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A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Philosophiae Doctor) is a type of doctoral degree awarded by universities in many countries. Ph.D.s are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. The completion of a Ph.D. is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in most jurisdictions, use the title of “Doctor” (often abbreviated “Dr”) or, in non-English speaking countries, variants such as “Dr. phil.” with their name, and may use post-nominal letters such as “Ph.D.”, “PhD” or “DPhil” (depending on the awarding institute).
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. During the studies that lead to the degree, the student is called a doctoral student or Ph.D. student; a student who has completed all of their coursework and comprehensive examinations and is working on their thesis/dissertation is sometimes known as a doctoral candidate or Ph.D. candidate (see: all but dissertation). A student attaining this level may be granted a Candidate of Philosophy degree at some institutions.