Degree Requirements, Research, and Coursework
Whether you wish to become a university professor or have a passion for research, a PhD degree can help you realize your dream. PhD or Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic degree awarded by most universities. It usually takes PhD students an average of five years to earn the degree. However, students can complete their PhD program in less or more time. Most universities require PhD students to do some coursework in addition to research. After completing their coursework during the first few years, PhD candidates must take a qualifying exam to prove that they are ready to undertake independent research. PhD students who clear the qualifiers are required to produce original research and write a publishable thesis, which they must then defend orally before a committee of professors to earn the doctoral degree. A committee of professors is assigned to each candidate to guide and mentor them. Professors on the committee also write letters of recommendations and assist PhD students with finding placement after they graduate. PhD students usually focus on a specific aspect of their field of specialization. Some fields may even require candidates to complete one or two years of internship such as clinical work.
Most PhD programs allow candidates with a bachelor's degree to pursue a PhD program and earn a master's degree along the way. However, some universities require students to earn a master's degree in the relevant field before applying for a PhD program. Majority of the universities in US consider students with a good academic record, as PhD is an advanced, lengthy and rigorous program. In addition to having a reasonably high grade point average in their previous degrees, students also need to perform well on their graduate level exam (GRE or GMAT in most cases). Universities in the US also require students to submit letters of recommendation and a statement of intent.
Benefits of Online Programs
Online PhD degree programs can benefit students who don't want to compromise their existing job or are interested in distance learning. But students should make sure that the program they are about to join is accredited. Your time, work, and money can go to waste on an unaccredited degree that might not be recognized by any professional organization or institution. A few universities also allow students to undertake PhD programs through distance learning, especially in cases where it is not possible for a student to attend on-campus courses.
Financial Aid and Stipends
PhD students usually receive an annual stipend and tuition waiver throughout their academic program. A lot of PhD candidates work as teaching or research assistants on the campus while pursuing their degree. Students can also receive funding from government or private agencies, and some researchers are supported entirely by their advisers' research grants. However, outside funding and grants depend on the student's field of specialization.
PhD graduates can easily find placements after they graduate, especially if they pursued an accredited program. Advisors also assist PhD students with finding good placements through recommendations. PhD is one of the most rewarding degrees in terms of compensation. PhD graduates usually work as university professors and researchers.