What is the duration of Ph.D.?

Getting a Ph.D., abbreviated as  Doctor of Philosophy involves the rigorous and robust study of a particular subject. Indeed, it demands years of patience and dedication to get the desired outcome of the research process.  A candidate planning to pursue Ph.D. needs to first complete an advanced course, usually a master degree, in their desired field of specialization and take a few comprehensive tests before they can be eligible to apply for Ph.D. A Ph.D. course can vary according to the university or requirements and so does its time of completion.

Types of Ph.D candidates

Some students get ready to jump right in, to obtain a Ph.D while some others feel that doing the course alongside a supporting job is a better fit. So there are two types of programs that candidates follow:

  1. Full-time
  2. Part-time

Full-time Program

Doing the Ph.D full time, doesn’t simply mean that the student is just spending money for the duration of the course. The students do a lot of work for the professor and many such work are paid work. It can range from correcting mark sheets to actually taking classes for undergraduate students.

The Ph.D program of many universities require students to take compulsory courses for the first three years. Usually, the institutions recommend any and every course that relates to the candidate’s area of research. After 3 years of study, the institutions conduct a ‘qualifying examination’. This exam serves as a marker to allow the candidate to start pursuing research.

After a couple of years, when the candidate is fully involved in research, the university may choose to award a M.Phil (Master Of Philosophy) degree. This can be useful to candidates who wish to drop-out of the Ph.D. Once the candidate finishes the research process, he/she has to prepare for the dissertation process. The research and the work has to be successfully defended in front of a jury, who deem the work to be worthy enough to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.

The average Ph.D candidate completes all of the steps required to earn a degree in 6-9 years time. A point to note is that very few people finish the Ph.D degree in 6 years, and a majority of them take more than 8 years to finish.

Part-time Program

The part-time Ph.D program is perfect for people who are reluctant to leave their jobs, have a family or the university is located in a far off place. But doing a Ph.D part-time is by no means an easy job. A Ph.D program requires intensive research and the candidate has to manage it between work and other activities.

The evaluation process and the course credits required for the qualifying examination are the same as  a candidate pursuing full-time. The students may have to spend a stipulated amount of time in the campus with the professors and fellow students depending on the university. While the research process can be conducted off-site, the dissertation has to be presented and defended on-site.

The students pursuing Ph.D part-time has a lot of distractions to contend with. This leads to the candidates finishing their Ph.D course later than those pursuing it full-time. On an average, a part-time Ph.D student takes anywhere between 8-10 years to complete the degree.

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