Keystone logo

What are the benefits of studying for a Ph.D. in the USA?

  • Study Abroad
Keystone TeamMar 14, 2023

Studying for a Ph.D. in the USA provides numerous benefits, from access to world-class research programs to support for international students and top universities recognized worldwide. Here are some of the perks of choosing to study for a Ph.D. in the USA.

What are the benefits of studying for a Ph.D. in the USA?

The USA is an excellent choice for international Ph.D. students. It has a high standard of academic study and a variety of subjects. Studying for a Ph.D. in the USA will make you an internationally recognized expert in your chosen field.

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the USA is considered the highest awarded degree in many universities in the USA for most fields of study.

Attending Grad School for a Ph.D. in the USA differs from studying for a Ph.D. in the UK or Europe. Pursuing a doctoral degree in the US will give students a global cultural understanding and build a network of contacts for their future professional life. A Ph.D. degree is often required when applying for high-level management jobs, government expert positions, and careers like university professors, researchers, or scientists in many fields.

Benefits of studying for a Ph.D. in the USA - yearly openings for PhDs

Yearly openings for PhDs in the USA often exceed those in other parts of the world. Therefore US Ph.D. students can have more access to funding and fellowships and better research opportunities. Ph.D. candidates are considered part of the university staff, and Ph.D. openings are considered job vacancies. Depending on budget, US Universities might have one or two Ph.D. vacancies throughout the year.

US Ph.D. candidates often join university staff as teaching assistants, research assistants, or adjunct instructors. However, a Ph.D. candidate in the US is primarily a student enrolled to meet the university's requirements (which can be set by the state) for the doctoral degree. To fill the various graduate courses (while also filling the teaching assistant positions), university departments will have openings for PhDs every year.

Ph.D. positions in the USA are 'open call.'

Ph.D. candidates in the USA can access several university departments offering Ph.D. applications yearly based on funding and available positions. University departments will open up space for any qualified graduate student to send applications during the time that coincides with the school's entire admission and enrolment timeline.

This schedule is especially beneficial for prospective international Ph.D. students. It means you can plan to apply for a Ph.D. during the usual enrolment timeline (i.e., whether they admit for Spring or Fall enrolments). You can also arrange to re-apply the following year if you are unsuccessful.

You'll collect an extensive network of professional colleagues.

Studying for a Ph.D. in the USA will develop your professional contacts during your program. Working closely with professors, department heads, experts in your field, and fellow researchers helps you create a vital resource. This network of colleagues can provide continual assistance with references, job leads, career advice, and collaboration.

Benefits of studying for a Ph.D. in the USA - funding for your Ph.D. program is not a headache.

Ph.D. students in the USA are encouraged to seek external funding - through private research institutes or federal grants - however, this is optional. it is possible for Ph.D. students in the US to receive a tuition waiver and a 'basic stipend' for the expected duration of their studies.

Ph.D. students in the US are likely to need more time for a part-time job; universities offer their students a basic income to support their studies. This allowance is a stipend, a taxable payment given to students twice a year - once every semester.

US Universities are strict about the requirements for your stipend. Students who stay in a fully-funded Ph.D. have to apply well in advance to the program.

If you miss the early application deadline, all is not lost, many programs will still consider your application, but funding is not guaranteed.

If your doctoral degree takes longer than the standard 4 or 5 years, you may need to apply for external funding options to cover the time until you complete your dissertation. To manage this, many US Ph.D. students work as teaching or research assistants, lowering the stipend payment and allowing the funds to last longer.

A stipend makes life easier if you want to study for a Ph.D. in the USA. Prospective Ph.D. students who enter into a Ph.D. at a research university can receive funding directly from the university rather than seeking external scholarships or grants.

World-class universities

USA universities regularly top the charts of worldwide ranking institutions, so what better place to do your Ph.D. studies? Rankings shouldn't be the main deciding factor when choosing where to study for your Ph.D., but they can be a sign of educational expertise.

Ph.D. students should consider the following:

  • Does the university have a high employability rate after graduation?
  • Do you want to go public or private university?
  • What kind of research facilities do they have?

Be sure to do some research before deciding on your perfect place of study.

USA Ph.D. programs - method of study

Compared to those in the UK, Ph.D. students in the USA are usually in direct contact with their professors. Students might find that their Ph.D. program is led by a professor who gives them less flexibility to change their research and study areas. There can be several cultural differences between UK, Europe, and USA university lifestyles. US students undertake more teaching and marking responsibilities than Ph.D. students in Europe.

Ph.D. programs in the USA - course structure

Unlike doctoral degrees in the rest of the world, Ph.D. programs in the USA are rarely pure research degrees. Original research is a requirement for an American doctorate, and you'll still present and defend a thesis, but this will be alongside many other components.

Whereas Ph.D. candidates in other countries start researching immediately, the structure of Ph.D. courses in the USA begin with taught classes and assessments. Only after passing this stage does a student confirm their final dissertation topic and get to work researching it.

Ph.D. program duration in the USA

Ph.D. degrees in the USA usually take longer than in the UK. Depending on your field of study, international Ph.D. students could spend between four and eight years completing their Ph.D. in the USA. Ph.D. candidates will have more time to adapt to their course and develop a detailed understanding of their chosen subject at a more relaxed pace.

The length of Ph.D. programs in the USA is usually 4-6 years (full-time). Ph.D. candidates spend 1-4 years on the coursework stage of their program and 2-4 years working on their dissertations.

The academic year in the USA consists of two teaching semesters: August-December and January-May when classes and assessments occur. Most Ph.D. programs in the USA admit students in the autumn (or 'fall') semester.

Benefits of studying for a Ph.D. in the US - Land of opportunity

International students wanting to study for a Ph.D. in the USA can benefit from thousands of higher education providers across 50 states. If you wish to study in a big city or small campus-based university, by the sea or in the mountains, you can choose the perfect student experience to suit your personality.

Studying for a Ph.D. in the USA will connect you to an international community.

The USA is a popular choice for international students worldwide – making it an inspirational and cosmopolitan choice for your Ph.D. studies. Ph.D. candidates are guaranteed to find a diverse community that welcomes students from all backgrounds.

What are the benefits of studying for a Ph.D. in the USA? - Access a global research and job market

As a Ph.D. student in the US, you will access research opportunities, develop career skills and gain a world-recognized qualification. Studying for a Ph.D. in the USA will provide a unique educational experience. You will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, expert guidance from professors and lecturers, as well as being part of an internationally recognized learning.

You'll have access to more prestigious jobs.

One of the key benefits of being a Ph.D. student in the US is that it opens doors to careers at the highest levels. This perk can include leadership positions in science and engineering, government positions, and prestigious teaching posts for English and arts majors. A Ph.D. can give you an extra air of authority in your field and an edge over other candidates when applying for your desired job.

A Ph.D. from a US university can help you gain powerful positions with large financial rewards. Some areas of study, like medicine and the law, tend to be more lucrative, but it can also depend on the type of job. For example, a university professor or researcher post can pay well for various disciplines.

Keystone Team

Learn more about