Top PhD Programs

PhD is the abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy, and is usually awarded after completing extensive research in a specified field of study. This research must significantly contribute to the current knowledge base, and must be completed with a dissertation or thesis. Often the dissertation or thesis must be defended in front of a panel of experts in the field and only after successful defense, the degree of PhD is conferred. A PhD degree usually takes a minimum of 4 years to complete, but sometimes longer depending on the student, university, and program.

There are many universities and programs that offer top PhD programs internationally. Students wishing to continue their education have a wide range of top PhD programs options, which include doctoral programs in health professions, psychology, engineering, education, biological sciences, and biomedical sciences. There are top PhD programs in each country, so students considering a PhD have a number of countries to choose from.

Have a look at some of the top PhD programs listed below - you might find the top PhD program you are searching for!

News and Events


New Zealand and China To Relaunch PhD Scholarship Program

November 26, 2015

With educational exchange a growing imperative for today’s universities, New Zealand and China are the latest countries to get in on the action with the relaunch of the Doctoral Research Scholarships program. Let’s take a closer look at the initiative, along with the role it’s expe…


13 UK Universities Adopt New Doctoral Training Program

November 19, 2015

Industry and technology are always changing, and universities in the UK are working to train doctoral students in skills and sectors that will meet the evolving needs of vital industries around the world. Let's take a closer look at the universities involved and what they're doing to make sure that …


£5billion in funds for scientific research over the next five years

November 12, 2015

There's some very welcome news for scientists in the UK and beyond. The Wellcome Trust, which was set up in 1936, will almost double its investment in science research and education in the next five years. Here's what the Wellcome Trust plans and how it can help students.

Newly added PhDs and DBAs

University of Nicosia: Austria Campus

Doctoral Program In Clinical Psychology

November 26, 2015
The doctoral program in Clinical Psychology has a total area of ​​210 ECTS and a regular study period of three years.

University of Nicosia: School of Sciences and Engineering

Phd In Exercise Science And Physical Education

November 26, 2015
The University of Nicosia offers Doctoral Programme in Exercise Science and Physical Education leading to a PhD.

University of Nicosia: School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

Phd Theology

November 25, 2015
The University of Nicosia offers Doctoral Program in Theology and Culture, from September 2015. In particular, the program covers the following subjects.



The Rise of Environmental Research

November 26, 2015

Do you excel in science and problem-solving? Do you like to use logic, reasoning, and deduction to approach tough issues? Do you have a passion for the environment and conservation? If you answered 'y...


Pros and Cons of Continuing into an Academic Career

November 16, 2015

PhD Students often assume they'll slide right into academic careers, but academia isn't your only option  and it's a good idea to consider every possibility. Take some time to consider this list of the pros and cons of an academic position and find out what path is right for you!>


5 Tips for Post-graduate Media Relations

November 2, 2015

We've all heard the graduate school maxim - “Publish or Perish” - but publishing your work in academic journals isn't enough. More and more, early-career researchers find it necessary to engage with traditional and digital media outlets. Here are five ways to take the stress out of publi...>

What exactly is a PhD?

PhD is the abbreviation for “doctor of philosophy,” a phrase that understandably causes confusion. Like “arts,” this use of “philosophy” usually has nothing to do with studying the discipline of philosophy. The basic meaning of “doctor of philosophy” is that you have acquired the highest possible degree in your academic field. Highest degrees in any field are known as “terminal degrees.” Jobs may stipulate that you hold a terminal degree: this distinguishes the doctorate from the master’s degree, which is usually an intermediate degree, and thus commands less authority.

A degree with the word “doctor” in the title is also called a “doctorate.” You may know that universities often award “honorary doctorates”—this means the recipient has not completed a doctoral program, but has achieved something (like inventing something beneficial to society) that deserves to be honored. The opposite of an honorary doctorate is an “earned doctorate.” You see that phrase in job ads; its purpose is to indicate that if you have a merely honorary doctorate, you cannot apply.

There are many doctorates, and the PhD is one of them. Technically, the abbreviation ought to be written with periods: Ph.D. with the “h” in lower-case. However, countries have different terms and conventions, and plus, conventions change. Today, it is common to see the degree in all caps with no periods: PHD.

The PhD is one of the oldest doctorates, and bears the weight of tradition, history, and universal respect. PhDs are traditionally academic degrees, not professional certifications (not applied or vocational). However, this distinction is changing and blurring. Today, you can get a PhD in applied fields such as Management, Social Work, and Computer Science. You can also get a PhD in arts-related fields, such as Creative Writing, that formerly used the MFA as the terminal degree.

Benefits to having a PhD include prestige, the right to be viewed as an expert and authority, and the ability to apply for high-level jobs. The PhD signals advanced research skills and qualification to teach at the university level. Living in this age of information and technology, within a globalizing economy, means that the need for more education and specialization is much higher than in the past.

Completing a PhD can be immensely rewarding if you are a serious intellectual who passionately loves learning. Nevertheless, if you are considering getting a doctoral degree for personal satisfaction, you should weigh this decision very carefully. Entering a PhD program is difficult, and a very serious commitment. Admission is rigorous, and may or may not require you to already hold a master’s degree. Doctoral programs typically begin with coursework covering theory and methodology. Eventually, you take qualifying exams and perhaps also an oral exam. Some programs mandate fieldwork or supervised clinical experience, often several hundred hours. The culminating project is called a thesis or dissertation, which is a professional-level publishable project in your discipline. This project often begins with a formal proposal, takes years to complete, and ends with an oral defense before a committee.

PhD programs usually require at least three years to complete, and sometimes as many as nine. There is often a maximum time limit of 8-10 years. The reason they take so long is not so much the difficulty of the work, but rather, life often intervenes. Doctoral students are usually at a life stage when they are marrying, raising children and undergoing major personal events. Also, in some countries you will likely receive only small funding during your PhD, and need to earn on the side, which slows your ability to concentrate on your studies.

Funding for doctoral programs varies wildly depending on discipline and country. The ideal situation is to enter a program “fully funded,” which means the university waives your tuition and you receive either a living stipend and/or guaranteed employment, usually as a teaching or research assistant. Many scholarships or “fellowships” are also available; a scholarship is monetary, whereas a fellowship usually implies a job, like an internship, which forms an excellent foundation for your resultant career.

These days, you can complete your PhD online. An online doctoral program has some obvious advantages: you can access your courses on your own schedule, and balance your work and family life without having to commit to a class schedule or move to a faraway campus. Online degree programs are much cheaper for a university to offer, since they do not need to pay for building upkeep, physical facilities, and so forth; the savings are passed to students as lower costs.

Online degrees are gaining popularity and respectability. Some employers still consider an online PhD inferior to a traditional one, but others understand that the versatility of the internet is part of contemporary life. Online doctoral programs are no less rigorous than traditional ones (or at least, you should ensure they are not), and involve substantial interaction with professors and peers.

Top doctoral programs will have well designed career centers to help you seek a job, as well as excellent support during your student years. Another marker of a good program is the ease with which you can find a professor to act as your mentor.

A PhD will provide you advancement in your career, usually a hefty salary differential, and prestige. You should thoroughly research career prospects before you commit to a program: some fields, such as the humanities, are increasingly glutted with PhDs, making it near impossible to land a job at all, especially if you are seeking a job as a professor. Other fields are expanding. Logically, if a field is growing in its need for research, and is connected with powerful policy decision-making, then a PhD in that field will be an asset. PhDs in economics, finance, marketing, and development studies, just to name a few, are solid bets for future job and salary prospects.