Doctor of Philosophy
The Doctor of Philosophy, (Ph.D. or PhD) is a degree a person gets from a university by finishing a doctorate program. In many areas of study, the PhD is the highest degree that a person can earn (this is called the "terminal degree"). There are PhD degrees for many different fields, such as PhDs in literature, philosophy, history, science, mathematics, and engineering. Some PhD degrees have existed for hundreds of years, such as the PhD in Canon Law. Other PhD degrees were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the PhD in Women's Studies.
Requirements for degree[change | edit source]
To be admitted to a PhD program, a person usually has to have completed a Master's degree that is related to the PhD degree. For example, a person applying to be admitted to a PhD degree in Theater would normally have to have a Master's degree such as a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Theater, English Literature, or a related area.
Elements of a PhD degree[change | edit source]
The PhD degree usually takes between three to six years of full time study to complete after a Master's degree. Many PhD degrees begin with a period of graduate courses. After the PhD student has passed a series of examinations called "comprehensive exams", they begin to do research for a long original research report called a dissertation (or a "thesis"). Many PhD degrees also require students to pass exams in languages (such as French, German, or other languages). Most PhD students teach undergraduate students or assist professors with research during their PhD studies.
As a requirement for university teaching[change | edit source]
A PhD is required to become a university professor in many fields, such as English Literature, Economics, History, and Biology. In some fields, there is no PhD, and so another degree is required to become a university professor. For example, the highest degree in Fine Arts fields such as printmaking or graphic design is the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. A person with an MFA degree can become a university professor in some Fine Arts fields.
Other websites[change | edit source]
- The Mathematics PhD in the United Kingdom: Notes on its History Contains information/links of more general relevance than mathematics.
- A community portal for PhD students and PhD holders Enables scientists across disciplines to discuss and promote their research.