If I am referring to a PhD program, is it better to say "Doctoral Program" or "Doctorate Program"?

1 Answer 1


Doctoral would be the better choice. Doctoral is an adjective and doctorate is a noun. The degree is a "doctorate," and you might call the program itself a "doctorate" (as in "my doctorate took six years"), but a Google ngram shows that the phrase "doctoral program" is much more common than "doctorate program." This is probably because it's more natural to modify the noun program with an adjective. (Though it's not impossible for a noun to act like an adjective and modify another noun—"The Mitchell house," "my car keys," "school transcript.")

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    It might be good to add that while "Doctoral Program" is by far the better choice, "Doctorate Program" is not wrong, and is still idiomatic. Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 2:02

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