The Difference Between a PhD and Professional Doctorate
What’s the difference between a PhD and a professional doctorate? Some people say that a PhD prepares you to teach, while a professional doctorate is geared more toward a professional career. But the answer to the question is more complex.
Leaders in corporate organizations often benefit greatly from having a PhD, and individuals with a professional doctorate may hold adjunct or even regular faculty posts at universities. Everyone who obtains a doctoral degree from Capella University is a scholar-practitioner—equipped with a deep understanding of foundational theory and how it directly applies to the current and future needs of their profession, as well as the skills and knowledge to research, teach, consult, and lead.
Deciding whether to pursue a PhD or professional doctorate is not an either/or decision. The differences between the two doctoral program types vary in every field—and they are also evolving. In terms of program phases at Capella, all doctoral programs require coursework and an independent research project. Some programs require comprehensive exams, and most include residencies.
The one primary difference between PhD and professional doctorate programs is the TYPE OF RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN THE INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PHASE.
PhD students are expected to extend the body of knowledge in their field to apply the knowledge to solve for a real-world problem in their workplace or community. They demonstrate this through a dissertation.
Professional doctorate students are expected to apply existing knowledge in their field to a real-world problem in their workplace or community. Professional doctorate students demonstrate this through an applied dissertation doctoral capstone , comprised of a paper, product, or portfolio.
PhD and PsyD students are also required to take a comprehensive examination.
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