Talk:Doctor of Science

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Clarification[edit]

I hope my edit helps to explain the situation in the UK and Ireland (and, as far as I understand, certain other European countries, though which ones I'm not sure). The DSc/ScD is absolutely not the equivalent of the DPhil/PhD. The latter is a three-year degree, examined by 80,000-100,000-word thesis and viva, that is taken by an aspiring academic at the beginning of his or her career, while the former is a degree awarded to the top members of the academic establishment, often not long before they are approaching retirement. It is also common for the DSc/ScD to be awarded honoris causa, but I have never heard of anybody receiving an honorary DPhil/PhD. Am I right in thinking that in the USA the higher doctorates (in the UK principally DD, DCL or LLD, DM, DLitt, DSc, DMus) are only awarded honoris causa (with the exception of DM, usually abbreviated MD in the USA I think, which I understand is a professional qualification over there)?--AlexanderLondon 15:17, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the edits. I am not aware of any split in the US between "higher" doctorates and others. The PhD (DPhil not awarded here in my experience) is typically a 5- or 6-year degree, but as that time period often includes MS-level classwork, it seems parallel to your PhD. When awarded in the US, the DSc is the precise equivalent of the PhD. The ranking you list -- Divinity, Laws or Civil Law, Medicine, and Letters, and above Music -- is at least not well known in the US. (It would be helpful to include the degree names in the above list, since I certainly don't know them all.) MD is, as you say, a professional degree (as is DrPH in public health). I think the general attitude is to regard all doctoral degrees as on par, and honorary degrees as strictly honorary, and not pertaining to academic work. This is something of a mess, isn't it? bikeable (talk) 15:38, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
I edited the US part down to one paragraph. I took out some detail about physical therapy, and removed the assertion that the DSc is awarded for outstanding research -- I am not aware of this tradition in the US; if anyone has a citation, please add it back and cite it. thanks. bikeable (talk) 15:43, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Actually the D.Sc. is above par of the PhD. The academic certification requirements for a program that offers a D.Sc. is much more stringent than a PhD and that is why few institutions in the U.S. offer the distinction. I made the appropriate edits back.

I reverted: this is just not true (in the USA). In most cases, programs which offered the DSc originally did so because the Arts and Sciences college at their university kept tight control over the PhD, not wanting the good name of the PhD to be diluted down by (gasp) engineers and public health folks; so many programs created DSc tracks which were precisely equivalent to the PhD. In some cases, these are now reverting to PhD, since it is more commonly known than DSc, and without (to my knowledge) any changes in their programs. If you have a citation for DSc being "above" the PhD, please provide it. thanks. bikeable (talk) 16:13, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
    • bikeable, please cite sources from Harvard University publications when you make generalizations about The DSc was developed by many programs as an alternative, because the Arts and Sciences College (or its equivalent) in each university held control over the PhD and would not allow non-A&S programs to grant PhDs. You simply show you don't know what you are talking about by statements that could easily be verified. Let me give you an example. The DSc at Harvard University initially had only to do with the fact that people who obtained A.B. could pursue a PhD, but people who obtained S.B. could pursue an Sc.D. Of course, sciences were offered by specific divisions, but the primary distinction for the doctorates had to do with the previous qualifications achieved at the bachelor's level. My source is the article "Degrees in Science at Harvard University", by J. McKeen Cattell from April 7, 1899 appearing in Science. HarvardHealthEcon 07:35, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • "Cite sources from Harvard University"? There are more things on heaven and earth, HHE, than those at Harvard. My explanation followed from a conversation with a dean at a major school within a university that also gives the DSc. As such it is not sourceable and was given just to provide background information, at a time when the article was being repeatedly changed (without reason) to claim that the DSc was a "higher" doctorate. Perhaps the pattern of degree development happened differently at different schools. Your source is useful and interesting, and I appreciate your fine work on the article, but there's more to life than Harvard! (Also, you needn't have included this paragraph twice.) bikeable (talk) 14:42, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Is this really a "Medicinal Stub"? As I understand it, the Sc.D. degree can refer to any science, be it engineering or chemistry, and need not refer to medicine (and indeed, may not refer to medicine at all). (Tryptofeng 19:11, 24 March 2006 (UTC))

I agree. The article is also US-centric 7segment 03:15, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm going to go ahead and remove the "medical stub" and category. Tryptofeng 01:03, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

If it's US-centric, be bold and add to it. We can't help we're writing so much of this :-p -- Bobak 00:09, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

I am going to change it back to above par. Please feel free to refer to the ABET accreditation website which lists out the requirements for PhD and DSc. Also, please refer to the Harvard program website which clearly describes the requirements. The D.Sc. is recognized as the higher degree for outstanding research. Changes made to reflect the facts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.174.93.99 (talkcontribs)

I am changing it back to "on par". I cannot find a list of requirements on the ABET site; can you point to a URL? I can't find a program at Harvard, or anywhere else in the USA, that offers both a PhD and a DSc with different requirements. The requirements look identical to me (and I know that in my school they are precisely identical). If you can find pages outline different requirements, please supply the URL(s). thanks. bikeable (talk) 17:26, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I am going to change it back to above par. Please feel free to refer to the ABET accreditation website which lists out the requirements for PhD and DSc. Also, please refer to the Harvard program website which clearly describes the requirements. The D.Sc. is recognized as the higher degree for outstanding research. Changes made to reflect the facts.

Telling me to look at the Harvard and ABET web sites is not a reference. Please provide a specific URL. I will provide three: first, this page at Harvard says,
In most of these departments, two doctoral degrees are offered: the doctor of philosophy (PhD) and the doctor of science (SD). The PhD programs generally center on laboratory-based investigation in the biological sciences, whereas the SD programs emphasize epidemiological analysis. The PhD program is administered by the Division of Biological Sciences.
...note that the distinction between degrees appears to be one of content. Similarly, this page at Hopkins says,
The Doctor of Science (ScD) degree is available in some departments as an alternative to the PhD degree. Admission and graduation requirements are similar.
...note that the requirements are "similar". Comparing the PhD and the DSc requirements at Boston University, both require exactly the same number of credits, as well as exams, a dissertation and a defense. There is no difference.
Finally, a search of the ABET site doesn't turn up any requirements for the DSc (try this search). If you have a link, please post it here. You or someone else has said before that the requirements for accreditation are different, but I see no sign of that whatsoever given the links above. These are consistent with the history of the DSc in the USA: The DSc was developed by many programs as an alternative, because the Arts and Sciences College (or its equivalent) in each university held control over the PhD and would not allow non-A&S programs to grant PhDs. The distinction has generally been one of content, not of requirements. bikeable (talk) 16:02, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
    • bikeable, please cite sources from Harvard University publications when you make generalizations about The DSc was developed by many programs as an alternative, because the Arts and Sciences College (or its equivalent) in each university held control over the PhD and would not allow non-A&S programs to grant PhDs. You simply show you don't know what you are talking about by statements that could easily be verified. Let me give you an example. The DSc at Harvard University initially had only to do with the fact that people who obtained A.B. could pursue a PhD, but people who obtained S.B. could pursue an Sc.D. Of course, sciences were offered by specific divisions, but the primary distinction for the doctorates had to do with the previous qualifications achieved at the bachelor's level. My source is the article "Degrees in Science at Harvard University", by J. McKeen Cattell from April 7, 1899 appearing in Science. HarvardHealthEcon 07:35, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • "Cite sources from Harvard University"? There are more things on heaven and earth, HHE, than those at Harvard. My explanation followed from a conversation with a dean at a major school within a university that also gives the DSc. As such it is not sourceable and was given just to provide background information, at a time when the article was being repeatedly changed (without reason) to claim that the DSc was a "higher" doctorate. Perhaps the pattern of degree development happened differently at different schools. Your source is useful and interesting, and I appreciate your fine work on the article, but there's more to life than Harvard! (Also, you needn't have included this paragraph twice.) bikeable (talk) 14:42, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but you are wrong. I am changing it back. There is a reason why Universities offer a PhD and DSc for the same program. One is considered the higher degree. The Phd isa fine degree and to be a successful researcher one is not required to have a DSc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.174.79.234 (talkcontribs)

"You are wrong" is not evidence. Please provide some evidence that DSc is regarded as "higher" in the US. I am not aware of schools which offer both DSc and PhD for the same program, so I don't think you're making a strong case. bikeable (talk) 00:01, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Wroang again. I provided you a number of sources. Your really need to complete your own research or get some help face to face. Changes made to reflect facts.

You haven't provided any references. Please provide, for example, a link to a page on the ABET accreditation website which mentions such standards. bikeable (talk) 17:19, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Changes made to reflect the facts.

Made changes as the DSc is a higher degree than a PhD. See the following link. http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/aa/regulationshandbook/reg3.htm. also, you can write any of the accreditation authorities and they all agree. Also, see Queens University which clearly states a DSc is higher. Finally, ask anyone who has both degrees and they will state that they received the DSc after a PhD for outstanding research capabilities. Yet another link http://careerfocus.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7277/S2a-7277 Yet another http://www.shef.ac.uk/calendar/genord.html Every educated person agrees that a DSc is higher. Note that the PhD is a fantastic degree and is an amazing achievement. Yet another link http://www62.gu.edu.au/policylibrary.nsf/0/fda04639f24890b44a256bc20062f724?opendocument

Thanks for the info. These are good links to demonstrate that the DSc is a higher degree in the UK and Commonwealth, but none of them apply to the USA, where the DSc is essentially identical to the PhD. (The difference between the two usually has to do with the issuing school, for example, the College of Arts and Sciences in any given university will give a PhD, but a College of Engineering or Public Health will sometimes give a DSc instead. Virtually no schools in the USA give a PhD and a DSc.) I am changing this back. See above for links indicating the equality of the DSc and the PhD in the US. bikeable (talk) 01:19, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

I can confirm that the D.Sc. or Sc.D. is exactly the same in the U.S. as a Ph.D. I have a D.Sc. from Washington University in St. Louis, and it is simply the doctorate awared by the engineering school. Most other schools award the PhD. I believe that it stems from a number of Wash.U. enginerring school faculty and adminstrators that came from MIT, which does the same thing (although I believe that MIT awards Sc.D.) I was told that if I wanted I could petition to convert it to a PhD in the case I went somewhere in the word that did not recognise a D.Sc. I can also confirm that in the UK there is the distinction, as I've been told this by colleagues on the Lancaster University faculty, where I have an appointment. The reference to Johns Hopkins is the first I've ever heard a distinction in the US, and I can't treat anything the unsigned editor has said as credible. Please provide URLs to the pages and not vague references. Jpgs 02:31, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

ScD in the United States[edit]

The article as it is written now seems to be confusing and misleading. As far as I know, the ScD at MIT is strictly equivalent to a PhD degree, i.e. it's awarded to a junior scholar (normally in his/her late 20's) upon completion of required coursework, approval in a qualifying examination, and submission of a doctoral dissertation documenting original and relevant research in a given field.

At Harvard on the other hand, the SD (or ScD ?) is mainly an honorary degree awarded to senior scholars based on the ensemble of their life's work. SD recepients at the latest (2006) Harvard commencement included for example a Nobel prize laureate in Physics and a top UK mathematician who was already a Fields medal winner and Abel prize laureate. As far as I know, there is only one graduate program at Harvard , namely in the School of Public Health, that awards ScD or SD degrees which are similar in nature to a PhD. I believe that distinction should be made clear in the article. Mbruno 13:15, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


At Harvard, ScD is not just honorary. The Harvard School of Public Health exclusively awards ScD's for all its doctoral programs. Harvard has a rule that PhD is only awarded from its FAS division (its main Arts and Science division in Cambridge), thus all professional schools at Harvard award other types of doctoral degrees. The ScD is just the type awarded at HSPH. The HSE awards Ed.D., the Divinity School awards Th.D., etc. See here http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2008/06.05/42-degrees.html --70.22.240.100 (talk) 16:30, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
You make a good point in the distinction between honorary and, um, real degrees. I would say that this distinction is true of all honorary degrees, though. In any case, feel free to try to add this perspective, but keeping clear the fact that non-honorary ScDs in the US are equivalent to the PhD. bikeable (talk) 19:10, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Right, so a distinction needs to be made between earned degrees (earned the formal name for "real" degrees) and honourary degrees, which are almost always doctorates. My experience is that some schools have two types of honourary degrees. Honourary degrees with the same title of earned degrees are sometimes conferred on researchers that never earned a doctorate, but have a long and distinguished career that puts them on par with the best of those that do have earned degrees; this would be an honourary PhD or DSc/ScD (from a school that confers these as earned engineering doctorates). Other honourary degrees given to prominent politicians and personalities get different titles such as "doctor of letters" or "doctor of arts". I'd not be at all surprised to see a "doctor of science" from a school that does not use this for an earned degree, but I don't know Harvard well enough to know what they do. Jpgs 02:44, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

See John's Hopkin's web page that shows the difference between PhD and DSc. The DSc is the higher degree with different requirements for outstanding research capabilities.

Please provide us with the URL to this page, I was not able to find it. Jpgs 02:44, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

It would seem that instead of relying upon individual university semantics, simply using the U.S. Department of Education's [1] definitions would be the easiest thing to do. They indicate that the "Doctor of Science" and "Doctor of Philosophy" are indeed equivalent degrees recognized by both the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation [2]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.250.223.212 (talk) 05:26, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Honourary conotations[edit]

I think we need to make a distinction among 2 different types of "honourary" degrees. It sounds like in the UK and ScD is awarded as an "honourary" degree as a recognition of outstanding ACADEMIC acheivement. I see little difference in this and to a much smaller extent a PhD which usually requires some kind of peer-reviewed research recognition. It would be inacturate to refer to this as not a "real" degree. However, there is another kind of "honourary" degree in the US that is usually given, in theory, to recognize a persons contribution to the world. Honorary Phds like those given to Ophra and Mother Teresa, not to make lightof their contirbutions, are deffinately not "real" degrees as they required no ACADEMIC contribution to a feild of study or body of knowlede. Basically it sounds like and ScD in the UK is like recieving Ameritas at a US institution, perhaps a bit more prestigious, while in America an ScD may be that or on par with an honourary Phd. goodleh 7/13/08 10:23 EST —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.240.246.49 (talk) 03:26, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

The thing is confused and I've even seen UK university webpages labouring under this misapprehension. I don't think "honorary degree" is an accurate description of a higher doctorate that's awarded on the basis of assessment of one's written output and sometimes does require the candidate to a) formally apply; and b) produce summaries of their work. This is different from an honours system that gives degrees out like gifts.
But the confusion reigns in part because higher doctorates are now rarely awarded for all manner of reasons, not least that with the ever expanding volume of publications it's harder to find people to assess them all. And honorary degree committees started giving out the higher titles (e.g. Doctor of Science, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters) as honoraries then I presume they forgot the original reasoning and now use whatever seems the most appropriate for an honorary degree. A much better basis IMHO would be to have "...of the University" degrees for honoraries (and this would also allow clear Bachelor's and Master's honorary degrees instead of having to award a regular one), and keep the higher titles exclusively for output. Timrollpickering (talk) 15:28, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Schweiz[edit]

The EPFL issues (at least) two different doctoral degrees: Docteur es Sciences (roughly "doctor of science") and Docteur es sciences techniques (roughly "doctor of technology"). The latter is abbreviated "dr. es sci. tech." I have updated the article correspondingly. Ferridder (talk) 14:32, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

No difference at MIT: I distinctly remember filling out the forms for receiving my doctoral degree at MIT. They had two check boxes: one Ph.D. and one Sc.D. It said to choose one. Recall this with great humor relative to the above discussion. 75.150.114.141 (talk) 16:33, 24 February 2012 (UTC) 75.150.114.141 (talk) 16:30, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Abrreviation of D.Sc. / DSc and Ph.D. / PhD[edit]

Is it useful to write this abbreviations in one distinct matter:

  • D.Sc. (or DSc)
  • Ph.D. (or PhD)

everywhere in the whole article?
Or was my last editing here too brisk?
(before my editing it looked as if only some dots were missing randomly, so I added the missing ones everywhere)
Jaybear (talk) 12:15, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

UK Historical Information - Problems[edit]

1. Though the D.Sc. is now a higher doctorate, this has not always been the case. Until 1917 no British university had the Ph.D. 'on its books' and for studies above the M.Sc. in maths and the natural sciences the only degree available was the D.Sc. When commenting on D.Sc. degrees awarded by the London of London in the period before the introduction of the Ph.D. this needs to be borne in mind. At the least, it would be useful to have information on the relevant regulations, as stated at the time. Incidentally, the first woman to receive a D.Sc. from the University of London was Sophie Bryant in 1884, not Maria Ogilvie. (The Wikipedia article on her contains the same erroneous assumption).

2. The article states:

In former times the doctorate in science was regarded as a greater distinction than a professorial chair and hence a professor who was also a D.Sc. would be known as Doctor.
Information about when and where there was the case would be useful. Norvo (talk) 03:59, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

split higher[edit]

E.g., Doctor of Science (higher doctorate). Basically Doctor of Science#The United Kingdom, Ireland, India and the Commonwealth. This is currently a WP:CHIMERA. Fgnievinski (talk) 19:21, 30 October 2014 (UTC)