Doctor of Commerce

The Doctor of Commerce (DCom) [1] is a doctoral degree in commerce-, accounting-, economics-, and management-related subjects, awarded by universities in the Commonwealth. The degree is offered both as a higher doctorate, and as a research doctorate.

The higher doctorate [2] is awarded for published work of the candidate, demonstrating original contributions of "special excellence" in some branch of commerce. The candidate will be a graduate of the university in question.

The research doctorate [3] is largely comparable to a PhD and in fact "Doctor of Commerce" may refer to a commerce-related PhD.[4] Relatedly, at some universities the degree-title conferred will be a function of the candidate’s background: for example, in operations research, the degree may be a PhD or a DCom, depending on whether the candidate held a Master of Science or Master of Commerce respectively.[5] Further, in some cases, the degree title may also depend on the area of the research: a thesis focused on a more theorectial area (e.g. "finance") will be awarded a PhD, while one focused on a specific area or function (e.g. financial management) will be awarded a DCom.[6] Finally, in some cases the distinction will be whether the degree includes coursework or is entirely thesis based.[7]

The research doctorate is usually accessed following a related master's degree, often the Master of Commerce. Here, there is generally a requirement that the master’s degree in question must include a research component, either comprising coursework with research, or being solely thesis-based.


  1. General information can be accessed via, for example, the SAQA qualifications page or the NZQA qualifications page searching for "doctor of commerce".
  2. See for example the universities of Canterbury, Otago, Kwazulu-Natal, Western Australia and Witwatersrand.
  3. See for example the University of Venda and UNISA.
  4. See for example Victoria University of Wellington and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
  5. For example, at UNISA, and the University of Venda.
  6. For example, at the University of Johannesburg.
  7. For example, at the University of Pretoria.

See also

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