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What is PhD : Meaning, How to Do, Benefits, Full Details

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The doctorate in philosophy, or PhD, is the highest degree available in academia and is awarded for doctoral study. Typically, a PhD requires three to four years of full-time study to finish. You’ll do research and produce a thesis that makes a unique contribution to the field.

Meaning of PhD/ What is PhD?

  • PhD stands for ‘Doctor of Philosophy.’ Philosophy here means -Philo (friend or lower of), Sophia (wisdom).
  • A PhD is an academic degree focused on original research, data analysis and the evaluation of theory. PhD degrees are considered terminal degrees means that you have achieved the highest degree in the field, which helps enhance your resume and your career.
  • PhD earn you the title of “doctor”. Do you become a doctor? Yes, but not that kind of doctor.
  • A PhD is designed for students interested in doing original and applied Research that improve the existing knowledge in their particular field.
  • A PhD program help to analyze theories and concept, Evaluate current and emerging theories within your field, advance the knowledge through original Research and also assess identified gaps in current research paper.

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PhD admission requirements

Generally speaking, a candidate’s grades (typically both bachelor’s and master’s level) and potential for research are taken into consideration when determining eligibility for a PhD program. Candidates must typically have a bachelor’s degree with at least upper second-class honors and an honors program or a master’s degree with strong academic standing. In rare circumstances, your master’s degree grades alone may be sufficient to support your PhD application. Grade-based requirements for PhD admissions may also depend on the kind of finance you want to use; if you plan to pay your own PhD, you might be permitted to apply with lower grades.

Before you may be officially admitted into a PhD program, several institutions and disciplines (including psychology and some humanities and science subjects) need you to locate a tenured professor in your selected institution who will act as your formal advisor and supervisor during the program. In other situations, after you are admitted into the PhD program, you will be paired with a supervisor who will be chosen in accordance with your research topic and approach.

In any case, before submitting an application for a PhD, it is a good idea to speak with a faculty member at the university of your choice. This way, they can assess whether the department will be a good fit for your research interests and can even help you come up with ideas for your PhD study.

Do I need a Masters to do a PhD?

  • Students in Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics (STEM) don’t always need a MS/MSc (Masters of Science) to do a PhD. They’ll gain training in lab techniques and other Skills during their undergraduate degree. It’s common for students in Arts and the humanities to complete Masters of Arts before starting a PhD in order to acquire research experience and techniques.
  • Whether a Masters is a requirement for a PhD also varies by country.
  • If we talk about qualifications need to do a PhD; Drive, Curiosity and determination is first priority. On a more practical side, excellent grades, strong letters of recommendation, and the appropriate qualification.


How to Apply for a PhD ?

ü Determine your Interests

ü Do your Research

ü Research some more

ü Prepare your Materials

ü Submit your Application


  1. Determine Your Interests – The most essential thing to combine before you start applying to PhD programs. Think about courses you have liked or reoccurring questions. Summarize your interests in a couple of sentences.
  2. Do your Research – Once you have established your research interests, you can start your Research. Find the Professors who are working in Your area of interest. It’s also a good idea to talk to a trusted professor or your advisor who knows your interests. On many PhD search sites, you can create alerts for positions within your field of interest.
  3. Research some more – Now, you have list of all programs, it’s time to narrow down your list. Some schools/colleges require a minimum GPA or degree classification to apply. Make a note of deadlines for each application as well as materials required for each application.
  4. Prepare Your Materials – You have to submit different materials as part of your application. You can check the University’s graduate school website if you are unsure what type of documents should be in your application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. You may be required to submit some or all of these materials.
  • A CV – A CV is a resume of your academic qualifications.
  • A statement of purpose/personal statement- what are your areas of interest? Why are you applying to this School? How have you prepared to do PhD? Your Statement of Purpose should answer these questions. It is very important to make it specific to each School you are applying to.
  • A research proposal – the research proposal is an outline of your proposal project. It should be clearly defined. E.g.: Your research question, methodology and Research plan. You have to show that you know the field by highlighting the project’s originality and how it will contribute to the field.
  • References – You should provide your references with a list of schools you are applying to and the deadlines for each school. Most universities require two to three letters of recommendation. Choose professor who know you and familiar with your work. Ask if they will be a reference before you start applying to programs.
  • A writing Sample – This should be an academic paper you have written about a topic in your field of interest. The Maximum page length and formatting can vary from school to school, so make sure you check the requirements of each program.
  • Transcripts– You will need to submit official transcripts from each university-level institution you attended or are attending. 
  • Standardized test scores– Many universities in various country require PhD applicants to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam). The GRE tests your analytical writing, qualitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning skills.
  • Proof of language proficiency – You may be required to show proficiency in another language. It is necessary if you are an International PhD applicant.
  1. Submit your application – When it comes time to actually apply, leave yourself at least an hour to fill out each application. Before you start the application make sure you have all the appropriate supporting documentation saved in correct format for each school. You should also have your credit card ready to pay any application fees.


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Can I apply for a PhD without relevant qualifications?

You might still be able to apply for a PhD program if you want to pursue one but lack the necessary credentials or their equivalent by meeting any additional requirements set out by the university of your choice. Completing a qualifying exam or doing a certain amount of additional study are two examples of potential prerequisites.

Additionally, you might be able to present a unique case to your preferred university based on international credentials or a non-degree professional certification plus a significant amount of relevant work experience. Applications for PhDs in special cases will need the full support of your possible supervisor, thus before applying in this way, you should ask for their guidance and endorsement.

PhDs through MPhil

Potential PhD students also have the opportunity to apply for an MPhil or as a general research student. This is the typical route that PhD candidates take. Students without a strong foundation in research may find the MPhil, an advanced master’s degree given for research, to be a good fit. To bring yourself up to speed on topics like research techniques, you will need to enroll in a few taught courses.

The MRes degree, which has more taught components than the MPhil and can be given in lieu of a PhD for students who have not finished the necessary study duration for a PhD, can be obtained through the successful completion of a one-year taught program. As an alternative, the MPhil degree may be granted for the successful completion of original research; this degree can be granted without the candidate’s need to defend their dissertation, which is a prerequisite for earning a PhD.

You may then be eligible to apply for full PhD registration if the institution is pleased with the development of your work after the first or second year of your study (i.e., during your MPhil). Usually, the person who will decide if you are prepared to move on to a PhD is your supervisor or tutor. If you are found to be prepared, you will have to select your PhD program and come up with a title for your thesis.


How much does a PhD cost?

It’s really difficult to say how much a PhD will cost as it is so dependent on where you are from, where you study and what you study. Some PhD are fully funded while others are funded through University Scholarships or national grants..


Degree Completion

  • All colleges and universities establish their own policies on how you earn a degree. PhD candidates usually complete a dissertation. A PhD dissertation requires you to conduct Research into an approved area of study within your discipline. A PhD usually culminates in a dissertation of around 80,000-100,000 words, based on Research carried out over the course of their study with aim to create new knowledge or theories or build on existing knowledge or theories.
  • Students are expected to work independently, supported by their department and a supervisor. During their study, students will try and get academic papers published and present their work at conferences.
  • A typical PhD normally involves: 

ü Carrying out a literature review (a survey)

ü Conducting original research

ü Collecting your results

ü Producing a thesis that presents your conclusions

ü Writing up your thesis

ü Submitting your thesis as a dissertation

ü Defending your thesis in an oral exam

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A PhD course is usually of three years duration and candidates need to complete the course within a maximum time span of five to six years. However, the course duration may vary from one institute to the other.

Many Universities are offering PhD for students in State and Central level. Students are approaching universities for the course in specializations on PhD.

Many Universities apply the Entrance exam for the postgraduate students for admission. Then they follow the merit list students for the course eligibility through counselling. Some Universities offer the seats for student aggregate percentage in their post – graduate degree.

In a PhD course, aspirants need to select a topic or subject and do in-depth Research on it.

The PhD degree signifies that you have attained the greatest level of competence in your field of study. The degree can also signal employers that you have the requisite analytical skills to carry out rigorous research tasks because doctoral studies usually include training in methodology and statics.

PhD programs actively recruit international students to bring new perspectives to their campuses- and their students. Diversity in the students mix often facilitates education and understanding.


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The benefits of a PhD degree are many

ü Individuals will have an in-depth idea about the subject they have chosen to specialize.

ü Individuals will be able to help others as well. 

ü The practical and theoretical idea they have can be used to assist others.

ü The Candidates will be able to get jobs almost easily.

ü A PhD is an essential qualification for a career in academia or Research. It is the first step to becoming lecturer or professor or a scientist at a university or Research Institute.

An individual will have numerous career choice subsequent to the completion of his PhD degree. One of the best perks of the PhD degree is that the person who has this degree will have a good status in the society.


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Alternatives of PhD.

  • Higher Doctorate – These are usually granted on the recommendation of a committee of internal and external examiners, which assesses a portfolio of published, peer-reviewed research you’ve undertaken over the course of many years. This type of Doctorate is usually for those with several years of academic experience. Common award titles include the Doctor of Civil Law (DCL), Doctor of Divinity (DD), Doctor of Literature/Letters (DLit/DLitt/LitD/LittD), Doctor of Music (DMus/MusD), Doctor of Science (DS/SD/DSc/ScD) and Doctor of Law (LLD).
  • Integrated/New Route PhD – This four-year PhD course is offered by over 30 universities and involves taking a one-year MRes before studying a three-year PhD. It combines taught elements with independent research, allowing students to learn different methodologies while building their transferable skills.
  • Professional Doctorate – Geared towards students of vocational subjects such as medicine, education and engineering, professional Doctorates are focused on teaching and so normally involve smaller research projects and thesis component. They’re often favoured by those aiming for a career outside of academia and are usually supported by employers.


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