Graduate Degrees
Acronyms & Abbreviations
Colleges and Universities

What does PhD stand for?


User Avatar
Wiki User

PhD is an abbreviation for "Doctor of Philosophy" (Philosophiae Doctor).

The reason for the name is historical. Most universities used to have only four majors: divinity, law, medicine, and philosophy. All other modern subjects (such as physics, English, math) were part of philosophy, and so most subjects still use PhD as their doctoral degree.

To receive a PhD you first must receive a BA or BS degree (4 year undergraduate degree). You then apply for a Master's degree and then apply to be accepted to a PhD program. Some PhD programs combine the Master's and PhD into one.