PhD and DPhill differences

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Guest, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Not finding much on google searches. What are the main differences between the Ph.D. and the D.Phill.? I know (believe) one is more European than the other but that's about all I know, if that's even accurate. Thanks!
  2. Back in the nineteenth-century, the DPhil was a higher doctorate similar to the DLitt at the ancient Scottish universities, which at that time adhered to the continental rather than the English university model.

    Around World War I, universities in Britain decided to introduce the concept of the PhD in response to the fact that they were losing students to European and US universities who wished to do a PhD there. Those students were allowed to go direct from graduation with their bachelors' degree to registration for PhD at their new institution, whereas if they had stayed in Britain and sought to supplicate for DLitt or DPhil they would usually have had to wait until they were 30 until they were eligible, and then have faced a tougher examination. You could usually only be a candidate for a higher degree at the institution where you had graduated with your first degree, except for a transference arrangement (still pertaining) between Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin.

    The PhD was regarded with deep suspicion by many British universities and was deliberately *not* accorded the status of the higher doctorates. At Cambridge, for example, all doctors get to wear a scarlet festal gown *except* the PhD, who gets a plain black gown with scarlet facings attached with safety pins. Nor do PhDs achieve the precedence of other doctors within the university.

    Edinburgh preserved the DPhil and PhD alongside each other for a few years.

    Now it makes absolutely no difference in Britain what the degree is called; the old-style DPhil no longer exists. At a minority of universities, the nomenclature DPhil has been adopted for the PhD (Oxford, York, Sussex etc.) but there is no difference of any kind between the requirements for these degrees and for PhD (thus making this distinction potentially somewhat misleading, particularly in view of the former difference in status between DPhil and PhD).

    With relevance to our recent debates on standards, I recently had the opportunity to read one of the very first successful PhD submissions at the University of London, from the early years of the twentieth-century. The standard and length of the submission was (I kid you not) of the level of a high school essay. No wonder the holders of higher doctorates felt affronted!!
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thank you very much, Dr. Marianus. You have a vast array of knowledge and it is always a pleasure to read your posts. Now, one more question: May one with an ACCREDITED Ph.D. use D.Phil. if one chooses?


    [email protected] New Member

    In the thread "Does U. of Phoenix accept St Regis degrees?", I wrote:
    Prof. Kennedy replied:
    Based on what Dr Marianus wrote above, I now believe that my headmaster was correct. (Prof. Kennedy's info doesn't contradict that, but his third paragraph implied disbelief of my headmaster.)
  5. Jimmy asked:
    May one with an ACCREDITED Ph.D. use D.Phil. if one chooses?

    I'm not sure what the relevance of a distinction between accredited and unaccredited PhDs is here - this is one debate that is not dependent on qualitative assessment, but instead upon university statutes and the legal standing of the university in question. Where the university statutes are in Latin, they will codify precisely whether PhD or DPhil is the preferred abbreviation through their word-order. Latin being a language where word-order emphasises conceptual importance rather than mere syntactical convention, one can, I suppose, read something into the relative emphasis of faculty and status in the alternative phrases *Doctor of Philosophy* and literally *of Philosophy, Doctor*, but either essentially means exactly the same thing. Logically, for universities with statutes in English, the abbreviation *should* be DPhil, but in fact the PhDs are dominant in numbers in our more modern seats of learning.

    The short answer, however, is that although I can see few situations, given the modern equivalence of DPhil and PhD, where the interchange between one and t'other would be misleading to a third party as to the nature of the degree in question, I would incline against such an interchange purely out of a sense of history and propriety. Each institution sets out the nomenclature that it wishes its graduates to use; to deviate from this without good reason implies that one is somehow making a point, and I don't see in this case what that point would be. It is not the case that one could argue that DPhil was somehow *grander* than PhD any more than the University of York (DPhil) is grander than the University of London (PhD). Nor, alas, are any of the holders of the nineteenth-century DPhil still around to chastise their successors for the abbreviatorial imprecision of today's world.

    There is a strong argument that PhD is, particularly in the USA, universally understood, and thereby preferable, but I do not often hear of DPhil holders having to explain their reversal of terms to putative employers. Moreover, this argument is ultimately similar (confining ourselves to today's PhD/DPhil merely) to the convention of writing AM where the British would write MA, or of Cambridge writing LittD where Oxford writes DLitt.

    One exception to the rule (and there are plenty of those) is with the EdD, written thus in order *not* to provide students with the means of accusing their mentors of being in a state of decease!

    PS - Mark's headmaster is quite right about this. The various fulminating articles in the English press of the time make for interesting reading.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I thank you again. It's always nice reading the works of scholars.
    The reason I asked was that I noticed D.Phil. after the names of some authors I have read of late. I was just curious. You mentioned Latin. I studied Latin for several years and try to retain it by reading the Vulgate. I read not long ago Latin is making a comeback in secondary schools; I hope so.

  7. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    If the "Ph.D." was only introduced around the time of the first world war, what does the phrase "higher doctorate" mean? Higher than what, precisely?
  8. oxpecker

    oxpecker New Member

    Interesting moniker, "Doctor Marianus." From Faust. Doctor Marianus is said to embody "selfless devotion to the Virgin." Hmmm...
  9. oxpecker

    oxpecker New Member

    According to the "University of London 1836-1986" (p. 135 and p. 200) by UCL historian Negley Harte:
  10. Bill Dayson asked:
    If the "Ph.D." was only introduced around the time of the first world war, what does the phrase "higher doctorate" mean? Higher than what, precisely?

    My use of the phrase *higher doctorate* is as that phrase is understood in the modern sense. The higher doctorates are DD (not always honorary in the UK), DLitt (Letters - or DLit (Literature) at London), DSc, DMus (at some universities but not at others), MD, LLD and its cognates DCL and DCanL, etc, together with the Scottish nineteenth-century DPhil.

    The lower doctorate is the PhD, now joined by such as the DBA, EdD, DMA and so on.

    The notion of higher or lower doctorates would have had no meaning in Britain before 1917, where there were only *higher* doctorates - which were obviously simply called doctorates. The introduction of the PhD under the circumstances oxpecker elucidates brought about the distinction. If you were to detect an element of academic snobbery about this phraseology, you'd be right.

    In addition to the stringent examination regulations that oxpecker mentions, universities also elected to doctorates jure dignitatis - in other words by right of office - in the nineteenth-century. For example, every Church of England bishop had the right to petition the Archbishop of Canterbury for the grant of the degree of DD upon appointment, if his own university had not already been forthcoming in that regard. The Archbishop granted this so-called Lambeth degree on his own authority, emphatically not as an honour, but as a right, upon the bishop in question, by virtue of his former power as Legate to the Pope. Lambeth degrees are still awarded each year under similar processes, and are recorded in the British House of Lords as parliamentary procedures.

    The *life experience* degree is thus not altogether a modern phenomenon... :)
  11. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2003
  12. Bill Grover wrote:
    I'm going to happily assume, and hope not to be corrected, that the Th.D., D.Th., is among the higher docs.

    Fear not! Everything I've looked at in this field has confirmed that the DD and ThD are in fact exactly the same award in terms of definition. Credal considerations don't come into distinctions between theology and divinity as far as British university statutes are concerned.

    The DD/ThD is the highest of all doctorates at Oxford, Cambridge and most other British universities and thus outranks the other doctors there.

    There might have been a certain logic in giving power and status to those (customarily ordained clergy) whose nature was dedicated (in theory) to precisely the abnegation of such power and status...

    [email protected] New Member

    How does that limerick go again?

    A parson named Fiddle, from Leigh,
    Refused to accept a degree.
    "It's bad enough, you see,
    Being Fiddle," said he,
    "Without being Fiddle, D.D.!"

    I don't think I have it quite right.
  14. ..and a little more poetry of a somewhat different kind...

    oxpecker wrote:
    Interesting moniker, "Doctor Marianus." From Faust.

    Hier ist die Aussicht frei,
    Der Geist erhoben!
    Dort ziehen Frauen vorbei,
    Schwebend nach oben.
    Die Herrliche mittenin
    Im Sternenkranze,
    Die Himmelskönigin,
    Ich seh's am Glanze.

    Und ein büßendes Gewinnen
    In die Ewigkeiten steigerst,
    Gönn' auch dieser guten Seele,
    Die sich einmal nur vergessen,
    Die nicht ahnte, daß sie fehle
    Dein Verzeihen angemessen!

    J.W. von Goethe
  15. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

  16. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Hi Dr Marianus: Thanks for the Goethe quote--brings back memories. Had to memorize great stretches of Goethe and Schiller in high school...
  17. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    A truly proper limerick certainly must contain the word Nantucket.
  18. obecve

    obecve New Member

    I am one of those with a "lower doctorate." I have an Ed.D. It is interesting that for my lower doctorate I completed just 16 courses post master's (each requiring multiple exams and major papers), a written comprehensive exam that was more than 60 pages long, an oral comprehensive exam, an oral defense of my dissertation proposal, a 248 page dissertation, and a public oral defense of my disseration. Wow! all of this for a lower doctorate! It is interesting the perception of higher and lower doctorates. Oh well! I guess I will have to live with a lower degree.
  19. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Maybe, but at least you list the degree accurately as awarded. Goes without saying, you say. Praps it do, praps it don't.
  20. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    There is, I believe, an executory multilateal agreement, not yet entered into force, imposing a world-wide requirement that all limericks manufactured after January 1, 2005 must, at a minimum, contain at least one reference to "Nantucket", a "Young Lady", or a suitably fierce beast. It is left, I believe, to each administration to determine for itself whether "fierce beast" includes "mother-in-law".

    The Bush administration has not yet indicated whether it will submit the draft to the Senate for ratification.

    I do not recall whether there is a date certain to phase out older limericks that do not meet the new standard, and cannot be upgraded in a cost-effective manner.

    I certainly hope so.

Share This Page