These doctorates are now less common in some countries and are often awarded honoris causa.
The first professional doctorate to be offered in the United States was the M. at Kings College (now Columbia University) after the medical school's founding in 1767, The MD became the standard first degree in medicine during the 19th century, but as a three-year undergraduate degree; it did not become established as a graduate degree until 1930.
The MD, as the standard qualifying degree in medicine, gave that profession the ability (through the American Medical Association, established in 1847 for this purpose) to set and raise standards for entry into professional practice.
In 1213 the right was granted by the pope to the University of Paris, where it became a universal license to teach (licentia ubiquie docendi).
However, while the licentia continued to hold a higher prestige than the bachelor's degree (baccalaureus), the latter was ultimately reduced to an intermediate step to the master's degree (magister) and doctorate, both of which now became the accepted teaching qualifications. University doctoral training was a form of apprenticeship to a guild.
A doctorate (from Latin docere, "to teach") or doctor's degree (from Latin doctor, "teacher") or doctoral degree, is an academic degree awarded by universities, derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi ("licence to teach").
In most countries, it is a research degree that qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree's field, or to work in a specific profession.
Since the Middle Ages, the number and types of doctorates awarded by universities has proliferated throughout the world. While a doctorate usually entitles one to be addressed as "doctor", use of the title varies widely, depending on the type and the associated occupation.
Research doctorates are awarded in recognition of academic research that is publishable, at least in principle, in a peer-reviewed academic journal.
Following the MD, the next professional doctorate, the Juris Doctor (J.
D.), was established by the University of Chicago in 1902.