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


Why Female Academics Say Using Titles is a Must

August 17, 2018

While male professors with PhDs may have the liberty of using their first names with students in order to promote friendlier interactions, female professors with the same qualifications should not be so quick to do the same, according to recent tweets from female academics. Here’s a closer look at…


Is Australia Maximizing the Potential of Its PhDs?

July 26, 2018

Thousands of students receive PhDs in Australia every year. And while there is a great need for their talents in the private sector, woefully few of them end up working outside of academe. Here's a closer look at why this matters so much, and what experts say should be done to correct the issue.


Want To Sleep Better? Avoid Cyan, Say Researchers

July 19, 2018

That glow from your smartphone may be keeping you up at night more than you realize. Avoiding the color cyan--a cross between blue and green--may help you sleep better, according to researchers at the University of Manchester. Let's take a closer look.

Newly added PhDs and DBAs

Grand Canyon University

Bridge (Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision)

August 15, 2018
Grand Canyon University’s Bridge to Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision program is for independently licensed or associate-level licensed mental health professionals who want to teach counseling students, supervise clinical counselors and become expert practitioners in clinical or academic environments.

Lingnan University

Doctor of Policy Studies

August 18, 2018
The Doctor of Policy Studies programme has flexible delivery modes and strong experiential learning elements including field visits, and academic workshops and seminars. The field visits (including overseas tours) are to ensure that students understand the current mindsets and practices regarding policy studies in other countries and can conduct their… [+] research from an international perspective, without simply relying on textbooks, journals and other publications. [-]

International Telematic University UNINETTUNO

Doctorate in Business Administration - DBA

July 31, 2018
A Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) is widely recognized as a prestigious qualification as a professional doctorate in Business and Management. It is considered one of the highest level of qualification available in professional management. Our course combines taught modules in advanced management theory and practice along with training in… [+] the necessary methodologies and techniques to carry out doctoral research in Business and Management. The DBA will take typically four years to complete part-time, but with the option to increase the duration of work and life commitments prove challenging to balance with your studies. Once you have successfully completed the programme, you will have the title of 'Doctor'. [-]



Four Things for Archivists to Know in the Digital World

August 16, 2018

When we hear the word 'archives,' thoughts of dark rooms filled with dusty papers from ancient times may first come to mind. However, the fact is that archives are very relevant to the modern world --...


Five PhDs Fields to Help Foster Biodiversity

July 23, 2018

Biodiversity is the 'infrastructure' that keeps our planet alive. Without biodiversity, the earth's ecosystems suffer and die. And biodiversity in many of the world's vital ecosystems is currently imperiled - largely because of the impact of humans. The good news? Just as humans have contributed to ...


The Autumn School Advantage: A Must-Read for Climate Change PhD Students

July 19, 2018

We often talk about the many benefits of summer school. However, it’s not the only option for PhD students in climate change fields looking to give themselves an inside edge. As summer reaches its midway point, now is a good time to stop and assess the divide between where you are and where you wa...

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.