PhD and other Doctoral Degree Programs

Ph.D. programs can very different in US Universities as compared to those in your country. If handled properly, it can be the most rewarding experience of life. In some cases it can be a lot of stress and disappointment. It may take five or even six years to complete a PhD so you should carefully consider whether it is really for you. You should be aware that PhD program is very rigorous, and takes a lot of emotional maturity to handle the stress and expectations. A genuine interest in research or teaching is a good reason to consider a PhD program. Availability of funding (especially more funding than MS programs) is a bad reason to apply for PhD. It is common to apply for a PhD program with an intention to convert it into an MS later, or leave after getting an MS. It is a potentially harmful practice and may lead to a lot of complications. In such cases a MS degree may or may not be awarded, depending on the rules of the department. The PhD program has essentially two parts, coursework and dissertation. A certain number of courses need to be completed before a student is admitted to candidacy. There could be a comprehensive exam based on the coursework. After the successful exam the student is admitted to candidacy and works on research. At the end of research a PhD thesis is submitted which is needs to be defended. Publication may be a stated or implied requirement for graduating. Even if you successfully complete the coursework and are finished with your thesis your department or your advisor may expect you to publish one or two research papers in q quality journal before he or she will approve your doctoral thesis. This is a key cause of delay in completion of PhD degrees.

The duration of PhD programs at US Universities

PhD programs are among the most flexible programs at US Universities. The students get to select what courses they will study, what will be the topic of research, who will be the advisor and when will they graduate. The duration of the program depends on how many courses the student takes every semester and on the research output. PhD programs have no official time frame, but there me be a total time limit. For PhD programs, it matters if you joined the program after completing a Masters program or directly after a bachelorís degree. Most PhD programs admit students directly after a Bachelors degree but the students may need to complete the coursework equivalent to a Masters degree and then concentrate on the doctoral research. In such cases it is likely that the PhD will take upto six years. One should plan for a minimum of two years for MS and five years for a PhD degree.

PhD after Bachelors degree

US Universities encourage students with excellent academic record to apply directly for a PhD after a four year undergraduate degree. Read more details at our blog.

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