PhD is a term used for Doctor of Philosophy, an academic or professional degree that qualifies the degree holder to pursue their career in a chosen field relevant to the subject chosen for research. They can also work as professionals in the specialized subject. Moreover, their mastery in that subject makes them eligible to teach it at university level, and become a professor.
In Greek language ‘philosophia ‘i.e. ‘philosophy’ is ‘love of wisdom’. Any individual who has an inquisitive mind and thirst for knowledge in their area of interest can achieve higher educational qualification in a disciplined manner through a recognised degree called Ph.D. With ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ recognition as their love of wisdom makes an individual professional in that specialized field.
What is a PhD degree?
A PhD degree is a postgraduate academic degree conferred by universities to aspirants after they submitted a thesis or dissertation, which is an extensive and original research work in their chosen subject.
Usually Ph.D. is followed after a master’s degree, although some institutions allow students to progress straight to a PhD from their bachelor’s degree. These institutions also offer the opportunity to ‘upgrade’ or ‘fast-track’ master’s degree to a PhD, provided the aspirants are highly motivated and possess the necessary grades, skills and research abilities.
Process of Pursuing Ph.D. degree
Under normal circumstances, a PhD can be completed in three to four years of full-time study by completing a thesis or dissertation based on original research, data analysis, and the evaluation of theory on chosen subject matter. Some PhD programs accept a portfolio of published papers based on research and original works, while some countries make it mandatory to submit coursework as well.
Along with thesis or Dissertation, candidates must have to complete a ‘viva voce’ or oral defense of their PhD before a group of experts and a committee. It usually lasts about two hours and may be open to the public. The defense is an occasion for the presentation and recognition of the thesis and an opportunity for open discussion and formal evaluation with purpose.
Oral Defense consists of four parts- in the first part, the candidate introduces themselves, secondly they present a summary of their work, and thirdly questioned by subject experts and members of the committee. Lastly, the committee members meet in person with the candidate to discuss the presentation and dissertation.
The purpose of the oral defense meeting is to assess the merits of the completed dissertation research and the ability of the doctoral candidate to interpret and explain research results and implications.
Traditionally, PhD students are expected to study on campus under close supervision of Mentor but distance education and e-learning schemes have resulted in a growing number of universities offering part-time and distance-learning PhD degrees.
Admission criteria for PhD
Usually a candidate with at least upper second class grades at both bachelor’s and master’s honor level degrees and their interest for potential research is eligible for PhD application. Some universities allow candidates having good grades in their master’s degree to pursue their PhD using grants or funding by charities and trusts. Nonetheless, many PhD aspirants work hard for scholarships and opt for research/teaching assistantships, and a few ask their employer to fund their PhD by explaining its benefits on their personal and professional development.
Usually a candidate with at least upper second class grades at both bachelor’s and master’s honor level degrees and their interest for potential research is eligible for PhD application.
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Some universities allow candidates having good grades in their master’s degree to pursue their PhD using grants or funding by charities and trusts. Nonetheless, many PhD aspirants work hard for scholarships and opt for research/teaching assistantships, and a few ask their employer to fund their PhD by explaining its benefits on their personal and professional development.
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1. Proof of proficiency in the language in which PhD is intended to study, either by providing the results of an approved standardized language exam or showing evidence of completing undergraduate or postgraduate studies in the relevant language.
2. Employment/academic references in the form of résumé and all academic transcripts, along with details of course modules and module content, Details of any other research projects and publications if any.
3. References from two or three people in an academic domain who can influence or help in academic performance, coursework and research abilities, your research potential and your interest in your chosen field of study.
4. Personal statement is a short essay to demonstrate your aim for the chosen subject. More specifically to outline reasons to study PhD and one can write about any extracurricular activities that are particularly relevant for chosen area(s) of research.
5. PhD research proposal is –
- Outline of proposed research topics in the context of previous work,
- Highlights one’s awareness of current debates within the field,
- Demonstrates a certain level of analysis,
- Identifies relevant gaps in current knowledge,
- Suggests a relevant research hypothesis to fill some of these gaps,
- Explains intended research methodology in detail,
- Discusses the implications to real-world policy that a PhD proposal may invite.
Remember that the research proposal is a starting point from which to further develop your research idea. It should fit in with interests of your chosen institution or they may reject the application on the basis of disparity between their research interests and the one proposed.