What Is The Title Of A PhD Student?- Find out

What Is The Title Of A PhD Student? To answer this question, we must first understand the difference between a PhD Student and a PhD Candidate. 

What Is The Title Of A Ph.D. Student
  • First, while you’re studying for a PhD and attending a class that leads to the degree, you are called a PhD student or a Doctoral student. 
  • Second, when you complete your studies, your course, and your examination and work on your thesis or your dissertation you are known as a PhD candidate or doctoral candidate.

So, the point is being a PhD student your title should be Doctoral Student or PhD Student. 

You’ll get the title Dr. only after completing the second stage, which is PhD Candidate. Only after being a PhD candidate you can earn the title like Dr. and add it before your name. 

Furthermore, Dr. is a title that must be earned. It cannot be taken for granted and should not be taken lightly as it is the highest academic honor.

Can someone call me Dr. while I am a PhD student or PhD candidate?

The honest answer is, No. Not until you complete your studies. People can start calling you Dr. When you complete your education, as the title Dr. can be achieved only by PhD graduate students. 

You must know that the title “Doctor” degree is usually the highest level of education you can obtain in a specific field. A doctorate in any subject grants you the right to use the title doctor, but unless you are a doctor of “medicine” or a teaching professor in another subject, you are unlikely to use it.

Difference between PhD Dr. & Medical Dr.

Do not be confused between the title Dr. & Dr. You must know that all Dr. are not hospital Dr., they could be Dr. in Bible, Dr. in Philosophy, Dr. in Physics or any fields that they are in.

The degree confers the title of ‘Doctor,’ indicating that they have earned a doctorate in any field. PhD is a course meaning Doctor in Philosophy, which is derived from the Greek words ‘philia’ and Sophia,’ meaning “love of wisdom.” It can be in any field of knowledge approved by the university awarding it. Any doctorate accomplishes the same thing.

You could be a PhD in Humanities, PhD in History, PhD in Music, or any type of field that you’re interested in. 

The title of Doctor denotes the possession of a medical degree as well as the privileges that come with it. According to some professors, it is an anachronism, but the PhD holder is the only one who can legally use the title of Dr. It is ‘borrowed’ by the medic as a descriptive honorific. They are, in a sense, a doctor who isn’t a doctor. 

So, if you ever break a leg, don’t confuse the two.

Difference between a PhD student and a PhD candidate

A PhD student is normally referred to as a doctoral learner. A doctoral learner is someone who is learning the art and science of being a doctor, which is a bit more than a student. Simply, a PhD student is in a process of learning aiming to become a PhD candidate.

A PhD candidate is a doctoral learner who has met all the requirements of completing their doctorate but is waiting to conduct their Oral Defense and submit their dissertation for acceptance and publication. Only after this step, they can be called Dr. and they can add the title before their names.

Stages of earning a title Dr. 

  1. First stage: PhD Student (sometimes called a Doctoral student)
  2. Second stage: PhD Candidate (sometimes called a Doctoral candidate)
  3. Third stage: Earning the title Dr.

How do you address PhD students?

You can address any PhD students as Mr., Ms., or Mx. If they are your instructor it is wise to address them as professors to show respect. You can address them as Mr., Ms., Sir, or Madame if they are your teacher or tutors.

Once they achieve their PhD degree (once they are graduated), you can start addressing them as Dr., since they earn the title. 


The title of a PhD student should be Mr. or Ms., or they can be addressed as a Doctoral student. Since they are still studying and haven’t completed their degree yet. But, it is important to show respect even while they are a student too. They are not only a few years ahead of us, but they have put in a lot of time and effort to get there. They also had to pass several rites of passage, including getting into a PhD program, which is notoriously difficult. In some cases, if the PhD student agrees, you can address them more informally by their first name as you get to know them better. It also depends on the relationship you have with them. 


What is the average age of a PhD student?

The majority of the PhD students take around 8 years to complete and are 33 years old when they receive their diploma. Most Americans with only a bachelor’s degree have already established themselves professionally by that age.

Can a PhD be referred to as a doctor?

“Dr.” can be used to address anyone with a doctoral degree. PhD students or PhD candidates are terms used to describe people who are pursuing a PhD. Only after you have completed your PhD program and graduated will you be referred to as a doctor.

When am I allowed to use the title PhD?

When you are a graduate, you should use the title when the degree is conferred, either through a letter or a ceremony (whichever comes first). Before that, you are a graduate student.

What is a doctorate?

In most fields, a doctorate is the highest level of academic achievement. A Ph.D. is typically required for research or university teaching, whereas applied professional doctorates include the Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Education (EdD), and Juris Doctor (JD), among others.

Is it okay if I sign as a PhD student?

Any other academic credential you have already earned can be used while pursuing your doctorate (including a first doctoral degree, if applicable). … You should also avoid signing any amended forms of the doctoral degree credential that indicate partial completion.