If someone in TV-land is referred to as "the doctor", it means they're a medical doctor. It might not be explicitly mentioned, possibly even outright denied, but anyone called the doctor seems to be able to deliver any and all surgical operations and medical technobabble required by the plot. There are no exceptions (well, other than THE Doctor). All those other people who've got doctorates in science, law and philosophy are helpfully distinguished from a real doctor with vaguely-academic titles like "professor", if they're even awarded one at all.
This trope stems from a modern convention: in the past, "Doctor" had a purely academic connotation — the word itself derives from the Latin doctor, meaning "teacher", meaning that the title-holder is licensed to lecture at a university on the subject they have a Doctorate in. Later, the meaning of the word Doctor narrowed down to mean that the holder has a doctorate degree: M.D. = Medicinæ Doctor (Doctor of Medicine), or Ph.D. = Philosophiæ Doctor (Doctor of Philosophy). At some point, the word (in English, at least) began to shift from being the title of a learned person/a person with a doctorate to meaning the same as "physician". Originally, the M.D. was a doctorate in medicine, but in some places, like the US and Canada, it became the first professional degree. (In the UK and Ireland bachelor of medicine & surgery primarily abbreviated as MB ChB, though it can vary depending on university are the first undergraduate degrees; holders are addressed as "Doctor" regardless. Meanwhile, surgeons which require a graduate degree, equivalent to a North American M.D. in length of education are only addressed in honorfics in a form of reverse snobbery.)note It is easy to see how the term "doctor" was slowly divorced from its academic roots. This has gone so far that it is common for it to be thought that "real" doctors are physicians... which brings us to this trope. And M.D. Envy to boot.
Certain professions blur the line. A psychiatrist or forensic pathologist will necessarily have a medical doctorate, but their main occupation isn't taking care of people's cuts and sniffles. If they're suddenly forced to act like that kind of doctor like, say, they're on hand when someone gets hit by a car expect them to act awkward and unsure before they save the day. In all likelihood, after all, it's been years since they had to give much thought to the treatment of physical injuries. Veterinarians would also cause this trope, as they work on animals rather than humans, although they are properly addressed as "Doctor" when working.
Not to be confused with Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. See also Open Heart Dentistry and Omnidisciplinary Scientist. Compare All Monks Know Kung-Fu (which is, basically, Not That Kind Of Monk) and Not That Kind of Mage, where someone good at one form of wizardry is unskilled at another. Contrast with Super Doc, when the Doctor can heal you no matter what his field is. If the character actually complains about this, he might say some form of I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder.
Note that this trope holds water only in certain languages, such as English; other languages were smart enough to create different words to distinguish between MDs and PhDs. An example would be Chinese, where the medical professionals are addressed as [Surname] yīshēng while academics get [Surname] bóshì. In languages that don't have the distinction, the use of "Doctor" by non-MDs varies with culture: in English-speaking cultures it is frowned upon for someone with the title of "Doctor" to use it in a field where their title does not apply. For instance, if a Doctor of Education worked in a hospital, referring to himself as a doctor could be misleading since he has no background in medicine. But in some countries like Germany and Italy, it is almost always used.
Doctors who really do practice medicine:
- Dr. Shiouji from Excel♡Saga specifically states that out of his many doctorates none are in medicine, but it doesn't matter that much in the end as he's also an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who knows all the medical terminology and has previously dissected Iwata's dead body to translocate his brain into a mechanical vessel. Dr. Kabapu has never said what kind of doctor he is either.
- Reversed in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, when Kafuka Fuura walks into the Itoshiki Clinic for a check-up and initially sees Dr. Mikoto Itoshiki, whom she initially confuses for his younger brother/her teacher Nozomu.note ]
Dr. Itoshiki: Yes.
Kafuka: No, I mean, Sensei!
Dr. Itoshiki: Yes?
Kafuka: I mean, Itoshiki-sensei.
Dr. Itoshiki: Yes.
- Doctor Nanjo from Umineko: When They Cry practices medicine, but he's still not that kind of doctor, since the characters need to determine a cause of death, but Nanjo is a general practitioner and thus not qualified to examine corpses. The first death scene in the VN even mentions this.
- The female Dr. Light started out as Not That Kind Of Doctor, being an astrophysicist. Then, she was later shown as That Kind of Doctor, working in a hospital and healing a fellow hero. Thus began her upgrade to Omnidisciplinary Scientist...
- Doctor Strange, from the Marvel Universe, is a trained (though not currently practicing) surgeon. Specifically, he was a neurosurgeon, but an accident left his hands unable to hold a scalpel steady enough to do the fine manipulation necessary for such delicate surgery. On the occasions when he does show his medical chops, he tends to be better and more versatile than a specialist decades out of practice should be, though he'll usually quip that he hasn't been that kind of doctor for a long time.
- The movie version actually has multiple Ph.D. and M.D. degrees.
- His parody in Fanhunter, Dr. X-Traño (a mix between a real wizard and a cosplayer Marvel geek), is only honoris causanote of something else by Miskatonic University. His allies believed X-Traño to be an M.D. like Strange; he was forced to tell the truth when he was asked to heal an ally.
- Inverted with the Night Nurse, who is actually a licensed physician but prefers the catchy codename to "Night General Practitioner".
- Lampshade Hanging in Justice Society of America, when Black Canary is surprised that Dr. Mid-Nite is that kind of doctor, since most supers who call themselves "Dr" aren't.
- It seems a little odd for Black Canary to think this, since in the DC Universe it may be true for supervillains, but most superheroes who use the "Dr" title are physicians. Dr. Manhattan is Not That Kind of Doctor (doctorate in physics), but he is/was explicitly not part of the mainstream DC Universe and Black Canary shouldn't know about him. Dr. Fate used to be Not That Kind of Doctor (doctorate in archaeology/Egyptology), but ended up becoming a physician anyway. Dr. Light (the heroic female version, not Arthur Light) used to be Not That Kind of Doctor (doctorate in astronomy), but has also since become a physician.
- In Saga of the Swamp Thing #9, Dr. Dennis Barclay says that the Swamp Thing needs a botanist or a biochemist, not a medical doctor like himself.
- During the Sunshine & Roses arc of Stray Bullets, Orson kidnaps a surgeon to help revive Annie after a blow to the head renders her unconscious. During the car ride over, the doctor explains that he's a reconstructive surgeon who mainly does cosmetic procedures, and thus knows nothing about treating traumatic brain injuries.
- Crossed: One arc features a bunch of millionaires hidden away in a luxurious bunker. The closest they have to a medical expert is a dermatologist who got rich off a brand of skin cream she invented; when one of the others gets appendicitis she operates on him, and predictably, he dies.
- The Sensational She-Hulk: Reed Richards informs Jen that she is losing her powers in issue #52. She desperately begs him to come up with a cure and he responds that this is a medical and biochemical issue which falls outside his area of expertise. What is unusual about this trope is that Reed is an Omnidisciplinary Scientist which She-Hulk lampshades.
Jen: Oh sure... You can build moon rockets in your backyard and shrink people to sub-atomic size in your sleep, but you can't deal with a simple blood disorder?
- Morbius has an M.D. and at least one PhD, so he is actually both kind of doctors. As an M.D. he specializes in hematology, but exactly what the Ph.D.s are in depends on the writer, with biology and biochemistry being the fields most commonly mentioned.
- There are a lot of people holding the title "doctor" around SPEAR's facilities in the Heroes of the Storm fanfic Heroes of the Desk. In one case, Dr. Kara Grimes is asked about "embiggering" tech, to which she replies, "I'm a psychologist, not a researcher." The doctors around SPEAR tend to be well-separated: doctors of medicine into specialties (averting Super Doc) and doctors of science into different fields (averting Omnidisciplinary Scientist).
- The Star Trek Online fic A Good Compromise has a Starfleet expedition discover that the vaccine against the Teplan blight has stopped working. Captain Tyria Sark asks her chief medical officer Irim Valder how to fix it.
Irim: Sir, I'm a general practitioner, not a pharmacologist.
- Teri × Gumball: In Between Worlds reveals that both of Teri's parents work in the medical field. Specifically, her father is a surgeon while her mother is an allergist.
- Harry Potter and Defeating Dark Lords, Inc:
Constance: Please. Healer Flynn. It's my crup. He's sick.
Healer Flynn: I'm a healer! Not a veterinarian.
- In the movie Paradise Road, Dr. Verstak (Frances McDormand) practices medicine on the inmates of the prison camp, making her non-expendable. Near the end of the movie, she admits that she isn't an M.D., but instead has a doctorate in philosophy. Though her husband is an M.D., so she actually does have some basic medical knowledge.
- In Punch-Drunk Love, Barry talks with his brother-in-law following a violent outburst. Barry wants to talk to him about his issues because he's a doctor, to which his brother-in-law responds:
"Barry, I'm a dentist, what kind of help do you think I can give you?"
- Austin Powers: Dr. Evil went to Evil ''Medical'' School, after spy school with Austin and Number Two. A series of French practice schoolbooks has Dr. Evil as a plastic surgeon and Mini-Me as his secretary.
- Awakenings begins with Dr. Sayer showing up for a job interview, but he's a medical researcher, so he's dismayed to find out that they're looking for a clinician — a "doctor doctor," in their words. But both he and the interviewers are desperate so he winds up with the job anyway.
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes has two doctorates. One is in theology, and the other in acoustics.
- Dracula features Abraham Van Helsing, M.D., D.Ph., D.Litt., etc, as seen in The Brides of Dracula (1960).
- City Slickers has a scene with two doctors needing to attend to an injured man because they're the only people in the group with first-aid training. The problem is that first-aid is all they can provide for him — he needs a surgeon, but they're dentists.
"What're we going to do, give him a cleaning?!"
- In the movie 1776, Doctor Lyman Hall is taken aside by the seriously ill Caesar Rodney, who asks him a simple question:
Rodney: Sir may I ask of you, are you a Doctor of Medicine, or of Divinity?note
Hall: Both, sir. Which one might be of use?
Rodney: The former most assuredly, then we shall see about the latter.
- In Clue, Professor Plum, a psychiatrist, is called upon to determine what killed Mr. Boddy and immediately protests, "I am not a forensic expert!" This gets turned around on him in one ending, as Plum had inspected Mr. Boddy and declared that Boddy was dead when in fact the man was still alive. Wadsworth points out that psychiatrists have more than enough medical knowledge and training to be able to tell whether someone is alive or dead, (in the modern era, psychiatrists are medical doctors in addition to psychologists, which is why they have the ability to prescribe drug treatments) so Plum must have known that Boddy was still alive even though he said otherwise. Wadsworth concludes this is because Plum wanted to kill Boddy himself.
- Inverted in The Santa Clause: When people refer to Neil as a doctor, Scott sarcastically replies "He's not a doctor, he's a psychiatrist." Psychiatrists actually are medical doctorsnote , but most people seem not to know that.
- In The Hangover, Stu is a dentist, a fact that everyone is quick to remind him of whenever he mentions his doctorate.
- Deep Blue Sea: This is outright said by the researcher responsible for the whole mess as she tries to tend to a shark attack victim.
- In-universe, this is a plot point and a problem for Pasteur in The Story of Louis Pasteur. His campaign to change French medicine is hampered by the fact that he's a chemist, not a medical doctor.
- In Tomcats Michael and Kyle go to see their friend, a doctor, for a growth on one of Kyle's testicles. The friend points out that while he is a M.D., he is a proctologist and not a urologist. Although they do go to see an actual urologist, Michael still feels the need to say:
Michael: Wait, so you'll stick your finger up his ass but you won't touch his nut?
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Iron Man 3: Played for Laughs in The Stinger, which reveals that Tony has been recounting the movie's events to Bruce Banner in a therapy session. Except Banner had fallen asleep at the start of the story, and when he wakes up, he points out he's not a therapist and doesn't have the temperament for it.
- Avengers: Endgame: Played for Laughs. When Tony and Banner are telling the others about Doctor Strange, they have a brief moment of confusion as they realize they have no idea what kind of doctor he actually is, because neither of them ever actually asked. Tony says he was probably an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist but Strange is a neurosurgeon, for the record.
- In the Laurel and Hardy film Sons of the Desert, as part of his plan to go to a fraternity convention against his wife's wishes, Oliver fakes a sudden illness and sets Stanley the task of getting a doctor and fixing it with him to play along and prescribe an ocean cruise for his health. Stan does so, and the doctor he gets is technically a medical practitioner, but, well...
Oliver: Now why did you get a veterinarian?
Stanley: Well I didn't think his religion would make any difference.
- In What's Up, Doc?, Hugh tries to use his credentials to gain favor in the court. But he's not the kind of doctor — not even metaphorically.
Hugh: Don't touch me, I'm a doctor!Judge: A doctor? Of what?Hugh: ...Music.Judge: Can you fix a hi-fi?Hugh: (dismissively) No.Judge: Well then, in my court, you're nothing!
- Doctor Lao from The Circus of Doctor Lao is definitely not that kind of doctor.
- Sherlock Holmes: Doctor Watson is that kind of doctor, if only to underline how much above even medical doctors Holmes is cognitively. However, while Holmes has a lot of forensic knowledge, Watson's expertise does often come in handy.
- In Beneath The Surface by Gary Crew, Spiro introduces himself as 'Doctor Spiro Trotter' and has to clarify that he isn't a medical doctor in response to the hotel receptionist repeatedly telling him that nobody's been sick for years.
- The protagonist of Youth in Sexual Ecstasy after acquiring an STD, looks for a doctor to get treated, he finds the card of a specialist in "sexual dysfunctions" (sex therapist) and goes to him to get treated, luckily for him the doctor already had a background on medicine and biology; The doctor later points out what his specialization really means.
- In the third Spaceforce novel, Jez and Andri investigate a troubling accidental death and find that pretty much everyone involved, victim and suspects, is a doctor - but only two are 'that' kind of doctor.
- In the original The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Henry Jekyll may or may not be that kind of doctor; Stevenson actually doesn't specify whether or not his doctorate is in medicine, although given his expertise in chemistry, it is possible. Some adaptations have indeed depicted him as running a private practice, or being retired from one.
- Dr. Abraham Van Helsing in the original Dracula is that kind of doctor (and a professor of medicine), and not a vampire hunter, as adaptations often turn him into; he's just smart enough to know enough about them to improvise.
- This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It: Dr Marconi, a celebrity expert on the supernatural, turns out to be the "Doc" caring for infected victims in the quarantine. Dave expresses surprise that Marconi is "that kind of doctor." However, when Dave later observes Marconi tending patients while smoking a pipe, he has doubts that Marconi has any medical training. Since there's no actual hope of a cure, however, it's ultimately left ambiguous.
- Inverted in The Mysterious Island: After Spillet (an Intrepid Reporter) saves Harbert's life with quinina, Pencroff never adresses him as anything but Doctor Spillet, despite his not being a doctor.
- In You Are Dead (Sign Here Please), Doctor Vegatillius' (stolen) doctorate is in art history, despite him posing as a neurobiologist.
- Mass Effect Annihilation: Yorrick, the elcor doctor. He's just a general practitioner (ear, nose and throat stuff), and is way out of his depth dealing with a horrific plague.
- Bunny: Fosco, Samantha's main professor, has a Ph.D. in English, and jokes about being confused for a "real doctor."
- The Peshawar Lancers: A private, wounded in battle, refuses to be treated by "the yoni doctor!". Athelstan gently reminds him that while their current surgeon indeed was a gynecologist in civilian practice, he is also a fully trained surgeon as well as an officer in the Reserve, and that while the pain buys a wounded man a lot of leeway, he should still be more polite to someone trying to save his life and limbs.
- The vets in All Creatures Great And Small sometimes have clients who mistake them for traditional doctors, often under embarrassing circumstances. Tristan once went on a house-call to an infertile couple under the mistaken belief that he was going to artificially inseminate their cow. Another time a woman turned up at the surgery asking for confirmation of her pregnancy and Siegfried pretended to comply with her wishes in order to freak out Tristan and James.
- Inverted in Season 17 of The Amazing Race when, after being U-Turned, Chad started taunting Nat at the Roadblock. Though really, it might have just been because Chad didn't know the difference between an MD and a PhD.
Chad: Nat you should be able to get this easy. How's that PhD helping you?
Nat (in a voice over): For the record, I have an MD, I do not have a PhD.
- In the Broad City episode "Hashtag FOMO," Trey calls Abbi to ask about the tapeworm she said she had. Abbi gives the phone to Lincoln, saying he's her doctor, but he doesn't leave a very good impression on Trey. Afterwards, Lincoln says, "I'm a dentist, not a doctor. I don't know how to deal with high-pressure situations."
- Captain Holt tries to use this to his advantage in an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, trying to get under the skin of a murder suspect, a dentist, by saying he's not a real doctor. The dentist isn't impressed, and retorts that it's better than university professors calling themselves doctors. Holt, who is both married to a university professor and a stickler for details, takes this very seriously.
Holt: A PhD is a doctorate. It's literally describing a doctor!
Peralta: Maybe let's refocus?
Holt: No! The problem here is that medical practitioners have co-opted the word "doctor"!
Peralta: OK, Captain —
Holt: I know we live in a world where anything can mean anything, and NOBODY EVEN CARES ABOUT ETYMOLO — [cut to them outside] Apparently, that's a trigger for me.
- Cliff on The Cosby Show is that kind of doctor (albeit a specialist, specifically an obstetrician). One rather hilarious scene in an episode was where Rudy hurt her leg, and cried to Cliff that she wanted to see a doctor. Cliff had to remind her that he was a doctor. Making it even funnier, when Clair came home and looked at it, she panicked a little and exclaimed that they had to call a doctor, again forgetting that Cliff, who was right next to her, was a doctor.
- Played with on Criminal Minds in Season Five, with Doctor Reid (who possesses three Ph.D.s but no medical training) after he was shot. Hotch makes him stay behind with Garcia, the team's analyst.
Hotch: You told me you were cleared to travel. You lied.
Reid: No, I didn't. I am a doctor, so technically it wasn't a lie.
Garcia: What was it, then?
Reid: Um... Second opinion.
Garcia: You're my bitch now.
Lewis: How'd you manage that?Prentiss: Medical necessity. You are a doctor, right?Lewis: I have earned a doctorate degree, yes.Prentiss: MD, PhD, now's not the time to split hairs.
- Later exploited in Season Twelve, when the team needs to get into a prison on lockdown. Prentiss manages to get Tara Lewis an exemption.
- The CSI-verse has two ex-doctors. CSI had Dr. Ray Langston and CSI: NY has Dr. Sheldon Hawkes. Both have ended up giving emergency care a time or two. Hawkes even helps with a bicycle first aid team in the park. Of course, the medical examiners (Robbins, Hammerback) are also doctors, but don't practice medicine.
- Doc Robbins has occasionally been shown to do things medically related - while Grissom was losing his hearing, Doc Robbins gave him regular check-ups to make sure Grissom was attending to his health. He also delivered a baby by C-section once, with Nick at the scene of a teen-age girl's death.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor has medical knowledge and has used it to heal people on occasion, but science is their forte and "Doctor" part of their assumed identity anyway. In "The Moonbase", the Second Doctor claims to have received a medical degree... under Lister on 19th century Earth. In any case, they've had centuries to come by plenty of knowledge honestly.
- In the classic series, the Rani, a fellow Time Lord and former classmate, mentions the Doctor's qualifications in thermodynamics, indicating that they were initially a physicist, not a physician, but then went traveling the Universe for centuries with the explicit purpose to learn and explore. By the New Series, the Doctor definitely qualifies as an Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
- In "The Runaway Bride", the Racnoss Empress is so old and has been in hibernation for so long that she assumes the Doctor is only that kind of doctor.
- Lampshaded again in "Utopia" when a guard tells Professor Yana that a doctor "of everything" has just arrived. This actually makes Yana more hopeful because he assumes that "doctor of everything" means that a well-trained scientist has showed up to help them, and he's not wrong.
- Being a doctor of "everything" has in fact been their traditional response to the question of what kind of doctor they are from at least the era of the Second Doctor. (Of course, the more snarky and acerbic Twelfth Doctor said his specialty was intestinal parasites when he was asked that.) However, whenever a companion knows medicine, matters medical will be left to the one who is that kind of doctor. However however, you'll never see the Doctor held back by a lack of knowledge of medicine when Martha Jones or Rory Williams aren't in the room.
- In "A Good Man Goes to War", the character Lorna knows he must be a great warrior because "Why else would he be called that?" Turns out that in her language, "Doctor" means "Mighty Warrior". The irony is that the Doctor has become so feared in reputation, that he created the term. That makes him not only that kind of Doctor, but that specific Doctor.
- Liz Shaw is that kind of doctor, among other things. Harry Sullivan's doctorate is strictly medical.
- In "The Ark in Space", the Doctor claims his Doctorate is purely honorary, and Harry (who's a naval surgeon) is "only qualified to work on sailors".
- Martha Jones eventually became that sort of doctor. Her (temporary) fiancé Tom Milligan is also one.
- In the first serial, the Doctor is asked to treat a badly injured man, and he replies angrily, "I am not a doctor of medicine!" In the second, he seems to be collecting samples of ground, and finds it important enough to, although unwittingly, lead himself and his companions to being badly exposed to severe radiation and to the Daleks' prison. Perhaps he's a doctor of geology?
- The official Doctor Who website has an entire page about the Doctor's qualifications.
- A skit where Lenny Henry plays the Doctor uses this to set up an Obligatory Joke.
The Doctor: I [Dramatic Pause] am the Doctor.
Homeless bum: Great, because I've got this really nasty rash on my back...
The Doctor: Not that kind of doctor THE Doctor.
Homeless bum: Doctor what?
The Doctor: That's near enough...
- Basically, the Doctor is so knowledgeable on all scientific topics, including medicine, that they could perform emergency surgery using only a fruit knife to save someone's life, but given a choice they'd rather let an experienced medical professional do it. This is actually a proviso of the Hippocratic Oath: even if you are "a doctor" and technically could perform a dangerous surgery, you are morally obligated to let a specialist perform it if they are better trained or experienced in that specific kind of operation than you are.
- Lampshaded on the "Doctor Nora" episode of Frasier. Doctor Nora holds a PhD ... In Physical Education. Frasier: "She's a gym teacher!"
- Ross Gellar from Friends has a PhD in paleontology. When he refers to himself as "Dr. Ross Gellar" in a hospital, Rachel tells him not to, as the title actually means something in a hospital.
- In Gotham, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, who ends up employed as the GCPD's medical examiner, starts the series as a physician in the women's wing of Arkham Asylum, and is repeatedly called on for medical services she doesn't specialize in throughout the rest of the series. She does lampshade this at least twice, though, once when she's forced to perform an emergency surgery, and once when she's trying to explain to someone who just went through a traumatic experience that she should talk to someone who's actually a trained psychiatrist.
- Jason Seaver from Growing Pains was a psychiatrist who, in early episodes, had to correct people when they thought he was a medical doctor and then defend being a "shrink". For instance, he was assisted a woman giving birth in public, letting her know he's a doctor. Her husband seems relieved by soon realizes that Jason plans to comfort her until paramedics arrive. The man then exclaims, "Oh, I thought you were a REAL doctor", much to his chagrin. This was befitting the attitudes of the early 80's in which psychiatry was not yet fully embraced by the public. It might also indicate a Critical Research Failure on the part of the writers, since a psychiatrist is a medical doctor with a specialty in psychiatry, while a psychologist is a counsellor. The main difference is 'trists can prescribe medication.
- Mohinder Suresh of Heroes has remarkable know-how in the medical arts despite being a geneticist.
- He even mentions how he's not a medical doctor at least twice— once in Volume 1 when Thompson asks him to figure out what's wrong with Molly, and in Volume 4 when he's brought to see a bullet-riddled Daphne.
- Iron Fist (2017). In "Heart of the Dragon", Danny Rand is seriously injured but refuses to go to a hospital, so Ward Meachum calls in his girlfriend who he says is a doctor. She points out she's actually an anesthetist, and though she patches Danny up, tells Ward that he's not to call on her for this kind of thing again.
- Subverted in an episode of Law & Order. As a doctor waits for her car in a parking lot, one of the attendants asks if she has any suggestions for his back pain. She quotes this trope, word for word, even though she is an MD, because her specialty is OB/GYN.
- During one episode of ''Leverage" ("The Rashomon Job"), Sophie runs into Dr. Wes Abernathy. She asks what his PhD is in, and he announces that he is a surgeon.
- In M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank, Henry, B.J., Charles, and Colonel Potter—pretty much all the male officers, not counting occasional visitors—were all that kind of doctor. Dr. Sidney Freedman is a psychiatrist, and therefore, is that kind of doctor, but it's not his occupation. In a crisis he's forced to help out in the O.R., over his protestations that "medical school was a long time ago."
- He mentions that the last surgery he performed was lancing a boil on his kid's butt.
- Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap straddles the line; while still amnesiac he recalls how to halt a premature labor, and then balks when Al tells him to do something requiring another degree; turns out medicine is just one of the six doctorates he holds.
- An episode of has Will and Abby kidnapped by a gang seeking medical aid for their boss, who was, of course, attacked by an abnormal. They go through about a half a minute of trying to convince said crooks that they are psychologists, which they are. It does not work.
Abby: Sigmund and Anna Freud, right here.
- Also, Magnus, who isn't really a medical doctor though she certainly acts like one (along with every other kind of doctor.)
Will: So, you're a doctor of what, exactly?
Magnus: The specific discipline depends entirely on the patient... I specialize mainly in cryptozoology and xenobiology. Teratology, too, when the need arises. (mythical/extinct creatures, extraterrestrial life, and mutations, respectively)
- An episode of has Will and Abby kidnapped by a gang seeking medical aid for their boss, who was, of course, attacked by an abnormal. They go through about a half a minute of trying to convince said crooks that they are psychologists, which they are. It does not work.
- In the Stargate-verse: Dr. Janet Frasier, Dr. Carson Beckett, and Dr. Jennifer Keller are all That Kind Of Doctor. And don't forget Dr. Lam, even if the writers did.
- Star Trek: Doctors McCoy, Crusher, Pulaski, Bashir, the EMH, and Phlox are definitely that kind of doctor. To emphasize the Mildly Military nature of Starfleet, it is apparently not appropriate to address them by their rank (if any). Further, as a psychiatrist, Deanna Troi is likely a Doctor as well, sort of that kind.
- Troi's title is Counselor, meaning she probably filled the role of a guidance counselor of sorts to the crew (more of a psychologist's job, and while they are doctors in the Ph.D. sense, her empathic nature helped her more than her training). Also, the official medical doctors all were required to learn multiple alien anatomies as well as forensics and other analysis. McCoy is pretty dependent on his lab in the original, but in space the doctors have to be able to cope with an emergency. After all, Klingon anatomy has double- or triple-redundancies to keep them fighting and Vulcans have their heart in their abdominal cavity, so why risk being underprepared?
- Surprisingly, McCoy admitted in "Journey to Babel" that he's really not very experienced with performing surgery on Vulcans, and would rather not risk the life of Spock's father by having to do the operation himself. As he explains, he is technically trained to do it, he knows where all the organs are - but that's no substitute for years of hands-on surgical experience. In short, he's a generalist for an entire multi-species crew, but realistically he'd rather let a specialist do it.
- All of these doctors (aside from Phlox, who's not an actual member of Starfleet, and Voyager's Doctor, who's a hologram) do have ranks, designated on their uniforms. McCoy was a Lt. Commander, for example. Troi, who does not wear a uniform, held the rank of Lt. Commander for most of the show and got a Hand Wave of not wanting to intimidate her clients because she out-ranked them. (Granted, what she was wearing instead was probably off-putting in other ways ) Crusher was a Commander. Bashir was a Lieutenant.
- Medical doctors in Starfleet don't get addressed by their rank, probably because they are not (usually) considered part of the "command" crew as such (not physically part of the "bridge" crew) and are thus relatively low in the official chain of command - in terms of succeeding as Acting Captain if the current Captain is killed, incapacitated, or missing. While McCoy is technically a Lt. Commander, both Lt. Sulu and Lt. Uhura are actually ahead of him in succession to the captain's chair.
- Even Voyager's Doctor eventually got a DLC turning him into the Emergency Command Hologram, temporarily replacing his medical database with a tactical one (and yes, he was able to use it effectively, employing a Shoot the Bullet tactic used once by a Romulan commander to disable two enemy ships).
- Lampshaded, played with and kicked to death in Top Gear, of all programmes. Jeremy revealed that he had obtained a cheaper quote for insurance because he called himself 'Doctor', rather than a journalist - the two pay vastly different rates of Car Insurance. He ignored the other two's protestations that HONORARY doctorates don't count.
- In Torchwood, Doctor Owen Harper is that kind of doctor.
- The team's tech expert Toshiko Sato's first appearance was in an episode of the parent show Doctor Who, where she posed as a medical doctor to examine an alien corpse. In the last episode of Torchwood Season 2, it turns out this was because Owen was hung over that day. Tosh almost certainly has a doctorate in something.
- For a pathologist, Scully certainly does a lot of emergency/trauma type medicine on The X-Files. She even delivers a baby in one episode.
- Justified in that Scully is that kind of doctor. She has an MD and was recruited to the FBI from medical school to become a pathologist. Even if she did not specialize in emergency/trauma medicine, she still has all the basic knowledge of human anatomy and medicine that any other medical doctor would have.
- Dr. Big Bill Miller technically couldn't help anyone injured in the American Wrestling Association on the technicality that he was a veterinian.
- Dr. Zev Cohen from Mass Effect: "I am a doctor but not the doctor. My specialty is microbiology, not first aid." He was the closest thing they had after the doctor was killed.
- Sam and Max: Freelance Police has Momma Bosco, who got her doctorate online - as a ghost. She's technically more of an inventor, though she still prefers the 'doctor' title. To prevent confusion with her son, who is just 'Bosco', she prefers 'Dr. Momma Bosco'.
- Dr. Robert Stewart of F-Zero fame is a practicing surgeon when he isn't on the track. His father was also a Doctor but it is unknown what that doctorate was in. We do know he built the F-Zero vehicle the Golden Fox.
- The Syphon Filter series gives us two: Dr. Elsa Weissinger who helped to develop the virus and Dr. Lawrence Mujari. When Lian Xing is in the final stages of the disease in Syphon Filter 2 Lawrence says he will do what he can but that that isn't much since he is a hematologist and not a pathologist.
- Zigzagged in Double Homework. Dr. Mosely, the school psychologist, turns out to be a scientist who travels the world performing illegal experiments. Actually, though, since the name Dr. Mosely itself is an alias, theres at least some possibility (however slight) that shes not any kind of doctor.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Dr. McNinja. When he's not adventuring, he's quite a successful medical doctor, even knowing of rare diseases like Paul Bunyan's Disease. At the very least, he knows general medicine and dentistry. Paul Bunyan's disease seems not to be that rare in the setting given there are a group of people who hunt and kill Paul Bunyan sufferers to use their stuffed bodies as giant theme park mascots. Later in the stories we learn that Dr. McNinja might be a doctor of EVERYTHING. Except agriculture.
- Last Res0rt has Dr. Qin Xu, who chose to go into medicine after becoming a vampire.
- In Schlock Mercenary, Dr. Bunnigus protests that she's not a psychiatrist, to no effect.
- Almost all the Sparks in Girl Genius are that kind of doctor. Except for Agatha, because they wouldn't let her take the tests. Which is actually justified. When she wanted to be a doctor, she had her locket on, which acted as a damper for all of her senses, making her very clumsy. Presumably, if she had tried to be a doctor, bad things would have happened.
- Naveen declares herself a doctor, despite having very little idea what a doctor is, her most obvious misunderstanding being the belief that a doctor's job is to solve mysteries, go on adventures, and get laid. Most people seem to buy it, even though her cure for everything is leeching above all, sex, and draining blood so she can drink it.
- "I'm a dentist, not a fight wizard!!" Subverted, since his dentist power actually does save the day.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent gives us the Team Medic, Mikkel Madsen. He's emphatically not a doctor. Nor a veterinarian, for that matter. And, he flatly corrects others... while verbally dancing around what his qualifications actually are in a very subdued sort of way. He most likely has no doctorate in any particular subject, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have skills.
- Dr. Kinesis from, Evil Plan, ignoring the fact that Dr. Kinesis is a supervillain title, Stanley's formal education slants towards computer science.
- Invoked in asdfmovie11, concerning a man who's dying of a knife stab to the chest:
Doctor: Don't worry! I'm a doctor! ...Of psychology!
[cut to the doctor writing on a clipboard as the stabbed guy lies dead on the couch]
Doctor: So how does that make you feel?
- Dr. Bernard Hsu, the doctor who hosts the Chubbyemu channel, is a doctor of pharmacy. However, a great deal of the cases featured on the channel are ones he and his colleagues have personally seen.
- In Kim Possible, both of Kim's parents have doctorates. Her Mother's is indeed an M.D. (she's a brain surgeon), but her father's isn't (he's a rocket scientist). This results in visitors (at least Ron Stoppable) usually addressing them as Mr. Dr. P and Mrs. Dr. P, respectively. Not to call them doctor would be disrespectful, but to just call them doctor would be confusing.
- In Rick and Morty, Beth is a horse doctor. In one episode, she and Jerry hit a deer, and when she expresses a wish that she had the equipment to try and save its life, he tries to comfort her by saying that, since she deals with horses, there was nothing that she could do anyway. Beth, naturally, takes that as an insult and spends the rest of the episode angrily determined to save the deer.
- In the South Park parody of The Core, Randy is recruited by Cartman as the team's requisite scientist. When they finally get to their destination in the middle of a miles-wide hippie drum circle, Randy proves to be completely useless in their situation because he's a geologist.
- Played for drama in Transformers: Prime when Autobot ally Raf is injured after a shot from Megatron exploded near him. Ratchet is the Autobot chief medical officer and one of the greatest medical minds Cybertron has ever produced... but to his horror he realises he has no idea how to treat a human and laments that it never even occurred to him to learn. Luckily, Jack's mother June Darby is a trained medical professional (she's a nurse) and manages to stabilise him with Ratchet's help.
- An example of a non-medical doctor treating people successfully. Louis Pasteur was a doctor of chemistry, not a physician. This became a problem when he was faced with the prospect of treating a 9-year old kid bitten by rabid dog with the rabies vaccine he had just developed since he would be guilty of practicing medicine without a license. He went ahead anyway, the kid got better, and Pasteur was celebrated as a hero because prosecuting the guy who saved a kid from rabies is kind of a dick move.
- In Japanese, medical doctors, people with Ph.Ds, teachers and authors get the "-sensei" honorific. "Sensei" means "teacher", as "doctor" is derived from the Latin term for "teacher."
- A Doctor of Nursing Practice has a doctorate (the DNP), and is thus entitled to be addressed as "Doctor". However, they are required by law to make sure that patients in a clinical setting know they are Not That Kind of Doctor. Other states flatly prohibit DNPs from using the title "Doctor" with their patients in a clinical setting.
- Inverted in the UK, where General Practioners are called "Doctor," while surgeons and other specialists use (and prefer) honorifics.
Other kinds of doctors:
- Dr Pepper ran an ad campaign where "Doctors" said the drink was good for you called "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor", said doctors included Dr. Dre and Dr. Love.
- Anaflex had a recurring joke where people ask "if inflammation does not go away, does pain return?" to doctors in many varied circumstances. One of them was a graduated receiving his diploma, and interrupting the ceremony to answer the cell phone call. "Sorry, I'm a lawyer."note
- The Firesign Theatre: "Hi! I'm not a doctor, but I do look like one, and I'm being paid to ask you this important question..."
- Doctor Doom dropped out of school after his Freak Lab Accident and then proceeded to learn magic and take over a country. He never actually finished his Doctorate. No one would argue that he doesn't deserve one, but he simply never finished the coursework. Ordering the University of Latveria to give him a degree (what the fanon suggests he did) doesn't count, even though the thesis defense would have been...interesting.
- Spider-Man's foe Dr. Octopus has a doctorate in nuclear physics.
- Lampshaded in Secret Wars (1984): Volcana asks Doctor Octopus to tend to the severely wounded Molecule Man; Octopus replies that he's a nuclear physicist and not an MD, though he manages some basic stitches.
- Conversely, every doctorate brings full knowledge of robotics, including the Entomology course (see Henry Pym).
- Also appears in Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter is injured in a fight and goes to Dr. Connors for help. Although he isn't an MD, as he is quick to point out, he is persuaded to treat the wound anyway.
- Lampshaded in Secret Wars (1984): Volcana asks Doctor Octopus to tend to the severely wounded Molecule Man; Octopus replies that he's a nuclear physicist and not an MD, though he manages some basic stitches.
- Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja features Irving Yagyu, DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). He's called "the ninja dentist" because that's exactly what he is...
- The original Doctor Fate was a doctor of archaeology and actually did earn a medical license at once point. Most of the subsequent Doctor Fates weren't doctors at all, they'd just inherited the name. That said, one of them was a psychoanalyst, while another was a medical student.
- The trope name is spoken word for word in Injustice: Gods Among Us when Harley Quinn is trying to save a talking chimp and asks him for help. Harley, who actually did go to medical school, then tells Mister Fate to take the chimp's human friend out of the room while she starts to work on him. The fact that Harley got her degree in psychiatry through blackmail is lost on her, of course.
- According to the fact file at the back of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic, even though Dr. Cyber is an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, her actual doctorate is in literature.
- Iron Man: Tony Stark actually does have a doctorate, but he almost never brings it up anyway. Mercifully, his teammates in the Avengers never ask him to be That Kind of Doctor either.
- One-shot Justice League foe Dr Julian September is a physicist. He is not mistaken for a doctor of medicine, but an official who doesn't want to reapprove of his funding makes a quip about September fixing his jeep, since he works in quantum mechanics. Shortly after, Dr September's work first paid off, when the official was struck by lightning before he could sign the paper that would have stopped September's work.
- Brother Voodoo (Dr. Jericho Drumm) is a psychologist. Some readers assumed when they saw him go by 'Doctor Voodoo' that the title had come along with the office of Sorcerer Supreme, which he inherited from Doctor Strange.
- Dr. John Henry Irons, aka the third Steel, is an engineer. The issue comes up when he visits a hospital on whether it's appropriate to call him "Dr. Irons". In Christopher Priest's run, he works at a hospital, and to his embarrassment, the administrator says calling him "Dr. Irons" is good publicity.
- Paperinik New Adventures has the Xerbians, all of which are doctorate-holding scientists. They do have the habit of meaning a medical professional when they ask for a doctor, and the Genre Savvy ones are quick to specify what kind of doctor they need.
- Dr. Eggman manages to put a rather cruel twist on this trope in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). One of his minions confronts him about the cybernetics that were given to their crippled and diseased sister, stating that they aren't curing her like he said they would. Eggman then cheerily explains that, not being a medical doctor, he didn't know what her condition even is, but went through with it anyway because he could use the threat of letting the minion's sister die to keep them both in line.
- In Doonesbury, Alex goes into labor while at a graduation ceremony surrounded by PhDs; those around her naturally start shouting for the help of a real doctor.
- One of Tom Gauld's comic strip in New Scientist has someone calling for a doctor. A man steps forward, but when told someone is choking, explains he's a doctor of geology. But that's okay, because the person's choking on an igneous rock!
- There are several Liberty's Kids fanfics where the author has mistaken Dr. Benjamin Franklin as a medical doctor. He had an honorary doctorate in law and science.
- In the Bleach fanfic Project Tatterdemalion, we have Dr. Yoruichi Shihouin (ecologist), Dr. Masaki Shiba (biology), Dr. Isshin Shiba (might technically be a medical doctor, but hasn't worked on anything but mice in years, so comes down to biology), Dr. Tessai Tsukabishi (physics), and Dr. Kisuke Urahara (any number of things). All research scientists- although they do manage to create a fast-and-dirty vaccine against The Virus. No medical doctors in the original group (although they do have a nurse and a paramedic). In the sequel, when (medical) Dr. Retsu Unohana arrives to treat the nurse's injuries, Yoruichi introduces herself with her specialty, to keep things clear.
- Claire Thompson in The New Retcons has a doctorate in geology.
- The Doctor has delivered at least two foals in Luna The Matchmaker, protesting that this trope is in effect all the way.
- In Chapter 8 of Gravity Falls fanfic "Stanswitch", Soos' grandmother needs medical help and he calls Dr. Stanford Pines, who explains that his doctorate is in theoretical physics.
- In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, Johanna Smith-Rhodes has had to point out that her Doctorate is in Zoology. This is complicated on several levels: firstly, a lifetime of animal work has given her a lot of useful veterinarian skills, both as physician and surgeon. Having founded the City Zoo - the reason for her doctorate being conferred - she has opportunity to hone her skills in tending animals. But Ankh-Morpork has no such thing as a Guild of Veterinary Surgeons. Such few animal doctors as there are become enrolled in the Guild of Doctors by default, and because the city likes to tidy away its trade professionals. Johasnna is also an Assassin and has done courses in first aid and field surgery - for people. Assassin skills mean she is capable of thinking in what, to Assassins, would be a backward way - from the wound/injury received back to medical attention designed to save life. [Johanna is essentially a vet who occassionally tends people.
- In one RWBY fanfic, Ruby brings Jaune to Dr. Oobleck to help treat his multiple-personality case. Oobleck corrects her that he's a doctor with a specialty in history, and introduces her to a psychologist to properly treat Jaune's case.
- Dr. Delbert Doppler from Treasure Planet, as quoted above.
- Dr. Cockroach from Monsters vs. Aliens. It is never made clear what his field is. What we do know is that his PhD was in dance!
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Kida had some trouble grasping the notion that not all doctors are medics. Milo, for example, is a doctor in linguistics.
- Subverted somewhat in the Indiana Jones movies. Indiana was frequently referred to as "Dr. Jones" (especially by the evil people), but no-one ever accused him of being a medical doctor. (His doctorate was, naturally, in archaeology, as was the one held by his father.)
- Dr. Charles B. Pierce from Boggy Creek 2: And the Legend Continues is mistaken for a medical doctor when asked to treat the mountain man Crenshaw's captive baby Boggy Creek Creature. Turns out Dr. Pierce only has a doctorate in Boggy Creek Studies.
- The upstairs neighbor in Barefoot in the Park.
"It's all right, honey. He's a doctor."
"And what are you a doctor of?"
- Exaggerated in Bean. While standing around waiting in the hospital, a nurse notices the "Dr. Bean" label on his suit and rushes him into a surgery. Bean is too taken aback to correct her, but then again, he isn't even a non-medical doctor (he spends the entire film being mistaken for a professor of art history).
- Buck Laughlin uses this for some Witty Banter in Best in Show while talking to Dr. Millbank, president of the Mayflower Kennel Club.
- The Savages begins with adult siblings Wendy and Jon visiting their dementia-addled father after he's been hospitalized. Jon hasn't spoken to his father in years, leading to this exchange:
Dad: [to his son] You're a doctor! Do something!
[Jon walks out without saying a word]
Dad: I thought you said my boy was a doctor!
Wendy: [cheerfully] Doctor of Philosophy. He teaches theatre!
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Darcy Lewis is a scientist interning with a team of astrophysicists, but is not very helpful to them, being a political scientist. Later subverted in WandaVision, where it's revealed that in the intervening years, she did switch her study and is now a doctor of astrophysics, which is exactly what the situation requires, though her political science major still has payoff.
- Discussed when Dr. Selvig and Coulson talk about "Dr. Donald Blake" (Thor's human alias). Selvig claims that "Donald" is a physicist, but the Son of Coul points out that "Donald" is M.D. in his ID.
- Inverted with Dr. Bruce Banner, as while he's a physicist, he is seen practicing medicine in the slums of Calcutta at the start of The Avengers. However, The Stinger for Iron Man 3 has Bruce say the line verbatim to Tony Stark, who has been telling the entire story of the movie to him as if Bruce were his psychotherapist. Bruce however has fallen asleep and missed the whole thing. Bruce gives this trope, but then Stark starts to ramble on about his Freudian issues. Thor: Ragnarok does confirm that he has seven Ph.Ds; unfortunately for him, none of them are for driving alien spaceships.
- At one point in The Wolverine, Logan is treated by a veterinarian student.
- In Darkman II: The Return of Durant, when Durant is feigning being poisoned to draw Darkman out, one of his men demands that his Mad Scientist ally Hathaway do something. Hathaway protests, "I'm not that kind of doctor!"
- In Pacific Rim, there's a moment where Newt is running with the crowd in order to get into a bunker. He's shouting "I'm a doctor, I'm a doctor!" in an attempt to be let in. He does have six doctorates, but it's safe to assume none of them are in medicine.
- Harbinger Down: When a student wants to sneak down to the hold to catch a look at the Human Popsicle they've taken from the ice, she has a crewman distract her Jerkass professor by asking for advice on his psychological issues. The professor explains he's Not That Kind of Doctor, but he has studied the theory in college, and so being a Know-Nothing Know-It-All can't resist giving his opinion anyway. Gilligan Cut to the crewman finding the bottom of a bottle of vodka as the professor rambles on, until he gets too drunk to keep up the facade.
- Exaggerated in Bean: While standing around waiting in the hospital, Bean is dragged along by a nurse to perform a surgery after she notices the "Dr. Bean" label on his suit. Bean is too taken aback to correct her, but then again, he's not even a non-medical Doctor.
- Sands of Oblivion: When Buford finds out that Alice is a doctor, he asks her to look at a boil on his ass. Alice has a doctorate in archeology.
- The old joke about people with doctorate degrees. "So you're a doctor?" "Yes, but not the kind that will do you any good." Alternately: "Not the kind with any money."
- Another old joke: An attractive woman ricks her ankle while aboard a cruise ship, and the announcement goes out: "Is there a doctor on board?" A Doctor of Philosophy rushes to her cabin, only to find that a Doctor of Divinity has beaten him to it.
- Subverted in this tweet◊, where a Doctor of Philosophy has to solve a real-life version of the trolley problem.
- In Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is often referred to as "the Doctor." He's actually a doctor of law, though he's more well-known for his arithmetickal studies than his legal studies. In addition, Daniel Waterhouse, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, is referred to as "Dr. Daniel Waterhouse" later in his life. Inverting the trope, physicians are always referred to as "physicians", never doctors; even surgeons were alternately called "chirurgeons" and "barber-surgeons", never "doctors". Indeed, Dr. Waterhouse himself expresses strong contempt for physicians, treating them as if they were snake-oil salesmen (and given the state of 17th/18th-century medicine, that's exactly what they often were).
- In Terry Pratchett's first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic, there's a moment where we get a glimpse of an alternate universe where Twoflower and Rincewind are travelling on a plane, when "Zweiblumen" collapses. Someone asks "Rjinswand" to help since he's a Doctor, but Rjinswand points out that he would only be any help if Zweiblumen was some sort of nuclear reactor.
- A scene in one of the Adrian Mole books has Pandora jumping into a taxi with the words "I'm a doctor and this is an emergency!" She doesn't mention she's a doctor of philosophy.
- In Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, Jack Ryan gets annoyed at the fact that people are referring to his wife Caroline (who is a medical doctor, specifically an ophthalmic surgeon) as "Doctor Ryan", but are calling him "Mister Ryan". He points out several times to various people that, "I'm also Doctor Ryan". The problem is, he's a patient in a hospital at the time, his doctorate is in history, and the people who he is making these protests to are other medical doctors. Thus no one listens to him.
- In Brazil, Cultural Translation got Mickey Haller and some other law graduates to be called "doctor".
- The Dave Barry column "Why We Don't Read" had one Dr. Belinda A. Burgeon-Wainscot, a teacher, speaking on behalf of the American Association of People Who Use the Title "Doctor" Even Though They Are Not Physicians, but Merely Graduate School Graduates, Which Are as Common These Days as Milkweed Pollen (AAPWUTDETTANPBMGSGWAACTDAMP).
- In Arthur Hailey's Hotel Christine is attempting to find a doctor to treat a sick guest (the hotel's doctor is unavailable), so she has the front desk call every guest who registered as a doctor. The first one she reaches informs her that he's a doctor of music, but he (humorously) mentions he could always play his violin for the patient if they are unable to reach a physician. She smiles a bit and thanks him, saying she hopes that won't be necessary.
- In Guns of the Dawn, an enemy army is under the command of the notorious "Dr. Lam", said to be a physician who rose to power in the chaos of revolution and who now enjoys dissecting captured prisoners. When Emily gets captured, she's taken to see him. It turns out that not only is Dr. Nathanial Lammegeier actually an engineer, he's also one of the nicest characters in the book.
- Deeplight: Dr. Vyne is an expert in "practical theophysics" (She studies the gods, specifically the materials harvested from their corpses and their uses.). When confronted with a serious injury, she notes the trope, then adds that even she knows feeling cold is a bad sign.
- In the children's book The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth, Nate's mother gets annoyed when a doctor starts giving Nate advice on how to handle his pet triceratops, when he should be concentrating on his job of healing the sick. He's actually a palaeontologist.
- Overplayed on many soap operas, which will find their doctor characters capable of delivering babies, performing surgeries, performing autopsies, treating children, all in one fell swoop. The only soap to avert this, appropriately enough, was General Hospital, which limited their doctors to one specialty.
- Dr. Mary Albright from 3rd Rock from the Sun has a PhD. in Anthropology, but Viki Dubchek, the white trash woman who's the daughter of the Solomon's landlady and Harry's on-and-off GF, thinks she's a medical doctor. The gag actually carries to the point where Viki asks Mary to deliver her baby, and ignores Mary's outright statements of "I'm Not That Kind Of Doctor", believing that Mary doesn't want to do it because she doesn't have medical insurance.
- 30 Rock:
Milton: We have to call an ambulance! Listen to me, dammit, I'm a doctor!
Jack: Of history. In what emergency would you be necessary? If someone wanted to know whether The '60s were awesome or not?
Milton: They were!
- Dr. Ray Palmer and Dr. Martin Stein are both physicists.
- Played for laughs in Legends of Tomorrow when Mick starts hallucinating (we think) the dead Snart.
Mick: You can fix me!
Mick: You're a doctor.
Stein: Of nuclear physics.
[later, Jax and Sara find Stein about to cut Mick's skull open]
Sara: What are you doing?
Stein: Brain surgery! What does it look like?
[Jax and Sara shrug and leave]
- When Becker, a "real" doctor, meets a psychologist played by Rhea Perlman, he doesn't even try to hide his contempt and addresses her as "Dr." only in air-quotes.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Most of the main and recurring characters have Doctorates in physics, with others in microbiology and neurobiology. The character Howard has a Masters in Engineering, which leads to plenty of jokes at his expense for not being a doctor. Of course, there are a few occasions where people mistake their title as being medical doctors: "A doctor doctor or your kind of doctor?"
- In one episode, Sheldon gives Leonard medical advice in his usual Insufferable Genius manner. Leonard sarcastically responds, "Thank you, Doctor Cooper." As usual, Sheldon doesn't get it and confusedly replies, "You're welcome, Doctor Hofstadter." In another episode, someone (a police officer) who just learned Sheldon is a doctor is reassured by Leonard with "Not the kind with access to drugs."
- Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan of Bones is an anthropologist, and she is quick to correct anyone who refers to her as anything but Dr. Brennan.
- However, her boss, Dr. Camille 'Cam' Saroyan, is a forensic pathologist—and, thus, is that kind of doctor (though that isn't her day job).
- In one episode, when Brennan is introduced as Doctor Brennan to a physician, he immediately asks "M.D.?", to which she replies "Ph.D". The physician then makes a snide remark about academics, which is rather galling considering an academic doctorate is often harder, and almost always requires more time to obtain than a medical one.
- In addition, physicians couldn't even become physicians without Ph.D-holding professors (Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics knowledge needed for MCATs/Med school).
- Discussed in Bottom:
Richie: Better see doctor Wildthroat for a booster.
Eddie: He's not a doctor of medicine, you know.
Richie: Well, I know, yes, but he's cheap.
Eddie: Gave you rabies last year.
Richie: Well it only cost three quid. Come on, Eddie, beggars can't be choosers.
Eddie: No, but they can froth at the mouth and eat the furniture.
- Parodied regularly in The Colbert Report: after getting his honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Knox College, Stephen immediately started assuming that he could perform operations. He even started a recurring segment called "Cheating Death, with Dr. Stephen T Colbert, DFA".
- Troy gets stuck on this in the Community episode English as a Second Language when introduced to their substitute teacher.
Troy: Why is she teaching Spanish? Go cure something!note
- Comes up in the occasional joke about Criminal Minds' Dr. Reid.
Reid: [poking at a mutilated corpse with excited interest] Did you know that originally birthday candles were intended to protect the cake's recipients from evil spirits, so much so that the Church condemned birthday celebrations as a pagan ritual?
Cop: [after a long pause] What kind of doctor did you say you were?
- CSI: Dr. Gil Grissom is a PhD not an MD as he is quick to remind someone who asks him how to treat an animal bite. Although, as an entomologist, he's pretty good with bug bites.
- Doctor Who:
Davros: (about him dying) Then we have established one thing only.Doctor: What?Davros: You are not.. a good doctorBoth: (begin chuckling)
- Clifford Jones in "The Green Death":
Evans: What killed him? You're a doctor, Dr. Jones.
Cliff: I'm not, you know. I'm a biologist.
- Happens with Allison in "Remembrance of the Daleks":
"Is he all right?"
"No idea I'm a physicist."
- In addition to the title character, River is a doctor (and, someday, Professor) of archaeology.
Rory: [after watching her curb-stomp homicidal aliens] So... what kind of doctor are you?
River: Archaeology. [shoots the last one standing without looking] Love a tomb.
- Ironically, in "The Husbands of River Song", River mistakes the Doctor for an actual doctor, being unaware that he's regenerated (and she was expecting a medical doctor at the time).
- Which leads to this exchange in "The Witch's Familiar"
- Clifford Jones in "The Green Death":
- Frasier has an aversion: Dr. Frasier Crane and his brother Niles are both That Kind Of Doctor, despite frequently (and amusingly) being mistaken for Not. Possibly a borderline case, since psychiatrists (MDs who complete residencies and board certification in mental illness) are commonly conflated with non-MD-holding mental health professionals such as psychologists and social workers.
- It doesn't help that Frasier and Niles are usually seen helping people with personal drama, bad habits, and relationship issues, which is, usually, a counselor or social worker's job. Frasier uses his Ivy-league education to feed his minor celebrity status while Niles seems to care more about maintaining his lifestyle and social status. The joke may be that no one takes psychiatry seriously, or that nobody takes them seriously because they're more concerned with money and reputation than helping people with serious mental illness.
- One episode actually has Frasier, being more pompous than usual, insisting his medical degree (from Harvard, thank you!) qualifies him to tell actual, working-in-a-hospital doctors how to perform extremely advanced surgery. Eventually, they hit on a solution: Just ignore him.
- Lampshaded in one episode of Cheers, where Frasier looks at a bar patron's injured leg and tells him how to treat it, then turns to Lilith and says, "See? I could have been a 'real doctor'!"
- Dr. Ross Geller of Friends has that title on the basis of a PhD in paleontology.
- One time, when the gang was at a hospital:
Ross: I'm Doctor Ross Geller.
Rachel: Ross, stop it. That actually means something here.
- In "The One with Russ", Russ, a periodontist, claims that Ross is jealous because he (Russ) is a real doctor.
Ross: You're a doctor of gums. That's the smallest body part you can major in. It's like, "Day one: Floss. Day two: Here's your diploma!"
- One time, when the gang was at a hospital:
- Invoked in Glee when Santana and Brittany go to Carl's office for a "cleaning" (read: to get high off anesthesia). When Carl questions this, Santana, being Santana, scoffs and says her father is a real doctor and not a "tooth doctor", and that her medical insurance covers basically whatever she wants. Tropers are advised not to speak to actual dentists this way.
- Used in one episode of Growing Pains, where Dr. Seaver has to help a young girl during her Born in an Elevator moment. When she hears his title, he admits that he is a Psychiatrist, not a Medical Doctor, but assures her that he is still trained in basic medicine. This is Truth in Television, given that you have to earn an M.D. to be a psychiatrist.
- Hogan's Heroes has the boys helping many doctors of science to escape from the Nazis lest their knowledge be used to further the German war effort. In almost every case, it was made clear that their doctorates were in scientific fields like physics, chemistry, metallurgy and others. One example, however, stands out - the episode "The Assassin," when General Burkhalter brings a Dr. Vanetti to camp. At first Klink thinks he is a physician, but the General quickly corrects him quoting the trope name word for word. Although it is never stated outright what his doctorate is in, Hogan quickly deduces that he must be a doctor of atomic physics.
- There was an episode of Lost in Space when aliens mistook Dr Smith for a medical doctor, despite his protests otherwise. Of course, he was originally a medical doctor, but then the writers just changed him to a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate.
- Lucifer (2016). Dr. Linda Martin is a licensed M.D. as a requirement to be a practicing psychiatrist, but she doesn't actually practice medicine. Her last real medical experience was her medical education years ago. In spite of this, Lucifer and the others keep coming to her because she's the only doctor they know.
Maze: How do I keep this human from dying?
Linda: Take him to a hospital, that's how! How many times do I have to tell you I'm not that kind of doctor?
- Mad Men:
- Dr Faye Miller is not that kind of doctor, but her father has a heart condition so she knows the symptoms.
- Also, Bobby doesn't understand this trope when Megan's father, a professor, comes to visit; Don explains it to him.
- Murderville: "Heartless" features three doctors suspected of cutting out the victim's heart and sewing him back up: the victim's boss, Dr. Alexander, his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Chen, and another doctor, Dr. Gonzalez. While both Chen and Gonzalez are trained surgeons, Dr. Alexander is ruled out because she's not a medical doctor, but someone with a doctorate in hospital administration.
- Power Rangers: Tommy Oliver picked up a doctorate in paleontology at some point between Turbo and Dino Thunder. Parodied a couple of seasons later.
Kira: Doctor O. would have loved to see that.
Adam: You know, I still can't believe he's a doctor.
- Runaways (2017): After Victor Stein is shot, the rest of PRIDE insist the Yorkses perform emergency surgery on him... despite them being bioengineers.
Dale: You do realize we're not doctors?
Stacey: Well, not surgeons.
Catherine: You went to medical school.
Stacey: Yeah, in the Nineties.
- In The Sopranos episode "Marco Polo", a revered (and rather snooty) erudite named Dr. Russ Fegoli attends the 75th birthday of Carmella's father Hugh. Tony, upon meeting him:
Tony: A doctor in the house, huh? Thats good cause someone usually goes down at these things.
Mary (Carm's mom): Hes just joking!
Fegoli: Unfortunately, my doctorate is in International Affairs.
Tony: So you're a doctor like Kissingers a doctor?
- This comes up a few times, but Dr. Daniel Jackson (PhDs Archaeology, Anthropology, and Linguistics) of Stargate SG-1 is the best example, while his equivalent in Stargate Atlantis is Dr. Rodney McKay (PhDs in Physics and Mechanical Engineering; he has noted his disdain for medicine, despite becoming best friends with one medical doctor and falling in love with another). Other examples include Dr. Bill Lee, a consulting scientist for the program; it is never entirely clear what his degree is in, but it's definitely not in medicine. He usually helps with whatever scientific crisis is most at hand during that episode.
- A weaker example is Samantha Carter, who holds a PhD in Astrophysics and realistically could go by Dr. Carter, but due to the greater emphasis on her military role she goes by her rank instead. However, in early episodes she is occasionally called Captain Doctor. (During her introductory scene, she specifically points out to her superior Colonel Jack O'Neill that she should be referred to by her rank of Captain rather than by her salutation of Doctor. She later proceeds to introduce herself to Dr. Jackson as "Doctor", to which O'Neill quips, "I thought you wanted to be called 'Captain'.")
- This is played for laughs in one episode. A man who has captured SG-1 is injured, and asks Daniel to patch him up. Daniel explains that he doesn't know how.
Aris Boch: Dr. Jackson, if you don't mind... [sees Jackson's puzzled stare] treating my wound.
Daniel: I'm an archaeologist.
Aris Boch: I know, but you're also a doctor.
Daniel: [a beat] ...of archaeology.
Aris Boch: [sigh] Never mind...
- Sam ends up patching him up with a first-aid kit due to her field medical experience, despite the fact that she's Not That Kind of Doctor either. She just learned it through military training.
- Though normally this doesn't come up for Sam, it does occur when an alternate-timeline version of her introduces herself to the alternate version of Daniel.
Daniel Jackson: [offering his hand for her to shake] Doctor Daniel Jackson.
Samantha Carter: [shaking his hand] Doctor Samantha Carter.
Daniel Jackson: Oh! Uh, PhD.
Samantha Carter: Oh, me too.
- In "Harmony", a girl believes that Rodney should know something about, well, being a doctor. His response is similar to Daniel's above.
- This come up again in Rodney's panicked rant in season 5 about why he can't deliver a baby. Note that this didn't prevent Daniel from delivering a baby on two separate occasions three if you count one mentioned off-screen. He was much more calm about it.
- In the first birth Sam was also looked to for help, but this could also have been because she's a woman and in that case would not necessarily be an example of this trope.
- A (Subverted?) example in Atlantis season 5 when Daniel is kidnapped by a new Big Bad and apparently assumed to be a physicist since he was doing research in an Ancient physics lab. (He was actually there studying the files and history.) His response in this case is that he is Not That Kind of Doctor. Fortunately, Rodney was captured with him and actually is a physicist, so they are able to solve the problem.
- Lt. Commander Paul Stamets from Star Trek: Discovery is once addressed as "Dr. Stamets", presumably because he'd have a doctorate in astromycology (his field of study).
- The telemovie To Catch A Killer (1992) reminds us that this trope applies to the legal profession too. The police are searching the apartment of John Wayne Gacy and want to confiscate something for evidence.
Gacy: Can they do that?
Lawyer: Uhh...I think so...
Gacy: What the hell do I hire you for?!!
Lawyer: (furious) To handle your business affairs!
- The West Wing:
- Josiah Bartlet is a Doctor of Economics. Of course, he also has another title by which he prefers to be addressed throughout the series. It does, however, give him a minor moment of awesome when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court — not a fan of his — snidely refers to him as "Mr. Bartlet".
- His wife, Abby, is That Kind Of Doctor. However, she loses her license to practice throughout the remainder of his term once her role in his keeping his multiple sclerosis from the American people is revealed.
- Shows up in one episode, where President Bartlet tears a conservative radio personality to shreds. At the beginning of their conversation, he asks her what exactly her doctorate is in (it's English literature). More to the point, he initially asks her if she is an M.D., forcing her to clarify that she is not.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Justin Russo parodied this trope when he pretended to be a doctor in paleontology to impress London Tipton from The Suite Life on Deck in a crossover episode. She stopped believing him when he didn't know what to do when somebody nearby needed medical help.
- Dr. Dre is a former member of N.W.A with "Dr" in his rap name, and does not actually have a doctorate. However, Eminem - whose Slim Shady persona is an Ax-Crazy Münchausen Syndrome victim with an Ambiguous Disorder - loves to cast Dre as Slim's medical doctor, usually his psychiatrist. Fittingly, since he's just a music producer, he's rarely very helpful.
- Dre appears as Slim's psychiatrist in the music video for "My Name Is", and has a cameo in the song in a sequence where Slim can't understand why his thoughts are so scrambled, to which Dre responds that it's because Slim smokes crack. While playing a bystander (or possibly the Eminem persona?), he also begs Dr. Dre to 'operate' on Slim in the third verse.
- On "Forgot About Dre", Eminem apologises that the 'Doc' can't cure his mental health problems and should probably just take his kids off him.
- In the music video for 50 Cent's "In Da Club", Dr. Dre appears as a scientist, with Eminem as a lab assistant.
- The song "I Need A Doctor" is a rare song from the perspective of Eminem's Marshall persona (expressing his real feelings) that uses this metaphor, though it's mostly in the hook ("I need a doctor to bring me back to life!") and the medical references in the production (like the beeping heart monitors).
- Dre appears again as a surgeon in the music video for "Godzilla", along with Slim, who is dressed in a white coat and operating with a butcher's knife.
- Eminem's producers, the Bass Brothers, pulled this on him as a joke, telling him to urgently come to the studio because they got a call for him from "a doctor". Eminem went to the studio in a hurry, worrying that there was some kind of medical emergency.
- During his rapper gimmick, John Cena used the Red Baron "The Doctor of Thuganomics". This has inspired some female online fans to call themselves "the Nurse of Thuganomics."
- WWE star Xavier Woods is known as Xavier Woods PhD on Twitter, with the wrestler who plays him holding a degree in psychology.
- In Cabin Pressure, the episode "Boston", a passenger dies of a heart attack on an airplane. Whilst trying to decide whether to divert or not, the pilots notice there's a doctor on board and start requesting ever more urgently that any person with medical training come to the flight deck. As no one comes, they start speaking of a "hypothetical doctor" with a hypothetical sandy mustache hypothetically sitting in the seventh row. The man eventually comes, and recommends a bridge. A tunnels obviously out of the question, but if they really need to get past the passenger, they could use a couple of drinks trolleys and a stretcher to rig up a rudimentary cantilever bridge. That at least is his professional opinion as a PhD in civil engineering, assuming one of them hasn't made some sort of really embarrassing mistake.
- Dan Coffey hosts a show called Ask Dr. Science, justifying it because, although "not a real doctor," he "has a Masters Degree ... in Science!"
- On Roleplay site Transformers Galaxy, Chief of Medicine Kick-Start zig-zags this. She's an Evil Genius, a Mad Scientist and a Mad Doctor, and she's even got a Doctorate, but... not quite as official as her patients would like it to be. While the Fine Arts degree can be an honorary degree, it is revealed that Kick-Start did technically earn hers, and was "only" denied her degree in medicine because of an issue with her morals and ethics, turning it into a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate as well.
Nevermore: Here I thought medics are suppose to save lives.
Kick-Start: Hey, I never said I was that kind of Doctor! I'm a genius, and I have a Doctorate to prove it. That's different.
Nevermore: What in? Science? Engineering?
Kick-Start: Fine Arts.
- Advertisements for the Doctor Dreadful line of toys feature a goofy Mad Scientist named Doctor Dreadful. The line includes the "Doctor Dreadful MD" toys, where the character claims the "MD" stands for "Monster Doctor". (And in one commercial, he produces a sheepskin to prove he is, indeed, a licensed Monster Doctor.)
- In the main Mega Man timeline (and nearly all fan works), being a "Doctor" doesn't invariably mean you're a medical doctor...instead, it invariably means you build robots. Notably, it means you build robots even if you have a doctorate in something else. Dr. Cain, for instance, has a background in archaeology and botany, and still invented reploids. Which may well explain their tendency to go crazy and try to take over and/or destroy the world.
- Dr. Loboto from Psychonauts is a dentist (supposedly), hired to perform brain surgery. Of course, not knowing jack about brain surgery doesn't necessarily stop him from performing it. Lampshaded in his first appearance:
Dogen: So, doctor, what's wrong with my brain?
Loboto: How should I know!? I'm a dentist!
- Half-Life plays with this in regards to the Black Mesa Science Team, who are doctorate holders that can also administer first aid to Gordon Freeman when he's injured. It's otherwise averted with Gordon himself and his colleagues in subsequent games, as they are physicists with no known medical knowledge.
- In MySims Agents, when Dr. F introduces himself as such, Buddy asks if he can assume he's not a medical doctor. Indeed he can! Alexa clarifies that his degrees are in robotonomy and robotology.
- Lots of characters in Mass Effect, including but not limited to:
- Dr. Liara T'Soni (archaeology)
- Dr. Rana Thanoptis (neuroscience)
- Dr. Saleon (genetics, possibly transplant medicine - but then he was a Mad Scientist anyway)
- Dr. Mordin Solus (genetics, biochemistry - though he does run a clinic). He's also a Professor.
- Dr. Okeer (genetics)
- Hilariously, Dr. Conrad Verner, whose dissertation was on xeno-technology and dark energy integration.
- One of these creates an odd inversion of Not That Kind Of Doctor. During the suicide mission, Mordin is a candidate for the Tech Specialist position. Try to use him in that regard, however, and he's guaranteed to die. "I'm a doctor, not a hacker."
- In "From Ashes", one squadmate asks Liara if she's ever dug up a dinosaur on one of her digs. She starts explaining the difference between archaeology and palaeontology, then realizes that they're joking (except James, who just likes dinosaurs).
- Team Fortress 2:
The Medic: And when the patient woke up, his skeleton was missing, and the doctor was never heard from again! Ahahahahahaha! (sigh) Anyway, that's how I lost my medical license.
- It was revealed in Poker Night at the Inventory that the Heavy has a doctorate in Russian Literature. When asked how much use he could possibly get out of it when his job is mowing down people with a minigun, he replied, "More than you'd think."
- The Engineer has eleven "hard science" doctorates.
- Hilariously inverted with the Medic, who doesn't have any degree (at least not anymore).
- Sonic the Hedgehog has Doctor Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik. We never find out what his doctorate is in, but it's probably some kind of physics or engineering degree, if his robots are anything to go by. Considering his studies on Sealed Evil in a Can, he also may have some kind of ancient history degree.
- Dr Clash from F-Zero is an engineer in addition to being a pilot.
- Chizuru Urashima in Project × Zone 2, Shinra's head engineer. Interestingly, she's the one who insists on being called "Doctor", which nobody gets right the first time because she's a Wrench Wench and not a medical professional.
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem has three playable characters who are addressed as "doctor". Only the first, Maximillian Roivas, is a proper doctor of the colonial era; his descendant Edward has his doctorate in psychology, and Edwin Lindsey is an accomplished archaeologist.
- In Last Res0rt, Dr. Daisy Archanis is a roboticist of some kind.
- PHD is a Webcomic about Grad Students who are studying to become Doctors. Also, their Guide Professors and one main character are Doctors too. But no one is a Physician or even a Physician Student.
- In a real-life case of this trope at work, the author of PHD was almost denied entry to the UK when the immigration officer cited that, while he has a PhD, he is not a real doctor.
- "Doc" from The Whiteboard isn't actually one, in spite of his nickname, but it beats having the ER staff laugh at you again.
- Schlock Mercenary toys with this when they land on an uncharted planet. After Tagon gets unexpectedly eaten by a sea-going predator (which he shoots his way out of) he calls in Kevyn and Bunnigus for professional opinions. Kevyn is an engineer. Bunnigus is a medic. They wind up calling in the chef instead.
- Chainsaw Suit: Tucker Cogburn is the wrong kind of doctor.
- Dr. Jean Poule of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is a biologist with a PhD in polymicrofragilistic monoclonalexpialidocious.
- Sluggy Freelance has Dr. Schlock. His real field is inflatable technology (and possibly cosmetics testing, nanotechnology, and/or time travel), and he points out he's not a medical doctor... until someone suggests calling an ambulance and the police instead, in a situation in which he'd likely be arrested. Bring in the inflatable stretchers!
- Doctor Mother in Worm.
Rebecca: Are you one of the doctors that takes care of people that are dying?
Dr. Mother: Not one that works in this hospital. I'm more of a researcher and scholar than anything else. And I came to make you an offer.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Doctor Horrible surely wished that he was the other kind of Doctor at the climax. With the Help of his Freeze Ray the any operation is a guaranteed success after all.
- In Freeman's Mind, Gordon Freeman, upon seeing the dead scientist just outside the test chamber: "Oh hell. Is that guy dead? Dammit, I'm a doctor not a... normal doctor!"
- In That Guy with the Glasses fourth year anniversary, To Boldly Flee, Sad Panda is named the ship's doctor.
Sad Panda: I just said that I watch Doctor Who a lot.
Nostalgia Critic: Close enough.
- Subverted in the What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? episode "Respect the Stemware, Karen" when the chat suggests asking Tara's husband Dan (who has a doctorate in psychology) for his opinion regarding a story about a man who tried to cure his back pain by injecting his own semen into his arm. At first, she points out that he isn't a medical doctor, before thinking it over and commenting that a psychologist would be the most qualified for figuring out why someone would think that's a good idea.
- The Venture Bros.:
- Rusty Venture is usually called "Doctor Venture", even though he dropped out of school after his father died. He does possess a doctorate, but he prefers not to bring up where he got it from (it's an honorary doctorate from a Tijuana community college).
- Dr. Orpheus (whose official credentials are a major in Communication with a minor in Women's Studies from a community college yet claims to have received his doctorate from "a higher power") is the only character to always call Dr. Venture "Mr. Venture." The causes and implications of this are unknown.
- The only characters known for certain to have a real doctorate are Doctor Henry Killinger, whose doctorate is Child Psychology, and Jonas Jr., who earned two of them only a few months after escaping from Dr. Venture's bowels. Billy earns a forged doctorate after performing heart surgery on a supervillain, though it's suggested that he does have enough skill to get the degree legitimately.
- After The Monarch has a severe allergic reaction to a gourmet meal, his wife Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tells him she can't help, as she's not a doctor. When he asks why he called her Dr. Girlfriend during the years when they dated, she clarifies that she's "not that kind of doctor." Though her actual doctorate is never clearly stated, she's noted to be a physicist and engineer (which fits with her status as a Gadgeteer Genius).
- Drs. Baxter Stockman and Chaplin from the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series are often referred to by their titles; despite both being Omnidisciplinary Scientists, neither has shown any indication of even dabbling in medicine.
- Similar to her parents, in the previous section, Kim Possible has Dr. Drakken. His however is a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate since he "let himself out" of higher education before graduating.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: When the Atom (Ryan Choi) is brought in to cure Batman's illness, Aquaman doesn't initially know he'll do so via "Fantastic Voyage" Plot.
- Family Guy: When the Griffin family starts working with Dr. Diddy at his record label, Chris asks Diddy if he could perform surgery on himself in the event he got shot. Whereupon Dr. Diddy calmly replies that his doctorate is in optometry.
- In Booster Gold's episode of Justice League Unlimited,Justice League Unlimited S 1 E 7 The Greatest Story Never Told, he comes across a woman giving birth and tries to pass responsibility to Doctor Simmons, who informs him that she's a physicist.
- Doctor Octopus' doctorate is not in medicine in Spider-Man: The Animated Series either, but he is able to bluff Aunt May into thinking he is one in one episode. Short version: When he and some other super-villains woking for The Kingpin are looking for Spidey, the Scorpion gets the idea to question Peter, due to the photographs he takes - Ock insists on going to his house himself to avoid any unnecessary violence. When he introduces himself to May as Doctor Otto Octavius, May panics when she hears the word "doctor" and thinks Peter has been injured. Ock is able to think fast and tell her that Peter collapsed on the street and was taken to his clinic, volunteering to take her there. (The clinic is actually owned by the Kingpin, and Ock is thus able to leave a ransom note for Peter making it seem like May has been kidnapped, demanding he send Spider-Man there.)
- There was a related exchange in an episode of the old animated Ghostbusters cartoon between The Chick and the Plucky Comic Relief on an episode with weird weather. "Besides, we're not meteorologists. We are scientists." "A meteorologist is a scientist."
- In Futurama, amazingly Doctor Zoidberg, who has declared people dead when they have been sitting up and talking, and diagnosed robots with fin-rot, DOES have a doctorate. It is a doctorate in Art History. A reversal in that it's only Zoidberg himself who doesn't seem to realize that this doesn't qualify him to be a medical doctor.
- An episode from the Un-Cancelled seasons reveals that Zoidberg is in fact That Kind Of Doctor... but his field of medical study is xenobiology, meaning that while he's a brilliant surgeon when it comes to all sorts of alien races, he doesn't know squat about human beings. It also reveals that Professor Farnsworth keeps him around in spite of this because they're True Companions.
- Subverted in Archer:
Cyril: But we'd need a doctor!
Cheryl: So? Krieger's a doctor.
Cyril: Not the medical kind!
Dr. Krieger: Not even the other kind, technically.
- One episode revealed that Krieger's first name literally is "Doctor".
- Inverted in Beware the Batman, when Alfred has to inform a scientist smitten with Tatsu that he's not, in fact, a medical doctor. He remains undaunted in giving her aid, despite the obvious fact that his help is neither wanted or actually useful.
Dr. Burr: Give me room, I'm a doctor!
Alfred: Wait! Are you a medical doctor?
Dr. Burr: I am tonight.
- Jay Sherman of The Critic has a doctorate in film.
- My Dad the Rock Star: When Rock Zilla's alma mater granted him a honorary doctorate, he thought he'd be that kind of doctor and started practicing the shout of "Calling Doctor Zilla". When he was told it wasn't that kind of doctorate and he'd instead be a sort of professor, he shouted "Calling Professor Zilla".
- Dr. Dimensionpants: Kyle Lipton, alias Dr. Dimensionpants, is just a 12-year-old boy with no doctorate whatsoever. It's just that "Doctor" means "he who wears" in the Unicorn language. The same applies to all other dimensional heroes.
- Transformers: Prime: Ratchet is the medic of the Autobots and very knowledgeable about biology and medicine...but only Cybertronian-based, which is a far cry from human biology and medicine. Part of it has to do with the fact he never thought he'd need to know it, as the Autobots were hiding on Earth from the majority of the population and he himself isn't really a big fan. This almost comes back to bite him when Raf, a human who has become friends with the Autobots and a part of the team, ends up getting dangerously sick thanks to exposure to Dark Energon and he has no idea how to help him, and the day is only saved by Jack's mother, who is a nurse.
- The Sheep in the Big City episode "The Wool is Not Enough" has General Specific meet a villain named Dr. Oh No No No. General Specific asks him to check out his rash, causing Dr. Oh No No No to clarify that he is a villainous doctor rather than a medical doctor.
- Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels demanded that everyone would call him "Doctor Goebbels". His doctorate? Literature. The demand in itself is not that unusual in Germany, where titles are given much more respect than North America. and "Doktor" is still used in less formal situations and when directly addressing one, e.g. "Ja Herr Doktor, was sind die Nebenwirkungen? note What makes it this trope is that high-ranking government officials usually had doctorates in law or PH.D.s in political science. Goebbels had no expertise in either field, owing his position almost entirely to his loyalty to Hitler.
- Perhaps the most notorious Nazi "doctor," Josef Mengele, had a PhD in anthropology from the University of Munich and was an assistant at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt. He got Drunk with Power when assigned to Auschwitz, where he performed gruesome human experimentation, particularly concerning twins and usually without anesthetics, that produced no viable scientific results, or indeed any results beyond satisfying his morbid curiosities. Oddly, he did have a medical degree, but his only medical experience prior to his butchery at Auschwitz was as a combat medic for the Wehrmacht. Most of his work was devoted to pseudoscientific genetic research. Probably the only Double Subversion of this trope you'll ever see in real life.
- People with two doctorates may demand to be addressed as Doctor Doctor X (although it's kind of cumbersome and no one actually ever does so). People with a professorate and a separate doctorate generally will be addressed as Professor Doctor, though not usually in everyday conversation. On the other hand, some teachers with a doctorate or professor's degree at some universities and schools don't insist on being called "Professor/Dr. (name)", and even discourage it in many cases. At many other colleges and universities, however, "Doctor So-and-so" or "Professor So-and-so" is the established way for a student to address their doctorate-holding instructor, and to do otherwise would come across as, at worst, very rude.
- Benjamin Franklin managed to fall into this trope, despite not being EITHER kind of doctor. Although he was almost universally addressed as "Dr. Franklin," all his degrees were honorary, presented for his groundbreaking scientific achievements (along with an honorary Doctor of Laws). Franklin never attended college and had only two years of formal education, period; he was otherwise self-taught.
- Uwe Boll also has a doctorate in literature. Good luck finding an unironic mention of him as "Doctor Boll", though.
- Doctoral students everywhere. After going through the very long, sometimes soul-sucking process of actually getting that PhD, you damn well want some acknowledgment for it. And yet the public insists on thinking that all doctors are physicians.
- The radio talk therapist Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a doctor of physiology, not psychiatry. Not false advertising exactly (she's perfectly entitled to put Dr. before her name), but misleading. Though it should be noted that after she began dispensing personal advice on the radio, she obtained training and certification in marriage and family counseling from the University of Southern California, and a therapist's license from the State of California. In addition, she opened up a part-time practice as a marriage and family counselor.
- Aversion: Every university graduate in Italy is referred to as "Dottore" or "Dottoressa." Unless, that is, they have some more prestigious title, such as "Avvocato" (lawyer) or even better, "Ingegnere" (engineer.) It's so pervasive that many people will tend to automatically address as "dottore" someone who seems to be of high status. Also, even some non-graduates may be addressed by a title if their profession commands respect: the most common example is "Geometra" (a skilled construction technician, who has authority to approve some civil engineering projects).
- The same situation applies in Portugal. This situation caused an unfortunate gaffe during a European summit held in Lisbon where Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa (a law graduate) was introduced as "Dr. António Costa" while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (an actual MD) was introduced simply as "Ursula von der Leyen"
- Similarly, in Egypt, people with degrees may be called "Ustaz" ("professor") or "Doktor" in informal settings, even if they aren't professors or have doctorates. Also played straight, because in Egypt, medicine is a seven-year bachelor's degree, and not a doctorate, but people colloqually call physicians without advanced degrees "Doktor" all the same—and are more likely to do so than with, say, someone who holds a bachelor's in something like literature or psychology.
- Also: An actual engineer won't be called "Mohandis" ("engineer"), since that's the title for certain kinds of skilled worker (well, "Bash Mohandis," i.e. "Chief Engineer" is), like electricians.
- An English speaker in France may hear the word physicien and think it refers to a physician; it's actually French for "physicist". The best translation of "physician" would be médecin généraliste, though médecin is enough if any kind of M.D. will do.
- Dr. Phil is not a medical doctor, but has a doctorate in psychology. He also has no license to practice, having officially retired in 2006. Apparently his TV show counts as "entertainment" rather than "psychology", so it's not against the law, nor false advertising for him to continue hosting it under its current title.
- The degree handed out by law schools in the United States is called a Juris Doctor, and yet no one ever refers to lawyers as "Doctor". The profession is somewhat ambiguous about whether it's appropriate to use the title "doctor," the general consensus being "technically it's allowed, as long as you're not giving the impression that you're an expert in a field other than law." This is most commonly a concern for medical malpractice or personal injury lawyers, for whom it can be falsely inferred that they are medical doctors as well as lawyers (although some lawyers are indeed both). Most lawyers don't bother, to forego the risk of seeming pretentious. There are also advanced terminal doctorates in law such as the Doctor of Juridical Sciences or the even more prestigious Doctor of Laws, but these are very rare except as honorary degrees.
- Vice president Joe Biden's wife Jill being criticized for using the title because she's not that kind of doctor. This came up again in 2020 when Joe was elected president. Joseph Epstein wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal chiding her for using the "Doctor" title as a professor and not a physician. Regardless of his opinion on the matter, Epstein was soundly blasted on Twitter as well as the universities he himself taught at for his article's sexist tone (such as referring to Dr. Biden as "kiddo") and diminishing her academic accomplishments (despite his teaching at a university while only possessing a B.A.). It should be noted here that, unlike certain examples in this section, Dr. Biden has always been entirely open about the fact that her doctorate is in education and not medicine; her insistence on using the title is, entirely fairly, based on the fact that she earned it.
- Nutritionist Gillian McKeith, who announced that she would "voluntarily" stop calling herself Dr. Gillian McKeith on the grounds she wasn't a medical doctor. This came just before the Advertising Standards Authority insisted that she stop calling herself "doctor" because the college she got her PhD from was "not accredited by any recognised educational authority". So not only was she Not That Kind of Doctor, but she wasn't even a doctor at all.
- Science author Ben Goldacre made fun of this by referring to her as "Gillian McKeith, or, to give her full medical title, Gillian McKeith."
- There was once a controversy in the letters page of the Financial Times as to whether an individual was entitled to be addressed as "Dr" or not, with the paper taking the position that they would award the title to Ph.D.s but only if the FT had seen proof that the individual had completed a doctorate. One reader commented that they should check whether surgeons had earned the title of "Mr."
- Dr. Susan Block, best known for her sex advice, got her graduate and post-graduate degrees in philosophy, though "with an emphasis in psychology" and her undergraduate degree was in theater studies.
- Theodor Geisel, AKA "Dr. Seuss", isn't a doctor at all; the "Dr." is merely a pen name.
- Dr. Demento is just a stage name for musicologist Barry Hansen. Interestingly enough, he does have a graduate degree in his field; despite his madcap persona, he boasts a rather sophisticated portfolio of work on music theory and music history. He himself has suggested that he would have gone on to acquire his doctorate had his radio career not taken off.
- Dr. Ruth Westheimer has actual doctorates, but they're in sociology and psychology. The closest she gets to medical credentials is her post-doctoral research in human sexuality.
- Field Marshal Blücher was given an honorary doctorate (in law) by Oxford University. But then his work did contribute to medical science. And to law, although more about about which law applied where rather than what that law actually says.
- Duke of Wellington who was similarly honoured the same day, June 14, 1814. Blücher at the time joked that if they made him an honorary doctor they should also make Gneisenau, his chief of staff, an honorary apothecary. He and Gneisenau got honorary doctorates (in philosophy) from Berlin University later that year.
- Dr. Dre did not attend any university. He does have an honorary degree in Street Knowledge, though.
"Dr. Dre can suck my dick, that bitch got no PhD.I lost track of mine, I got stupid whack degrees."— MC Hawking, "The Mighty Stephen Hawking"
- Despite his claims to the contrary, creationist Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind does not hold a valid doctorate. He bought his "degree" from a non-accredited "university" where he quite literally didn't do the research. His "dissertation" is online here. The first sentence is "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind," so it's obviously not written in formal academic style. He plagiarizes himself at one point.
- This is a common deception of creationist evangelists; "Dr." Carl Baugh's purely honorary doctorates are actually either from places not accredited to give such doctorates or from "branches" of legitimate colleges that don't actually exist. At least one of his doctorates was from a "school" he himself founded...
- The controversial restaurant the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas is owned by someone who calls himself Dr. Jon Basso in advertisements. He's not a real doctor, and it is doubtful that a real doctor would advise eating at the place, which serves some of the unhealthiest junk food in the country; even he himself has repeatedly said in public and to customers that his food will kill you. At least two customers who ate there have had real heart attacks (one actually in the restaurant) and two spokesmen died of pneumonia. Basso's previous occupation was as a fitness guru, but he has stated that after too many promises that couldn't be fulfilled, customers repeatedly cheating on their diets and a lawsuit from a fast food company, he decided on a very different idea.
- Dr Pepper and its knockoffs (of course). Supposedly the name was chosen for marketing purposes, as the drink was originally marketed as a health tonic.
- Sir Doctor Stephen Colbert, DFA. Doctorate of Fine Arts, an honorary degree or one given to a graduate student of the highest caliber. It means he has made a contribution to the field, and human knowledge. He jokingly uses it in his medical segments, to accentuate his character's status as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
- Dr. Karl Sven Woytek Sas Konkovitch Matthew Kruszelnicki (usually called Dr. Karl), Ig Nobel Laureate and science guy, has not done a PhD. He has a lot of degrees, but he's "Dr." because of a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery.
- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson received an honorary doctorate from the Universal Life Church in the late sixties and eventually started insisting on people acknowledging him as such. The ULC issues doctorates in divinity, but Thompson's character/alter-ego Raoul Duke liked calling himself a "doctor of journalism".
- It is possible to earn a doctorate in nursing, in which case a nurse practitioner would be entitled to the title of "Doctor." This causes some friction with physicians.
- Dr. Lewis Yablonski is a sociologist who in 1967 visited several hippie communes and residences to gather information for a book (later titled The Hippie Trip). When he went to Morningstar in Northern California, he said, "I'm Dr. Yablonski, they're expecting me" and the man who greeted him immediately turned around and called out "The doctor's here! Is anyone sick?"
- According to AP style, the Dr. honorific is only supposed to be used for actual medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians. It is also used for paramedical professions and, for some bizarre reason, members of the clergy with earned or honorary doctorates. Ironically, AP style specifically does not use it in the majority of situations where someone actually earns a doctorate.
- DD, or Doctor of Divinity, is an accepted higher degree in theology and religious studies and is carried with pride by ministers and priests of all Christian denominations. The convention in Britain is that the two titles are used together to prevent misunderstanding - ie, conflated as Reverend Doctor. There is a case of a medical doctor who after some years followed a vocation to become a priest, eventually adding the suffix DD to his MD. He became a very rare Reverend Doctor Doctor....
- The Universal Life Church will issue a DD to anyone with the required cash (around 20-30 dollars at time of writing). You can also get a doctorate in metaphysics. A lot of people have benefited from this in order to officiate weddings.
- Notorious Irish Presbyterian minister and politican, the Reverend Doctor Ian Kyle Paisley M.P., got his doctorate from a degree mill in the Bible Belt of the USA, and as people have pointed out, is not eligible to use the title "Doctor" as it came from an unrecognised institution. This makes him the Gillian McKeith of religion and politics.
- Derek Smart, the man behind Battlecruiser 3000AD and Universal Combat claims to possess a doctorate and frequently titles himself as Ph.D. However, his thesis is not listed anywhere and he has refused to divulge basic details about his doctorate, such as which college he attended or who was his supervisor. There's understandable suspicion that he's lying.
- Former porn star Sharon Mitchell used her savings from nearly thirty years in the business to put herself through college and get a doctorate. Laudably, she had recognized that people working in the porn industry are at higher risk of contracting diseases, and that one performer with an STD who carries on working and doesn't declare it can infect a massive number of people. She also knew that younger porn performers are likely to be very ignorant of the risks and implications of the business, and that their employers can profit by keeping them ignorant. So she set up the Sharon Mitchell Foundation as a means of bringing practical advice, sexual education and practical, affordable (or free) medical treatment for people working in the sex industry. All very laudable, and a lot of people were impressed enough by Doctor Mitchell's personal achievement to donate generously to the charitable foundation. But... everyone meeting an engaging, personable and likable woman with a lot of drive and energy to do good, simply assumed she'd trained as a medical doctor at an accredited college. Sharon never contradicted this impression.note A lot of disillusionment set in when it was discovered her doctorate was in social services and it was from a college which, while not exactly a degree mill, wasn't all that prestigious either. The Sharon Mitchell Foundation, the AIMHCF, is now bankruptnote , and Sharon herself returned to the business as a "mature performer".
- Rachel Maddow has a Doctorate in Political Science from Oxford University (she was a Rhodes Scholar, in fact). Interestingly, she only occasionally mentions this, despite hosting a show dedicated to the subject in which she has her doctorate! This means that all those articles calling her "Ms Maddow" should in fact be calling her "Dr Maddow"...
- Chef Erin Burke, one of the founders of the Floribbean Cuisine movement in the 1970s, has two PhDs to her name: one in history, the other in biology, and indeed she worked as a college professor for a time. She also has a Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Arts, and these days prefers to be called "Chef" rather than "Doctor".
- Bill Cosby had a Doctorate in Education from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is listed as William Cosby, Ed. D. in the end credits to several of his shows, including The Cosby Show. He also had Honorary Doctorates from over a dozen universities, most of them in Humane Letters, but he never uses a title. The "had" is because almost all of them have now been rescinded following a large number of accusations (and later convictions) of sexual assault. Since his convictions have been overturned now, he may be able to get them back.
- Bif Naked was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of the Fraser Valley in 2013.
- Dr. Brian Harold May CBE has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics. (Completed after 30 years since obviously the success of the band kept him from doing science.)
- Stuart Ashen has a PhD in Psychology. He claims to have never worked professionally in the field.
- Jimmy Savile had two doctorates; an honorary doctorate, and a doctorate of law. He did not have a formal doctorate, but was allowed to do volunteer work at hospitals, and even had wings named after him. Both of his doctorates were posthumously stripped from him over a year after his death after certain allegations against him came to light.
- Power Rangers actor Jason Narvy has a Ph D in Theater Studies, gotten long after his tenure in the Power Rangers Franchise, in 2010. The very next year, he started teaching theater in Chicago through 2021 at Concordia University.