The doctorate

Doctorate degree

The word “doctorate” comes from the Latin word doctor, abbreviated as Dr., meaning teacher. The term originated in Medieval Europe as a license to teach at a university. In the English-speaking world, a research doctorate is usually referred to as a PhD, an abbreviation for the Latin Philosophiæ Doctor, meaning teacher of philosophy. A doctorate and a PhD are equivalent terms, and refer to the same type of degree. According to Dutch law, doctorate is the official term in the Netherlands. However, like most graduate schools, we use these terms interchangeably.

The doctorate is the highest academic degree awarded in the Netherlands. It is proof that the PhD candidate is capable of conducting independent research of a very high standard, under the supervision of at least one full professor, culminating in the successful defense of the doctoral thesis.

It takes about three to four years of full-time research and study to complete a PhD project at the AMC. The doctorate is generally a prerequisite for an academic career in teaching or research, although not everyone who receives a doctorate becomes a university lecturer or researcher. Many go on to work for non-academic research institutes or in the private sector.

Most universities also award honorary doctorates to individuals in recognition of their scholarly work or other contributions to the university or to society.


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