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Programs Whats the record in number of PhDs?

  1. Apr 6, 2009 #1
    ..a single person has had?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2009 #2


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    I assume you mean earned PhDs, as the number of honorary doctorates carries much less significance (e.g., the King of Thailand apparently received over a hundred honorary degrees in 1997, including ten doctorates from a single university in Thailand). Daisaku Ikeda apparently has over two hundred honorary doctorates.

    The information on earned doctorates is hard to find, as the topic is cluttered with the claims of self-promoters. For example, the fans of a person named Ashok or Ashoka Prasad claim that he has three, six, or eight earned doctorates (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Vr/Archive" [Broken], for example), but I can't find any confirmation in reputable sources.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Apr 6, 2009 #3
    im talking about legit people. like a person having a phd in ee, plasmaphysics, quantumchemistry and particle physics. Does a acedemic beast like this exist?

    cause i know a person that had 2 PhDs (from berkley) one in ee and one in plasma physics.
  5. Apr 6, 2009 #4


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    I suspect two is the maximum number of science/engineering doctorates you'll see (reported by trustworthy people from reputable universities, of course). Getting even two doctorates in technical fields is usually discouraged. I quote from Berkeley's own EECS website:

    Students who already hold a doctoral level degree are not admitted and duplication of degree or admission to a lesser degree is not permitted. However, in extraordinary circumstances, the faculty of the department may request an exception from the Dean of the Graduate Division. The department must demonstrate that the second degree field of study and program are distinctly different from that of the original degree, and that there is a professional or scholarly purpose that requires this second degree.
  6. Apr 6, 2009 #5
    well this guy got them in 60s.
  7. Apr 6, 2009 #6


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    I'm not really sure why one would pursue a second (or more) Ph.D. unless one wanted to completely switch fields. I've seen people enter medical physics with a Ph.D. in some other area of physics, but they usually are happy to get a master's degree and start working. Based on my experience, is does not seem that difficult to get into a post-doc position that's different from your Ph.D. as long as the fields have some reasonably commong ground (and you aren't competing with a pool of others who have more specific backgrounds).
  8. Apr 6, 2009 #7
    It's not exceptionally common, but there are a fair number of people who pursue joint MD/PhDs. This, of course, is typically for people interested in the life sciences, not for physicists. Most universities that have joint MD/PhD programs would have about 5 or 6 students per year in that program. There are a lot of downsides to getting two doctorates: for one, you have to expect at least 8 more years of school after undergrad, and that's not counting residency, post-doc, etc ad nauseam. I met a guy who's doing an MD/PhD in neurology-related fields, and of course neurosurgeons have about 7+ years of additional training beyond medical school. By his own estimate, he'll be around 40 by the time he begins his career.

    I have not really heard of many people getting multiple PhDs. It doesn't seem worthwhile, since if you're going to invest so much of your life into becoming an expert in one field, you should usually stick with that rather than starting over.
  9. Apr 10, 2009 #8
    I heard the professor on Gilligan's Island has 6 degrees.
  10. Apr 10, 2009 #9
    Michael Griffin, who was the administrator of NASA until Obama's inauguration, has 1 B.S., 5 masters degrees, and 1 PhD.

  11. Jan 8, 2010 #10
    A professor at Stockholm University, where I've studied computer science, has a PhD in Mathematics and another in Computer Science.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  12. Jan 8, 2010 #11
    A number of German professors have two PhDs. The most recent one I have met, probably in his early 40s, had a PhD in computer science and another one in psychology. He went into gifted research when he grew bored of technical fields.
  13. Jan 8, 2010 #12
    Really? Computer science and psychology? I've never heard of anyone getting two PhDs in subjects that are that far apart. Douglas Hofstadter comes to mind as a person moving from an undergraduate in mathematics, a PhD in physics, moving on to something which I guess could best be described as a mix of cognitive sience and philosophy of mind. But he does not have several PhDs.
  14. Jan 9, 2010 #13
    I had a middle school music teacher who had 3 Ph.D.'s (I don't recall what in). Maybe he was just pulling our leg though - I don't think I even knew what a Ph.D. was back then.
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