Acquiring a Ph.D. and What It Entails

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is a post-graduate degree granted to students by accredited academic institutions such as colleges and universities. A Ph.D. is typically the highest degree that one may earn and is awarded to students who submit a thesis proposal, pass both a qualifying examination and candidacy examination, and complete as well as defend a dissertation based on original research conducted in the student’s area of specialization, all the while achieving an A average in mandatory coursework. Students usually work under the supervision of an advisor who is a Ph.D. holder from Online Schools or Campus School and expertise in the student’s chosen field. This process typically takes four to six years to complete.

There are numerous doctoral degrees available. Generally, any subject area in which one may obtain a bachelor’s degree, one may obtain a doctorate degree as well.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program must undergo three phases. The first phase includes the student’s coursework in their area of concentration and typically takes one to three years to complete. Upon completion of their coursework, students must pass a series of examinations which assess their breadth of knowledge in their specialization field. The second phase consists of completing requirements in pedagogy where the student teaches undergraduate courses. The third phase is the formulation of original research (as well as a literature review) which comprises the student’s written dissertation. This phase is rigorous and takes another two to four years to complete. Upon completion, students defend their dissertation and undergo an extensive oral examination given by their supervisory committee, who is made up of educated and knowledgeable experts in the field.

Admission into a doctoral program requires a bachelor’s degree (and in most cases, a master’s degree as well) in the student’s area of concentration or a closely related field. Colleges and universities require a transcript from the institution where the bachelor’s or master’s degree was obtained, displaying the student’s GPA which should be at a 3.25 minimum (on a 4.0 scale). Students must have successfully passed a standardized admissions test such as the GRE (Graduate Records Exam), GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), or MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and received a score at or above the 80th percentile. A statement of purpose, which states the student’s career or research goals in their area of focus, must be submitted. Two or three reference letters from faculty members is also mandatory. If a student fulfills all of these requirements, then an application form from the college or university the student wishes to attend must be completed and submitted along with an application fee. Tuition fees for a doctoral degree program may vary from $45,000 to $60,000 annually.

Upon graduation from the Ph.D. program, students may obtain upper-level employment in their field of focus. Graduates from the Ph.D. program are also able to secure faculty member positions at a college or university.

Below are a few links related to obtaining a Ph.D. degree in a specific career field.

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