The difference between the doctoral degree and the honorary doctorate
Degree or title (h.c.)
Are you confused because each website out there tells you something different?
We’re here to clear things up!
Due to our years of experience in awarding honorary doctorates and titles such as the honorary doctorate (Dr h.c.), we have the necessary experience and expertise to provide a complete and accurate answer to your questions.
The difference between the doctoral degree and an honorary doctoral title is as follows:
A doctoral degree can only be earned after years of study, concluding with a dissertation at a university that is accredited to offer doctorates.
Admission to doctoral programmes usually requires the candidate to hold a master’s degree or equivalent university degree. In dentistry, pharmacy, medicine, and law, as well as teacher training courses in Germany, the course ends with a state examination. The state examination also counts for admission to a doctoral programme.
A doctorate is necessary to apply for habilitation (the “second doctorate”), which is required to be eligible for professorships.
As you can see, if you’re already hard at work and/or raising a family, you probably don’t have the time for years of study and you’ll have a hard time earning a doctorate (even if you hire a doctorate adviser).
So, here’s your chance, to acquire the title as an honorific.
The Dr h.c. is not an academic degree like the doctorate described above. As you have already read, that kind of doctorate is only possible with years of work. For this reason, the honorary doctorate is not equivalent to a doctoral degree nor should it be confused with one.
This means that you can use your honorary doctorate anywhere in the world.
You just need to specify the country of origin, the issuing institution, and the field.
Anyone can be awarded the honorary doctorate if they have earned it.
For example, universities award honorary doctorates to people who make generous donations (usually sums of at least €25,000 are expected) or who otherwise perform some other outstanding work on behalf of a university.
In addition to universities, American churches (such as our California Church and University Institute) have the right to grant honorary doctorates and honorary titles in various disciplines.
All we ask for in return is a small donation that will ensure that our church may continue operating and which will be partially used in various aid projects around the world.