Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): Degree Overview
Ph.D. programs are advanced-level programs that are offered in a variety of disciplines, allowing students to study subjects at an advanced level. Areas of study include business administration, education, engineering, nursing, science and theology.
Ph.D. programs are typically research-based. Some programs offer online courses, often combined with campus residencies. Many programs require that students gain real world experience through internships. Ph.D. candidates also must write and defend a dissertation or thesis. Throughout a program, students must pass multiple exams, complete seminars and undergo extensive research that leads to the writing of the dissertation. Ph.D. programs are generally completed over a period of years that is based upon the amount of time needed by the student to complete his or her research and limited by restrictions set by the school. Schools usually require students to complete graduate-level coursework prior to being admitted to a program.
- Program Levels: Doctor of Philosophy
- Prerequisites: Bachelor and/or master's degree, minimum GPA requirements, approval by faculty
- Online Availability: Some programs allow doctoral studies to be pursued online coupled with residencies
- Program Length: Varies, depends on amount of time needed for research
- Other Requirements: Qualifying exams, write and defend a dissertation, internship
Doctor Of Philosophy
The actual coursework in a program is based upon the area of study, but students in Ph.D. programs will typically complete some graduate courses to advance their knowledge and develop expertise in their chosen topic area. After completing coursework, students move into the research stage of a program. Before students begin research, their dissertation subject must typically be approved by their advisors and the doctoral committee. Once approval is granted, students may begin in-depth research. Students' advisors are typically available to offer assistance throughout the process of developing their dissertations. Once the research is approved as being complete and the students have written their dissertations, they go in front of the committee to defend their research and conclusions. If the committee approves the dissertation, it is signed and published, and the student is awarded his or her doctorate.
Popular Career Options
There are a broad range of careers that a doctoral degree holder may enter upon graduation. Some individuals may even continue in their current careers, seeking job advancement in a wide variety of areas, including medicine, education and business. Ph.D. programs are typically designed to prepare graduates to work as:
- Postdoctoral fellows
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary teachers were projected to see a 13% growth in employment from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. The median annual wage among all postsecondary teachers was $63,000 in May 2015.