A Ph.D is an abbreviation for ‘Philosophae Doctor’ meaning ‘teacher of philosophy’. Most candidates will have finished a master degree before applying to a Ph.D program but in some countries you can enter after a bachelor degree. This is the highest academic degree available and academic research is intense.
A Ph.D is divided into two main parts: a thesis where the candidate must complete original academic research that is worthy of publication in a peer-refereed context and a thesis defence where the candidate must defend the work before a panel of experts nominated by the university. Some countries, including the USA and Canada, also require a period of study of advanced courses relevant to the area of specialization.
For students who do not have a master degree, other requirements will apply as stated by the university.
PhD = Doctor of Philosophy
- thesis defence
Ph.D degrees take from two and a half years to eight years on average. Most universities have restrictions about the minimum and maximum periods of time for the Ph.D.
Ph.D degrees are the most competitive degrees and are therefore not easy to enter. An ideal candidate would have completed a master and bachelor degree as well as have a significant and related work experience and have published several works. This is flexible, but good grades are essential at the very least. Experience and a clear statement of research goals will separate a regular candidate from a superior candidate. Candidates are expected to speak the language of instruction and may need to submit exam scores proving this.
To improve your chances of getting accepted, make sure you have a good score on an English language exam such as TOEFL or IELTS. You should begin by making a portfolio of your published works, possibly including your work from a master degree or from a recent job. If you do not have any relevant work experience, it is better you volunteer or work at a related job to get some understanding that you cannot gain from class or research. You could also practice interview questions in the event that you will be required to sit an interview.
Ph.D degrees are often more expensive than master degrees. Candidates studying a Ph.D degree are discouraged from working and may have to agree to limits on the amount of work they can do. It is expected that you will be working on your thesis research full time. Although many countries have free Ph.D tuition for their citizens, as a foreigner you will be expected to pay fees. For Myanmar applicants studying abroad, you will need to apply for scholarships from both the university and separate scholarship programs.
After successfully passing your thesis defence, you will enter the workforce. Many Ph.D holders will become university professors or full time researchers. In addition, many Ph.D graduates go on to careers in government departments, NGOs, or in the private sector.