Best PhD for Research Careers

Jan 28, 2019

Individuals who are interested in a career in research may want to pursue a Ph.D. degree, as these degrees are usually dominated by research activities and provide graduates with more opportunities for research careers. This article explores some of the best Ph.D. degrees for research careers.

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There are many different types of Ph.D. programs that can lead to careers in research available in a wide variety of fields. Below, we will look at several of the best Ph.D. programs that prepare their graduates for careers in research by discussing details about the programs and what types of careers the programs can lead to.

Information about Ph.D. Programs that Lead to Careers in Research

Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences

The demand and opportunities for medical and pharmaceutical research are increasing, thus taking a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences may be a great option for students interested in pursuing research-related careers in this field. Ph.D. programs are generally completed within 5 to 6 years, with the first couple of years being devoted to coursework and laboratory rotations to help students discern what type of research they are interested in pursuing. Programs like this typically have designated concentration areas that students can select from according to their interests, the choice of which will determine what types of labs and research areas they work in. In terms of job opportunities, students can continue their research by obtaining a career as a medical scientist at academic research institutions, within the federal government, or with pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies.

Ph.D. in Anthropology

Ph.D. programs in anthropology are also good preparation for careers in research since it can be applied to a highly diverse set of fields such as law, music, and art, among others. Anthropology Ph.D. programs will provide students with training in how to properly conduct anthropological research through courses and field placements, as well as opportunities to study the specific fields they are interested in. Many anthropology departments at universities may specialize in various subfields of anthropology, like biological anthropology, anthropological archaeology, or linguistic anthropology, so students may need to find a department that offers the specialty field that they are interested in. Upon conferral of their doctoral degree, anthropology Ph.D. graduates can seek jobs as research fellows or associates at a wide number of companies and organizations operating within their field of research.

Ph.D. in Public Health and Epidemiology

Ph.D. programs in public health and epidemiology typically require students to take coursework during the first couple of years of the program before moving on to working on their dissertation, which students write and complete by conducting original research. Coursework is often focused on instructing students how to properly conduct epidemiological research as well as various topics in public health. Upon graduation, individuals with Ph.D.'s in epidemiology can seek employment with private, public, and governmental organizations and companies who are interested in the spread of diseases. While the nature of projects that epidemiologists work on may be very diverse, from testing new types of treatments for viruses to studying the relationship between economics and child health, these careers are all research-oriented.

Ph.D. in Statistics

Another type of Ph.D. program that will prepare students for a variety of different careers in research is a program in statistics and statistical sciences. A Ph.D. program in statistics also combines coursework with independent research, with the first two years of the programs being devoted to coursework and the last two or three years being devoted to working on a doctoral dissertation. Because statistical analysis is used in so many different fields and is relevant to almost all types of research, students could potentially pursue careers in a wide variety of areas with many different employers, from federal and state government to private industry. Statisticians may also often find themselves working in collaboration with professionals in other fields like economics, health care, or education.

General Admission Information for Ph.D. Programs

As the types of available Ph.D. degree programs are as diverse as the potential research careers they lead to, students will definitely want to research each program they are interested in to make sure they meet the admission standards. However, when speaking of Ph.D. programs in general, there are some requirements that are true to essentially all Ph.D. program admission processes. Because Ph.D. programs are designed to provide students with the most advanced level of study in their chosen discipline, it is usually expected that students will have already gained either academic, professional, or both types of experience in the area they are applying to.

In terms of the application itself, students will need to submit a personal statement and/or letter of intent describing their motivations, letters of recommendation, all past undergraduate or graduate transcripts, a resume or CV, and typically an academic writing sample as well as GRE scores. Additionally, because these programs require that students pursue independent research under the advisement of faculty, students may also be expected to describe their proposed research to faculty members who have displayed interested in the same area to see if they could possibly work together in the future.

In summary, there are various Ph.D. programs that can lead to careers focused on research. Students will want to take their own research interests and academic history into consideration when selecting which program is most suitable for them.

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