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Doctoral Degrees


To distinguish between the Doctor of Philosophy and professional doctoral degrees.

Applies to: 

Graduate Students

Juniper Gardens
Policy Statement: 

KU doctoral degrees include the research-oriented Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) as well as practice-oriented professional doctoral degrees. The goals of doctoral training in these degree programs differ as do their culminating efforts. Requirements specific to each degree, along with variations permitting each student to achieve particular academic goals, must be specified in the degree requirements section of the academic catalog for each program.

The Ph.D. prepares students to contribute to expanding the boundaries of knowledge of their chosen field of study through research and/or creative work.  The Ph.D. may also entail a complementary focus on the applications of research to practice in the field. To be awarded the PhD, the student must produce an original piece of research in the form of a dissertation that meets the requirements in the Doctoral Dissertation Policy.

The professional doctorate prepares students to contribute to professional practice in their chosen field of study through the application of knowledge or skill derived from research or creative activity. The professional doctorate may also entail a complementary focus on research skills. To be awarded a professional doctorate, the student must complete a dissertation, capstone project, performance, or other culminating effort. 


Office of Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Friday, July 17, 2009
Effective on: 
Friday, July 17, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Doctoral degrees, professional doctorate, doctor of philosophy
Change History: 

08/10/2023: Updated policy to clarify differences between research doctorate and professional doctorate degrees.

Academic Categories: 
Academic Programs

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