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A Doctor of Philosophy is a type of doctorate degree awarded by universities in many countries. Ph.D.s are awarded for a wide range of programs in the sciences , engineering, and humanities , among others. The Ph.D. is a terminal degree in many fields. The completion of a Ph.D. is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. A clear distinction is made between an "earned doctorate", which is awarded for completion of a course of study and a thesis or dissertation, and an "honorary doctorate", a title granted by a university to a successful or notable person who has not completed doctoral academic work or completed a dissertation at the university. Individuals with an earned doctorate can use the title of "Doctor" with their name and use the post-nominal letters "Ph.D.", "PhD" or "DPhil".

A new Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) at the University of Oxford wearing full academic dress to receive his degree.
A group of new PhD graduates with their professors.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or DPhil; Latin Philosophiae Doctor or Doctor Philosophiae) is a type of doctorate degree awarded by universities in many countries. Ph.D.s are awarded for a wide range of programs in the sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc.), engineering, and humanities (e.g., history, literature, musicology, etc.), among others. The Ph.D. is a terminal degree in many fields. The completion of a Ph.D. is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. A clear distinction is made between an "earned doctorate", which is awarded for completion of a course of study and a thesis or dissertation, and an "honorary doctorate", a title granted by a university to a successful or notable person who has not completed doctoral academic work or completed a dissertation at the university. Individuals with an earned doctorate can use the title of "Doctor" with their name and use the post-nominal letters "Ph.D.", "PhD" or "DPhil".

The requirements to earn a Ph.D. degree vary considerably according to the country, institution, and time period, from entry-level research degrees to higher doctorates. A person who attains a doctorate of philosophy is automatically awarded the academic title of doctor. During the studies that lead to the degree, the student is called doctoral student or Ph.D. student, but also doctoral candidate or Ph.D. candidate once the student has completed all of the coursework and comprehensive examinations and is working on their thesis/dissertation (all but dissertation). A student attaining this level may be granted a Candidate of Philosophy degree at some institutions.

A Ph.D. candidate must submit a project, thesis or dissertation often consisting of a body of original academic research, which is in principle worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In many countries, a candidate must defend this work before a panel of expert examiners appointed by the university. Universities award other types of doctorates besides the Ph.D., such as the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), a degree for music performers and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), a degree for professional educators. In 2016 ELIA (European League of the Institutes of the Arts) launched The ,Florence Principles' on the Doctorate in the Arts. The Florence Principles relating to the Salzburg Principles and the Salzburg Recommendations of EUA (European University Association) name seven points of attention to specify the Doctorate / Ph.D. in the Arts compared to a scientific doctorate / Ph.D. The Florence Principles have been endorsed are supported also by AEC, CILECT, CUMULUS and SAR.

In the context of academic degrees, the term "philosophy" does not refer solely to the field or academic discipline of philosophy, but is used in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek meaning, which is "love of wisdom". In most of Europe, all fields (history, philosophy, social sciences, mathematics, and natural philosophy/natural sciences) other than theology, law, and medicine (the so-called professional, vocational, or technical curriculum) were traditionally known as philosophy, and in Germany and elsewhere in Europe the basic faculty of liberal arts was known as the "faculty of philosophy".