Doctor of Commerce

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The Doctor of Commerce (DCom) [1] is a doctoral degree in commerce-, accounting-, economics-, and management-related subjects, awarded by universities in the Commonwealth. The degree is offered both as a higher doctorate, and as a research doctorate.

The higher doctorate [2] is awarded for published work of the candidate, demonstrating original contributions of "special excellence" in some branch of commerce. The candidate will be a graduate of the university in question.

The research doctorate [3] is largely comparable to a PhD and in fact "Doctor of Commerce" may refer to a commerce-related PhD.[4] Relatedly, at some universities the degree-title conferred will be a function of the candidate’s background: for example, in operations research, the degree may be a PhD or a DCom, depending on whether the candidate held a Master of Science or Master of Commerce respectively.[5] Further, in some cases, the degree title may also depend on the area of the research: a thesis focused on a more theorectial area (e.g. "finance") will be awarded a PhD, while one focused on a specific area or function (e.g. financial management) will be awarded a DCom.[6] Finally, in some cases the distinction will be whether the degree includes coursework or is entirely thesis based.[7]

The research doctorate is usually accessed following a related master's degree, often the Master of Commerce. Here, there is generally a requirement that the master’s degree in question must include a research component, either comprising coursework with research, or being solely thesis-based.


  1. ^ General information can be accessed via, for example, the SAQA qualifications page or the NZQA qualifications page searching for "doctor of commerce".
  2. ^ See for example the universities of Canterbury, Otago, Kwazulu-Natal, Western Australia and Witwatersrand.
  3. ^ See for example the University of Venda and UNISA.
  4. ^ See for example Victoria University of Wellington and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
  5. ^ For example, at UNISA, and the University of Venda.
  6. ^ For example, at the University of Johannesburg.
  7. ^ For example, at the University of Pretoria.

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