Doctor of Letters
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Doctor of Letters (Latin: Litterarum doctor; D.Litt.; Litt.D.; D. Lit.; or Lit. D.) is an academic degree, a higher doctorate which, in some countries, may be considered to be beyond the Ph.D. and equal to the Doctor of Science (Sc.D. or D.Sc.). It is awarded in many countries by universities and learned bodies in recognition of achievement in the humanities, original contribution to the creative arts or scholarship and other merits. When awarded without an application by the conferee, it is awarded as an honorary degree.
In the United Kingdom, Australia, India and certain other countries, the degree is a higher doctorate, above the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and is issued on the basis of high achievement in the respective field or a long record of research and publication. The Litt.D. degree is awarded to candidates whose record of published work and research shows conspicuous ability and originality and constitutes a distinguished and sustained achievement. University committee and board approval is required, and candidates must provide documented mastery of a particular area or field. The degree may also be awarded honoris causa to such individuals as the university or the learned body in question deems worthy of this highest academic award.
In the United States, the degree is often an honorary degree conferred on those who have contributed to the humanities or society. There are, however, a number of earned "D.Litt." programmes, the best known being Drew University on the basis of 36 graduate credit hours post-Master's and a successfully prepared and defended nine-credit doctoral dissertation (for a total degree requirement of 45 hours) .
In France the doctorat is awarded with a speciality, but there is no official list of these. Candidates for a doctorat in literature are awarded a Doctorat ès lettres. There is a higher degree, the habilitation à diriger des recherches, which is obtained following different rules in each field. In literature, the candidates must also present a new and unpublished work. The habilitation (which is not followed by an indication of the field) allows to apply for a position of professor in French universities.