Doctor of Divinity

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"D.D." redirects here. For other uses, see DD (disambiguation).
Aquatint of a Doctor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, in the scarlet and black academic robes corresponding to his position. (The Doctor appears here in his Convocation habit, rather than his full ceremonial dress.) From Rudolph Ackermann's History of Oxford, 1814.

Doctor of Divinity (D.D. or DD, Divinitatis Doctor in Latin) is an advanced or honorary academic degree in divinity.

Contrast with other religious degrees[edit]

Doctor of Divinity is not to be confused with Doctor of Theology (Th. D.) which is a research doctorate, in theology, awarded by universities and divinity schools such as Harvard Divinity School and many others. Many universities award a Ph.D. rather than a Th.D. to graduates of higher-level religious studies programs. Doctor of Sacred Theology is a research doctorate in theology, but particular to Catholic Pontifical Universities and Faculties. Doctor of Ministry is another doctorate-level religious degree, but is a professional rather than a research doctorate. [1]

Doctor of Divinity by country or church[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Doctor of Divinity has traditionally been the highest religious doctorate granted by universities, usually conferred upon a religious scholar of standing and distinction. It is a higher doctorate generally awarded for accomplishments beyond the Ph.D level. [2]

The Doctor of Divinity degree is awarded in recognition of a substantial body of original research undertaken over the course of many years. Typically the candidate will submit a collection of work which has been previously published in a peer-reviewed context and pay an examination fee. [3] The university then assembles a committee of academics both internal and external who review the work submitted and decide on whether the candidate deserves the doctorate based on the submission. Most universities restrict candidacy to graduates or academic staff of several years' standing.

United States[edit]

In the United States, Doctor of Divinity is traditionally an honorary degree granted by a church-related college, seminary, or university to recognize the recipient's ministry-orientated accomplishments. [4]

Most American universities award Doctor of Divinity only as honorary degrees. American universities do not have the system of higher doctorates used in the UK and some other universities around the world. Martin Luther King was a Doctor of Divinity.[5]

Because there are no requirements, any organization may grant a Doctor of Divinity degree, and some will do so to anyone for a small fee. This right was affirmed in 1974 in Universal Life Church, Inc. vs. United States, 372 F. Supp. 770, 776 (E.D. Cal 1974) [6]

Catholic Church[edit]

In the Catholic Church, Doctor of Divinity is an honorary degree denoting ordination as bishop.

The Doctor and Student[edit]

Christopher St. Germain's 1528 book The Doctor and Student describes a dialogue between a Doctor of Divinity and a law student in England containing the grounds of those laws together with questions and cases concerning the equity thereof. [7][8]


See also[edit]