Doctoral-level study is increasingly popular for clinicians who wish to advance their clinical, research and academic career pathways. A range of alternatives to the traditional PhD are now well-established. This article aims to outline the different approaches and discuss some advantages and drawbacks of doctoral-level postgraduate study. By comparing the various doctoral programmes, the authors seek to clarify the issues for clinicians who may wish to embark on a future doctorate. Primary clinical or medical degrees are not discussed.