DOCTOR (Lat. for "teacher"), the title conferred by the highest university degree. Originally there were only two degrees, those of bachelor and master, and the title doctor was given to certain masters as a merely honorary appellation. The process by which it became established as a degree superior to that of master cannot be clearly traced. At Bologna it seems to have been conferred in the faculty of law as early as the 12th century. Paris conferred the degree in the faculty of divinity, according to Antony Wood, some time after 1150. In England it was introduced in the 13th century; and both in England and on the continent it was long confined to the faculties of law and divinity. Though the word is so commonly used as synonymous with "physician," it was not until the 14th century that the doctor's degree began to be conferred in medicine. The tendency since has been to extend it to all faculties; thus in Germany, in the faculty of arts, it has replaced the old title of magister. The doctorate of music was first conferred at Oxford and Cambridge.
Doctors of the Church are certain saints whose doctrinal writings have obtained, by the universal consent of the Church or by papal decree, a special authority. In the case of the great schoolmen a characteristic qualification was added to the title doctor, e.g. "angelicus" (Aquinas), "mellifluus" (Bernard). The doctors of the Church are: for the East, SS. Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom; for the West, SS. Hilary, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Anselm, Bernard, Bonaventura and Thomas Aquinas. To these St Alphonso dei Liguori was added by Pope Pius IX.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)