A PhD title is a short sentence that defines the aim and objectives of your PhD thesis or research.
The PhD title is one of the most important things to your PhD much like the thesis, viva and research paper. Indeed, as per my opinion, all these are equally important to clear the degree but the ‘PhD title’ is something very decisive.
Students take it lightly usually, but trust me I had faced a big problem due to only the PhD title. And then I know how important it is!
Your PhD research journey starts by stating a PhD title, although, before picking the PhD title you should have to read so many things to decide what to do with it.
When you see a thesis or a PhD report, on the top of it and on the front page what you see? On the bold and larger font? The ‘PhD title’.
So far on this blog, we have discussed related to the PhD thesis, PhD viva voce and research paper writing. You can read each article by clicking the link.
In the present article, we are going to learn about another important element of the PhD dissertation the “PhD title”, what a PhD title is and some super cool idea to design your PhD title.
Related article: What is a PhD?
What is a PhD title?
The PhD title is a few liners or a sentence that defines the study purpose, area of research and technique used in your PhD thesis or project.
Your dissertation title or PhD title tell the reader about what a thesis is!, at a first glance. The poorly designed title may mislead readers, creates confusion and readers may lose interest.
A PhD title is the heart of your entire PhD thesis. So there are several do’s and don’t to make a PhD title.
Your PhD title must be self explanatory
Your title should include a clear objectives of your thesis
The title must be precise and descriptive.
The title must be short and consistent
Each word used in the title should reflect the work done in the thesis that is the main goal of it. Sometimes it happens that the title covers a small portion of your work but your research is actually more than that or vive verse. In both cases your title totally fails to define your work.
What you have included in your title exactly the same amount of work will be there in your thesis because the evaluator wants exactly that.
See this example, “Cytological and microarray based aberrations analysis in eunuchs of Asia.”
This is one title of a science thesis, A reader, evaluator or the examination preliminary look for the techniques that are cytogenetics and microarray must be used by the PhD student. Next, the research only includes a class of people including in the eunuch’s community and finally, they are geological from Asia only.
All these should be there in your thesis in your abstract, introduction, material methods and results.
The title should not be too long.
The title should not mislead the readers
Abbreviations should not be included in the titles
The title must not be teasing or abusive
The title must be professional
Briefly, the title must be of two lines (two lines looks good on a thesis) and most importantly can’t mislead readers. Furthermore, you have to understand that it’s a PhD title, not a blog article or youtube video, so it should be strictly professional.
“Studying third gender people using any of the three genetic techniques.”
What do you think? Is it a good title?
No, not at all. Nothing is specified in it, not a study population, not a technique or method or not even objectives, it is just a fancy, non-professional thumbnail.
Take a look at another boring PhD title,
“Studying third gender with genetic techniques.” again not specific and too short. It isn’t saying anything.
Yet another horrible PhD title, “Genetic analysis and evaluation of the eunuchs of Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh by using the techniques like cytogenetics based on cell culture and microarray based on hybridization.”
The core values of your thesis, principle and detailness should be reflected in your title but comprehensively, terms like genetic, name of the countries, cell culture and hybridization are not needed here.
Though there is no thumb rule to tailor a title, you should follow the “do’s” what i had mentioned in the above section.
I want to mention one more thing that is, spelling mistakes & grammar errors are avoided, and the punctuation and capitalization should be used correctly.
So broadly we can say that you aren’t so experienced enough to design a title for yourself. Therefore university allotted us a PhD supervisor or guide or advisor whatever you can call.
In some universities, a title clearance committee is also allotted to closely monitor every title before starting the PhD work.
Now let us talk about 10 of the genuine suggestions that may help you to design your PhD or dissertation title.
Related article: Designing a PhD Project from Scrap to Craft.
10 genuine suggestions to design a PhD title:
- First start your title with words like analysis, evaluation, studying, validating, quantification, measuring, mapping, etc. These words make your objective more focused and clear. Your reader understands instantly what your thesis is about.
- Include your study population in your title. It is a very wise decision to restrict your PhD work to some geological area and hence you should have to restrict it by region, state or country and you can mention it in your thesis title.
Again, it makes the evaluator ready to understand that the result of this study is restricted to only a particular region.
It’s a wise decision because in case if required, you can argue with the examiner that the study is restricted to a particular region due to so and so reasons (whatever it may).
The third thing is to mention your ‘subject’. A subject may be a person, a group of people, a region, a geological indication, an entire population, an organism or anything on which you are performing your research.
Next, include the methodology or theory you will use during your PhD. The important point during designing the title is the methodology you are using. Indicate a method, instrument, theory or hypothesis.
Methods to methods and instruments to instruments the results vary. For instance, in the genetic testing chromosomal analysis and DNA testing, both are included. So it doesn’t make a sense to use a broader term “genetic testing”.
specify things! either you want to use DNA testing or chromosomal testing.
Exclude broad subject, landmark or region or study subject, otherwise, it may create problems for you during the evaluation process.
Use capitalization when and if needed. Now this is an in general rule. You should have to use capitalization when required.
Do not use short forms or abbreviations in the title, however, you can use global short forms like the DNA, RNA or IBM.
Don’t copy the elements of the title from others.
Plagiarism, knowingly or unknowingly is a common mistake during PhD, and during the initial period of PhD it is acceptable because you don’t know how to use other resources correctly.
But the biggest problem arises when you copy someone else’s title, partially or fully, isn’t acceptable. Take a look at the example below,
“Evaluation of COMT gene expression by RT-PCR from the iceberg population.”
“Evaluation of COMT gene expression by RT-PCR from the population of california.”
Though the intention of both the researchers is similar, the study is different! But the title is partially copied and that is not acceptable.
Although you are designing your study in accordance with some other research, you should have to construct a title differently like this,
“Real-time quantification of the COMT gene in mentally retarded patients from California”. Now, this sounds good. You can acknowledge the original researcher but don’t copy the title.
Why I am explaining every point so precisely is to make you understand the importance of how a PhD title can ruin your PhD.
Let me tell you my personal story. A single word mistake in my title wasted the entire year.
“Cytological and microarray based aberrations analysis in eunuchs of Asia.” This is my PhD thesis title. By mistake the word “aberrations” was removed from my final synopsis and the faulty title was submitted to university.
During the final thesis submission, the title on my thesis and the title which the university had, didn’t match. And I got involved in big trouble!
I had written an apology cum appealing letter to the university, a committee of title reviewers re-reviewed my title and had given me their decision after 8 month.
I had worked two more months to write my thesis again, and then I had submitted my thesis next year.
However, after a few months the university apologized that it was not my fault but, i had paid a huge amount for that one mistake. A whole year! And so much tension.
Got my point!
Your PhD title matter’s a lot. In fact, some suvervisor literally register their PhD student’s title for not to use partially or fully.
Now let us check out some of the coolest PhD titles. Note that these titles are used here only for information purposes not intended for research evaluation.
“The depository system in India: An In depth study”
“Effect of Economic Factors on Primary Education: A Study from the USA.”
“Pollination Biology, Ultrastructure, Cytochemistry and Biochemistry during pollen-pistil Interaction of some poaceous plants.”
“A detailed study of Emerging Trends in Customer Relationship Management.”
“Ecology and Microbiology of Drinking Water sources in northern India.”
“Metagenomic studies of Pond water from the state of New Jersy.”
You can try out several titles by yourself and suggest your guide. Try this,
Study/evaluation/quantification/measuring/mapping of _____________by _____________ from the ___________________.
Fill our subject, method or technique and the territory you wish to study in the blanks, respectively.
Mapping of soybean plant species through Random Amplification of polymorphic DNA from New zealand.
Or you can try this
A comparative studies of ___________________________ from the ____________ region.
For example, A comparative study of the social behaviors of tribe culture from the Amazon jungle.
The impact of _____________ and ____________________ on _______ economy/ history/education/politics etc.
For example, The impact of dollar and gold price on Nepal economy.
I hope that you have learned to design the PhD title and its importance for your research. This is just an effort from my side.
PhD itself is the entire subject to learn because after all in the end you are becoming a doctor/ expert on your topic. So everything will be taken into account while giving a PhD degree.
Nonetheless, along with your title, you should have to work on your thesis, research paper, lab work and viva preparation as soon as possible, in order to get a PhD degree early.
Trust me, once you will be trapped in the clouds of problems, you get frustrated and leave PhD midway.
So don’t do that!
Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.