What is Ph.d.: Definition and 82 Discussions

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin philosophiae doctor or doctor philosophiae) is the most common degree at the highest academic level awarded following a course of study. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. Because it is an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and defend their work against experts in the field. The completion of a PhD is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor (often abbreviated "Dr" or "Dr.") with their name, although the proper etiquette associated with this usage may also be subject to the professional ethics of their own scholarly field, culture, or society. Those who teach at universities or work in academic, educational, or research fields are usually addressed by this title "professionally and socially in a salutation or conversation." Alternatively, holders may use post-nominal letters such as "Ph.D.", "PhD", or "DPhil" (depending on the awarding institution). It is, however, considered incorrect to use both the title and post-nominals at the same time.The specific requirements to earn a PhD degree vary considerably according to the country, institution, and time period, from entry-level research degrees to higher doctorates. During the studies that lead to the degree, the student is called a doctoral student or PhD student; a student who has completed all their coursework and comprehensive examinations and is working on their thesis/dissertation is sometimes known as a doctoral candidate or PhD candidate (see: all but dissertation). A student attaining this level may be granted a Candidate of Philosophy degree at some institutions or may be granted a master's degree en route to the doctoral degree. Sometimes this status is also colloquially known as "PhD ABD," meaning "All But Dissertation."A PhD candidate must submit a project, thesis, or dissertation often consisting of a body of original academic research, which is in principle worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In many countries, a candidate must defend this work before a panel of expert examiners appointed by the university. Universities sometimes award other types of doctorate besides the PhD, such as the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) for music performers and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) for studies in education. In 2005 the European Universities Association defined the "Salzburg Principles," 10 basic principles for third-cycle degrees (doctorates) within the Bologna Process. These were followed in 2016 by the "Florence Principles," seven basic principles for doctorates in the arts laid out by the European League of Institutes of the Arts, which have been endorsed by the European Association of Conservatoires, the International Association of Film and Television Schools, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, and the Society for Artistic Research.In some countries like China and Japan, a recipient of doctorate in disciplines such as engineering and pharmacy where professional degrees (for example, EngD and PharmD) are usually awarded in the western countries, is called a PhD regardless. It is not uncommon that the person's title or diploma be translated into English as PhD in (that discipline). In these countries, the distinction between professional doctorates and PhDs is less significant.In the context of the Doctor of Philosophy and other similarly titled degrees, the term "philosophy" does not refer to the field or academic discipline of philosophy, but is used in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek meaning, which is "love of wisdom." In most of Europe, all fields (history, philosophy, social sciences, mathematics, and natural philosophy/sciences) other than theology, law, and medicine (the so-called professional, vocational, or technical curriculum) were traditionally known as philosophy, and in Germany and elsewhere in Europe the basic faculty of liberal arts was known as the "faculty of philosophy."

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  1. Quantour

    Admissions BS Physics to Ph.D. in Computer Science

    I am currently a final-year undergraduate student whose primary major is Physics. I double major in Computer Science, and my grade is currently near-top in my department from a prestigious university (non-US, top in my country). My research experience during undergrad has primarily been about...
  2. G

    Admissions Do I have a chance at doing a physics Ph.D. in quantum ML?

    I graduated with Physics and Applied math degrees ~4 years ago with a really low gpa ~2.7 with research experience on CMS. I then completed a B.S. in Electrical Engineering last year with a 3.7 and a MS in Artificial Intelligence with a 4.0. Over the past 4 years I've been working as a...
  3. Haorong Wu

    Programs Need advice about applying to Ph.D. programs

    Hello. I am currently in the second year of my master's program. My major is physics and my research area is high-dimensional entanglement in curved spacetime. During my studies, I developed a strong interest in quantum gravity (QG) and intend to pursue a Ph.D. in this field. I have a few...
  4. AryaKimiaghalam

    Physics Physics Ph.D. studies and living expenses

    Hi everyone, Hope you are all doing well. I begun to think about my plans for graduate school lately. I was hoping to learn more about the financial aid/tuition and living expenses of different universities in North America and Europe from your personal experiences in graduate school. How does...
  5. gleem

    Other Choosing a Ph.D. Research Advisor

    The recent edition of Physics Today has an article that should be of interest to prospective Ph.D. students. I think that new graduate students will benefit from this article as well as new faculty on how to find a good match between student and advisor...
  6. R

    Admissions I'm an Accounting / Finance Student, Can I get my Ph.D. in Physics?

    I'm going to graduate in May 2020 with an Accounting / Finance degree. Without trying to sound prideful, I am an extremely bright student and have a 3.80 GPA with very very minimal effort. However, after doing a few internships, I'm realizing more and more than I definitely do not want to be in...
  7. robphy

    Admissions Ph.D. admissions criteria as predictors? (Science Advances)

    Possibly interesting reading... This article ( https://www.inverse.com/article/52691-gre-scores-are-a-bad-predictor-of-phd-success ) alerted me to the article below. See also: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-gre-students-diversity.html http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaat7550...
  8. E

    Other Ph.D. after medical physics residency?

    Finished up my masters in medical physics a couple years ago and am about to complete my residency. Have been considering getting a Ph.D. since that's always been a life goal but I'm facing a conundrum: as far as I know, I will likely end up with a similar job whether or not I get a Ph.D. I want...
  9. epenguin

    Job Skills Should I Do a PhD? Informed Opinion & Relevant Considerations

    Here, aimed at Britain but probably fairly generally applicable. Informed opinion, relevant considerations. " Should I do a PhD? You asked Google – here's the answer Rachel Hall"...
  10. M

    Exploring the Connection: Ferroelectricity and Piezoelectricity

    My name is Moussa KANGAMA
  11. LastStarDust

    Considering a Career in Cosmology: Seeking Advice from Experienced Scientists

    Hello to everybody! I am an Italian boy who is about to graduate at "La Sapienza" University of Rome with a Master's Degree thesis in theoretical cosmology. I signed up at this forum because I am facing an important choice for my future and I really need a piece of advice from someone with more...
  12. LastStarDust

    Physics Ph.D. and career prospects in Japan

    Hello to everybody! I am writing this post because I am facing an important choice for my future and I really need a piece of advice from someone with more experience about the "scientific world" than me. I am an Italian boy who is about to graduate at "La Sapienza" University of Rome with a...
  13. R

    Admissions Applying for Ph.D. program without having taken the GRE

    Hi all. I'm currently working on both an M.S. and B.S. in physics and hope to finish with both during the upcoming summer. I wanted to apply to a Ph.D. program for next fall at a different university, partly because the research here isn't quite what I'm interested in, which is computational...
  14. L

    Courses What courses do I need for a Ph.D. in theoretical physics?

    Due to circumstances outside of my control, I couldn't go to college after high school. Physics is my passion however and I refuse to give up. I have a 5 month old so it would be in my best interest to start my schooling online. I'm only the 2nd person in my family to go to college. So, I don't...
  15. D

    Programs Choosing the Right Ph.D. Group: Tips for Non-Academic Research Careers

    I have a dilemma. I'm beginning a fellowship next week, and I have 3 Ph.D. offers for when it ends. I've worked in each group, and would have no issue continuing in any of them. I respect each advisor equally for different reasons. The main problem is each group requires a slightly different...
  16. S

    Other Recently finished HEP Ph.D. but unsure of next move....

    I've recently finished my Ph.D. in HEP physics but I've not yet applied for any jobs since I don't really know what to do next. So I'm here hoping for some advice/ideas; I'll give fuller details for anyone who can be bothered to read them (sorry about the extreme length). Anyway... I'm almost...
  17. T

    Programs Ideal Undergrad Preparation for Biophysics Ph.D.

    I'm looking at colleges right now. I'm really interested in biophysics, so I've been planning out what I biophysics curriculum would look like at various schools. However, most schools do not have a biophysics major, so I've had a hard time planning out what classes to take in addition to the...
  18. G

    I'm thinking about 2nd Ph.D. for particle physics

    Hello. I'm actually taking Ph.D. course for plasma physics and I think I'll finish this course within this year. I took classes in quantum field theory and general relativity in last semester luckily and experience of these subject ignited a desire to study theoretical particle physics and...
  19. J

    Engineering Academic Incest (physics, engineering)

    So I do not think it matters because I am quite happy where I am but I thought I would humor myself and throw it out to the masses just for fun. I have heard this term "academic incest" which basically is this idea that receiving undergraduate and graduate training from the same university is...
  20. S

    Job Skills The Shrinking Ph.D. Job Market

    A new study from the journal Inside Higher Ed shows that it's more difficult to get a job with an advanced degree: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/04/new-data-show-tightening-phd-job-market-across-disciplines
  21. I

    Admissions Math major applying to physics Ph.D. Program

    Hello all, I'm a junior math major at uc Berkeley. And I'll be applying to physics Ph.D. programs. I have taken almost all required physics undergraduate courses, and have already finished about six graduate physics courses. And I got A on all of these classes. I expect myself to finish more...
  22. B

    Can Any STEM Ph.D. Teach High School Math?

    Would anyone obtaining a STEM Ph.D. have the mathematical knowledge to teach high school math (the highest math class in my hs was a choice between statistics and calculus)? Also, what about community college? E.g., Would...say...a mechanical engineering Ph.D. or physics Ph.D, for example...
  23. O

    Ph.D. in Plasma Physics and Where?

    Hello everyone. I am new in this forum. I am from Turkey and I want to go abroad for Ph.D. but I have concerns and a lot of questions in my mind. My GPA from BS is 2,98/4 (I know it is not good). This year my second year my master. Probably I will graduate with 3.50-4.00 GPA. My master...
  24. C

    Admissions Applying to a Ph.D. and not getting in - M.S.?

    Hey there, I have been out of school for two years in the work world, so I think my application isn't as strong as I'd like it to be in terms of applying to Ph.D. Programs. I have a simple nuts-and-bolts question about it: If I take a "moonshot" and apply to just Ph.D. programs, will this...
  25. Shackleford

    Ph.D. in Systems & Engineering Management

    I've decided that after I finish my MA Math next year I'm going to apply to this program. It's actually a hybrid program that allows people to take classes part time. They do have a modest residency requirement for two consecutive summers, and they're generous in transferring courses. I live in...
  26. Shackleford

    Ph.D. Systems Engineering at CSU

    What do you guys think of this program at Colorado State University? I have a BS Math, and I'm working on an MA Math. Professionally, I've been working as a seismic processing geophysicist for just shy of two and a half years now. I might fall under the "applicable master's" category which would...
  27. T

    Want to study nano-particles in Germany, Ph.D. or a second Master?

    Hello, I have completed a Master program in China, during which, I joined in a project applying nano-particles in optical device. The project motivated me to study optical property of nano-particles, and I am looking for a Ph.D. position in Germany. The problem is: how do I get known with my...
  28. F

    Ph.D. Student in Nanotechnology Considering a Career in Physics

    I´m now 30 years old (born in 1984) and I will be done with my Ph.d. in Nanotechnology in Mexico City. I am planning on getting married with my girlfriend (who is a U.S. citizen) on June 2016 and go live to the United States. I am now thinking what I would like to do after getting done with the...
  29. skujesco2014

    Soon-to-be Physics Ph.D. In Need Of Advice

    Dear PF: I've spent a decade-plus in school by now. I earned my BS in a country different than the US in 2002. My degree allowed me to work as a Math & Physics teacher in high schools in my country, but not in colleges or universities. From the beginning, I knew I didn't want to be a high...
  30. K

    Physics B.S. E.E. Ph.D. What next ?

    Hello Physics Forums. I am looking at finishing my Ph.D. here within the next year or so. I am looking to continue in academic work. My PhD work has mostly been directed deeper into physics (semiconductor and 2D materials) despite being in the EE department (there is a lot of need for basic...
  31. A

    Is that OK to use cover letter template for Ph.D. application

    Hi, I saw many templates for the cover letter of Ph.D. application. If I use them and do a little modification, is that OK or regard as a kind of plagiarization? Thank you very much in advance!
  32. T

    Career Guidance for Applied Math Ph.D.

    Hi all, I am hoping to get some advice re: my career path. I have lurked these threads for a bit and I can see there's quite a bit of wisdom here, but I am hoping to get some particularly tailored to my situation. I am a 2nd year grad student at a top-10 applied math Ph.D. program, but I am...
  33. P

    Admissions Ph.D. admission in Europe with average grades, no recommendations

    I am a second year M.Sc. Physics student in an Indian university, I am highly motivated to pursue a carrier in theoretical high energy physics. I am willing to get a Ph.D. from a European university(as they have 3 year Ph.D. programs, unlike a 5 year program here in India and US). But the...
  34. P

    Engineering Physics Ph.D. Grad wanting to return to Aerospace Engineering

    I recently received a Physics Ph.D. but I had previously studied and earned an Aerospace Engineering masters degree. After spending several years earning my Ph.D. I have decided I would much rather practice Aerospace Engineering professionally. Unfortunately, I have had little success in...
  35. I

    Physics Suggestions for a Ph.D. - What is the actual job of a physicist?

    Hello everyone! It won't be long before I'll take my degree in theoretical Physics and then I'll have to apply for a Ph.D. I'd like to work on some fundamental Physics. The problem I have to face is that I actually know (almost) nothing about contemporary physics and so I don't have the...
  36. E

    From Physics B.S. to Astrophysics/Astronomy Ph.D. Possible?

    Is it possible to go straight into an Astrophysics or Astronomy Ph.D. program after obtaining a B.S. in Physics (general), or would you have to more or less specialize at the undergrad level and/or shoot for a masters prior to the Ph.D. in order to make sure that you know "enough" about...
  37. E

    Schools I want to get a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics. What College?

    I am desiring to get a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, but I know not what college will be best for me to get that degree in. I am taking all the most advanced Science and Math classes at my School. Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy. I live in Southwest Missouri, and my parents have no money...
  38. A

    Math Does it make sense for a math Ph.D. to pursue a career as an actuary?

    I hope to have my Ph.D. in math by the end of the summer. My dissertation is in mathematical physics. But I feel woefully under-qualified for academic positions - I've made excellent grades in all my math classes, but I don't really think I love math as much as some of the people I tend to meet...
  39. D

    Physics Job Prospects for Ph.D. Holders in Condensed Matter Physics

    Hello, all. I'm considering applying to Ph.D. programs in experimental condensed matter physics. My general research interests would be in the electrical and optical properties of materials, particularly semiconductors and nanostructures, and their applications to information and solar energy...
  40. 7

    Ph.D. programs with discrete mathematics

    I've been having trouble finding many pure math Ph.D. programs with active research groups in the general field of discrete mathematics (perhaps due to its interdisciplinary nature). I'm only aware of the top schools in this field (e.g. Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, UCSD, Rutgers); can anyone...
  41. Chemicist

    Caltech Master's and Ph.D. Programs

    Does anyone know if Caltech allows you to get your Master's and Ph.D.? I've heard that some universities allow you to get one or the other, but not both, and to acquire the Doctorate, you have to go somewhere else. Is this true for any school, specifically Caltech? Thank you.
  42. 5

    Admissions Applying to math Ph.D. programs. Already have Master's in math.

    A very vague question- What are my chances of getting accepted to a top 30 Ph.D. program in math (specifically U Maryland, Johns Hopkins, U Penn, U Washington, Ann Arbor, Columbia, Northwestern) if I: Am completing my Master's in math from a top 20 school (UIUC) with a (realistically...
  43. D

    Leaving Grad School without Ph.D. Now What?

    Hello all, I am seeking some career guidance because I have found myself in an unexpected circumstance. I recently found out (within the past month) that my Ph.D. funding will run out at the end of next semester. I still have years to go until I'm able to defend a dissertation so I feel...
  44. L

    Is a Ph.D. Program Realistic for Someone with a Tumultuous Academic Past?

    Need opinions, I'm entering my "Senior" year in physics, and have a had a tumultuous academic past. I changed majors a lot before settling on physics and used to withdraw from classes halfway through the semester because I'd get bored with Gen Ed's etc. Last semester I had a rough go of it...
  45. H

    [Theoretical] Physics Ph.D. application

    I hope to apply for a Ph.D. place in 2012; is it possible to send off written papers [as if to write extended articles] as part of the application, to demonstrate competence? I am worried that otherwise the grades for the various modules of my Physics degree that won't end up as my intended...
  46. J

    Getting a Ph.D. in a subject unrelated to undergraduate projects?

    I am attempting to write applications for physics Ph.D. positions right now and I feel as if I am hitting a brick wall. I have "narrowed" it down to wanting to do a Ph.D. either related to inertial confinement fusion, particle or nuclear physics. I know I'm supposed to be advertising my skills...
  47. M

    Pictorial explanation of what getting a Ph.D. means

    Credits to Matt Might, whomever he is: http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/
  48. C

    Questions about going into a new Ph.D. program

    So here is my situation. I am currently going into my last semester of a masters program in physics with a focus on theoretical condensed matter at lesser known university. My original plan was to finish with my masters and try to find a job. However, the semester after I graduate, my school...
  49. V

    Do I stand a chance at becoming a math Ph.D. student?

    I'm interested in the idea of getting a Ph.D. in math. I'm currently pursuing a BS at a mediocre school in Math and Computer Science. My tentative mathematics plan is Calculus I-III, Linear Algebra, Number Theory, Elementary Topology I-II, Elementary Modern Algebra I-II and "Advanced Calculus"...
  50. C

    From BSEE to Astro PhD: Navigating an Interdisciplinary Path in Astronomy

    I am currently working on my BSEE, a degree I settled on due primarily to financial stability compared to taking a BS in physics or Astronomy. However, I am hoping perhaps to graduate and go into an Astronomy Ph.d. program as that is my true passion. I am hoping that my EE background would...