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, a research degree qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree's field or work in a specific profession. There are a number of doctoral degrees; the most common is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to scientific disciplines.

American Academic doctors gather before the commencement exercises at Brigham Young University (April 2008). The American code for academic dress identifies academic doctors with 3 bands of velvet on the sleeve of the doctoral gown.
The cover of the thesis presented by Claude Bernard to obtain his Doctor of Medicine degree (1843)

In the United States and some other countries, there are also some types of technical or professional degrees that include "doctor's" in their name and are classified as a doctorate in some of those countries. Professional doctorates historically came about to meet the needs of practitioners in a variety of disciplines.

Many universities also award honorary doctorates to individuals deemed worthy of special recognition, either for scholarly work or other contributions to the university or society.