Doctorate as PhD is the only and terminal option in academia, one has many options even for a single doctorate. Options are Part-time, full-time, online, offline, international, professional, educational, sponsored, funded or student exchange PhD programs for a philosophia.
The prestigious, utmost and ultimate recognition of academics is the PhD, a more honor than a degree, and is a dream for many.
The PhD- doctor of philosophy or doctorate degree can be gained in any subject, discipline, interdisciplinary subject or field, one can achieve it in pure science, another can get it in applied science as well.
Since the degree is the honor and topmost; groundbreaking research and extraordinary findings in the related field must be required to get it. Perhaps, other criteria must not be avoided.
To know more about the requirements and criteria to get a PhD degree, you can read this article: how to get a PhD degree?
The content of the present article is just a brief understanding of various PhD programs- “actual PhD programs still exist in the world” and you can choose it at your convenience.
Here we go,
Full-time PhD programs:
92% of PhD students complete their PhD full-time, on-campus, 9 to 5 and under the guidance of their supervisor. Full- time doctorate is popular to students after graduation or masters.
However, without doing anything else, you have to do research 9 to 5 for at least 4 to 5 years in full-time PhD, which can be a curse for some but is actually auspice! How?
In a full-time PhD, your daily targets and work are completed. And you may get your degree faster. The advantages of a full-time PhD are more than limitations.
A dedicated PhD guide or supervisor avails to you under whose guidance and research experience we have to do research. A guide gives you direction, monitors your progress and helps you in your research.
Regular or full-time PhD under the supervision of a PhD guide is one of the biggest benefits of this PhD program.
Every university offers regular PhD programs to students every year in various fields. After your masters, M Phil or joining graduation you may go for a regular or full-time PhD.
Other benefits are; campus to study, state of the art laboratories, library and literature facilities.
Part-time PhD programs:
If you have a good job and a decent salary, still you want to achieve a PhD, this option is definitely for you. PhD candidates, who do not need to go to college are considered in a part-time PhD.
Again there are benefits and limitations of it. It depends on what the purpose of it. You can do your work at your convenience, with flexibility and without stress.
Furthermore, with a degree, you can earn more money and a higher position in your organization or job place. Therefore, if you are already on a good option this option is definitely for you!
However, all things will be done by you alone because no permanent guide is allotted to you. Part-time PhD takes more time than regular and hence you can get frustrated sometimes.
You will get less help from your university which is one of the biggest drawbacks of it. So if you just want to start your career after completing PhD, a part-time PhD is not an option for you.
Online PhD PhD programs:
Online PhD’s are gaining popularity very fast, the reason is easy access to the internet. The online PhD is somewhat like part-time, in which though you don’t have to go to college or university, still you can complete your PhD.
In recent times, renowned universities across the world offer various courses for online PhD. However, those are limited to some subjects only.
For instance, online PhD in computer science, management or marketing are feasible for not for science.
Anew I am saying, online PhD is a cheaper, flexible and easy option on the positive side, but there are several limitations.
You have to research by yourself, so if you are a newbie, it is not at all for you! In my opinion. Because you required a guide to lead your research. However, if you have some experience you can do it by yourself.
Also, there are many scams roaming on the internet henceforth be careful while enrolling in any online program. Check the background and status of the university.
Undoubtedly, one can earn more, get a higher position, if already employed, by the online PhD program.
Offline PhD programs:
There are two options for offline PhD, regular/full time or part-time, we already had explained it in the above section.
PhD students exchange program:
The student exchange program is the best deal for getting a higher education. You can have more exposure, travel abroad or other regions, get more funds and honor.
Though there are criteria to get into a student exchange program, there are some outstanding benefits if you achieve it.
Every year universities send their bright students to other partner countries in student exchange programs to give them more exposure.
However, it doesn’t mean you have to complete your whole PhD there, some portion of your work will be completed there.
A student can get more knowledge from different universities and learn new things. You can get information from your university or government portal.
Funded PhD programs:
When you get funds for your doctorate, things get easier for you. Although in developing countries like India or others, getting funds is difficult but easy in the USA or UK.
Funds are a form of scholarship, fellowship, project or sponsorship. A PhD or doctorate scholarships are given to scholar students as well as students of some special categories.
While anyone can get a fellowship by clearing the fellowship examination. Moreover, you can present your whole PhD project to the university or government, if it looks beneficial they can give you funds.
Notwithstanding, some students don’t need funds like who is a self employed, government employee or have a job. Once you get enrolled in one funded PhD program, you can’t get another fund for the same project/ PhD/ or research.
Go to the official website of the university (where you want to do PhD) and check out the funding option, also go to the government portals for more options.
Sponsored PhD program:
Even though you don’t have any funds, what if some outside is interested in your research! You will get sponsorship.
Sponsored PhD programs are common in the USA and UK where the outcomes are quality work. Organizations, private companies and other NGOs may fund you if your research work is helpful or beneficial for them. However, in most cases, the exclusive rights and patent of the findings are of funding or sponsoring body which is a drawback of it.
Still, it will be a fair deal, if you have no other options left. One can do negotiations in patent or copyright or even can get some shares of the company.
Professional PhD programs:
Professional PhD programs are just professional! Means, it is for experts or someone who is experienced. The professional doctorate programs provide direct knowledge in the relative field through extensive research and do involved training and practice.
Doctorate in psychology, medicine, pharmacy, biotechnology is considered a professional doctorate in which one has to do research, analysis as well as can do training or practice in the clinic.
Honorary PhD awards:
Honorary PhD actually isn’t a true type of PhD program but we can consider it in a broad category of PhD as it is awarded by many universities in the world.
The honorary PhD is given to reputed and respected persons of the country who have contributed something outstanding and groundbreaking.
Educational criteria are not required for an honorary PhD, though, a person must be a well-known personality.
One with an honorary PhD can’t use it for a job or educational purposes, it is just a kind of honor for them. Moreover, many honorary PhD can be given to a person during his or her whole life.
Requirements for any doctoral/PhD program:
The process of doctoral admission may differ between universities, though a few crucial requirements must be the same for prospective students.
A neatly written research proposal stating the actual and original research problem with a whole PhD project will be first on the desk of the PhD evaluator.
It’s fine to have some prior research publications and a recommendation letter from a guide that elevates your chances of getting admission into a doctorate.
Applying to university with a research proposal is the first step to get into PhD.
The admission process varies among countries and so the preliminary requirements too! In India and territory, the master’s degree is a key requirement, while a bachelor’s degree in the USA.
Related article: How much does a PhD Degree Cost in the USA, UK and India?
In the process of integrated PhD (much like in the USA), a bachelor’s degree with an integrated master’s of two years is mandatory during which a student has to study core subjects, research methodology and other related subjects.
Excellent master’s grades are even not enough to get into, as the prospective students have to complete other requirements as well.
With a bachelor’s, prospective students need to complete a common entrance exam and/or a standardized test like the GRE. Soon after, candidates also have to clear their course work as well. The whole process is somehow as described.
Comprehensively, a bachelor’s degree (in case of integrated PhD); good grades in master’s with or without the M Phil, entrance exam, standardized test score, English speaking test (for foreign students) and complete coursework are prior requirements for getting admission into the doctorate, in fact in any doctorate.
This should be must:
- A research proposal
- A PhD project (stating all the information, methodology, budget and outcomes)
- Recommendation letter from guide
- Bachelor’s degree
- Good grades in master’s degree
- M Phil (optional)
- Publications in peer review journals (options)
- Course work
- Common entrance test
- Standardized test
- English language test
The process of getting a PhD program:
During the core years of PhD, after completing course work, prospective students can start their research work by stating the research problems and PhD title.
A PhD title is a one liner that states your entire research idea.
Completing all the requirements, start doing research, test hypothesis, methodology and protocols. Collect samples if required and gather data.
Once satisfactory results obtain, start writing your PhD thesis and the research paper as well.
You need to publish a research paper in a peer review journal first before submitting a thesis.
After completing the research, publish the dissertation and submit it to university.
In the last step of the doctorate, prospective students have to appear in the PhD viva and compulsorily clear it. Get ideas on related topics: how to clear PhD viva.
Related article: A Complete Roadmap for Degree to PhD.
Which PhD program to choose?
Getting a doctorate is a unidirectional process, even though you can enroll a second time, but it is hard to leave midway. Henceforth, the best decision is to select a correct PhD program on the first trial.
Doctor of philosophy is a long process, takes time around 5 to 6 years, and even more, so you need to be careful while taking a decision on your doctorate. For instance, if you are on a reputed job option having a decent salary, full-time PhD programs are not for you.
Contrary, the part-time PhD programs aren’t for newbies, because they can’t complete it without taking expert’s help. At last prospective students get frustrated and drop it midway.
So here are my efforts, to help you, taking decisions on which PhD program to choose.
For those who just completed bachelor’s, go for a regular, full-time PhD course, even though you have an option to choose part-time and do some part-time job with it, don’t do it.
Choose a full-time one and try hard to clear it as soon as possible. The reason is, freshers are newbies. They think they are smarter enough to do it single handedly but trust me a guide’s help is must!
If you have some research experience or any previous research background; definitely you can choose a part-time PhD program and simultaneously search for a better job option where you can complete your PhD research.
A little help from fellow scientists is enough for you.
For prospective students of science, regular, full-time PhD is the only option as they have to do extensive research. However, if you have a job as I said, or a research background, you can convince your boss to do it at your job place.
If you don’t have a secure job, go for a regular PhD program.
Online PhD programs and part-time one are options for those who are highly expert and have at least 5 to 7 years of experience in related fields. They only need a little help from university as they have previous experience of research.
For students of leberal arts, part-time PhD as well as online PhD are good options, as no lab works involved.
Still if you are just a fresher, go for a regular one.
For the prospective students of marketing, commerce, online marketing, digital marketing, cyber security, computer, computer science are related subjects can enrol in an online PhD program. And are definitely a good choice for them.
The professional PhD programs are for medical practitioners, psychologists and counsellors which involve research as well as internship as well.
Selecting other PhD programs like the sponsored or funded depends on conditions, for instance, if you have cleared a fellowship exam, your work got funds, in other conditions if your idea is groundbreaking, you get sponsorship.
|PhD program||Who can enrol|
|Full time||Newbie student, recent passouts|
|Part-time||Secure job, experienced person|
|Online||Computer science students, management students, expert and fine arts students|
|Offline||Newbie or inexperienced students|
|Student exchange program||Excellent academic and research background|
|Funded PhD||Excellent academic and research background and recently pass outs|
|Sponsored PhD||Every students|
|Professional PhD||Experts having at least 4 to 8 years of experience, doctors|
|Honorary PhD||Well-known personalities, to those who contributed something to their field.|
PhD or any doctoral program is only for those who are hardworking. From day one you have to besiege doctoral. Don’t lose hope, don’t take a break, start writing a dissertation from the very first month, you will test the success soon.
Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.