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Antony Chacko
18 Aug 2015 375 1 min Share

Doctoral Degree in the USA

All set to pursue a doctoral degree in the USA? Use this checklist to find the best programme and university.

18 Aug 2015 375 1 min Share
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Doctoral in USA

Students who want to learn more and who place special focus on a major subject after completing their master's degree program, can opt for a doctoral program or PhD, in the U.S.A.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the Doctor of Education (D.Ed.) are the highest academic degrees conferred by universities in the United States. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are available in most academic fields, including social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, arts, business and education.  Individual Ph.D. programs are highly field-specific and often selected based on the faculty advisor or ranking of doctorates based on school size or reputation.

The duration of a US doctoral degree varies from a minimum period of three years to a maximum of six years. The duration of the PhD degree course depends on the field that the student chooses, the ability of the student and the complexity of the research work. A doctorate degree in American universities is awarded after submission of a research thesis, which is a product of significant work by the scholar on the respective subject. A PhD degree holder in the US is recognized as a subject-matter expert and hence, it is a prestigious degree.

Survey-based Rankings

U.S. News & World Report ranks graduate schools based on surveys and several objective criteria, including graduation rates. The publication's rankings of best graduate schools are divided by subjects, which allow students to find highly ranked Ph.D. programs in their field. The following schools offer Ph.D. programs ranked in the top ten of U.S. News & World Report's best graduate school rankings, in multiple fields of study.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
  • Yale University

Gaining admission

To gain admission to doctoral programs at an American university, students are required to have an appropriate academic background as described by the individual degree programs and a GPA of at least 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 scale in prior study. GRE scores are required for admission to all doctoral programs. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for all international applicants not holding a degree from a United States post-secondary institution.

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