The University of London introduced the DSc in 1860, but as an advanced study course, following on directly from the BSc, rather than a research degree.
The first higher doctorate in the modern sense was Durham University's DSc, introduced in 1882.
During the studies that lead to the degree, the student is called a doctoral student or Ph D student; a student who has completed all of their coursework and comprehensive examinations and is working on their thesis/dissertation is sometimes known as a doctoral candidate or Ph D candidate (see: all but dissertation).
A student attaining this level may be granted a Candidate of Philosophy degree at some institutions, or may be granted a master's degree en route to the doctoral degree. In many countries, a candidate must defend this work before a panel of expert examiners appointed by the university.
Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor (often abbreviated "Dr" or "Dr.") or, in non-English-speaking countries, variants such as "Dr.
phil." with their name, although the proper etiquette associated with this usage may also be subject to the professional ethics of their own scholarly field, culture, or society.
Whereas in the Middle Ages the arts faculty had a set curriculum, based upon the trivium and the quadrivium, by the 19th century it had come to house all the courses of study in subjects now commonly referred to as sciences and humanities.
These reforms proved extremely successful, and fairly quickly the German universities started attracting foreign students, notably from the United States.
In Germany, the name of the doctorate was adapted after the philosophy faculty started being split up − e.g. The degree was introduced in France in 1808, replacing diplomas as the highest academic degree; into Russia in 1819, when the Doktor Nauk degree, roughly equivalent to a Ph D, gradually started replacing the specialist diploma, roughly equivalent to the MA, as the highest academic degree; and in Italy in 1927, when Ph Ds gradually started replacing the Laurea as the highest academic degree.
Research degrees first appeared in the UK in the late 19th century in the shape of the Doctor of Science (DSc or Sc D) and other such "higher doctorates".