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PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

If you have a specific academic field that you love and wish to gain as much knowledge as possible, then a PhD is the right choice for you. PhD is the short form of Doctor of Philosophy. It is a degree offered to specialize in the subject of your choice, and it enables you to teach the subject of your interest in the universities. A successful PhD program also helps secure some specific positions.

Doctor of philosophy is pursued by the individuals having 'love of wisdom'. This term is also the literal meaning of the word philosophy. In many institutes, it is the criteria for the qualifications of the professor. Additionally, for many research-oriented jobs or for becoming a scientist, it is the basic criteria.

The most popular organizations offering PhD are IISc, IITs, and ISI. Many institutes other than these are well known for their PhD program. These institutes generate research work that contributes to the development of the country. It helps to boost the economy and to compete with the other nations.

What is a PHD?

PhD is a postgraduate degree program awarded to individuals for their work in the field of their interest. Universities and institutions grant PhD to the candidates for the submission of the thesis and original research work in their chosen field.

The highest degree any student can achieve is that of a PhD. Students usually opt for the PhD after they complete their master's. However, some universities offer PhD after the bachelor's degree itself. Many institutions even offer to upgrade the master's program to a PhD program if students have the necessary knowledge, skills, and research interest.

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

Duration and Mode of the Course

PhD is a three-to-four-year course, and it involves studying and presenting a thesis or dissertation for their research. It is required to submit the course work in some countries while others accept a portfolio of published papers.

It is also compulsory for the student to complete the viva voce, which is generally conducted in the presence of a small number of examiners. Although the traditional PhD programs involve learning on campus, e-learning and distance learning programs are widely accepted nowadays.

Requirements for PhD Admissions

PhD admissions consider the grades of the students of both the bachelor's or master's program. The research capabilities are also tested before the admissions. It is mandatory for the candidate to have a master's degree or an honours degree and a bachelor's degree in many universities. However, some institutions also accept candidates who have only a master's degree. PhD admissions are also based on the type of funding you choose. For example: a student with a low grade can choose a self-funded PhD program and get admission.

Generally, in many institutes, students are assigned professors who act as supervisors and guide them throughout their PhD program. However, it is compulsory to have a supervisor professor in some institutes before enrolling in the program.

It is good to approach a professor in your institute before starting the PhD program. The professor will accept the proposal based on whether your interest matches the department. The supervisor can help in brainstorming ideas and selecting the research topics.

Eligibility for PhD

The basic qualifications for admissions to a regular PhD program are:

  1. The candidate must have a Master's degree in the field. A specific percentage of marks in the post-graduation is mandatory for admission to a PhD course. A relaxation in the marks is provided for the reserved category students. Hence, marks less than the general category are considered as the eligibility criteria for those students. Moreover, for some courses, the M.Phil. degree is compulsory.
  2. The candidate must also qualify for the entrance examination conducted for the PhD program. These are national-level examinations such as the National Eligibility Test for Lectureship (NET), and are required for PhD admissions in many institutes. The final year students are also eligible but are required to submit the attested copies of the qualifying degrees.
  3. The main criteria for the selection are interviews. It may be conducted along with a written test.
  4. The candidate who wishes to obtain PhD in engineering fields must have a valid Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering. Additionally, they must have completed a ME or degree in any engineering branch to be eligible for a PhD in engineering.
  5. Many universities have separate PhD entrance exams and age limits to be considered before applying for any PhD program.

Steps to Apply for a PhD

The Universities follow the selection process to admit any student into the PhD course. The process includes various entrance examinations, interviews, and research proposals. The basic steps for initiating the application for admission are:

  • The applications for the PhD programs are available both online and offline.
  • Students may download the application form from the website of the institute or can obtain the form by writing to the university.
  • Some universities require the candidate to mail the application form and the required documents to the official mail of the university.
  • The average Fee for a regular PhD program is about 20000 to 30000 per year. This may vary according to the course and the university in which the course is selected.

Admission Process for PhD Program

The demand for the PhD course is increasing with the increasing need for research and development in all fields. The candidate has to go through an admission process for a PhD program which is as follows:

  • The PhD course is available on both a part-time and full-time basis. Hence the candidate must decide whether they want to opt for the full-time or part-time course.
  • For pursuing the PhD program in India, a student must have completed their master's degree. Many universities offer admissions to students having marks greater than 55%. Reserved category students are provided the around 5% relaxation in marks.
  • In some universities, it is compulsory to have Masters in Philosophy (M.Phil.) for admissions to the PhD course.

Applications for PhD

Proficiency of Language

It is essential to present the proof of language proficiency to complete the study and research in any field a particular language as a medium. The proof could be a language examination certificate or proof of completing the undergraduate or postgraduate degree in that particular language.

Academic / Employment Documents

It is mandatory to submit the documents and other academic details, such as course modules, etc. These are required while filling the PhD application form. Additionally, it is required to submit the details of your publications and research projects.

Some applications also ask for references for two or three people who know the candidate and their academics well. The people may include the professors or tutors from the undergraduate or postgraduate course of the student. The reference provided by you will act as the witness for your academics, coursework, research capabilities, and potential in that field.

Personal Statements

Some institutes also ask the candidate to write a personal statement which is a short essay. The personal statement would include your reasons for joining the program, motivation for working in the field, and related interests. Additionally, one may also highlight the relevant extra-curricular activities related to the field. Many websites may help and guide you to write an effective personal statement. Many institutes offer their guidance for writing the personal statement and help alter it according to the institutions.

Research Proposals

The candidate is required to submit the research proposal for admission to the PhD program. The research paper has specific functions such as -

  • Clearly states the research objectives in the context of the previous work.
  • Provides insights into your knowledge of current debates related to the field.
  • Outlines the level of analysis conducted.
  • Helps in identifying the gaps in the knowledge of that field.
  • Provides research hypotheses to overcome these gaps.
  • Provides the details related to the methodologies used in the research.

Structure of PhD in India

The PhD program consists of both theory and practical sessions of the subject. Along with the coursework, it also comprises of the research work. The program generally for 3 to 4 years and operates on the semester pattern. The detailed structure of a PhD differs according to the type of PhD, university, institution, the field of research, and time period.

The performance of the student is evaluated every semester. The basic structure comprises coursework, research, examinations, research proposals, and thesis.

Types of PhD programs offered in India

Many students have an interest in a certain field and wish to undergo the PhD course. However, some may be pursuing something that interests them and wishes to earn a PhD degree. Moreover, many students prefer learning at their own pace and convenience. Hence, according to the requirements of the students, there are two types of PhD courses. The two types of PhD programs offered in India are part-time and full-time PhD.

  1. Part-time PhD: Many institutions provide the PhD course part-time. It is usually for the students who wish to pursue the course along with something else. The part-time program allows the student to complete the course at their own pace. Moreover, students can pursue the course according to their convenience and place. Institutes offering such courses include IIM Bombay, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kanpur, and BITS Pilani.
  2. Full-time PhD: It is the course for the students who wish to dedicate 3-4 years of their life to research.

Advantages of Part-time PhD

A part-time PhD is beneficial as it is very flexible. Students can earn the PhD degree part-time along with the other work they are interested in. Moreover, it has many other benefits as compared to the full-time PhD program, these include -

  • Research can be continued off-campus. Hence, it is not limited to the university.
  • The thesis can be written according to the convenience of the student. Since there is no time limitation, students can complete any course at their own pace.
  • The lease can be provided on the decisions of the supervisors and the guiding professors.
  • The professional can continue teaching while completing the part-time PhD program. It will help them gain experience in teaching along with the PhD course knowledge.
  • The part-time PhD course is available at a cheaper cost than that of the full-time PhD course.

Some students are curious to learn about the field of their interest and wish to do something they love. A part-time PhD is a great option for all such students.

Advantages of Full-time PhD

A full-time PhD course involves intense research and reading on the topic. The part-time course can be difficult for the students as they will have to balance both. Additionally, a full-time PhD will provide the advantage of focused research as there is only a single task. Students doing research accept giving their 3-4 years for the PhD and are motivated to complete it. Other benefits of the full-time PhD programs are -

  • You develop contacts with the faculty and the students.
  • Various sessions, including seminars and group meets, can be easily attended.
  • The work can be completed within the deadline without any workload.
  • You will be stress-free as the workload is less and you are focused.
  • You can read more, and hence theories will be your focus.
  • A well-versed thesis can be written and submitted as you will invest more time in it.
  • The total course duration will be much shorter than the part-time course.

Jobs After PhD

Nowadays, the demand for research has increased tremendously. Eventually, the jobs for the students who have completed the PhD have also increased. The jobs after PhD are not confined to the teaching professions, but it has widened to many domains. Hence, the candidate can choose from the following fields according to their interests and expertise:

  • Writer
  • Scientist
  • Editor
  • Consultant
  • R&D lab professional in industries
  • Researcher
  • Professor
  • Journalist
  • Human Service Worker

Reasons for pursuing PhD Program

  1. PhD program provides a higher return on the investment of 3-4 years of research during the course.
  2. It will be easier to get a job related to your field of study. Moreover, you will also be eligible for the jobs which are not given after completing the masters.
  3. While you are still learning, there is the chance to enhance and add to your skills and become better in the field of your interest.
  4. It will provide you a greater competitive advantage.

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