1) What Types of PhD Programs Exist and What Are They Called?
There are literally hundreds of PhD programs to choose from, including both online or in-person and even degrees that offer a combination of the two. Below, we have listed just a few of the PhD programs available.
- Doctor of Arts (DA): This PhD program prepares the student to go into a leadership role in design and/or to even teach or research whichever art they specialize in.
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): This is the PhD equivalent of an MBA, or Master of Business Administration, which is one of the most popular graduate degrees.
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D): If going into the field as an educator, administration, or other leadership role, this might be the degree that is asked. Specialties include early childhood education, special education, counseling, and many others.
- Doctor of Engineering ((D.Eng.): Whether it is in mechanical, chemical, or other area of engineering, a PhD program can be one of the first steps towards becoming an engineer.
- Doctor of Health Administration (DHA): This degree focuses on the business side of healthcare and prepares students for leadership roles in hospitals, clinics, facilities, and related areas.
- Juris Doctor (J.D.): This PhD program is the degree for those who wish to practice law. It also requires being accepted into a law school, graduating, and passing the BAR exam.
- Doctor of Medicine (M.D.): The M.D. is required for all those who wish to practice medicine. Getting into med school, passing the MCAT, completing an internship, and getting a medical license are all part of becoming a doctor.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD Math): Whether in a specific area of math or applied mathematics, a PhD program will involve loads of studying, extensive knowledge of math, and tons of research.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD in CS): Learn everything there is to know about computers from the hardware to worldwide applications in this PhD program.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD in Psych): A graduate degree is usually required for those who want to become doctors of psychology. Specialties available include counseling, organizational, clinical, and many others.
Although the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the most common PhD program in the United States, it can occasionally be confused with the â€œDoctor of” degrees. Because both types of degrees are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the difference is mostly in name only, although no two degrees are exactly alike.
2) Where Can I Find PhD Program Rankings?
When deciding between or researching any PhD programs, the most important thing to check for is accreditation. This means that a degree has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as having a fair value and providing students with a legitimate degree. The easiest way to search for accredited PhD programs is to visit the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Search for schools by name, state, and a number of other ways to get an instant answer to who is accredited, which degrees are accredited, and what agency they have been accredited by.
After looking at several accredited degree programs, it can be difficult to choose between them. There are several entities that rank graduate schools who offer doctorate degrees. One of the best known is U.S. News & World Report. Every year, they analyze over 12,000 graduate programs and divide them up into categories such as business, education, engineering, law, medical, and various other PhD programs to find the best. You can also get similar lists for rankings in undergraduate schools, technical colleges, and more.
When choosing between programs, it is important to remember that while the above rankings have something to offer, they are by no means the only or even first criteria a PhD program should be chosen from. While using factors such as acceptance rates, average GPA, and student to teacher ratios, they don’t take into account that these systems mean different things to different students. Figuring out which items are most important to the student – such as career placement, available financial aid, and transfer credit policy – and then ranking them in the order most important to them should be the ultimate ranking system.
3) Can I Transfer PhD Program School Credits?
If students have already completed some graduate level degree credits, they may be eligible for transfer credits. These can be essential for cutting down on both time and money spent studying. Because earning a PhD can take years, it is important to find out as early as possible about your school’s transfer credit policy, even if you are not yet enrolled.
One of the most common obstacles in transfer credits for PhD programs is the issue of nationally accredited doctorate degrees versus regionally accredited and vice versa. Although both schools and degrees may be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, if they have been accredited by different agencies, especially those that are just nationally or regionally accredited, transfer credits may not be allowed. If both the student’s past and future schools have been accredited by the same agency, transfer credits are more likely to happen and can include limitations such as the number of credits allowed, only core classes being allowed to transfer, etc.
One of the best ways to avoid transfer credit hassles for a PhD program is to already have a degree. Those with a master’s degree can complete a PhD program in as little as two years, even if the past and future degrees are not in the same area, depending on the school. It takes four years average to complete a PhD programs when the student has a bachelor’s degree, and nearly every school offering a doctorate will require one upon admission or the earning of one before entering into a graduate program.
4) What Sorts of Careers Are Available to Students Who Complete a PhD Program?
The PhD is the highest level of degree that can be bestowed on a student. There are literally thousands of careers available to those with a PhD and we have listed a few below.
- Administrator: Whether in health, business, or other field, administrators often lead a team, prepare budgets, and execute strategies for companies, corporations, organizations, and more.
- Doctor: Completing a medical PhD program, passing an exam, and getting a license can lead to a career as a doctor in primary care, specialized medicine, and other specialties.
- Educator: Not just limited to teachers, educators can be professors, counselors, principles, and more.
- Engineer: Although engineers work in every area from aerospace to petrochemical, their main focus is to find the link between scientific discoveries and their commercial applications.
- Information Technology: With a PhD in Computer Science or other information technology degree, careers such as software engineer or database administrator can be obtained.
- Lawyer: Although lawyers need to complete an approved PhD program to obtain a license to practice law, there are many other areas of law that can be entered upon completion of a PhD program.
- Psychologist: These professionals counsel others in personal, professional, medical, or other aspects and can often be prepared to write prescriptions and assume the similar duties of a medical doctor with the right education.
- Post-Doctoral Fellow: Continue studies after completing a PhD program by getting a research fellowship available in just about every area of academia and science with this career.
- Researcher: This is one of the careers that can be obtained before, after, or during studies for a PhD. Because scientists, mathematicians, and other researchers have so much data to analyze, they often hire researchers at many levels.
- Senior Pastor: No matter which denomination, a senior pastor often takes a leadership role and must be highly knowledgeable in theology, religious studies, and/or related areas.
And these are just some of the careers available by completing a PhD program. There are many others in various areas of science, business, academia, administration, and just about every other area of employment imaginable.
5) How do I Complete a PhD Program?
The first step to completing a PhD program is to get an undergraduate degree. A bachelor’s degree is the staple, and they take an average of four years to complete for those who have a high school diploma or equivalent. The interesting thing about earning an undergraduate degree for the purpose of entering a PhD program is that the two degrees can often have nothing to do with each other. For example, someone looking to become a lawyer can get a degree in one of the arts, such as history or philosophy, and still be eligible to enter law school and an accredited PhD program. Other students, such as doctors, usually have to get an undergraduate degree in biology or related medical area before entering a medicine related PhD program.
The application process to entering a PhD program can also be arduous, depending on the program or school. Transcripts from undergraduate schools are usually asked for, along with filling out an application and even interviews. Many PhD programs will also ask for an essay from the applicant on what they would like to study, as well as why and what they plan to do with the degree.
Once accepted into a PhD program, it takes an average of four years to complete for those who already have a bachelor’s degree. If the student has an applicable master’s degree or transfer credits, it can take as little as two years to complete a PhD program. Other requirements that may be asked of students include dissertations, research papers, thesis statements, and/or other related items.
6) Where Can I Find PhD Program Scholarships and Grants?
Because paying for a PhD program can be costly, we have listed a few scholarship, grant, and other funding opportunities below.
- FAFSA: Whether undergraduate or graduate student, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a must and can connect students with loads of funding. The form is also required by many other scholarship and grant programs.
- Federal Pell Grant: Although filling out the above can let you know if you are eligible for a Pell Grant, it is still important to know what it is. The Pell Grant provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain graduate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Visit the site to learn more about the requirements.
- National SMART Grant: The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is available during undergraduate study to at least half-time students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and who are majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language.
- Microsoft PhD Scholarship: This technological giant awards scholarships to students interested in contributing to the world of science and computing.
- ABA Scholarships The American Bar Association offers several awards, fellowships, and scholarships to those looking to go into law.
- AMA Scholarships: If looking to go into medicine, the American Medical Association offers scholarships. There are also other resources for medical students and educators.
- Tylenol Scholarship: You don’t have to be in a PhD program for doctors to be eligible for this scholarship. The makers of Tylenol are offering 40 scholarships to students pursuing an education in the many areas of the medical field.
- AES Scholarships: This scholarship is for engineering students. All that needs to be done to apply for the current offering is to answer a question in an essay.
- Fast Web: If all else fails, a search at a scholarship matching site like this one can be immensely helpful. Simply create a free profile to begin searching scholarships immediately.
Although applying for scholarships and grants can be a lengthy and sometimes fruitless process, there may be funding available if you qualify. While scholarships are competitive and are awarded to only a few students, grants are available for those who qualify. Best of all, neither have to be paid back as long as the student graduates, keeps a respectable GPA, or any other requirements the scholarship or grant might come with.
The best place to begin a search for scholarships and grants for a PhD program is the financial aid office of the school awarding the degree. Even if you are not currently enrolled, the office can still tell you what tuition costs, what funding is available, and what the out of pocket costs will be. Be sure to also utilize the financial aid and/or counseling office of your school to help fill out forms, write essays, and have questions answered.