Ph.D. is the Latin term Philosophi Doctor or Doctor of Philosophy. Generally the degree is awarded to someone who as been able to prove or display their ability to critically think, research and analyze information given to them in any particular area of knowledge (i.e. engineering, science, education, humanities, etc…). Once accepted as a Ph.D. student, students are generally required to display their abilities and understanding of the topic of study by presenting a research dissertation or thesis. This research displays to the student’s peers and educators their ability to process information in their area of study. Often students will present a new idea or theory in their thesis or dissertation to show the extent of their research, and to instill into the student’s instructors their ability to function in the area of study.
The Idea of a Ph.D. degree, or profuse qualification in an area of study was introduced at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, and was bestowed upon students with original research in the areas of humanities or science. The idea of qualifying students this way was then introduced into North America in the late nineteenth century, and later in the twentieth century in the U.K.
Most employers, and professional positions do not require a Ph.D. for employment, with the exception of university instructors (professors), medical sciences, and some science research. It has been suggested that the requirement of a Ph.D. degree is increasing as employers are looking for people that are well rounded and fully qualified for their area of work.