tell you after completing all course work, seminars, comprehensive exams, research study, data transcription and four chapters of the dissertations, it feels like it should be.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)