Ph.D is an abbreviation for Latin word, Philosophie Doctor, which means one who is teacher of philosophy. A doctoral degree or a Ph.D is seen as the ultimate degree to achieve in a particular field.
While generally most students think Masters degree as final step in their academic career, many students every year enroll in PhD program across the US and around the world. Why do they choose to endure academic rigor and hardship for next 4 years(average years needed to get a PhD)?
Students opt for a PhD degree mostly for following reasons: to enter to academic field as a professor, to work as a researcher in their area of specialization or to work with Government or non-profit organization as a policy maker.
Getting a PhD is a tough job, trust me, my husband is a doctoral student. A typical day for a doctoral student is about 10 or 12 hours or study or research. Yes, that is everyday plus they have to meet regularly with their research adviser and discuss how their research work is going on.Also in many universities especially in the US have to take a certain number of credit courses and maintain at least a B in all courses. It is now clear that to get a PhD you need a very high level of commitment.
So what is a typical PhD course like? In most areas of study, PhD courses are largely research based, and also have some required courses. Focus is on developing the doctoral student is a way he/she can carry on their research independently and come up with something substantial in the particular field.Therefore most students work independently and meet the adviser to discuss major issues only.
If you want to enroll for a PhD program in a US university, here are what you will need to do and what you need:
you need to be able to work for long hours and have focus
you need to develop a research proposal in you chosen field and have it accepted by the University’s doctoral committee
get good scores in GRE and some University require you to take a subject test too
also have a great application essay, at least B average in your masters degree program and have good references from your professors and employers
In conclusion, a student should get a PhD if he/she plans to be a researcher or wants to work in academics as a professor or work with the Government/Non profit agency as a policy makers and analyst.Before you choose a particular program it is important that you do proper research on the University and also future job prospects.Talk to past and present students to get a better understanding. Finally, prepare yourself for the academic rigor.PhD is not walk in a park.