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A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin philosophiae doctor or doctor philosophiae) is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities in most countries. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. As an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are usually required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or Dissertations Abstracts, and defend their work against experts in the field. The completion of a PhD is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields.[1] Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor (often abbreviated "Dr" or "Dr.") or, in non-English-speaking countries, variants such as "Dr. phil." with their name, although the proper etiquette associated with this usage may also be subject to the professional ethics of their own scholarly field, culture, or society. Those who teach at universities or work in academic, educational, or research fields are usually addressed by this title "professionally and socially in a salutation or conversation."[2] Alternatively, holders may use post-nominal letters such as "Ph.D.", "PhD", or "DPhil" (depending on the awarding institution). It is, however, considered incorrect to use both the title and post-nominals at the same time.[3]

The specific requirements to earn a PhD degree vary considerably according to the country, institution, and time period, from entry-level research degrees to higher doctorates. During the studies that lead to the degree, the student is called a doctoral student or PhD student; a student who has completed all of their coursework and comprehensive examinations and is working on their thesis/dissertation is sometimes known as a doctoral candidate or PhD candidate (see: all but dissertation). A student attaining this level may be granted a Candidate of Philosophy degree at some institutions, or may be granted a master's degree en route to the doctoral degree. Sometimes this status is also colloquially known as "PhD ABD", meaning "All But Dissertation".[4]

A PhD candidate must submit a project, thesis or dissertation often consisting of a body of original academic research, which is in principle worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.[5] In many countries, a candidate must defend this work before a panel of expert examiners appointed by the university. Universities sometimes award other types of doctorate besides the PhD, such as the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) for music performers and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) for professional educators. In 2005 the European Universities Association defined the "Salzburg Principles", 10 basic principles for third-cycle degrees (doctorates) within the Bologna Process.[6] These were followed in 2016 by the "Florence Principles", seven basic principles for doctorates in the arts laid out by the European League of Institutes of the Arts, which have been endorsed by the European Association of Conservatoires, the International Association of Film and Television Schools, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, and the Society for Artistic Research.[7]

In some countries like China and Japan, a recipient of doctorate in disciplines such as engineering and pharmacology where professional degrees (for example, EngD and PharmD) are usually awarded in the western countries, is called a PhD regardless. It is not uncommon that the person's title or diploma be translated into English as PhD in (that discipline)[8]. In these countries, the distinction between professional doctorates and PhDs is less significant.[9]

In the context of the Doctor of Philosophy and other similarly titled degrees, the term "philosophy" does not refer to the field or academic discipline of philosophy, but is used in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek meaning, which is "love of wisdom". In most of Europe, all fields (history, philosophy, social sciences, mathematics, and natural philosophy/sciences)[10] other than theology, law, and medicine (the so-called professional, vocational, or technical curriculum) were traditionally known as philosophy, and in Germany and elsewhere in Europe the basic faculty of liberal arts was known as the "faculty of philosophy".

Terminology


The degree is abbreviated PhD (sometimes Ph.D. in North America), from the Latin Philosophiae Doctor, pronounced as three separate letters (/piːeɪtʃˈdiː/).[11][12][13] The abbreviation DPhil, from the English 'Doctor of Philosophy',[14] is used by a small number of British and Commonwealth universities, including Oxford and formerly York and Sussex, as the abbreviation for degrees from those institutions.[15]

History


In the universities of Medieval Europe, study was organized in four faculties: the basic faculty of arts, and the three higher faculties of theology, medicine, and law (canon law and civil law). All of these faculties awarded intermediate degrees (bachelor of arts, of theology, of laws, of medicine) and final degrees. Initially, the titles of master and doctor were used interchangeably for the final degrees—the title Doctor was merely a formality bestowed on a Teacher/Master of the art—but by the late Middle Ages the terms Master of Arts and Doctor of Theology/Divinity, Doctor of Law, and Doctor of Medicine had become standard in most places (though in the German and Italian universities the term Doctor was used for all faculties).

The doctorates in the higher faculties were quite different from the current PhD degree in that they were awarded for advanced scholarship, not original research. No dissertation or original work was required, only lengthy residency requirements and examinations. Besides these degrees, there was the licentiate. Originally this was a license to teach, awarded shortly before the award of the master's or doctoral degree by the diocese in which the university was located, but later it evolved into an academic degree in its own right, in particular in the continental universities.

According to Keith Allan Noble (1994), the first doctoral degree was awarded in medieval Paris around 1150.[16] The doctorate of philosophy developed in Germany as the terminal teacher's credential in the 17th century (circa 1652). There were no PhDs in Germany before the 1650s (when they gradually started replacing the MA as the highest academic degree; arguably, one of the earliest German PhD holders is Erhard Weigel (Dr. phil. hab., Leipzig, 1652).

In theory, the full course of studies might, for example, lead in succession to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Licentiate of Arts, Master of Arts, or Bachelor of Medicine, Licentiate of Medicine, or Doctor of Medicine, but before the early modern era, many exceptions to this existed. Most students left the university without becoming masters of arts, whereas regulars (members of monastic orders) could skip the arts faculty entirely.[17]The%20first%20universities%3A%20St]] [19]

This situation changed in the early 19th century through the educational reforms in Germany, most strongly embodied in the model of the University of Berlin, founded and controlled by the Prussian government in 1810. The arts faculty, which in Germany was labelled the faculty of philosophy, started demanding contributions to research,[20] attested by a dissertation, for the award of their final degree, which was labelled Doctor of Philosophy (abbreviated as Ph.D.)—originally this was just the German equivalent of the Master of Arts degree. Whereas in the Middle Ages the arts faculty had a set curriculum, based upon the trivium and the quadrivium, by the 19th century it had come to house all the courses of study in subjects now commonly referred to as sciences and humanities.[21] Professors across the humanities and sciences focused on their advanced research.[22] Practically all the funding came from the central government, and it could be cut off if the professor was politically unacceptable.[23]

These reforms proved extremely successful, and fairly quickly the German universities started attracting foreign students, notably from the United States.

The PhD degree and similar awards spread across Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Research degrees first appeared in the UK in the late 19th century in the shape of the Doctor of Science (DSc or ScD) and other such "higher doctorates". The University of London introduced the DSc in 1860, but as an advanced study course, following on directly from the BSc, rather than a research degree. The first higher doctorate in the modern sense was Durham University's DSc, introduced in 1882.[25] This was soon followed by other universities, including the University of Cambridge establishing its ScD in the same year and the University of London transforming its DSc into a research degree in 1885. These were, however, very advanced degrees, rather than research-training degrees at the PhD level—Harold Jeffreys said that getting a Cambridge ScD was "more or less equivalent to being proposed for the Royal Society".[26]

Finally, in 1917, the current PhD degree was introduced, along the lines of the American and German model, and quickly became popular with both British and foreign students.[27] The slightly older degrees of Doctor of Science and Doctor of Literature/Letters still exist at British universities; together with the much older degrees of Doctor of Divinity (DD), Doctor of Music (DMus), Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) and Doctor of Medicine (MD), they form the higher doctorates, but apart from honorary degrees, they are only infrequently awarded.

In the English (but not the Scottish) universities, the Faculty of Arts had become dominant by the early 19th century.

Similar developments occurred in many other continental European universities, and at least until reforms in the early 21st century many European countries (e.g. Belgium, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries) had in all faculties triple degree structures of bachelor (or candidate) − licentiate − doctor as opposed to bachelor − master − doctor; the meaning of the different degrees varied from country to country, however.

Until the mid-19th century, advanced degrees were not a criterion for professorships at most colleges.

In the next two decades, NYU, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Princeton also began granting the degree.

At the start of the 20th century, U.S. universities were held in low regard internationally and many American students were still traveling to Europe for PhDs.

In Germany, the national government funded the universities and the research programs of the leading professors.

Requirements


Detailed requirements for the award of a PhD degree vary throughout the world and even from school to school.

A candidate must submit a project, thesis or dissertation often consisting of a body of original academic research, which is in principle worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed context.[5] In many countries a candidate must defend this work before a panel of expert examiners appointed by the university; in other countries, the dissertation is examined by a panel of expert examiners who stipulate whether the dissertation is in principle passable and any issues that need to be addressed before the dissertation can be passed.

Some universities in the non-English-speaking world have begun adopting similar standards to those of the anglophone Ph.D. degree for their research doctorates (see the Bologna process).[38]

A PhD student or candidate is conventionally required to study on campus under close supervision.

In a "sandwich PhD" program, PhD candidates do not spend their entire study period at the same university. Instead, the PhD candidates spend the first and last periods of the program at their home universities, and in between conduct research at another institution or field research.[39] Occasionally a "sandwich PhD" will be awarded by two universities.[40]

A PhD confirmation is a preliminary presentation or lecture that a PhD candidate presents to faculty and possibly other interested members. The lecture follows after a suitable topic has been identified, and can include such matters as the aim of the research, methodology, first results, planned (or finished) publications, etc.

The confirmation lecture can be seen as a trial run for the final public defense, though faculty members at this stage can still largely influence the direction of the research.

In the United States, this is generally called advancing to Candidacy, the confirmation event being called the Candidacy Examination.

Value and criticism


A career in academia generally requires a PhD, though, in some countries, it is possible to reach relatively high positions without a doctorate.

The motivation may also include increased salary, but in many cases, this is not the result. Research by Bernard H. Casey of the University of Warwick, U.K, suggests that, over all subjects, PhDs provide an earnings premium of 26% over non-accredited graduates, but notes that master's degrees already provide a premium of 23% and a bachelor's 14%. While this is a small return to the individual (or even an overall deficit when tuition and lost earnings during training are accounted for), he claims there are significant benefits to society for the extra research training.[42] However, some research suggests that overqualified workers are often less satisfied and less productive at their jobs.[43] These difficulties are increasingly being felt by graduates of professional degrees, such as law school, looking to find employment.

A PhD is also required in some positions outside academia, such as research jobs in major international agencies.

The Economist published an article in 2010 citing various criticisms against the state of Ph.D.s. These included a prediction by economist Richard B. Freeman that, based on pre-2000 data, only 20% of life science Ph.D. students would gain a faculty job in the U.S., and that in Canada 80% of postdoctoral research fellows earned less than or equal to an average construction worker ($38,600 a year). According to the article, only the fastest developing countries (e.g. China or Brazil) have a shortage of PhDs.[43]

The US higher education system often offers little incentive to move students through Ph.D. programs quickly and may even provide incentive to slow them down.

Mark C. Taylor opined in 2011 in Nature that total reform of Ph.D. programs in almost every field is necessary in the U.S. and that pressure to make the necessary changes will need to come from many sources (students, administrators, public and private sectors, etc.).[48] Other articles in Nature have also examined the issue of PhD reform.[49][50][51]

Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is opposed to the PhD system and does not have a PhD degree.[52]

In German-speaking nations; most Eastern European nations; successor states of the former Soviet Union; most parts of Africa, Asia, and many Spanish-speaking countries, the corresponding degree to a Doctor of Philosophy is simply called "Doctor" (Doktor), and the subject area is distinguished by a Latin suffix (e.g., "Dr. med." for Doctor medicinae, Doctor of Medicine; "Dr. rer. nat." for Doctor rerum naturalium, Doctor of the Natural Sciences; "Dr. phil." for Doctor philosophiae, Doctor of Philosophy; "Dr. iur." for Doctor iuris, Doctor of Laws).[53]

Degrees around the globe


The UNESCO, in its International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), states that: "Programmes to be classified at ISCED level 8 are referred to in many ways around the world such as PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar terms. However, it is important to note that programmes with a similar name to 'doctor' should only be included in ISCED level 8 if they satisfy the criteria described in Paragraph 263. For international comparability purposes, the term 'doctoral or equivalent' is used to label ISCED level 8".[54]

In Argentina, the admission to a PhD program at public Argentine University requires the full completion of a Master's degree or a Licentiate degree. Non-Argentine Master's titles are generally accepted into a PhD program when the degree comes from a recognized university.

While a significant portion of postgraduate students finance their tuition and living costs with teaching or research work at private and state-run institutions, international institutions, such as the Fulbright Program and the Organization of American States (OAS), have been known to grant full scholarships for tuition with apportions for housing.[55]

Upon completion of at least two years' research and coursework as a graduate student, a candidate must demonstrate truthful and original contributions to his or her specific field of knowledge within a frame of academic excellence.[56] The doctoral candidate's work should be presented in a dissertation or thesis prepared under the supervision of a tutor or director, and reviewed by a Doctoral Committee.

Admission to a Ph.D. program in Australia requires applicants to demonstrate capacity to undertake research in the proposed field of study.

Ph.D. students are sometimes offered a scholarship to study for their Ph.D. degree.

Australian citizens, permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens are not charged course fees for their Ph.D. or research master's degree, with the exception in some universities of the student services and amenities fee (SSAF) which is set by each university and typically involves the largest amount allowed by the Australian government.

Completion requirements vary. Most Australian Ph.D. programs do not have a required coursework component.

Admission to a doctoral programme at a Canadian university usually requires completion of a Master's degree in a related field, with sufficiently high grades and proven research ability. In some cases, a student may progress directly from an Honours Bachelor's degree to a Ph.D. program; other programs allow a student to fast-track to a doctoral program after one year of outstanding work in a Master's program (without having to complete the Master's).

An application package typically includes a research proposal, letters of reference, transcripts, and in some cases, a writing sample or Graduate Record Examinations scores. A common criterion for prospective Ph.D. students is the comprehensive or qualifying examination, a process that often commences in the second year of a graduate program. Generally, successful completion of the qualifying exam permits continuance in the graduate program. Formats for this examination include oral examination by the student's faculty committee (or a separate qualifying committee), or written tests designed to demonstrate the student's knowledge in a specialized area (see below) or both.

At English-speaking universities, a student may also be required to demonstrate English language abilities, usually by achieving an acceptable score on a standard examination (for example the Test of English as a Foreign Language). Depending on the field, the student may also be required to demonstrate ability in one or more additional languages. A prospective student applying to French-speaking universities may also have to demonstrate some English language ability.

While some students work outside the university (or at student jobs within the university), in some programs students are advised (or must agree) not to devote more than ten hours per week to activities (e.g., employment) outside of their studies, particularly if they have been given funding.

At some Canadian universities, most Ph.D. students receive an award equivalent to part or all of the tuition amount for the first four years (this is sometimes called a tuition deferral or tuition waiver).

In general, the first two years of study are devoted to completion of coursework and the comprehensive examinations. At this stage, the student is known as a "Ph.D. student" or "doctoral student". It is usually expected that the student will have completed most of his or her required coursework by the end of this stage. Furthermore, it is usually required that by the end of eighteen to thirty-six months after the first registration, the student will have successfully completed the comprehensive exams.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams, the student becomes known as a "Ph.D. candidate".

In Colombia, the Ph.D. course admission may require a master's degree (Magíster) in some universities, specially public universities.

Most of postgraduate students in Colombia must finance their tuition fees by means of teaching assistant seats or research works.

After two or two and a half years it is expected the research work of the doctoral candidate to be submitted in the form of oral qualification, where suggestions and corrections about the research hypothesis and methodology, as well as on the course of the research work are performed.

In Finland, the degree of filosofian tohtori (abbreviated FT) is awarded by traditional universities, such as University of Helsinki. A Master's degree is required, and the doctorate combines approximately 4–5 years of research (amounting to 3–5 scientific articles, some of which must be first-author) and 60 ECTS points of studies.[63] Other universities such as Aalto University award degrees such as tekniikan tohtori (TkT, engineering), taiteen tohtori (TaT, art), etc., which are translated in English to Doctor of Science (D.Sc.), and they are formally equivalent. The licentiate (filosofian lisensiaatti or FL) requires only 2–3 years of research and is sometimes done before an FT.

Before 1984 three research doctorates existed in France: the State doctorate (doctorat d'État, the old doctorate introduced in 1808), the third cycle doctorate (doctorat de troisième cycle, created in 1954 and shorter than the State doctorate) and the diploma of doctor-engineer (diplôme de docteur-ingénieurcreated in 1923), for technical research. After 1984, only one type of doctoral degree remained, called "doctorate" (Doctorat). The latter is equivalent to the Ph.D.

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree must first complete a master's degree program, which takes two years after graduation with a bachelor's degree (five years in total).

The Ph.D. admission is granted by a graduate school (in French, "école doctorale"). A Ph.D. candidate can follow some in-service training offered by the graduate school while continuing his or her research at laboratory. His or her research may be carried out in a laboratory, at a university, or in a company. In the last case, the company hires the candidate and they are supervised by both the company's tutor and a labs' professor. The validation of the Ph.D. degree requires generally 3 to 4 years after the master's degree.

The financing of Ph.D. research comes mainly from funds for research of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

In Germany, admission to a doctoral program is generally on the basis of having an advanced degree (i.e., a master's degree, diplom, magister]] or Betreuerdissertation throughout the doctoral program called Promotion. This supervisor is informally referred to as Doktorvateror Doktormutter, which literally translate to "doctor's father" and "doctor's mother" respectively.

While most German doctorates are considered equivalent to the PhD, an exception is the medical doctorate, where "doctoral" dissertations are often written alongside undergraduate study.

Depending on the university, doctoral students (Doktoranden) can be required to attend formal classes or lectures, some of them also including exams or other scientific assignments, in order to get one or more certificates of qualification (Qualifikationsnachweise). Depending on the doctoral regulations (Promotionsordnung) of the university and sometimes on the status of the doctoral student, such certificates may not be required. Usually, former students, research assistants or lecturers from the same university, may be spared from attending extra classes. Instead, under the tutelage of a single professor or advisory committee, they are expected to conduct independent research. In addition to doctoral studies, many doctoral candidates work as teaching assistants, research assistants, or lecturers.

Many universities have established research-intensive Graduiertenkollegs ("graduate colleges"), which are graduate schools that provide funding for doctoral studies.

The typical duration of a doctoral program can depend heavily on the subject and area of research.

In 2014, the median age of new Ph.D. graduates was 30.4 years.[68]

In India, generally, a master's degree is required to gain admission to a doctoral program.

In the last few years, there have been many changes in the rules relating to a Ph.D. in India.

The Dottorato di ricerca (research doctorate), abbreviated to "Dott. Ric." or "Ph.D.", is an academic title awarded at the end of a course of not less than three years, admission to which is based on entrance examinations and academic rankings in the Bachelor of Arts ("Laurea Triennale") and Master of Arts ("Laurea Magistrale"). While the standard Ph.D. follows the Bologna process, the M.D.-Ph.D. programme may be completed in two years.

The first institution in Italy to create a doctoral program (Ph.D.)

Hence, the Superior Graduate Schools in Italy[76] (Scuola Superiore Universitaria), also called Schools of Excellence (Scuole di Eccellenza)[76][78] such as Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies still keep their reputed historical "Diploma di Perfezionamento" Ph.D. title by law[71][79] and MIUR Decree.[80][81]

Doctorate courses are open, without age or citizenship limits, to all those who already hold a "laurea magistrale" (master degree) or similar academic title awarded abroad which has been recognised as equivalent to an Italian degree by the Committee responsible for the entrance examinations.

The number of places on offer each year and details of the entrance examinations are set out in the examination announcement.

A doctoral degree (Pol. doktor), abbreviated to Ph.D. (Pol. dr) is an advanced academic degree awarded by universities in most fields[82][83][84][85][86] as well as by the Polish Academy of Sciences,[87] regulated by the Polish parliament acts[88] and the government orders, in particular by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland. Commonly, students with a master's degree or equivalent are accepted to a doctoral entrance exam. The title of Ph.D. is awarded to a scientist who 1) completed a minimum of 3 years of Ph.D. studies (Pol. studia doktoranckie; not required to obtain Ph.D.), 2) finished his/her theoretical and/or laboratory's scientific work, 3) passed all Ph.D. examinations, 4) submitted his/her dissertation, a document presenting the author's research and findings,[89] 5) successfully defended his/her doctoral thesis. Typically, upon completion, the candidate undergoes an oral examination, always public, by his/her supervisory committee with expertise in the given discipline.

The doctorate was introduced in Sweden in 1477 and in Denmark-Norway in 1479 and awarded in theology, law, and medicine, while the magister's degree was the highest degree at the Faculty of Philosophy, equivalent to the doctorate.

Scandinavian countries were among the early adopters of a degree known as a doctorate of philosophy, based upon the German model.

The degrees were uncommon and not a prerequisite for employment as a professor; rather, they were seen as distinctions similar to the British (higher) doctorates (D.Litt., D.Sc.). Denmark introduced an American-style Ph.D. in 1989; it formally replaced the Licentiate's degree and is considered a lower degree than the dr. phil. degree; officially, the ph.d. is not considered a doctorate, but unofficially, it is referred to as "the smaller doctorate", as opposed to the dr. phil., "the grand doctorate". Holders of a ph.d. degree are not entitled to style themselves as "Dr."[91] Currently Denmark distinctions between the dr. phil. as the proper doctorate and a higher degree than the ph.d., whereas in Norway, the historically analogous dr. philos. degree is officially regarded as equivalent to the new ph.d. Today, the Norwegian ph.d. degree is awarded to candidates who have completed a supervised doctoral programme at an institution,[92] while candidates with a master's degree who have conducted research on their own may submit their work for a dr. philos. defence at a relevant institution.[93] Ph.d. candidates must complete one trial lecture before they can defend their thesis,[92] whereas dr. philos. candidates must complete two trial lectures.[93]

In Sweden, the doctorate of philosophy was introduced at Uppsala University's Faculty of Philosophy in 1863. In Sweden, the Latin term is officially translated into Swedish filosofie doktor and commonly abbreviated fil. dr or FD. The degree represents the traditional Faculty of Philosophy and encompasses subjects from biology, physics, and chemistry, to languages, history, and social sciences, being the highest degree in these disciplines. Sweden currently has two research-level degrees, the Licentiate's degree, which is comparable to the Danish degree formerly known as the Licentiate's degree and now as the ph.d., and the higher doctorate of philosophy, Filosofie Doktor. Some universities in Sweden also use the term teknologie doktor for doctorates awarded by institutes of technology (for doctorates in engineering or natural science related subjects such as materials science, molecular biology, computer science etc.). The Swedish term fil. dr is often also used as a translation of corresponding degrees from e.g. Denmark and Norway.

Singapore has six universities offering doctoral study opportunities: National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore University of Technology and Design, and Singapore University of Social Sciences.[94]

Doctoral degrees are regulated by Real Decreto (Royal Decree in Spanish) 99/2011 from the 2014/2015 academic year [95] and they are required to apply to a long-term teaching position at a university. They are granted by a university on behalf of the King, and its diploma has the force of a public document. The Ministry of Science keeps a National Registry of Theses called TESEO.[96]

All doctoral programs are of a research nature.

The student must write his or her thesis presenting a new discovery or original contribution to science.

The social standing of doctors in Spain was evidenced by the fact that Philip III let Ph.D. holders to take seat and cover their heads during an act in the University of Salamanca in which the King took part so as to recognise their merits. This right to cover their heads in the presence of the King is traditionally reserved in Spain to Grandees and Dukes. The concesion is remembered in solemn ceremonies held by the University by telling Doctors to take seat and cover their heads as a reminder of that royal leave.[99] All Doctor Degree holders are reciprocally recognized as equivalent in Germany and Spain ("Bonn Agreement of November 14, 1994").[100]

Starting in 2016,[101] in Ukraine Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ukrainian: Доктор філософії) is the highest education level and the first science degree. PhD is awarded in recognition of a substantial contribution to scientific knowledge, origination of new directions and visions in science. A PhD degree is a prerequisite for heading a university department in Ukraine. Upon completion of a PhD, a PhD holder can elect to continue his or her studies and get a post-doctoral degree called "Doctor of Sciences" (DSc. Ukrainian: Доктор наук), which is the second and the highest science degree in Ukraine.

Universities admit applicants to Ph.D. programs on a case-by-case basis; depending on the university, admission is typically conditional on the prospective student having completed an undergraduate degree with at least upper second-class honours or a postgraduate master's degree but requirements can vary.

In the case of the University of Oxford, for example, "The one essential condition of being accepted … is evidence of previous academic excellence, and of future potential."[102] Some UK universities (e.g. Oxford) abbreviate their Doctor of Philosophy degree as "DPhil", while most use the abbreviation "PhD"; but these are stylistic conventions and the degrees are in all other respects equivalent. Commonly, students are first accepted onto an MPhil or MRes programme and may transfer to Ph.D. regulations upon satisfactory progress, this is sometimes referred to as APG (Advanced Postgraduate) status. This is typically done after one or two years and the research work done may count towards the Ph.D. degree. If a student fails to make satisfactory progress, they may be offered the opportunity to write up and submit for an MPhil degree as is the case at the King's College London and University of Manchester. In many universities, the MPhil is also offered as a stand-alone research degree.

Ph.D. students from countries outside the EU/EFTA area are required to comply with the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), which involves undergoing a security clearance process with the Foreign Office for certain courses in medicine, mathematics, engineering and material sciences.[103][104] This requirement was introduced in 2007 due to concerns about overseas terrorism and weapons proliferation.[104]

In the United Kingdom, funding for Ph.D. students is sometimes provided by government-funded Research Councils or the European Social Fund, usually in the form of a tax-free bursary which consists of tuition fees together with a stipend.[105] Tuition fees are charged at different rates for "Home/EU" and "Overseas" students, generally £3,000–£6,000 per year for the former and £9,000–14,500 for the latter (which includes EU citizens who have not been normally resident in the EEA for the last three years), although this can rise to over £16,000 at elite institutions. Higher fees are often charged for laboratory-based degrees.[106][107]

As of 2008, the stipend is around £13,000 per year for three years,[105] (sometimes higher by £2,000–3,000 in London), whether or not the degree continues for longer (within the usual four-year span). This implies that the fourth year of Ph.D. work is often unfunded. A very small number of scientific studentships are sometimes paid at a higher rate – for example, in London, Cancer Research UK, the ICR and the Wellcome Trust stipend rates start at around £19,000 and progress annually to around £23,000 a year; an amount that is tax and national insurance free. Research Council funding is sometimes 'earmarked' for a particular department or research group, who then allocate it to a chosen student, although in doing so they are generally expected to abide by the usual minimum entry requirements (typically a first degree with upper second class honours, although successful completion of a postgraduate master's degree is usually counted as raising the class of the first degree by one division for these purposes). The availability of funding in many disciplines means that in practice only those with the best research proposals, references and backgrounds are likely to be awarded a studentship. The ESRC (Economic and Social Science Research Council) explicitly state that a 2.1 minimum (or 2.2 plus additional master's degree) is required—no additional marks are given for students with a first class honours or a distinction at masters level. Since 2002, there has been a move by research councils to fund interdisciplinary doctoral training centres which concentrate resources on fewer higher quality centres.

Many students who are not in receipt of external funding may choose to undertake the degree part-time, thus reducing the tuition fees, as well as creating free time in which to earn money for subsistence.

There is usually a preliminary assessment to remain in the program and the thesis is submitted at the end of a three- to four-year program.

There has recently been an increase in the number of Integrated Ph.D. programs available, such as at the University of Southampton.

In the United Kingdom, Ph.D. degrees are distinct from other doctorates, most notably the higher doctorates such as D.Litt. (Doctor of Letters) or D.Sc. (Doctor of Science), which may be granted on the recommendation of a committee of examiners on the basis of a substantial portfolio of submitted (and usually published) research. However, some UK universities still maintain the option of submitting a thesis for the award of a higher doctorate.

Recent years have seen the introduction of professional doctorates (D.Prof or ProfD), which are the same level as Ph.D.s but more specific in their field.[111] These tend not to be solely academic, but combine academic research, a taught component and a professional qualification. These are most notably in the fields of engineering (Eng.D.), education (Ed.D.), educational psychology (D.Ed.Psych), occupational psychology (D.Occ Psych.) clinical psychology (D.Clin.Psych.), health psychology (DHealthPsy), social work (DSW), nursing (DNP), public administration (DPA), business administration (DBA), and music (DMA). These typically have a more formal taught component consisting of smaller research projects, as well as a 40,000–60,000-word thesis component, which together are officially considered equivalent to a Ph.D. degree.

In the United States, the Ph.D. degree is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most fields of study. There are 282 universities in the United States that award the Ph.D. degree, and those universities vary widely in their criteria for admission, as well as the rigor of their academic programs.[112]

U.S. students typically undergo a series of three phases in the course of their work toward the Ph.D. degree.

Another two to eight years are usually required for the composition of a substantial and original contribution to human knowledge in the form of a written dissertation, which in the social sciences and humanities typically ranges from 50 to 450 pages. In many cases, depending on the discipline, a dissertation consists of a comprehensive literature review, an outline of methodology, and several chapters of scientific, social, historical, philosophical, or literary analysis. Typically, upon completion, the candidate undergoes an oral examination, sometimes public, by his or her supervisory committee with expertise in the given discipline.

Typically, Ph.D. programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field (and, in many cases in the humanities, a master's degree), reasonably high grades, several letters of recommendation, relevant academic coursework, a cogent statement of interest in the field of study, and satisfactory performance on a graduate-level exam specified by the respective program (e.g., GRE, GMAT).[113][114]

Depending on the specific field of study, completion of a Ph.D. program usually takes four to eight years of study after the Bachelor's Degree; those students who begin a Ph.D. program with a master's degree may complete their Ph.D. degree a year or two sooner.[115] As Ph.D. programs typically lack the formal structure of undergraduate education, there are significant individual differences in the time taken to complete the degree. Overall, 57% of students who begin a Ph.D. program in the US will complete their degree within ten years, approximately 30% will drop out or be dismissed, and the remaining 13% of students will continue on past ten years.[116]

The number of Ph.D. diplomas awarded by US universities has risen nearly every year since 1957, according to data compiled by the US National Science Foundation. In 1957, US universities awarded 8,611 Ph.D. diplomas; 20,403 in 1967; 31,716 in 1977; 32,365 in 1987; 42,538 in 1997; 48,133 in 2007,[117] and 55,006 in 2015.[118]

Ph.D. students at U.S. universities typically receive a tuition waiver and some form of annual stipend.

The degree of Candidate of Sciences (Russian: кандидат наук, Kandidat Nauk) was the first advanced research qualification in the former USSR (it was introduced there in 1934) and some Eastern Bloc countries (Czechoslovakia, Hungary) and is still awarded in some post-Soviet states (Russian Federation, Belarus, and others). According to "Guidelines for the recognition of Russian qualifications in the other European countries" [139], in countries with a two-tier system of doctoral degrees (like Russian Federation, some post-Soviet states, Germany, Poland, Austria and Switzerland), should be considered for recognition at the level of the first doctoral degree, and in countries with only one doctoral degree, the degree of Kandidat Nauk should be considered for recognition as equivalent to this Ph.D. degree.

As most education systems only have one advanced research qualification granting doctoral degrees or equivalent qualifications (ISCED 2011,[54] par.270), the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Kandidat Nauk) of the former USSR counties is usually considered at the same level as the doctorate or Ph.D. degrees of those countries.[121][122]

According to the Joint Statement by the Permanent Conference of the Ministers for Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder of the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK), German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and the Ministry of General and Professional Education of the Russian Federation, the degree of Kandidat Nauk is recognised in Germany at the level of the German degree of Doktor and the degree of Doktor Nauk at the level of German Habilitation.[123][124] The Russian degree of Kandidat Nauk is also officially recognised by the Government of the French Republic as equivalent to French doctorate.[125][126]

According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011 [54], for purposes of international educational statistics, Kandidat Nauk (Candidate of Sciences) belongs to ISCED level 8, or "doctoral or equivalent", together with Ph.D., D.Phil., D.Litt., D.Sc., LL.D., Doctorate or similar. It is mentioned in the Russian version of ISCED 2011 (par.262) on the UNESCO website as an equivalent to Ph.D. belonging to this level.[54] In the same way as Ph.D. degrees awarded in many English-speaking countries, Kandidat Nauk (Candidate of Sciences) allows its holders to reach the level of the Docent.[127] The second doctorate[121] (or post-doctoral degree)[128][129] in some post-Soviet states called Doctor of Sciences (Russian: доктор наук, Doktor Nauk) is given as an example of second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates in ISCED 2011[54] (par.270) and is similar to Habilitation in Germany, Poland and several other countries.[121][129] It constitutes a higher qualification compared to Ph.D. as against the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) [141] or Dublin Descriptors [142].[129]

About 88% of Russian students studying at state universities study at the expense of budget funds.[130] The average stipend in Russia (as of August 2011) is $430 a year ($35/month).[131] The average tuition fee in graduate school is $2,000 per year.[132]

Models of supervision


At some universities, there may be training for those wishing to supervise Ph.D. studies.

Wisker (2005) has noticed how research into this field has distinguished between two models of supervision: The technical-rationality model of supervision, emphasising technique; The negotiated order model, being less mechanistic and emphasising fluid and dynamic change in the Ph.D. process.

International PhD equivalent degrees


See also


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