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Programs Phd means what, what makes an idea pHD worthy?

  1. Feb 17, 2007 #1
    I know a bit about the degree, though the name itself "Doctor of Philosophy" seems awkward for some areas.

    I'm finishing up my master's right now; I'm considering getting a pHD because I think there's a chance for me to develop and idea I have that is "pHD" worthy. As well, I have an opportunity to perhaps upgrade and extend my federal scholarship.

    Now, what makes a phD work: concept, result, theory, idea, etc "PhD" worthy?

    What most university websites says is along the lines of "must be a significant contribution to the knowledge/research base in that field".

    I asked a fellow in the lab, who's about to defend for his PhD (in control systems), and he tells me:

    "Your need to do something "new" or "novel", or in a way no one has PUBLISHED before".

    He himself has took 3 1/2 years to finish, after a 2 years master's. He admitted, though, that for over 1 year he made no progress at all. I have 2 1/2 years of funding left; I can't afford that time. :/

    The idea I'm working on has little to no direct research papers yet that I can find easily; this may be because it's not a commercial product yet, but an idea many corporations are working on.

    So, I think I should be able to publish a result(s) in a decent EE journal, and get a pHD for defending the idea.

    So, my ultimate question again, what makes a work "PhD" worthy (as this varies field by field, let's say for engineering) ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2007 #2

    Dr Transport

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    A project that is PhD worthy is between you, your advisor and your committee. Really anything that you can say hasn't been done before is fair game and your advisor can help you with that.

    As for a significant contribution, taking an existing code and modifying it to say change material parameters is not worthy, but adding a layer of complexity to an existing set of codes just very well may be. If you add in another couple of physical mechanisms and that work hasn't been published before you are golden.

    In engineering you could very well take an existing device and make changes to it which could get you a patent, that may certainly get you a PhD, or even the idea for a new control system could get you a PhD. Again, it is up to you and your advisor.
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