PhD vs mD salary

Last Updated on September 2, 2023

PhD vs MD Salary: Navigating the Compensation Landscape


The decision to pursue a doctoral degree can be an arduous one, with several factors to consider. Amongst the ​many questions that arise, perhaps one of the most⁤ significant relates to future earning potential. As a student contemplates whether to pursue‍ a PhD or an MD, ‍understanding the salary landscape becomes crucial. This article aims⁣ to shed light on the ⁢complex ⁣topic of⁢ PhD vs MD salary, exploring various factors that influence compensation and providing a comprehensive analysis of these two prestigious professions.

PhD Salary Overview

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is an advanced degree typically pursued by those wishing ⁤to enter the world of academia and research. The average salary for individuals with​ a PhD varies⁢ significantly based on their field of study and industry. According
MD vs MD PhD: How to Choose your Best Path

You may have noticed the many times (especially on TV) in which a character will opt for a PhD instead of a medical degree. They have what seems like a good reason – they want to help people and make the world a better place, but they believe that once they are done with school they will be able to do more good as a doctor. The truth is that even though doctors make far less than most people think, and fewer people with PhDs end up becoming doctors, those who do generally earn more than their MD counterparts.

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Difference Between MD and PhD

There are a lot of degree types out there. Many fall into one of two camps: doctorates and master’s degrees. Both graduate degrees offer a narrower educational focus than the undergraduate experience. The higher the degree, the longer it takes to earn and the more specialized is its focus. We’re taking a closer look at the master’s and doctorate degrees to highlight differences and help you determine which might be most useful to you.

Master’s Degrees

Master’s degrees are more versatile than doctoral degrees, and have a wide range of professional and academic applications. The most common master’s degrees are Master’s of Arts (M.A.) and Master’s of Science (M.S.) . Additionally, there are three types of master’s programs:

  • Research Master’s degrees are typically for academic and applied research disciplines. Examples include a Master’s of Arts in Comparative Literature, and Master’s of Science in Biology. In some fields, earning a research master’s degree without going on to earn a Ph.D. restricts your professional options. Figure out what’s best for you and your career trajectory by talking with professors or professionals in your field.
  • Professional Master’s degrees prepare candidates for professional work by introducing practical skills and frameworks for understanding issues in their field. These degrees may also qualify a person to practice in their field. Examples include a Master’s of Social Work, Master’s of Architecture, or Master’s of Art in Teaching. Most of the degrees featured at Idealist Grad Fairs are professional master’s degrees supporting careers in the social good sector.
  • Terminal Master’s degrees are the highest academic degree in their field. While some master’s degrees may serve as the first step towards a doctorate, others—such as a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing or a Master’s in Library Science—are as high as you can go for academic accreditation in those fields of study.

Before pursuing a master’s degree, candidates must have already earned a bachelor’s degree. Master’s programs take one to three years to complete and consist of advanced-level courses and seminars. In some programs, students go on to research, write, and defend a master’s thesis. In professional master’s programs, the thesis is often replaced by final projects and exams.

is a phD equivalent to mD

The most common doctorate is the Doctor of Philosophy or PhD. These research doctorates prepare students to contribute to the collective knowledge base of the field and offers a unique opportunity for an individual to conduct intensive and prolonged research on a very particular topic, which often leads to publication. With a PhD, many seek careers as professors and researchers, but may also pursue roles in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Additionally, there are professional doctorates like the MD (Medical Doctor), and the JD (Juris Doctor). Before pursuing a doctorate, candidates must have already earned a bachelor’s degree and in some cases a master’s depending on the program. Due to the nature of specialization, PhD programs tend to be smaller than master’s programs.

PhD candidates begin by taking courses and exams. They go on to take advanced seminars and complete their requirements by researching, writing, and defending a dissertation. A dissertation is one of the central components of earning the PhD and is a doctoral-level thesis about the candidate’s original research. A doctorate degree may take up to eight years to earn depending on the program, whether the candidate has already completed a master’s degree (or is coming straight from undergraduate), and the amount of time it takes to complete the dissertation.

MD and Phd are both higher degrees. MD stands for Doctor of Medicine, and Phd stands for Doctor of philosophy.

The first difference that can be mentioned of the two, is that MD is associated with treating patients, and Phd is related to a doctor’s degree in other fields.

While MD pertains to a higher degree in medicine, a Phd can be obtained in various fields, like arts and the sciences. A person that has a MD degree can prescribe medicines, where as a person with a Phd cannot prescribe medicines. Phd is completely research oriented.

When discussing the origin of MD and Phd, the former was launched first. The origin of Doctor of Medicine is traced to the ninth century, when it was introduced in the medieval Arabic universities. The Doctor of Philosophy is known to have originated in the Middle Ages, in the European universities.

There is also the difference of time when studying for the degrees. While a person gets a MD after about four years, a person will only get a Phd in four to seven years. Getting a Phd also depends on the submission of the thesis paper.

Doctor of Philosophy comes from Latin philosophiæ doctor, which means ‘teacher of philosophy’. The Doctor of Medicine also comes from Latin, and means ‘teacher of medicine’.

A person gets a MD degree after two years of course work, and two years of rotational work, in some hospital or clinic. On the other hand, a person gets a Phd after he submits his thesis paper. The thesis is examined by a group of experts, and the person may also be called to defend his work.


MD stands for Doctor of Medicine, and Phd stands for Doctor of philosophy.

While MD pertains to a higher degree in medicine, a Phd can be obtained in various fields, like arts and the sciences.

A person with a MD degree can prescribe medicines

A person gets a MD degree after two years of course work, and two years of rotational work, in some hospital or clinic. On the other hand, a person gets a Phd only after his thesis paper has been approved.

The origin of Doctor of Medicine is traced to the ninth century, when it was introduced in the medieval Arabic universities. The Doctor of Philosophy is known to have originated in the Middle Ages, in the European universities.

PhD vs mD which is higher

Parameters of ComparisonMDPhD
Full formDoctor of MedicineDoctor of Philosophy
Time of completion of degreeIt takes four years to get a MD degree.It can take four to seven years to get a PhD degree.
Writing prescriptionsMD degree holder can prescribe medicines to patients.PhD degree holder cannot prescribe medicines to patients.
OriginIt’s origin is traceable back to the ninth century. It was first introduced in the mediaeval Arabic Universities.It’s origin is traceable back in the Middle ages. It was first introduced in the European Universities.
Completion of degreeIt takes two years of course work and two years of rotational work to get MD degree.To finish the study of a PhD degree, one has to submit his thesis paper.

do mD PhD get paid more

Unfortunately, MD/PhDs are not paid more than their MD counterparts. Research doesn’t pay as well as seeing patients does, so MD/PhDs who spend their time doing research naturally compromise some of the salary they would make as a physician.

Interesting Career Opportunities

People who earn M.D.s usually hold jobs practicing medicine. They may have their own practices or work for larger healthcare organizations, clinics and hospitals. Most M.D.s are involved in direct patient care. Depending on their specialty, they may diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, perform surgeries and prescribe medication. People who earn M.D.s and PhD’s may work in teaching, research and administration. Some PhD’s are hired to work as policy analysts in government or private business consultants, depending on their field of expertise. PhD professionals can specialize in almost any subject area, such as languages, literature, music, management or psychology. Many PhD’s seek jobs in higher education. College professors at comprehensive universities typically hold a PhD and earn a median wage of $76,000, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2017.

Salary Difference Between Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees

Salary Difference between Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees

When undergraduates are thinking about studying abroad for an advanced degree in the U.S., they have two options: apply to a master’s degree or doctoral degree program. Here we will talk about the differences between master’s and Ph.D. degree programs and also compare the lifetime earnings of both degrees in respective occupations.

What Are Master’s Degrees?

A master’s degree is the first level of graduate study designed to give you a solid education in a specialized field after you finish a bachelor’s degree. It usually requires one to two years of full-time study. Master’s degrees tend to be a more career-oriented program. Upon completion, graduates are expected to have advanced knowledge within a specialized field and have analytical, evaluation, and professional application skills. One disadvantage is that there are limited scholarships for international students who are master’s candidates in the U.S.

What Are Ph.D. Degrees?

PhD vs MD – Differences explained | DiscoverPhDs

Ph.D. is an abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy, which is a doctoral degree. Obtaining a Ph.D. degree means you have an exclusive specialty in your field. Ph.D. candidates are expected to engage in thought experiments, reason about problems, and solve problems in sophisticated ways. Students can apply for a Ph.D. program directly after completing a bachelor’s degree, while some schools also require a master’s degree before entering a Ph.D. program. The exact number of years varies from four to eight years, which highly depends on the field, the student’s research topic, and the student’s skills. A Ph.D. degree also requires students to pass comprehensive exams and a large scholarly project called a dissertation.

For international students, financial aid opportunities might be a big motivation to apply for a Ph.D. degree. Schools recognize that those trying to acquire their doctoral degree need more assistance due to the length of study.

Salary Differences Between Master’s and Ph.D. Graduates

PhD Salary in UK - Explained | DiscoverPhDs

After looking at the different commitments the two degree programs require, you may also want to look at the average salaries for master’s and Ph.D. graduates. Below is an income chart from the United States Census Bureau about employee’s work-life earnings that refer to different occupations and education levels attained.

Salary Differences by Degree

Note: This chart is for 25 to 64-year-olds who are working full-time, year-round.

Overall, the average life earnings of doctorate holders are higher than other degree holders within the same industries. However, the life earning gap between master’s and Ph.D. holders varies on different majors or fields of study. For example, in biological science occupations, a Ph.D. holder earns 27 percent more than that of a master’s holder. Whereas in some other fields, such as business, there is only a small difference of 8 percent.

If you are looking for ways to improve your career, obtaining an MBA degree may be worthwhile financially as graduates receive similar work-life earning as Ph.D. graduates. But if you’re looking to pursue a Ph.D. degree within a highly focused field, then check out the top 50 U.S. colleges with the most international graduate students.

So, consider pursuing a Ph.D. degree if you truly love your field, enjoy your studies, and want the benefits and prestige associated with the doctoral degree. If you are looking for a change in field, industry, or a promotion, then getting your master’s might be enough.

Whether you’re interested in an MD PhD or an MD program, the application process is similar. You’ll apply to most programs through AMCAS where you’ll complete all sections of the application including the AMCAS work and activities section and you’ll upload your coursework, letters of evaluation, and medical school personal statement. Make sure to find out if the schools of your choice require you to take CASPer test. If so, start practicing using CASPer sample questions as soon as you can. In addition to the standard application components, MD PhD applicants will have to complete two additional essays that describe both their reasons for pursuing an MD PhD degree and their research experience

Master’s vs Doctorate: Which Degree is Right for You

Graduate degrees are becoming increasingly popular. 

According to the world’s largest and most sophisticated database of labor market and talent data from Burning Glass Technologies, 19% of U.S. job openings in the year 2018 requested a graduate degree. And that trend isn’t changing any time soon. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects master’s-level occupations to grow by 17% by 2026. Employment for doctoral- and professional-level degree is also projected to grow by about 13%. Both of these projections are much faster than the 7% average for all occupations. 

The demand for both master’s and doctorate degrees is high. But how do you know which level of educational attainment is right for you? Does your industry or career aspirations necessitate one degree or another? Will you personally benefit more from a master’s or doctorate?

We’ll show you how to take all these factors into consideration to help choose if you should get a master’s degree, or if you should complete your master’s and go on to pursue a doctorate degree.

PhD vs mD difficulty

Master’s vs Doctorate: What are typical program requirements?

Whether you pursue a master’s degree or doctorate degree program, it’s a significant commitment of time, energy and finances. Before you choose, you should understand the requirements for not only getting into a program, but also completing your master’s or doctorate degree.

Now that you have an understanding of what committing to a master’s degree or doctorate degree entails, compare the focus of the program and coursework. 

Master’s vs Doctorate: What’s the difference in content and coursework?

The focus of master’s degrees and doctorate degrees is different. 

A master’s degree is designed to deepen career-oriented knowledge and skills. A doctorate degree is a heavily research-based degree, designed to develop critical research,analytical and writing skills in an effort to fill industry knowledge gaps.

Because of these different goals, the makeup of the coursework and content is also distinct.

Master’s programs feature three different types of courses:

  • Core courses: These courses are required to complete your master’s degree and are considered essential knowledge to advance your industry expertise.
  • Electives: These are a selection of courses that allow you to further specialize your degree with concentrated knowledge in specific areas. They can also be used to broaden your experience in related subject areas.
  • Capstone course (or thesis): The culmination of a master’s degree, a capstone course or thesis usually involves conducting research and presenting your findings.

Doctorate programs are broken down into four distinct parts:

  • Coursework: These advanced courses are required knowledge for passing your comprehensive exam. 
  • Research Core: These courses impart essential research, analytical and writing skills to prepare you to complete your dissertation.
  • Comprehensive exam: The comprehensive exam tests your understanding of key concepts learned through your coursework. Passing your comprehensive exam is essential to beginning your dissertation.
  • Dissertation: You work with a dissertation committee to identify a research topic. Then you complete in-depth research, analysis, and writing before you defend your original research to your dissertation committee. 

As you consider these degrees, decide which better fits your academic and professional goals, as well as your personal interests and learning style.

is mD better than PhD

Master’s vs Graduate: How much will the degree cost?

We know that cost is a top concern for individuals deciding what degree to pursue. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer. Cost estimates for a master’s degree can be anywhere from $30,000 to $120,000—and costs for doctorates can range just as widely. 

If you’re trying to evaluate the cost of a master’s vs doctorate degree you need to look at important factors like:

  • Type of institution: Whether you choose a public, private nonprofit or for-profit school will impact how much you pay in tuition. The reputation and rankings of a university also affect the cost of tuition. 
  • Time to graduation: How many courses you take at one time and the total number of credit hours you need to graduate affect the cost of both master’s and doctorates. Doctorates depend highly on an individual’s time and commitment to completing the research and writing of an original dissertation. Also, keep your other personal and professional commitments in mind when estimating how long it will take to earn your degree (and how that will impact cost).
  • Transfer credit: If you have a professional certification, or have earned graduate-level course credit, you may be eligible to transfer credit toward your degree. Getting transfer credit can significantly reduce your total cost.

Remember: To complete a doctorate degree you must first complete a master’s degree. So if cost is a top concern, evaluate which institution and program will give you the best value. In some cases, you may even be able to complete both a master’s degree and doctorate degree at a lower cost than a master’s degree at a school with high tuition. 

Master’s vs Doctorate: What are the outcomes of each degree?

When it comes to the outcomes of a master’s or doctorate degree, you should look at three key factors: skillset, career prospects and salary expectations. Let’s dive into the differences between the outcomes of these two types of graduate degrees.

  • Skillset: Master’s degrees focus on the expert command of industry-specific skills, while working to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. On the other hand, doctorate degrees are nearly the inverse—they heavily focus on research, analysis and writing in support of developing transferable skills that can be used to fill gaps in industry knowledge.
  • Career prospects: Career advancement is a primary goal for people who pursue master’s and doctorate degrees. Master’s degrees are seen as career-oriented degrees that prepare you for management and leadership positions. More and more, doctorate degrees are becoming the norm for top executive positions, as well as opportunities to transition your career into academia.
  • Income: Both master’s degrees and doctorate degrees significantly increase your salary expectations and lifetime earning potential. But which is worth more? According to the BLS, a master’s degree has the power to boost your earnings by 17% when compared to a bachelor’s degree, while a doctorate degree can bring in a salary 30% higher than a bachelor’s degree. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an individual with a master’s degree can also earn more than $2.8 million in their lifetime, while a doctorate degree can earn you over $3.5 million.

Comparing the Benefits of Master’s vs Doctorate Degrees

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a master’s vs doctorate degree. But as you evaluate all of the different aspects of these programs, make sure to keep your long-term goals in mind. We’ve outlined four key ways to compare the benefits of master’s vs doctorate degrees against your goals.

Master’s vs Doctorate: Popularity meets possibility with online degrees

As demand increases for advanced degrees, professionals are looking for ways to make getting their graduate degree more attainable. That’s why online master’s and doctorate degrees are more popular than ever. Online degrees offer working professionals the opportunity to get their degree without stalling their career.

Getting your master’s degree or doctorate degree is a lifetime achievement that can help you advance your career. If you’re considering your options for a master’s or doctorate degree, explore Franklin University’s online master’s degrees and online doctorate degrees to find a program that can help you take your career to the next level.

Education and Training in MD-PhD Programs | AAMC

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