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

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OECD Recommends the EU Ease Visa Restrictions for Migrants

July 28, 2016

Earlier this year, the European Parliament made it easier for non-EU nationals to study and stay in the EU after graduation. But according to an OECD report, there's more that the EU can do to make the region attractive to skilled international migrants. Let's take a look at the OECD's recommendatio…


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Europe to Make Scientific Research Open Access by 2020

July 14, 2016

Open access to scientific research is important for the promotion of innovation and development, but most scientific journals and publications in the EU require subscriptions or access fees. But a new reform means that the future of academic publishing in the EU could be more open and accessible. He…


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The Job Outlook for PhDs: Gloom and Doom or Smoke and Mirrors?

July 7, 2016

Much has been made in recent months over the ominous job prospects of today’s PhDs. However, a recent Science article not only discounts these concerns, but declares the entire employment crisis to be an “illusion.” Let’s take a closer look at the report, along with what…


Newly added PhDs and DBAs

School of Business and Management ITB

Doctor of Science and Management

July 26, 2016
The Doctor of Science and Management (DSM) ITB aims to create a new generation of scholars with expertise in research who are able to contribute their research findings to the development of management science in general. To achieve this goal, we provide graduates with an outstanding and intellectually challenging research environment.

European Law and Governance School

PhD in Legal Research or Governance Studies

July 26, 2016
The ELGS PhD is a degree program lasting a minimum of 3 years which enables students to conduct independent research in the fields of Legal Research, Governance Studies, or on an interdisciplinary topic.

Asian Center of Education and Training

Affordable DBA awarded by University of America (Online)

July 22, 2016
Affordable Doctor of Business Administration awarded by University of America via Asian Center of Education and Training

Articles

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Tips for Keeping Things Interesting While Teaching as a PhD

July 18, 2016

We’ve all had amazing, interesting and inspiring teachers. The impact of these fulfilling classroom experiences stay with us long after we’ve moved onto other courses, programs, and career...


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Finding the Funding for PhDs

July 4, 2016

Considering getting a PhD but think you can’t afford it? Think again. The truth is that a multitude of scholarships, grants and other funding opportunities are available aimed at supporting PhD students. We’ve not only rounded up just a few of the many options out there, but we&rsqu...>


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Five Ways PhDs Can Improve Communication Skills

June 20, 2016

People often cite public speaking as a number one fear – ahead of dying and being alone. But for modern doctoral students, public speaking and communication have become an important, if not essential parts of their career trajectory. Here's how to improve and perfect your public speaking and c...>

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.