how to phd in usa

  • PhD in USA – A Guide for 2020/21
  • Finding a PhD

A PhD in USA takes approximately 5 – 6 years of full-time study and can cost between $12,000 – $45,000 per academic year. PhD programs in USA differ from that in the UK and Europe in that students must first take taught classes, coursework and exams before starting their research project.

Why Do a PhD in USA?

The United States has long had some of the most distinguished universities and advanced PhD programmes in the world. Combined with curriculum flexibility, rigorous teaching methods, vast funding opportunities, breathtaking campuses and significant career prospects, it’s no wonder that it is one of the most sought-after study destinations for research students.

In addition to comprehensive training standards, here are a few other reasons why a student may choose to undertake their PhD in the United States:

  • Longer learning timeframes – A PhD in the US lasts longer than a PhD in the UK or Europe. This allows students to more confidently transition from undergraduate to postgraduate studies; more commonly referred to as ‘graduate studies’ in the US. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about your subject, research methods and academic writing in general before starting your research project.
  • World-class universities – It’s no secret that some of the most well-known higher education institutions that continue to dominate global rankings are based in the United States. Although many factors go into determining whether a position is right for you, a PhD at a high-ranking American university will undeniably have many benefits, from excellent learning standards to access to innovative equipment and deep expertise.
  • International network – The US has long been a popular choice among PhD students around the world. As such, the US hosts a diverse and multicultural learning environment in which many research students will quickly feel at home.
  • Opportunities – With over 4,000 universities in the US, we can safely say you will have plenty of opportunities to find the ideal combination of project, supervisor and university that works for you.

Universities in USA

Universities in the United States can be divided into two types: public universities and private universities.

Public universities are financed by the state in which they are based. Because of this, public universities charge less for students from within the state and more for students from outside the state, including international students.

Private universities are not financed by their state, but by private donors, research funds and tuition fees. For this reason, private universities generally charge higher tuition fees than public universities and require all students to pay the same amount, regardless of whether they come from out-of-state or abroad.

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 , eight of the top ten universities in the world are located in the United States. These are:

Method of Study

The main difference between a PhD in the US and a PhD in Europe lies in the program structure. Whereas a European PhD essentially consists of a single phase lasting three to four years , an American PhD consists of three different phases, each with its own time frame.

  • Phase One – The first phase lasts approximately two years and focuses on building a basic foundation for the doctoral student. This phase consists largely of taught components such as lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions, in which the student learns more about theoretical concepts and research methods within their discipline.
  • Phase Two – The second phase can be considered an assessment phase, which runs both periodically alongside and at the end of the first phase. Here, students complete coursework and take exams on the basis of the material they have covered of which they must pass in order to proceed to the third phase.
  • Phase Three – The third phase lasts approximately three years and resembles the European PhD structure. During this period, the student undertakes an independent research project, including forming a research design, conducting experiments, writing a thesis (more commonly referred to in the USA as a dissertation) and sitting a viva exam.

Teaching Requirements

Besides structure, a key difference between a PhD program in the US and in Europe is the focus on teaching requirements. In the US, doctoral students are expected to lecture, lead tutorials, host laboratory sessions, mark coursework and provide office hours for undergraduate students. Although students studying in European will likely contribute to these at some point during their study, this would normally be on a voluntary basis and involve less time commitment.

Research Flexibility

Another difference is project flexibility. In Europe, students typically apply to a PhD project predetermined by a supervisor, and although there may be some scope to adapt the project, depending on the funding provider , it will usually be limited to how the project is carried out rather than what it is about. In the US, however, a student applies to become a doctoral candidate within a department rather than applying for a particular research project. This is because students are expected to decide on their thesis topic (also commonly referred to as a dissertation research topic) near the end of their first phase after they have developed a better understanding of their subject and know where their interests lie. Therefore, research students in the US generally have more flexibility and influence in the direction of their research than students in the United Kingdom or Europe.

PhD Admission Requirements in USA

PhD admission into US universities can be highly competitive, both because of the limited number of positions and the large number of annual applicants.

The eligibility requirements for a doctoral program in the USA can generally be divided into four sections:

How to Apply for a PhD in USA

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) – in the US, a scoring system known as Grade Point Average is used to measure academic ability. A student’s GPA is calculated as a weighted score of the subjects they study during their undergraduate degree; an equivalent score is calculated by universities for international applicants. Although universities rarely set minimum GPA requirements for doctoral study, it’s worth being aware that a GPA of 3.0 is equivalent to a UK second class honours (2:1); the typical entry requirement for UK universities.
  • Graduate Records Exam (GRE) – most universities will require you to take a series of examinations known as Graduate Records Exams, which are used to determine your suitability for graduate study. GREs will assess your analytical, reasoning and critical thinking skills as well as your depth of your subject.
  • Student aptitude – in addition to academic ability, US universities also look for characteristics of a strong researcher. These include traits such as engaging in the subject in your own time, e.g. by attending talks and conferences, demonstrating a high degree of independence and enthusiasm, and a general passion for your subject.
  • English Language Proficiency – international students whose first language is not English must sit language exams such as IELTS or TOELF to demonstrate their English language proficiency.

International students will also require a F1 student visa in order to study in the US, however, you would typically apply for this after you have secured a place into a doctorate program.

How to Apply for PhD in USA

When applying for a PhD position at a graduate school, the application process will differ between universities, however, they will all typically ask for the following:

  • Academic CV – a short document summarising your educational background and current level of experience .
  • Personal statement – a document which outlines why you believe you are suitable for PhD study and your passion for the subject.
  • Academic transcripts – a complete breakdown of the modules and their respective marks you have taken as part of your previous/current degree.
  • GRE scores – a transcript of your Graduate Records Exam results.
  • Research statement – a condensed version of a research proposal outlining your general research interests, if required.
  • Recommendation letters – references from several academic referees who endorse your qualities as a person, your abilities as a student and your potential as a doctoral researcher.

Application Deadlines and Fees

Since PhD programs in the United States have taught components, they commence at the same time as all other taught degrees, and therefore share the same application deadlines and start dates. This corresponds to an application period that typically begins in August and ends in February. Admission decisions are typically made in April, with successful students starting in August/September.

When you apply to a graduate school, you will be expected to pay a fee for each doctorate application to cover the school’s administrative costs for processing your application. The fee varies from university to university, but typically ranges from $50 to $100 .

Funding your PhD in USA

It’s very common for a PhD student to receive financial aid in the form of a PhD scholarship; in fact, this will be the case for the vast majority of students in the US.

PhD funding can be ‘fully funded’ covering the student’s graduate program tuition fees, accommodation and living costs, or ‘partially funded’ covering the student’s tuition fee only in part or full.

Besides funding, a graduate student can take on an assistantship, such as a graduate teaching assistant or research assistant, in which they take on a part-time salaried position at the university alongside their studies.

Due to the international and collaborate nature of American universities, there are also a number of international scholarships available, such as the Fulbright Scholarship and the AAUW International Fellowship .

PhD Duration in USA

In the US, a PhD takes approximately 5 – 6 years to complete if studying full-time, and 8 – 10 years if studying part-time.

If you already have a Master’s degree, your first phase can be shortened by one year at the discretion of the university.

Cost of a PhD in USA

The cost of a PhD program in the US can vary considerably depending on the type of university, i.e. whether it’s a public or private university, the doctoral course, i.e. whether it’s in a STEM subject such as computer science, engineering or a non-STEM subject, and whether you are a home or international student.

In general, however, the typical annual tuition fee for a PhD in the US is between $12,000 and $45,000 per academic year.

As with any doctoral degree, additional costs may include travel for collaborations, bench fees, accommodation and living expenses.

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Studying a PhD in The USA - The Complete Guide

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The USA is a favourable postgraduate study destination for international students due to the high standard of academic study and the wide variety of subjects. By undertaking a PhD in the USA, you will find yourself becoming an internationally recognised expert in your chosen field.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the USA is considered the highest awarded degree in many US universities and institutes for most fields of study. For many international students, it's a dream course that offers an exciting new life chapter.

Attending Grad School for a PhD in the USA is not the same as undertaking a PhD in Europe or the UK , it can often be a different experience. However, studying abroad will improve your global cultural understanding in addition to your network of contacts for your future career. A PhD degree is often required when you apply for high-level management jobs, government expert positions, and careers like a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields.

There are a multitude of reasons why the United States is a fantastic choice for your PhD studies. Here’s everything you need to know about studying a PhD in the USA.

1. PhD course length

The total length of a PhD in the USA is between 4-8 years for full-time students and 8-10 years for part-time students, depending on your field of study. PhDs can be completed in 4-5 years for students with a masters degree in an appropriate subject. Students typically dedicate 1-4 years on coursework, followed by 2-4 years of dissertation work. In the USA, the academic year is divided into two teaching semesters: August to December and January to May. 

Having a longer duration for your PhD allows for greater opportunities to adjust to your course and find your footing. This enables you to concentrate on developing a more comprehensive understanding of your chosen subject at a more relaxed pace.

2. World-class universities

The US repeatedly tops the charts of worldwide ranking universities, so what better place to do your PhD studies? Although rankings shouldn’t be the main deciding factor when making your PhD choice, they're a great indicator of educational expertise.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the location for your PhD. Does the university have a high employability rate after graduation? Are you wanting to go public or private university? What kind of research facilities do they have? 

Be sure to do some research before making a decision on your perfect place of study.

3. International community

The United States is a popular choice for international students from all over the world – making it an inspirational and cosmopolitan choice for your PhD studies. No matter what your choice of academic study is, you are guaranteed to find a diverse community that welcomes students from all backgrounds. 

4. Affordable tuition fees 

There are various tuition fee options available for PhD students regardless of your budget. The American higher education system is often associated with high fees and substantial student debt, but in fact, studying at an American university isn't always expensive, and many institutions offer affordable courses. For instance, PhD costs range from $28,000 to $55,000, which shows that finding a PhD course that’s more affordable is possible. 

5. Student experience

American universities typically have vibrant campus communities with a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs and organisations. As a student, you will have the opportunity to engage in various social, cultural and recreational activities alongside your academic studies.

6. Student Support

American universities typically provide comprehensive support services to assist you on your PhD journey. These services may include academic advising, counselling, career services, libraries, writing centres and various student organisations aimed at fostering your personal and professional development.

7. Land of opportunity

It's fair to say that student life in the USA offers something for everyone, regardless of what you're looking for from a PhD. With 50 states, six time zones, and thousands of higher-education providers, there's an opportunity waiting for every individual across the globe.

So let’s take a look at some of the key factors to consider when studying for a PhD in the USA.

Studying a PhD in the USA: top tips

Who is eligible for a phd in the usa.

To be eligible for PhD in the USA, generally students should have completed a graduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, provide proof of English language proficiency, GRE scores and other supporting documents.  The eligibility criteria for a PhD in the USA can vary depending on the specific university and program. 

Can I get a PhD without a masters degree?

Yes, you can pursue a PhD without having a masters. Universities in the USA do not require a masters for you to apply. Because of the graduate programs in the US, you will receive your masters degree once you have completed your coursework stage. This practice combines the masters and PhD into one.

The eligibility criteria and requirements for direct entry PhD programs vary among institutions and fields of study, so it is advisable to check the entry requirements of the specific university or course you are interested in.

How to apply for a PhD in the USA

When applying for your chosen subject in the USA, you should expect to provide relevant information and statements to the university. This will include:

Completed application form – provided by your preferred university.

A personal statement – on why you want to study the subject, your research interests and career goals. Be sure to include any extracurricular activities and achievements within the body of your statement.

References – universities will expect that your referees will recommend you for the chosen course.

Test scores and grades – you will generally need to submit scores from standardised tests like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). 

English Language Proficiency – international applicants whose native language is not English usually need to provide proof of English language proficiency through tests like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). It varies from institution to institution, but international students in the USA are required to have a TOEFL score of about 90.

Samples of work – it is recommended that you provide some work you have done that is relevant to your chosen subject. You may even be asked to complete a small task during the application process.

The application fee. 

Method of study

Compared to the UK and Europe , studying a PhD in the USA involves several key differences. Students in the USA are usually in direct contact with their professor, compared with those in the UK where students might find that their PhD program is headed by a professor who gives them a little less flexibility to change their research and study areas. There can be several cultural differences between UK, Europe, and USA university lifestyles. US students are expected to undertake a great deal of teaching and marking, as opposed to PhD students in Europe. 

As a result, you may have less free time outside of the university when pursuing a PhD in the USA.

Application for PhD In USA

When applying for your chosen subject, you should expect to provide relevant information and statements to the university. This might include:

A personal statement on why you want to study the subject. Be sure to include any extra-curricular activities and achievements within the body of your statement.

References. Universities will expect that your referees will recommend you for the chosen course.

Test scores and grades. It is important that you provide a list of your awarded grades from previous courses you have studied.

Samples of work. It is recommended that you provide some work you have done that is relevant to your chosen subject. You may even be asked to complete a small task during the application process.

UK and Europe students decide on their PhD thesis subject area before they apply . While taking classes at a graduate level, prospective PhD students in the USA spend up to a year or two deciding on their specific research subject. It is normal to apply for up to six institutions for a PhD in the USA, and students apply to each institution separately as there is no central organisation. 

Students in the UK and Europe are expected to apply with an understanding of the subject already, usually in the form of a masters degree, and be ready to start studying at the PhD level straight away. In the USA it is expected that students do not have an in-depth understanding of their subject as they usually only have an undergraduate degree when they apply. 

When should I start applying for a PhD in the USA?

Deadlines for applications to PhD programs in the USA tend to be between December and February, and institutions should let you know about your application by April. Most US institutions recommend that you apply as far in advance as you possibly can to give them, and you, plenty of time to make arrangements. 

Universities in the USA do not require a masters for you to apply as well. Because of the graduate programs in the US, you will receive your masters degree once you have completed your coursework stage. This practice combines the masters and PhD into one.

It varies from institution to institution, but international students in the USA are required to have a TOEFL score of about 90.

Funding your PhD in USA

PhD students are very likely to receive financial support in the form of PhD scholarships ; some USA PhD students also receive PhD studentships .

Making your PhD application in plenty of time allows you more time to apply for and arrange your PhD funding. Many students find that funding can cover much, or all, of the cost of their PhD studies in the USA, which ranges between $28,000 and $40,000. Deadlines for funding applications can be as early as December before starting your studies in the Autumn/Fall. 

There are two types of PhD funding: fully funded, which pays for the student's graduate school tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses, or partially funded, which pays for the student's tuition only partially or fully.

Can a PhD be fully funded?

Yes, many top universities in the USA offer fully funded PhD programs for eligible students. This funding pays for the student's graduate school tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. Partially funded PhDs only cover the student's tuition in part or in full.

Some PhD students will receive a stipend from their institution with an assistantship position, but this varies between institutions and between departments within institutions. Other students can find funding from both their own and the American government, and there are plenty of American government schemes like The Fulbright Program that offer funds.

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How long does it take to study a PhD in the USA?

For part-time students in the USA, a PhD can take eight to ten years, but it usually takes five to six years for full-time students. PhDs can be completed in four to five years rather than five or six for students with a masters degree in an appropriate subject.

Top 10 ranked American universities

Based on 2023 worldwide rankings, the following table shows which US universities rank the highest.

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Application requirements for all doctoral programs (phd).

All of our doctoral programs are designed to develop outstanding educational researchers who have a deep understanding of the scientific, practical and policy issues they study. All require full-time study, and we promise five years of full-time financial support for every student we admit. Our doctoral programs are small, typically ranging from about 25 to 35 new students a year. The small size of our doctoral cohorts creates big educational advantages for students: the classes are almost always small, students receive individualized attention from their advisors, and they have many opportunities to develop close collegial relationships with fellow students.

It is extremely important to demonstrate in your statement of purpose that your interests converge closely with the current research of faculty who work in the program to which you are applying. Other doctoral applicants will certainly do this, and if you don't, you will forfeit an important competitive advantage to them. 

If you wish to contact faculty, please read our Which Degree Which Program article, by Professor Eamonn Callan, which outlines the appropriate process for contacting faculty with whom you share research interests. 

  • Program website:  Degrees and Programs/PhD
  • Length of Program:  5 years (average length)
  • Tuition: fellowship/assistantship salary and tuition guaranteed for first five years of the program (autumn, winter and spring quarters) for all students, including international students. Funding includes two summers.

Application Requirements:

Application form.

Complete and submit Stanford's graduate online application .

Application Fee

The application fee is $125 , is non-refundable, and must be received by the application deadline.

Application Fee Waivers

Stanford offers three types of application fee waivers for which GSE applicants may apply and be considered:

  • GRE Fee Reduction Certificate-Based Waiver
  • Diversity Program Participation-Based Waiver
  • School-Based Waiver

Please visit the Stanford Graduate Diversity website for instructions, deadlines, and the fee waiver application form.

Statement of Purpose

A Statement of Purpose is required. Your statement should be typed, single-spaced and should be between one to two pages . Describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program, your preparation for this field of study, and why our program is a good fit for you, your future career plans, and other aspects of your background as well as interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. You may indicate potential faculty mentors as part of your study and research interests. Be sure to keep a copy for your records. What's a Good Statement of Purpose?

A resume or CV  is required of all applicants, depending on which document is most appropriate for your background. There is no page limit for resumes or CVs, though we typically see resumes of one page in length. Please upload your resume or CV in the online application.

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation . In the online application, you will be asked to identify your recommenders and their email addresses. Please notify your recommenders that they will receive an email prompt to submit their recommendation online. You can submit your request for letters of recommendation through the system without submitting the entire online application.  Stanford GSE only accepts online recommendations through the application system ; Stanford GSE cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed recommendations.

Recommendations should be written by people who have supervised you in an academic, employment, or community service setting. We very strongly recommend that at least one of these letters be from a university professor familiar with your academic work. Your recommendations should directly address your suitability for admission to a graduate program at Stanford GSE.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all three letters of recommendation are submitted through the system by the application deadline , so please work closely with your recommenders to remind them of the deadline.

College and University Transcripts

Transcripts are required from every college and university you have attended for at least one academic year as a full-time student. When submitting your online application, transcripts should be uploaded to the application as a scanned copy or PDF ; this is sufficient for the application review process. Please refrain from sending a secured PDF/transcript with a digital signature as our system cannot upload these properly. The best way to ensure we receive an upload-able document is for you to print out the secured transcript, scan it, and upload the scanned copy (not to exceed 10MB) as a PDF. 

If you earned a degree at the institution from which you are submitting a transcript, please ensure that the degree conferral date and the degree conferred is clearly visible on the document. If you are currently enrolled in a degree program and will not have earned the respective degree by the time of submitting your GSE application, you should submit your most recent in-progress transcript from your institution.

Only if admitted will we contact you with instructions on sending two copies of your official transcripts to our office. We cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed copies of your transcripts during the application process. Please note: the instructions for sending transcripts on the online application and on the general Stanford Graduate Admissions Office website differ from this Stanford GSE requirement.

Concerning course work completed in a study abroad program

If the coursework and grades are reflected on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit original transcripts from the study abroad institution.

Concerning foreign institutions

If your institution provides a transcript in a language other than English, we require that you submit a translation of the transcript that is either provided by the institution or a certified translator. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.

If your transcript does not include your degree conferral date and the degree conferred , please submit a scanned copy of your diploma, a conferral statement, or a conferral document in addition to your transcript . If you are currently enrolled in a degree program and will not have earned the respective degree by the time of submitting your GSE application, you should submit your most recent in-progress transcript from your institution.

Stanford University requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) from all applicants whose native language is not English. The GSE requires a minimum TOEFL score of 250 for the computer-based test, 600 for the paper-based test or 100 for the internet-based test in order to be considered for admission. The Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the TOEFL is not required. Applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree or a two-year master's program (or its equivalent) in the U.S. or at an institution where English is the main language of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL. For more information on TOEFL requirements, please refer to the Required Exams  page on the main Stanford Graduate Admissions website. You may register for the TOEFL test directly at the ETS website .

TOEFL Dates and Deadlines

PhD applicants who are required to take the TOEFL should plan to take the internet-based TOEFL test and have official TOEFL scores sent electronically to Stanford at institution code 4704 (department code does not matter) no later than November 1 . This will give your official TOEFL scores time to be sent from ETS and be received by our system in time for the December 1 deadline. PhD applicants to Knight-Hennessy Scholars should plan to take the internet-based TOEFL test no later than October 16 so your scores can be received by our system in time for the November 16 KHS GSE deadline. Please note that the TOEFL may be taken no earlier than 18 months prior to the application deadline.

Does Stanford accept tests other than TOEFL?

No. We accept only TOEFL scores; we do not accept IELTS or other test scores.

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PhD Programs

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Students in our PhD programs are encouraged from day one to think of this experience as their first job in business academia—a training ground for a challenging and rewarding career generating rigorous, relevant research that influences practice.

Our doctoral students work with faculty and access resources throughout HBS and Harvard University. The PhD program curriculum requires coursework at HBS and other Harvard discipline departments, and with HBS and Harvard faculty on advisory committees. Faculty throughout Harvard guide the programs through their participation on advisory committees.

How do I know which program is right for me?

There are many paths, but we are one HBS. Our PhD students draw on diverse personal and professional backgrounds to pursue an ever-expanding range of research topics. Explore more here about each program’s requirements & curriculum, read student profiles for each discipline as well as student research , and placement information.

The PhD in Business Administration grounds students in the disciplinary theories and research methods that form the foundation of an academic career. Jointly administered by HBS and GSAS, the program has five areas of study: Accounting and Management , Management , Marketing , Strategy , and Technology and Operations Management . All areas of study involve roughly two years of coursework culminating in a field exam. The remaining years of the program are spent conducting independent research, working on co-authored publications, and writing the dissertation. Students join these programs from a wide range of backgrounds, from consulting to engineering. Many applicants possess liberal arts degrees, as there is not a requirement to possess a business degree before joining the program

The PhD in Business Economics provides students the opportunity to study in both Harvard’s world-class Economics Department and Harvard Business School. Throughout the program, coursework includes exploration of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, probability and statistics, and econometrics. While some students join the Business Economics program directly from undergraduate or masters programs, others have worked in economic consulting firms or as research assistants at universities or intergovernmental organizations.

The PhD program in Health Policy (Management) is rooted in data-driven research on the managerial, operational, and strategic issues facing a wide range of organizations. Coursework includes the study of microeconomic theory, management, research methods, and statistics. The backgrounds of students in this program are quite varied, with some coming from public health or the healthcare industry, while others arrive at the program with a background in disciplinary research

The PhD program in Organizational Behavior offers two tracks: either a micro or macro approach. In the micro track, students focus on the study of interpersonal relationships within organizations and the effects that groups have on individuals. Students in the macro track use sociological methods to examine organizations, groups, and markets as a whole, including topics such as the influence of individuals on organizational change, or the relationship between social missions and financial objectives. Jointly administered by HBS and GSAS, the program includes core disciplinary training in sociology or psychology, as well as additional coursework in organizational behavior.

Accounting & Management  

Business economics  , health policy (management)  , management  , marketing  , organizational behavior  , strategy  , technology & operations management  .

How to apply for a PhD in the US

Lecturer giulia evolvi shares everything you need to know about applying for a phd in the us from start to finish.

Giulia Evolvi's avatar

Giulia Evolvi


GRE . TOEFL . Statement of purpose . I remember staring at these terms when visiting university websites and trying to understand what they meant. After studying at universities in Italy and France, I decided to apply for a PhD programme in the US.

There are useful online resources on how to write successful application essays or how to understand the differences between studying in the US and Europe, but not many discuss the PhD application process. Supervisors and mentors in non-US universities are often not able to offer much support. This guide will help you start your applications, based on my personal experience of applying for a PhD in the US.


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Getting your tests: gre and toefl.

Applications for a US PhD programme usually require scores from GRE and TOEFL tests, exams that international students might be unfamiliar with. These tests are time-consuming and expensive, so it is important to start planning for them as soon as possible, especially because it can be difficult to find test locations outside the US.

The GRE is a test that every student, American or international, needs to take when applying to join a graduate programme. It has three parts: first is quantitative reasoning, which includes mathematical questions; second is verbal reasoning, which tests the knowledge of English words and can be challenging for international students because it is designed for English native speakers; third is analytical writing, consisting of two short essays where the student needs to critically assess a statement or position. Each university might require different scores for these three parts, and you send the scores automatically after the test to your selected list of universities.

International students also need to take the TOEFL to prove their knowledge of English. Students who come from English-speaking countries or who graduated from English-taught programmes usually do not have to take it, but it is important that you verify this with the universities you want to apply to.

For instance, students from countries where English is one of the official languages (such as India or Kenya) might nonetheless be required to take the TOEFL. Also, the results you submit must be from a test taken within the past two years old.

Each university will have different requirements in terms of the TOEFL score. The TOEFL has four parts (reading, listening, speaking and writing), and even if you are fluent in English it is usually best to get familiar with the format of each part to obtain a score that is high enough for graduate programmes.

Both are computer-based tests done through multiple-choice questions and writing/speaking exercises. Some students choose to hire tutors or attend courses to prepare for the GRE and the TOEFL, but it is possible to study for them individually by buying ETS books with exercises and/or using online resources.

PhD diary: Preparing for a PhD Is it possible to do a three-year PhD as an international student? How to decide if a postgraduate degree is right for you

Recommendation letters and transcripts

Applying for a PhD always requires a lot of paperwork, but documents for PhD applications in the US can be difficult to obtain for some international students.

Something quite crucial is the transcript of previous qualifications such as diplomas and degrees. Some universities in non-English countries offer diploma supplements that they send directly to American universities for the application process. In other cases, US universities require a certified translation, which can take time and money. It is important to communicate early and clearly with the universities you want to apply to and also with your home university to make sure it is possible to access all these documents.

Usually, PhD applications also require two or three reference letters. While this is a common practice across the world, US universities often want professors to send or upload them personally, which is not always the case in other countries. Deadlines are often non-negotiable, so I suggest that you identify people who can write reference letters for you and make sure they can do them in English and understand the submission process.

In some cases, you might also need to submit a bank statement. If you apply for programmes that offer full scholarship/funding (which I recommend), this is usually not necessary, but some universities may ask you to submit proof that you can support yourself throughout the programme. This is also required when you apply for a visa if you are not offered a scholarship.

The academic part: statement of purpose and writing samples

You might think that a long and detailed PhD project outline is the most important part of the application. While this is often true in many non-US countries, it is not always the case for US programmes. Instead, you usually have to write a one- or two-page statement of purpose in which you describe why you would fit in a given department.

Applications for US PhDs do not require personal connections with professors, and you do not need to have a supervisor in mind when you apply, but I suggest contacting professors in the department to verify whether your research interests match with theirs. Once accepted to the PhD programme, you will then select a supervisor and start writing your project.

In some cases, applications require a writing sample. Usually, it is advisable to send a university essay or a portion of your thesis. If you did not previously study in a programme taught in English, it is often possible to send a translation of your work or even a sample in another language.

Once all these documents and papers are gathered, you can start your applications. They are usually online, and there may be a fee for each application. It can be a long and expensive process, but many US universities welcome international students and offer an excellent education. In my case, it certainly was worth the effort.

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Your Roadmap to a PhD in the USA: The Ultimate Guide | 2023

A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is a postgraduate research degree awarded after a research project. 

PhD programs in the USA often involve coursework, seminars, and independent research projects. The program length varies depending on the field of study and the research topic. However, most PhD programs require students to complete a minimum of four years of study and research. Upon completion of the program, graduates are well-prepared for careers in academia, research, and industry.

Universities worldwide highly regard and recognize the PhD program in the United States. It also gives you access to cutting-edge research and knowledge and the chance to collaborate with renowned academic faculty members.

How do you select the most suitable PhD program for you?

Step 1 - Before selecting a PhD program, it is important to identify your research interests. 

Step 2 - Once you have identified your research interests, you can start researching potential PhD programs.

Step 3 - When researching PhD programs, it is important to consider their admission requirements. 

Step 4 - Look for faculty members whose research interests align with yours, and whose work you find interesting. 

Step 5 - When selecting a PhD program, you should also consider the location of the university, as well as the resources available to you.

Types of PhD

1.) Traditional PhD - A conventional PhD is a doctoral degree awarded after a research-based dissertation . It is the highest academic degree and typically requires three to five years of study and research. A dissertation is a written work that evaluates, analyzes, and synthesizes research. 

2.) Professional Doctorate - A professional doctorate is a type of doctorate that focuses on practice-based research and prepares students for professional careers like law (J.D.J.D.), medicine (M.D.M.D.), or dentistry (D.D.S.). It enhances their skills, knowledge, and expertise in their chosen field. It typically requires coursework, a comprehensive exam, a dissertation, internships, and clinical rotations. 

3.) Joint PhD - A joint PhD is a doctorate obtained jointly from two or more universities . This type of program often involves collaboration between two universities, whereby a student studies at both universities and receives a joint degree from both. 

4.) Interdisciplinary PhD - An interdisciplinary PhD is a type of doctoral program that allows students to integrate different areas of knowledge and research . It combines elements from two or more disciplinary fields, such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology, to create an original research focus or approach. 

Top PhD programs in the USA

Popular S.T.E.M. PhD programs in the USA include computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics .

Other popular PhD programs include -

  • Business Administration and Management

With a PhD in business administration and management, one can gain an advanced understanding of business and management fundamentals.

A PhD in psychology is a terminal degree that qualifies students to become researchers, professors, or practitioners in the field. It focuses on advanced study in a particular area of psychology, such as clinical, developmental, or cognitive psychology.

  • Public Health

A PhD in public Health prepares students to become public health professionals. It gives them the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct research, analyze data, and develop and implement evidence-based public health interventions

A PhD in Economics provides a strong foundation and prepares students to pursue research-oriented jobs in academia, government, and the private sector.

Top Universities for PhD in the USA

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Princeton University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Columbia University
  • Johns Hopkins University

Course Structure

Duration - 4-6 years 

Academic Year - August-December and January-May

How to apply for PhD in the USA?

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The cost of a PhD in the USA varies depending on the school and field of study. Most PhD programs are funded by research grants, teaching fellowships, and scholarships. Students may still need to cover tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. 

The total cost of a PhD program, including tuition and living expenses, can range from USD 131,000 to USD 263,000, depending on how long it takes to complete the program.

  • Public Institutions charge an average of USD 12,394 annually .
  • Private Institutions charge an average of USD 26,621 annually

How to Fund your PhD?

Funding for PhD programs in the USA is available through universities and research grants.

Fellowships - Several fellowships and grants including university-specific fellowships, government-funded grants, and private scholarships. Some examples of such fellowships are Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships and Tata Scholarships.

Teaching Assistantships - These are among the most common forms of funding for PhD students. Teaching assistantships involve working as an instructor or teaching assistant, usually at the university where the student is enrolled.

External Grants and Scholarships - External grants and scholarships are an excellent way to fund your PhD, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies often offer these grants and scholarships. They are usually merit-based, so you must demonstrate academic excellence to be eligible. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent coursework .
  • Applicants must also demonstrate strong academic performance and provide letters of recommendation from professors or mentors.
  • Some programs also require applicants to take entrance exams such as the GRE or GMAT.  

Generally, to be eligible for a PhD in the USA , you must -

  • Have completed at least 16 years of education, with a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or the equivalent.
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Well-written Research Proposal
  • Minimum GPA. of 3 - 3.6 out of 4 
  • English Proficiency Test Scores
  • GRE and GMAT are the actual entrance tests. A 320+ GRE score is acceptable.

Career options post PhD inGermany

Post-study visa options.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) - International students can take advantage of a temporary work permit known as Optional Practical Training, which permits them to work in the USA for up to a year after graduation. Furthermore, students who have majored in S.T.E.M. may be eligible for an additional 24 months of OPT

H-1B Visa - The H-1B visa is a work visa for highly qualified employees, such as recent graduates with specialized skills or knowledge. Specifically, it is employer-sponsored and typically requires a job offer from an American employer.

F-1 Visa Extension - Students pursuing further education or research in the USA may be eligible for an F-1 visa extension. 

EB-1 Visa : This is a green card option for people with exceptional ability in their field, such as those with advanced degrees or exemplary achievements. 

O-1 Visa - This is a work visa that is granted to individuals who have showcased extraordinary ability in their field, which could include those with advanced degrees or exceptional achievements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1) how important is contacting faculty before i apply.

For PhD programs, it is highly recommended that you contact faculty before you apply. This will allow you to understand their research interests and determine if there is a potential fit. It also allows the faculty members to get to know you and your research interests, which can be beneficial when considering your application. 

Q.2) How do you approach prospective supervisors?

As a PhD student, you must demonstrate your enthusiasm, knowledge, and research experience when approaching potential supervisors. Be prepared to explain why you are interested in their work and discuss your research ideas and any relevant experience. Additionally, be prepared with any questions about the research program and expectations. 

Q.3) How long is a PhD dissertation?

The length of a PhD dissertation varies depending on the field and the university, but typically it's between 80,000 and 100,000 words. 

Q.4) Do you need to write your research proposal? 

Yes, in most cases, you do. Writing your research proposal is important because it allows you to explain the research topic you are interested in and how you plan to approach it. It also allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the case and refine your research questions. If you need help writing your research proposal, consider contacting a tutor who can provide guidance and feedback as you develop your proposal.

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How to Apply for a PhD in the US

Last Updated: January 18, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Carrie Adkins, PhD . Carrie Adkins is the cofounder of NursingClio, an open access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog that connects historical scholarship to current issues in gender and medicine. She completed her PhD in American History at the University of Oregon in 2013. While completing her PhD, she earned numerous competitive research grants, teaching fellowships, and writing awards. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 20 testimonials and 96% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 628,404 times.

Getting a PhD is a challenging undertaking that takes years to achieve. It can also be an incredibly rewarding experience: you'll become a true expert in your field, and you'll be able to apply for a number of interesting jobs, including academic ones. If you're considering a PhD, start by figuring out which programs best fit your needs (they may not always be the ones at the biggest or most prestigious schools). Once you know what those programs are, you can tailor your materials accordingly and put together the best possible application packages.

Researching Schools and Programs

Step 1 Identify your research interests.

  • Keep in mind that it is not necessary for you to have a dissertation topic already chosen or even to have an extremely specific research focus. At this stage, you should just have a general idea of what you want to study and why. For example, if you are considering a PhD in English, then you should at least have an idea of the literary period that you wish to focus on.

Step 2 Search for programs that suit your needs.

  • For example, if you are planning to pursue a PhD in Chemistry, then you should find out more about the lab facilities at the university that you are considering.
  • Try to identify as many potential schools as you can. Graduate school is competitive and you will have a better chance of getting accepted if you submit multiple applications.

Step 3 Identify professors whose research interests you.

  • Keep in mind that you may be working closely with the professor(s) you identify, so it is important to select professors who you really admire and whose research genuinely interests you.

Step 4 Look for funding opportunities.

  • Keep in mind that funding opportunities are competitive. Putting forth a strong application may increase your chances of getting funding, but there are no guarantees.

"Even then, you need a back-up plan (or two or three) before you commit years of your life to a PhD."

Carrie Adkins, PhD

Carrie Adkins, PhD

Step 6 Consider other factors.

  • Location. If you plan to return to your home country during breaks, then some schools may make the trip home less time consuming than others. For example, if you will be flying back to India at the end of each school year, then choosing a school closer to one of the US coasts will make traveling easier than flying out of the Midwest. Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to select a school based solely on location. This will severely limit your choices.
  • Cost of living. Some US college towns can be quite expensive, which can make it hard to get by on your student stipend. Look into the average cost of housing, food, and other expenses in the university areas where you plan to apply.
  • Extracurricular opportunities. Clubs can other types of groups can make the transition to a US university a bit easier. Many schools have clubs for people from certain countries, who speak certain languages, or who share other interests. Check out the extracurricular opportunities that are available at the universities you are considering.

Meeting the Basic Requirements

Step 1 Obtain the appropriate degrees.

  • Taking the GRE three to six months in advance is a good idea. You may even want to take it about year before you plan to apply, just in case you do not get a good score and you need to retake it.

Step 3 Take the TOEFL or IELTS.

  • Score requirements vary by university, so check with each university to learn the score requirements before you apply. For TOEFL, you need to have at least a 600 on the paper-based test OR above a 95 to 100 on the internet-based test. For IELTS, you need to have above a 7.0 to 7.5.

Step 4 Ensure that you can afford the fees.

  • For example, if you plan to apply to 20 different programs, then you will need to ensure that you have about $2,000 for the application fees.
  • Keep in mind that the fees may vary drastically among schools. More prestigious schools may charge higher application fees than less prestigious schools.

Step 5 Compare special requirements for different schools.

  • For example, some programs require applicants to answer a specific question or set of questions in the statement of purpose.

Step 6 Request letters of recommendation.

  • For example, it would be better to ask a professor in your discipline than someone who taught an elective class that you enjoyed.
  • Having one letter of recommendation from an administrator or employer can be helpful to show a different perspective of your academic goals. For example, you might ask your department’s chairperson, one of the university’s deans, or a current or former boss. As with the professors you ask, the administrator who recommends you should be someone who will give you a glowing recommendation.

Step 7 Order transcripts.

  • Keep in mind that most schools require official transcripts.
  • Sending transcripts may or may not require you to pay fees, depending on your university’s policies.

Step 8 Choose a writing sample (if required).

  • If you have a piece that has been published, then this is an especially great choice for the writing sample, but unpublished pieces are fine as well.

Writing Your Statement of Purpose

Step 1 Check for special requirements before you start to write.

  • You may want to write one “basic” SOP and then alter or add to it as needed based on the special requirements of each university.

Step 2 Provide a bit of background.

  • For example, you might say something like, “Since I was a child, I had a passion for the natural world, and this passion led me to my desire to become a biologist.”

Step 3 Talk about your preparation for a doctoral program.

  • For example, you might say something like, “As an undergrad, I participated in on-campus research expos and even attended a local conference. Then, during my MA program, I had an article accepted to Biology Quarterly and presented at a national conference.” [2] X Research source
  • You can also talk about specific courses you took, professors who have supervised your work, and research that you conducted during your BA and MA programs.

Step 4 Explain the types of contributions you would like to make.

  • For example, you might say something like, “I hope to develop a new process for growing corn.”

Step 5 Mention professors with whom you would like to work and explain why.

  • Try reading each professor’s biography on the university website. You may also consider reading one of these professors’ publications, such as an article or book.
  • Try saying something like, “I hope to work with Professor Jones because she and I share a similar interest in botany.”

Step 6 Use examples to illustrate your points.

  • Make sure that you include examples throughout your entire SOP.

Submitting Your Application Packets

Step 1 Complete online application components.

  • Some schools also require letters of recommendation to be submitted via an online system. You may need to submit your recommenders email addresses so that they can access this system.

Step 2 Prepare your application items to mail.

  • Address the packets. Make sure that you double check the addresses for each of your packets to ensure that they will be delivered to the correct location.
  • Pay for postage. International postage can be quite expensive, so make sure that you reserve some money to pay for this cost. Pay the postage for each of your packets and send them out.

Step 3 Wait for responses.

What Are The Main Reasons People Go To Graduate School?

Expert Q&A

Carrie Adkins, PhD

  • Even if a university is unable to provide you with direct funding or a scholarship, there may be other opportunities for you to earn an income while you are there, such as research assistantships. Look into this before turning down an offer from a university you might otherwise want to attend. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Once you are done with everything, do not forget to thank everybody who helped you, especially the referees who wrote letters of recommendation. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Gaining some sort of research or work experience in the field you plan to apply to will greatly improve your chances of admission. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to phd in usa

  • Keep your address consistent throughout - do not abbreviate or introduce variations. This makes it all the more difficult for the graduate office to file your documents. Thanks Helpful 18 Not Helpful 5
  • Use a reliable courier service to send documents to universities - FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc. Do not use a service for which you cannot track your package. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 7

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About This Article

Carrie Adkins, PhD

To apply for a Ph.D. in the US, earn a Bachelor’s degree and take the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination. Then, carefully read the application instructions of each school to increase your odds of getting accepted. In the mean time, request letters of recommendation from professors in your discipline or an employer. You will also need to have your transcripts on hand, and to write a statement of purpose. For tips on writing a great statement of purpose and nailing the rest of the process, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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PhD Admission Guide

Gain admission to your dream school, guide to phd admission.

While some students swear off further education after undergrad, some love the thrill of intellectual discovery and research. For these students, graduate school is a natural choice. Graduate degrees are separated into “professional” and “academic” categories. Professional degrees are JDs and MDs, while academic degrees are PhDs (literally “Doctorates of Philosophy” regardless of what field you actually study).

Whether or not you need to pursue a PhD depends entirely on what career you wish to have. Some require higher education, while many others do not. In this guide we’ll go over how to apply to PhD programs, what they are looking for, and how the application process works. This guide is focused on the US and Canada; Europe has a system which is simultaneously similar and very different.

What PhD Programs Look For

how to phd in usa

PhD programs want to make sure you are prepared academically for the rigors of the program, and that you have a concrete research goal in mind. PhD programs culminate with each student answering a research question they devise, contributing new knowledge to the world in the process. 

Thus these programs seek to evaluate your intellectual ability, research goals, previous research experience, and how you will contribute to their program. To determine this, they ask for the following:

Letters of Recommendation

We’ll go through each of these in turn, and explain what graduate programs are looking for from each.

Your GPA in undergrad is the single most important factor in PhD admissions. If your GPA is too low your application will be dismissed out of hand. While there are no hard limits, we suggest a minimum GPA of 3.5 for serious contention, especially at top schools. If your GPA is below 3.0 then you will likely not get admitted into any PhD programs.

The reason for this is that PhD programs are a lot of work. Being intelligent is necessary, but is far from sufficient alone. Everyone in PhD programs is intelligent, and everyone is also willing to do the work. Your GPA is seen as the primary indicator of your willingness and ability to do academic work to a high standard, and your preparation for the rigors of a PhD program.

Along with your overall GPA, schools request your major GPA. This is your GPA when calculated only using courses in your major. This is usually expected to be higher than your overall GPA. Your major GPA should be over 3.5.

While taking harder courses in undergrad is a great experience, they can also harm your overall GPA. Of course, the best approach is to take very hard classes and do well in them, but this is not always possible. We recommend taking a blend of courses, so you are never overloaded, and able to give each the attention it needs to do well.

Academic Preparation

Your GPA and transcript is also used to judge your academic preparation for the program. You should have a solid grounding in the field, and have taken advanced courses as well. Taking graduate level courses in undergrad can exemplify this. 

Some PhD programs also require research languages. This is more common in the social sciences and humanities, but all students will benefit from knowing other languages well enough to do research in them. You should look up language requirements when researching programs to apply to.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test meant for students who intend to apply to graduate programs. Both MA and PhD programs ask for GRE scores. Much like the SAT or ACT in college exams, the test is meant to be a standardized measure of academic preparation and logical skill.

The test consists of six sections. The first is writing, next are two on verbal reasoning, then two on quantitative reasoning, and finally a research or experimental section, meant to test new questions. The entire test is offered on the computer, with one minute breaks after each section, and a ten minute break after the third section. While there is also a paper-based test, almost all testing is now done on a computer. Due to the pandemic, both testing centers and at-home testing are offered. The GRE is a multi-stage test, and how well you do on earlier sections determines the difficulty of later sections and questions. 

The verbal sections each consist of 20 questions, to be answered over 30 minutes. The whole is scored on a scale of 130-170. The quantitative section is scored the same, and consists of two 20 question sections, each of which should be completed in 35 minutes. The writing section is scored from 0-6. For this section, you write an essay on a given issue in 30 minutes, and offer a response critiquing a provided argument for 30 minutes.

Your total score from the GRE is given from 130-170. While the exact scores you need to enter graduate school vary, higher is better. In addition, some programs only care about your verbal score, while others only care about your quantitative score. How much weight each program puts on GRE scores varies greatly.

We recommend studying for the GRE for some time before testing. You can take the GRE up to five times per year, but must wait at least 21 days between testing dates. Only scores from the past 5 years will be released or considered by graduate programs.

Curriculum Vitae

This is akin to a resume, but is dissimilar enough that the two cannot be used interchangeably. The purpose of a CV is, like a resume, to detail what you have accomplished academically and in your career. It is far more focused on academics however, and is widely used for academic careers.

We recommend finding a template for a CV online, or asking your college’s advisors for help in creating one. If you already have a resume, then you will easily be able to convert it into a CV.

What admissions officers are looking for in your activities is primarily signs of research. This should be in whatever field you intend to pursue a PhD in. Publications are also incredibly valuable. All of academia runs on publication, and getting an early start helps your career at every step.

You should try to do research while still in undergrad. What this looks like depends entirely on what field you are pursuing. While the research does not have to exactly line up with what you wish to pursue, it should teach you skills which are cross applicable. Higher level academic research has its own set of methods and language which must be learned, and students who are already familiar with the forms and structures of research have a leg up in graduate school. 

Publication is not required, but is nice to see. If you have completed a master’s degree, you should have some publication history; of your thesis if nothing else. Speak with your academic advisors about getting your work published.

Each graduate school you apply to will ask for an essay. You will be able to use the same basic form for each, but will need to edit it to be about the particular program you are applying to. Most schools only require a single essay, although some programs ask for a second on diversity.

The purpose of this essay is to explain your research interests, what you have studied, your intended area of specialization, and what your focus will be on. Every PhD student is asking and trying to answer a very specific research question. This question forms the basis of their dissertation, and will be the focus of your life for several years if you are accepted.

Thus the essay is the most important part of your application. Your grades and GRE are required to see if you are academically ready for graduate school, but the essay lets readers know if you are a match for their program, and serious about your research.

Your essay should begin by stating which program you are applying to, and why. Next, go through your previous academic experience in the field, both coursework and research. You don’t have to go through every class, but cover the ones most relevant to your desired research topic.

You should discuss any prior research you have done in the field. If you completed a thesis for your undergraduate degree or a master’s program, cover that here. If you have any publication credits, cover those as well. This should relate directly to the field you are trying to enter. If you wish to pursue lab work, discuss your previous experiences; if instead you are pursuing field work, talk about your experiences there.

Next you should talk about the research you specifically wish to pursue through a PhD. You don’t need to have an exact research question worked out, but it is helpful to have some idea; you should at least know the subfield you will be focusing on. The more specific you are, the better. Having some discussion of methodology can be nice, but is not always necessary.

If there are any ongoing research projects ongoing at the school you wish to work on, cover those next. You should discuss how these projects specifically relate to your own research interests. Finally, you should talk about which professors you wish to work with. Professors take on graduate students to advise, and you ideally want one with a specialization at least tangentially related to your field of interest. The more closely related the professor’s studies are to your own, the better.

You will be able to leave much of this essay the same for each school you apply to, changing only the name of the program, the research projects, and the professors you wish to work with. 

This essay should be a page and a half to two pages long, single spaced. You should go into sufficient detail for those reading it to understand the research you want to pursue. These essays are reviewed by the faculty who run the department, and they make the admissions decisions for PhD programs. There are many more applicants than there are spaces, and admissions rates are low. The more specific and detailed you are in this essay, the better the faculty will understand your research aims, and the better your chances will be.

Diversity Statements

Not all programs ask for these, but you will likely be able to reuse the same essay for those that do. The purpose of the diversity statement is to see what unique points of view and experiences you will be able to contribute to the program. PhDs are about learning, and the more viewpoints and ideas within a program, the broader the experience will be.

If you are a member of an underrepresented group, an immigrant, come from an underprivileged background, or come from an area which is generally underrepresented, we suggest discussing that in this essay. You should not write an essay about your interactions with members of these groups, or a study abroad experience.

Above all, this essay should be authentic to you and your experience. The goal is to show how your background has shaped you as a person, and how it impacts your view of the world.

As with college applications, letters of recommendation are required for PhD admissions. These tell admissions committees who you are as a student and researcher, and give their opinion on how you will perform when doing graduate level work. Academic fields are small and often insular, and the professors writing your letters will often be known by those reading them, either by reputation or in person.

Programs ask for two to four letters. These should primarily come from professors who know you and your work well. If you had a thesis advisor, they should write one of your letters. If you’ve worked doing research for some time, then a mentor or lab director can also be a good source of a letter, even if they haven’t taught you in class. Letters should not come from non-academic sources, unless you have worked professionally in that field. 

While you have the option to read the letters that are written for you, you should always waive that right. If you don’t trust your writers to craft good letters for you, then you shouldn’t be asking them for letters. Asking to see letters is considered a sign of lack of trust, and is gauche. Many professors will decline to write letters if you insist on seeing them.

You should ask for letters well in advance of when they are due; we recommend at least a month or two. If you are asking non-tenured faculty for a letter, more leeway is recommended, as they have more on their plate, and are often more stressed. You may need to send a reminder as deadlines approach. You should also share a copy of your essay with letter writers, so they know exactly what subfield you intend to pursue, and can discuss this in their letters.

Finally, you should be aware of politics when asking for letters. Some professors do not like each other at all. If you are seen as the protege of a professor who others detest, this can impact your admissions chances. Always discuss which schools and programs you are applying to with your letter writers. You should also discuss your choices of writers with an advisor (for example a thesis advisor) familiar with the field. Academic politics are incredibly petty, but if you plan to pursue a PhD you need to be aware of the game, and how it is played.

how to phd in usa

If your application passes the first review, you will be invited to do an interview. This will be with faculty in the program you are applying to. This is to further get to know you, and to understand your research objectives. 

You should be able to clearly explain what you want to research, and how this program will help you do so. The people talking to you will all be familiar with the field, though not necessarily your specific subfield. They are looking for your ability to communicate and explain your view. Be prepared to answer some questions about the specifics of your goals, though it’s ok if you don’t know everything right now.

Interviews are generally in person, though due to the pandemic, virtual interviews have become more common. This is also your chance to ask any questions you have about the program you were unable to find answers to online. You can practice for this interview with an advisor or mentor; many schools have career centers which hold mock grad school interviews as well.

When and How to Apply to Grad School

There is no unified platform for PhD applications. Instead you must apply to each program individually, through the school’s website. This will mean filling out information multiple times, but they fortunately don’t ask for much. Once you have your documents in order, the rest is personal, demographic, and contact information.

You will need to pay to have your GRE scores sent to each school you apply to. Even though this is all electronic, they still charge dearly for it. 

Applications are generally due in December or January, with interviews held over the next few months. Applications open in September or October. We recommend getting your applications in before the due date, though most programs don’t use rolling admissions. Each program sets their own deadlines, so you should track when each of your applications is due carefully to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

Paying for Grad School

PhD programs are for the most part fully funded. This means you will not be paying tuition, and will also get funding to live on. This funding is generally contingent on academic standing, and doing work TAing, teaching, or on ongoing research projects (or most commonly, all of the above). Many grad students also work full or part time to support themselves. 

While you will not need to take on additional debt to pay for graduate school, you will not be well paid either. While the exact amount graduate students receive varies by school and program, it is generally in the range of $20-30,000 annually. This goes towards food, housing, and supplies.

While you are in a PhD program, you will not have to make payments on any government loans you took out to pay for undergrad, though they will continue to accrue interest. Making payments on them during grad school is difficult, but will greatly cut down on the amount you need to pay back later.

There are also outside scholarships available to help pay for graduate studies. While the amounts offered by these vary, most are small. They can help greatly with paying for the necessities however, and applying to them is usually worth the time investment.

Grad School Admission FAQ

Now we’ll answer some of the most common questions about applying to PhD programs.

Can older students apply?

Yes. Many professionals return to school for a PhD long out of undergrad. We suggest taking some courses at a local university in the field you plan on entering before you do this however. Academic research advances quickly, and this will familiarize you with the latest developments. Further, this will introduce you to professors who can provide you with letters of recommendation.

What are my odds of acceptance?

This depends on both your field and program. Generally, however, it is quite difficult to gain admissions to a PhD program, and admission rates hover around 10%. Only the best students get accepted, and this is even more the case at the top schools and programs.

When should I start thinking about applications?

When you choose your major, you should decide what level you want to reach within that field. Some majors lend themselves to PhDs if you want to work in that field, while others allow employment at various levels.

Where should I apply?

You should find programs with professors who are dedicated to your particular subfield. A prestigious institution which does not focus on your area is far less useful, regardless of how famous its name is. You are looking for someone who will be able to advise you, and help you perform worthwhile research. Further, professors are looking for students studying fields similar to their own when they admit graduate students.

How long are PhD programs?

Generally programs last 4-5 years, though this can vary based on field. The exact structure of the programs also varies a lot based on field and program.

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Insider's guide: PhD requirements in USA for international students

Insider's guide: PhD requirements in USA for international students

Pursuing a PhD in the United States can be a life-changing experience for international students looking to enhance their academic qualifications, advance their careers, and expand their horizons. However, before embarking on this journey, it's important to understand the requirements and expectations of the US doctoral education system.

In this article, we'll delve into the essential PhD requirements in the USA for international students, covering academic qualifications, English language proficiency, standardised tests, funding, and visa procedures.

Table of Contents

Academic qualifications, english language proficiency, standardised tests, visa procedures, frequently asked questions.

Academic qualifications are an important requirement for international students seeking to pursue a PhD in the USA. Students are typically required to hold a bachelor's or master's degree from a recognised university, with a strong academic record and relevant coursework.

The specific academic qualifications required for admission to PhD programs can vary depending on the university and program. Some programs may require a bachelor's degree in a specific field, while others may accept students with a bachelor's degree in a related field. Some programs may also require a master's degree, while others may allow students to earn a master's degree as part of the PhD program.

In addition to the degree requirements, international students may be required to provide official transcripts and diplomas from all institutions attended, as well as a course-by-course evaluation of their academic credentials from a recognised credential evaluation service.

It is also important for international students to have relevant coursework and research experience in their field of study. PhD programs in the USA typically require students to conduct independent research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their field. Therefore, having a strong academic background and relevant research experience can increase a student's chances of being admitted to a PhD program.

International students should carefully review the academic qualifications required for each program they are interested in and ensure that they meet the requirements. If their qualifications do not meet the requirements, they may need to take additional coursework or earn a higher degree before applying to PhD programs.

Also read: Ultimate guide PhD in the UK

English language proficiency is also one of the essential PhD requirements in USA for international students. The ability to communicate effectively in English is crucial to succeed in academic and professional settings in the US.

Most universities require international students to demonstrate their proficiency in English by taking an English language proficiency exam. The most commonly accepted exams are the TOEFL, IELTS.

The minimum scores required for admission to PhD programs can vary depending on the university and program. Typically, a minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS is required, but some programs may require higher scores.

In addition to the TOEFL or IELTS, some universities may accept other English language proficiency exams, such as the PTE Academic or the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) exam.

Also read: PhD Scholarship for Pakistani Students

Standardised tests are an important requirement for international students seeking to pursue a PhD in the USA. Standardised tests are used to assess an applicant's academic abilities and potential for success in a PhD program. The most commonly required standardised tests for PhD programs in the USA include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

The GRE is a standardised test that assesses a student's verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. The test is typically required for admission to graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines, including science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities.

The GMAT is a standardised test that assesses a student's analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning skills. The test is typically required for admission to graduate programs in business and management.

The minimum scores required for admission to PhD programs can vary depending on the university and program. Typically, a minimum score in the 50th percentile or higher is required for the GRE, while a minimum score of 600 or higher is required for the GMAT.

The specific standardised tests required for admission to PhD programs can vary depending on the university and program. Some programs may require the GRE or GMAT, while others may require a different test, such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for programs in the health sciences.

Funding can be a critical consideration for international students pursuing a PhD in the USA. Pursuing a PhD in the USA can be quite expensive, with tuition and living expenses often exceeding $50,000 per year. While federal financial aid is not available to international students, there are a variety of funding options that may be available to help cover the cost of tuition, living expenses , and research-related expenses.

One common source of funding for PhD students is through teaching or research assistantships. These positions typically provide a stipend or salary in exchange for work done in support of the department or faculty member providing the funding. Assistantship opportunities can be competitive, but they can provide valuable experience and financial support for students throughout their program.

Scholarships and fellowships can also be a valuable source of funding for international students pursuing a PhD in the USA. These awards may be offered by the university, private foundations, or other organisations, and can cover some or all of the cost of tuition and living expenses.

International students may also be eligible for funding from their home country or through external sources such as grants or fellowships. It's important for students to research these opportunities and understand any restrictions or requirements that may apply.

Finally, some students may choose to fund their PhD program through personal savings or by taking out student loans. While these options can provide flexibility in terms of funding, it's important for students to carefully consider the long-term financial implications of taking on debt to fund their education.

Also read: PhD in USA without GRE

The visa application process is an important step for international students seeking to pursue a PhD in the USA. International students who are accepted into a PhD program in the USA will typically need to obtain an F-1 student visa.

To begin the visa application process, students will need to provide proof of acceptance into a program, typically in the form of an acceptance letter from the university. In addition, students will need to demonstrate proof of financial support to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses in the USA. This can be done by providing bank statements or other documentation showing that the student or their sponsor has sufficient funds to cover these costs.

Once the initial documentation has been submitted, students will need to complete the DS-160 form, pay the visa application fee, and schedule an appointment at a US embassy or consulate in their home country. During the appointment, students will need to provide biometric data (such as fingerprints) and participate in an interview with a consular officer. The interview is an important part of the visa application process and can be a deciding factor in whether the student is approved for the visa.

It's important for international students to begin the visa application process well in advance of the start of their PhD program, as it can take several weeks or even months to complete all of the necessary steps. Students should also consult with the international student office at their university for guidance and support throughout the process.

Also read: PhD in abroad with scholarships (for Indian students)

Pursuing a PhD in the USA as an international student can be a challenging and rewarding experience. While the requirements for admission can be rigorous, they are designed to ensure that students have the academic qualifications, language proficiency, and aptitude needed to succeed in a doctoral program. With careful planning and research, international students can find funding opportunities and navigate the visa application process to achieve their academic and professional goals.

What is the typical academic qualification required for international students to apply to PhD programs in the USA?

International students are typically required to hold a bachelor's or master's degree from a recognised university, with a strong academic record and relevant coursework.

Do international students need to take the GRE or GMAT to apply to PhD programs in the USA?

Yes, in many cases international students are required to take the GRE or GMAT as part of the application process for PhD programs in the USA. The specific requirements can vary depending on the university and program.

Are there any language proficiency tests required for international students to apply to PhD programs in the USA?

Yes, international students whose native language is not English may be required to take an English language proficiency test, such as the TOEFL or IELTS, as part of the application process for PhD programs in the USA.

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how to phd in usa

10 great PhD scholarships in the US for international students 2022

PhD scholarships

If you’re an international student looking for PhD scholarships, consider the US. With over 4,000 universities and six different time zones across 50 states, the US is one of the most popular study destinations in the world. Three main reasons why the US continues to attract PhD students despite their geographical location (usually taking up to two days to arrive from elsewhere) and high living costs as befits a developed nation, are outlined below.

Firstly, the US is home to many world-class universities with robust global  rankings – some of them are even in the top 100 world universities. Even though ranking is not an all-important reason to choose a university to do a PhD, it makes sense to study in one of the world’s best-ranked universities, and where else but to choose the US.

Secondly, the US PhD takes a longer time than PhDs in other countries. This is not necessarily a bad thing because when the US PhD takes up to five years or longer to complete, you will have more time to adjust, settle in and eventually thrive in your studies.

Finally, students doing their PhDs in the US are almost guaranteed to have a tuition fee waiver. They will get a stipend from the university for the entire duration of their studies as well, which makes for an attractive incentive.

PhD scholarships

If you have ever wanted to go to the US to do your PhD but need a scholarship, now you can, with these US PhD scholarships at top-ranked universities. Source: Justin Heiman/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

However, if you want to get this funded PhD in the US, especially in the top-ranked universities, it is always a good idea to apply as early as possible before their deadlines. If you miss the scholarship deadline, you can still apply and be accepted for the PhD.

Here is a list of US PhD scholarships and stipends that will help you achieve your dream of studying in the US.

PhD Scholarship 1: University of Idaho

As one of the top 100 for the best value in the US, the University of Idaho is a great choice to do your PhD, thanks to the low cost of living and tuition fees. The College of Graduate Studies has several knowledgeable staff who can advise you on the wide array of financial aid resources as well.

You need to have a relevant master’s degree to be able to apply for this scholarship by Apr. 1, 2022. Besides the scholarship application, you have to submit a 500 to 1,000-word essay or a two to five-minute video that describes your aspirations to conduct projects, research or other opportunities to increase intercultural understanding.

PhD Scholarship 2: University of Colorado Boulder

As one of 36 US public research institutions in the Association of American Universities – an elite group of recognised research universities – the University of Colorado Boulder has many enviable rankings such as being the first university to have a STARS Gold for sustainability. Their warm student-centred campus community ensures you will not feel out of place.

The Incoming Graduate Student Fellowship – with a Feb. 11, 2022 deadline under the Centre for Humanities and the Arts – will cover up to 18 credits of tuition per semester, student fees, health insurance as well as a first-year stipend equivalent to a 50% Graduate Part-Time Instructor appointment. You must be enroled as a doctoral student and working in the humanities or arts.

PhD Scholarship 3: Vanderbilt University 

Thanks to an innovative mix of immersive learning, integrated research and collaborative culture, Vanderbilt University is ranked the country’s #14 National University, and #1 for its education, nursing and audiology graduate programmes (US World and News Report 2021). Their location in Nashville, Tennessee allows students to enjoy a world-class city experience in a small college-feel town.

Qualified PhD applicants can apply for the University Graduate Fellowship by Jan. 15, 2022 in order to be nominated by their department. They will receive a stipend of up to US$5,000 for up to three years of their PhD studies.

PhD Scholarship 4 and 5: Washington University in St. Louis

Founded in 1853 in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis attracts over 15,500 students from 100 countries and all 50 US states. They are well-known for being among the world’s leaders in teaching, research, patient care and service to society.

Below are two scholarships – both with a deadline of Jan. 25, 2022 – offered to students wanting to apply to the Graduate School, Washington University in St. Louis:

Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship

Graduate students with strong academic records, and a keen interest in diversity and service can apply for this Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship where they will receive academic, professional and personal support. You need to have a US undergraduate degree and have a desire to become a college or university professor.

Fellowship winners enjoy an annual stipend of US$36,720 (2021-22 rate), full tuition coverage, an educational allowance of US$1,500 and priority housing. 

Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellowship for Women in Graduate Study

This Fellowship – co-sponsored by the University and the Monticello College Foundation – is especially created to encourage more women to take up graduate study, and serve society afterwards.

The successful recipients will receive an annual stipend worth US$36,720 and a US$600 travel award besides full tuition remission throughout their programme.

PhD Scholarship 6: University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is well recognised as one of the most famous public research universities in the US. Over 50,000 students study at this university, which spans five campuses including the main Twin Cities campus.

The Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship Programme is available for exceptional research graduate students with diverse life and educational backgrounds who are underrepresented within graduate programmes.

They need to be nominated first by the Director of Graduate Studies in their respective graduate programme; they will get a stipend worth US$25,000, academic tuition for up to 14 graduate-rate credits per semester, health insurance subsidy and dental care.

PhD Scholarship 7: University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin – ranked as the top public university in Texas (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019) – has other high rankings including being #14 Public University (US News and World Report 2019). Their global world ranking is #67 (QS World University Rankings 2022) as well.

Through this Donald D. Harrington Graduate Fellows Programme Fellowship , recruited talented students are envisioned to share their knowledge and success with future generations. A stipend of US$40,000 for 12 months, tuition and required fees, an allowance for student medical insurance, and US$2,000 for miscellaneous expenses make up this generous funding package; the deadline is Jan. 24, 2022.

The following universities and institutions have not indicated any deadlines for their graduate fellowships, but you can contact them for further information.

PhD Scholarship 8: University of Oregon

As a Tier-One National Public Research University and being the top public university in Oregon (for first-year retention and graduation rates), the University of Oregon attracts over 22,000 students. It has nine schools and colleges. 

The International Cultural Service Programme is an annual tuition waiver scholarship ranging from US$9,000 to US$35,000 for up to 15 credits per term. Winners are required to do cultural service in the form of presentations about their home country to children, community organisations and the university’s students and faculty.

PhD Scholarships 9 and 10: East-West Centre

The East-West Centre , established by the US Congress in 1960, is a nonprofit organisation acting as a US-based institution for public diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region. Located adjacent to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), the centre’s Honolulu campus spans 21 acres.

Below are two Fellowships – established since 1999 through the Y. S. Lee Family Endowed Fellowship Fund and worth US$5,000 each – available for graduate students.

Wing-tsit Chan Graduate Fellowship in Chinese Philosophy

For students interested in Chinese philosophy, they can apply for this fellowship. They need to be nominated by the UHM Philosophy Department and selected by a committee that includes representatives from the East-West Centre’s Education Programme, the department’s Graduate Committee, and a member of the UH Center for Chinese Studies Executive Committee.

Ah Kin (Buck) Yee Graduate Fellowship in Chinese Studies

The recipient should ideally have been accepted for full-time graduate study in any field of Chinese studies. You need to apply via the University of Hawaii’s Student Scholarships website.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Ph.D. Commencement robing Martin West and Christopher Cleveland

Additional Information

  • Download the Doctoral Viewbook
  • Admissions & Aid

The Harvard Ph.D. in Education trains cutting-edge researchers who work across disciplines to generate knowledge and translate discoveries into transformative policy and practice.

Offered jointly by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Ph.D. in Education provides you with full access to the extraordinary resources of Harvard University and prepares you to assume meaningful roles as university faculty, researchers, senior-level education leaders, and policymakers.

As a Ph.D. candidate, you will collaborate with scholars across all Harvard graduate schools on original interdisciplinary research. In the process, you will help forge new fields of inquiry that will impact the way we teach and learn. The program’s required coursework will develop your knowledge of education and your expertise in a range of quantitative and qualitative methods needed to conduct high-quality research. Guided by the goal of making a transformative impact on education research, policy, and practice, you will focus on independent research in various domains, including human development, learning and teaching, policy analysis and evaluation, institutions and society, and instructional practice.   

Curriculum Information

The Ph.D. in Education requires five years of full-time study to complete. You will choose your individual coursework and design your original research in close consultation with your HGSE faculty adviser and dissertation committee. The requirements listed below include the three Ph.D. concentrations: Culture, Institutions, and Society; Education Policy and Program Evaluation; and Human Development, Learning and Teaching . 

We invite you to review an example course list, which is provided in two formats — one as the full list by course number and one by broad course category . These lists are subject to modification. 

Ph.D. Concentrations and Examples

Summary of Ph.D. Program

Doctoral Colloquia  In year one and two you are required to attend. The colloquia convenes weekly and features presentations of work-in-progress and completed work by Harvard faculty, faculty and researchers from outside Harvard, and Harvard doctoral students. Ph.D. students present once in the colloquia over the course of their career.

Research Apprenticeship The Research Apprenticeship is designed to provide ongoing training and mentoring to develop your research skills throughout the entire program.

Teaching Fellowships The Teaching Fellowship is an opportunity to enhance students' teaching skills, promote learning consolidation, and provide opportunities to collaborate with faculty on pedagogical development.

Comprehensive Exams  The Written Exam (year 2, spring) tests you on both general and concentration-specific knowledge. The Oral Exam (year 3, fall/winter) tests your command of your chosen field of study and your ability to design, develop, and implement an original research project.

Dissertation  Based on your original research, the dissertation process consists of three parts: the Dissertation Proposal, the writing, and an oral defense before the members of your dissertation committee.

Culture, Institutions, and Society (CIS) Concentration

In CIS, you will examine the broader cultural, institutional, organizational, and social contexts relevant to education across the lifespan. What is the value and purpose of education? How do cultural, institutional, and social factors shape educational processes and outcomes? How effective are social movements and community action in education reform? How do we measure stratification and institutional inequality? In CIS, your work will be informed by theories and methods from sociology, history, political science, organizational behavior and management, philosophy, and anthropology. You can examine contexts as diverse as classrooms, families, neighborhoods, schools, colleges and universities, religious institutions, nonprofits, government agencies, and more.

Education Policy and Program Evaluation (EPPE) Concentration

In EPPE, you will research the design, implementation, and evaluation of education policy affecting early childhood, K–12, and postsecondary education in the U.S. and internationally. You will evaluate and assess individual programs and policies related to critical issues like access to education, teacher effectiveness, school finance, testing and accountability systems, school choice, financial aid, college enrollment and persistence, and more. Your work will be informed by theories and methods from economics, political science, public policy, and sociology, history, philosophy, and statistics. This concentration shares some themes with CIS, but your work with EPPE will focus on public policy and large-scale reforms.

Human Development, Learning and Teaching (HDLT) Concentration

In HDLT, you will work to advance the role of scientific research in education policy, reform, and practice. New discoveries in the science of learning and development — the integration of biological, cognitive, and social processes; the relationships between technology and learning; or the factors that influence individual variations in learning — are transforming the practice of teaching and learning in both formal and informal settings. Whether studying behavioral, cognitive, or social-emotional development in children or the design of learning technologies to maximize understanding, you will gain a strong background in human development, the science of learning, and sociocultural factors that explain variation in learning and developmental pathways. Your research will be informed by theories and methods from psychology, cognitive science, sociology and linguistics, philosophy, the biological sciences and mathematics, and organizational behavior.

Program Faculty

The most remarkable thing about the Ph.D. in Education is open access to faculty from all Harvard graduate and professional schools, including the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Learn about the full Ph.D. Faculty.

Jarvis Givens

Jarvis R. Givens

Jarvis Givens studies the history of American education, African American history, and the relationship between race and power in schools.

Paul Harris

Paul L. Harris

Paul Harris is interested in the early development of cognition, emotion, and imagination in children.

Meira Levinson

Meira Levinson

Meira Levinson is a normative political philosopher who works at the intersection of civic education, youth empowerment, racial justice, and educational ethics. 

Luke Miratrix

Luke W. Miratrix

Luke Miratrix is a statistician who explores how to best use modern statistical methods in applied social science contexts.

how to phd in usa

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor studies the economics of education, with a particular interest in employer-employee interactions between schools and teachers — hiring and firing decisions, job design, training, and performance evaluation.

Paola Uccelli

Paola Uccelli

Paola Ucelli studies socio-cultural and individual differences in the language development of multilingual and monolingual students.

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View Ph.D. Faculty


The following is a complete listing of successful Ph.D. in Education dissertations to-date. Dissertations from November 2014 onward are publicly available in the Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH) , the online repository for Harvard scholarship.

  • 2022 Graduate Dissertations (265 KB pdf)
  • 2021 Graduate Dissertations (177 KB pdf)
  • 2020 Graduate Dissertations (121 KB pdf)
  • 2019 Graduate Dissertations (68.3 KB pdf)

Student Directory

An opt-in listing of current Ph.D. students with information about their interests, research, personal web pages, and contact information:

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Student Directory

Introduce Yourself

Tell us about yourself so that we can tailor our communication to best fit your interests and provide you with relevant information about our programs, events, and other opportunities to connect with us.

Program Highlights

Explore examples of the Doctor of Philosophy in Education experience and the impact its community is making on the field:

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How to apply for Phd in USA?

How to apply for PhD in USA for international students - The USA is inarguably one of the most preferred study destinations for international students, especially for its PhD programs. One of the main factors that attract so many applicants for PhD in the USA is that there are a wide range of courses available for PhD candidates. This is why international students prefer to study in the USA and research a lot about “how to apply for PhD in USA”. Besides, the US has also created a flexible platform for intensive research. Another positive aspect of pursuing a PhD in USA for Indian students is that it invests a lot in Research and Development. TOP EXAMS: IELTS | TOEFL | GRE | G MAT Country Guide: UK | Ireland | Australi a | Canada

Steps for Applying PhD in USA

Eligibility for applying phd in usa, how to apply for phd in usa with scholarship.

How to apply for Phd in USA?

It is because of these initiatives that the US walks away with most of the international awards in any field and also records one of the highest registrations for patents in the world. Therefore, there is little room left for any doubt why the US attracts so many international students to its universities every year. However, candidates applying for PhD in the USA have questions on how to apply for PhD in USA for Indian students, when the application process starts. Added to that candidates are left out of the list of the PhD requirements in USA for international students. Here we have explained the entire process of how one can apply for PhD in the USA right from the time needed to research for universities to submission of application forms.

Read the steps to know "how to apply for PhD in USA" from India or for International students. The steps mentioned can be followed, right after the candidates' decision to pursue Phd in USA.

Choose your major subject - The first step before applying for a PhD in USA is to choose the subject in which one wants to do a Major. Most aspirants opt for the course in which they already have a bachelor’s degree, though there is no such hard and fast rule that requires one to choose the same subject. However, students who wish to pursue their PhD in another field have to present strong reasons and show proof of experience in the concerned field. In American countries PhD can be applied after a bachelors degree.

Research for universities - Once the aspirant has chosen his Major subject, the next step in “how to apply for PhD in USA” is to find universities that offer PhD in the USA in that particular subject. It is advisable to shortlist at least 8 to 10 PhD universities in USA. Some of the major factors to consider while choosing a university are:

Does the department’s research match the subject? Study carefully the current research initiatives of the university.

Does the candidate want a master’s degree with PhD in the USA? Check if the university provides a master's degree in your preferred subject and the facility to apply for a PhD in the USA for Indian students after your master’s course.

There are many universities in the US that offer a combined master’s and PhD degree. Generally, it takes between 3 and 6 years to complete a PhD in the USA. In that case, students are given the master’s certificate within 2- 3 years and then they can continue with their research in the next couple of years. Such courses are more common in arts and humanities-related subjects.

Top Universities for PhD USA

Deadlines - Once the list of universities, where one wants to apply for PhD in USA has been decided, the next big step is to look for deadlines for the same. There are several PhD programs, which offer rolling admissions in the USA, though the admission depends on the availability of seats. Usually, there are fewer seats in PhD compared to any other level. Also, the deadlines for application vary from department to department. Deadlines for some of the universities for PhD in US

List of scholarships to study abroad by country

Before gathering the things and researching answers to the question “How to apply for PhD in USA?” firstly check with your eligibility requirements for applying to PhD in USA. Here are the necessary PhD requirements in USA for international students

16 years of education - Minimum of 16 years of education is required, before applying for PhD. Therefore, the candidate must have completed at least 4 years of education (graduation or diploma) after 10+2.

Master’s - Students who have completed their master’s degree are also qualified to apply for PhD in the USA for Indian students. In fact, it is the standard norm in many universities. It is, therefore, ideal for a student to choose a specialized program in which he/She has graduated.

Tests - The admission procedure for PhD in the USA is more or less the same as in the case for MS in the US . The candidate needs to sit for the same standardized tests. The application for the tests is the first steps when you apply for PhD in USA. Listed below are the exams needed before applying for PhD in the universities.

GMAT - GMAT is taken for admission to management studies. Business schools use this test as a criterion for admission into a wide range of management programs.

GRE - GRE is mandatory for almost all graduate-level programs in the USA, including management studies. While all universities require GRE general test scores, some universities also ask students to take GRE subject tests.

TOEFL - TOEFL is an English proficiency test for students from non-native English-speaking countries. TOEFL is conducted more than 50 times a year at 4,500 test centers in 165 countries.

IELTS - IELTS is also an English proficiency test for students from non-native English-speaking countries. The IELTS test measures a candidate’s English language command on 4 different parameters- Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

However, not all universities require GRE or GMAT scores as part of PhD admission requirements in USA. Most of them, in fact, require a summary of the previous work the candidate has done.

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Application package

Mentioned below are the main documents which are necessary, while applying for PhD in USA for Indian students. Candidates can collect and prepare the drafts for these documents at earliest before applying for the university. These are the requirements for PhD in USA.

Statement of Purpose (SOP) - The Statement of Purpose is one of the most important elements of the application package for admission into PhD programs in the USA. It reflects the candidate's commitment to joining the PhD program and goals in life. The important thing to remember while writing an SOP is that it should be brief and reflect clarity regarding what the candidate wants from the program.

Letter of Recommendation (LOR) - The Letter of Recommendation is an independent assessment of the candidate's potential. Most universities require at least two to three recommendation letters. It is advisable to have recommendation letters written by the candidate's professors or employers.

Resume - At the PhD level, many universities would require the candidate to submit a resume along with the application. It should contain basic information like date of birth, academic qualifications and achievements and details of any previous work in his area of interest.

Academic transcripts - Academic transcripts include all the qualifications that the candidate will list in his application form. It is advisable for a candidate to start arranging for his transcripts from October itself.

Writing samples - Admission to PhD programs in certain universities may require you to write an application essay on a particular topic that can be discussed during your interview.

Best countries to study abroad

The following elements are also important in the application package -

Work experience certificates, if applicable

Photocopies of passport

Certificates for extra-curricular activities mentioned in the application form.

WES Evaluation documents, if required by the university.

Interview - Many universities in the USA, have a separate interview round for PhD candidates. These interviews are conducted by invitation only, i.e., the candidate is called for an interview only after his application is approved by the universities. The candidate is basically asked general as well as specific questions about the subject he wants to pursue in PhD in the USA. With the interview round the last for “how to apply for PhD in USA” process comes to the end.

As the university fees are high for pursuing a PhD in USA for international students there are many organizations, NGOs, universities, and government bodies that provide scholarships to students to support their financial aid. These scholarships have different conditions like gender, local and international students, merit, creative or art talents, sports, volunteering activities, disability, etc., While applying for scholarships check for this eligibility and apply. Scholarships are of two types fully funded and partially funded. Scholarships which are for fully funded PhD in USA, cover all your expenses like university, accommodation, insurance, travel, and other miscellaneous. Partly funded scholarships cover up to 50% of your university fees or accommodation fees. For acquiring a fully funded PhD in USA for Indian students, a few of the scholarships are Full Bright Scholarships and Yale University Scholarships. The other partially funded scholarships are AAUW International Fellowships, Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Program.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Universities in the US usually require a GPA score of 3 to pursue PhD in the USA.

International students will have to apply for the F-1 visa to pursue PhD in the USA.

You can work in the US after your PhD but you will have to apply for an employment visa as your F-1 visa will expire 60 days after your PhD in the USA ends.

To study PhD in USA, the candidate have to clear the entrance exams like GRE or GMAT through which university accepts your application. Along with them an english proficiency test like IELTS/PTE/TOEFL score should also be submitted in the application. For more details check the information in this article.

Generally in USA, the master's degree is included with the doctoral program. So if completed your bachelor's degree, you are eligible to apply for PhD in USA. If you already completed the masters this acts as an added advantage during the PhD application process.

In order to get Ph.D. admission in USA  you must meet the eligibility criteria for Ph.D. You must also fulfil the general requirements to get Ph.D. admission in USA.

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Questions related to

My brothers live in USA(Seattle) since 2015 and till now he haven't faced any problem on the basis of his nationality or by being Indian.We Indian are safe in America as the peoples of America doesn't fight over the religion. We do that thing.Americans are very good with the peoples comes form another country specially for us(Indian),because we have earned their respect by doing the good jobs over there.

Hope this will help,please feel free to ask if you have any further queries.

Hello Aspirant,

Hope your doing good!

Students planning to pursue an MS degree in the US have to display their English proficiency by sitting for the IELTS exam which evaluates the following skills-

  • IELTS Listening
  • IELTS Writing
  • IELTS Speaking and,
  • IELTS Reading

Almost the majority of the universities or graduate schools accept IELTS scores from the applicants and more than 3 million test-takers applied for the IELTS test to get admission to different institutions in the US.

Most of the universities accept 5.5 IELTS in the USA and in case the IELTS score is less than 5.5, then you must consider taking the IELTS Test again. While targeting an average university in the US Universities, the candidates’ IELTS score must be at least 6.5 or higher than that.

On a safer side, A score of 7 in IELTS is a good score acceptable by some of the well known colleges in the US.

For more details, Do refer to the link mentioned below, It will give you step by step procedures about the exam and colleges!

Hope this helps, For more such queries ping us more

Thankyou, Good Luck for everything ahead :)

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Gynaecology can be defined as the study of the female body. The job outlook for gynaecology is excellent since there is evergreen demand for one because of their responsibility of dealing with not only women’s health but also fertility and pregnancy issues. Although most women prefer to have a women obstetrician gynaecologist as their doctor, men also explore a career as a gynaecologist and there are ample amounts of male doctors in the field who are gynaecologists and aid women during delivery and childbirth. 

An oncologist is a specialised doctor responsible for providing medical care to patients diagnosed with cancer. He or she uses several therapies to control the cancer and its effect on the human body such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and biopsy. An oncologist designs a treatment plan based on a pathology report after diagnosing the type of cancer and where it is spreading inside the body.


The audiologist career involves audiology professionals who are responsible to treat hearing loss and proactively preventing the relevant damage. Individuals who opt for a career as an audiologist use various testing strategies with the aim to determine if someone has a normal sensitivity to sounds or not. After the identification of hearing loss, a hearing doctor is required to determine which sections of the hearing are affected, to what extent they are affected, and where the wound causing the hearing loss is found. As soon as the hearing loss is identified, the patients are provided with recommendations for interventions and rehabilitation such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and appropriate medical referrals. While audiology is a branch of science that studies and researches hearing, balance, and related disorders.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Cardiothoracic surgeons are an important part of the surgical team. They usually work in hospitals, and perform emergency as well as scheduled operations. Some of the cardiothoracic surgeons also work in teaching hospitals working as teachers and guides for medical students aspiring to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. A career as a cardiothoracic surgeon involves treating and managing various types of conditions within their speciality that includes their presence at different locations such as outpatient clinics, team meetings, and ward rounds. 

For an individual who opts for a career as an actor, the primary responsibility is to completely speak to the character he or she is playing and to persuade the crowd that the character is genuine by connecting with them and bringing them into the story. This applies to significant roles and littler parts, as all roles join to make an effective creation. Here in this article, we will discuss how to become an actor in India, actor exams, actor salary in India, and actor jobs. 

Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats create and direct original routines for themselves, in addition to developing interpretations of existing routines. The work of circus acrobats can be seen in a variety of performance settings, including circus, reality shows, sports events like the Olympics, movies and commercials. Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats must be prepared to face rejections and intermittent periods of work. The creativity of acrobats may extend to other aspects of the performance. For example, acrobats in the circus may work with gym trainers, celebrities or collaborate with other professionals to enhance such performance elements as costume and or maybe at the teaching end of the career.

Video Game Designer

Career as a video game designer is filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. A video game designer is someone who is involved in the process of creating a game from day one. He or she is responsible for fulfilling duties like designing the character of the game, the several levels involved, plot, art and similar other elements. Individuals who opt for a career as a video game designer may also write the codes for the game using different programming languages.

Depending on the video game designer job description and experience they may also have to lead a team and do the early testing of the game in order to suggest changes and find loopholes.

Talent Agent

The career as a Talent Agent is filled with responsibilities. A Talent Agent is someone who is involved in the pre-production process of the film. It is a very busy job for a Talent Agent but as and when an individual gains experience and progresses in the career he or she can have people assisting him or her in work. Depending on one’s responsibilities, number of clients and experience he or she may also have to lead a team and work with juniors under him or her in a talent agency. In order to know more about the job of a talent agent continue reading the article.

If you want to know more about talent agent meaning, how to become a Talent Agent, or Talent Agent job description then continue reading this article.

Radio Jockey

Radio Jockey is an exciting, promising career and a great challenge for music lovers. If you are really interested in a career as radio jockey, then it is very important for an RJ to have an automatic, fun, and friendly personality. If you want to get a job done in this field, a strong command of the language and a good voice are always good things. Apart from this, in order to be a good radio jockey, you will also listen to good radio jockeys so that you can understand their style and later make your own by practicing.

A career as radio jockey has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. If you want to know more about a career as radio jockey, and how to become a radio jockey then continue reading the article.


Careers in videography are art that can be defined as a creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than a simple recording of a simple event. It would be wrong to portrait it as a subcategory of photography, rather photography is one of the crafts used in videographer jobs in addition to technical skills like organization, management, interpretation, and image-manipulation techniques. Students pursue Visual Media , Film, Television, Digital Video Production to opt for a videographer career path. The visual impacts of a film are driven by the creative decisions taken in videography jobs. Individuals who opt for a career as a videographer are involved in the entire lifecycle of a film and production. 

Multimedia Specialist

A multimedia specialist is a media professional who creates, audio, videos, graphic image files, computer animations for multimedia applications. He or she is responsible for planning, producing, and maintaining websites and applications. 

An individual who is pursuing a career as a producer is responsible for managing the business aspects of production. They are involved in each aspect of production from its inception to deception. Famous movie producers review the script, recommend changes and visualise the story. 

They are responsible for overseeing the finance involved in the project and distributing the film for broadcasting on various platforms. A career as a producer is quite fulfilling as well as exhaustive in terms of playing different roles in order for a production to be successful. Famous movie producers are responsible for hiring creative and technical personnel on contract basis.

Copy Writer

In a career as a copywriter, one has to consult with the client and understand the brief well. A career as a copywriter has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. Several new mediums of advertising are opening therefore making it a lucrative career choice. Students can pursue various copywriter courses such as Journalism , Advertising , Marketing Management . Here, we have discussed how to become a freelance copywriter, copywriter career path, how to become a copywriter in India, and copywriting career outlook. 

Careers in journalism are filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. One cannot afford to miss out on the details. As it is the small details that provide insights into a story. Depending on those insights a journalist goes about writing a news article. A journalism career can be stressful at times but if you are someone who is passionate about it then it is the right choice for you. If you want to know more about the media field and journalist career then continue reading this article.

For publishing books, newspapers, magazines and digital material, editorial and commercial strategies are set by publishers. Individuals in publishing career paths make choices about the markets their businesses will reach and the type of content that their audience will be served. Individuals in book publisher careers collaborate with editorial staff, designers, authors, and freelance contributors who develop and manage the creation of content.

In a career as a vlogger, one generally works for himself or herself. However, once an individual has gained viewership there are several brands and companies that approach them for paid collaboration. It is one of those fields where an individual can earn well while following his or her passion. 

Ever since internet costs got reduced the viewership for these types of content has increased on a large scale. Therefore, a career as a vlogger has a lot to offer. If you want to know more about the Vlogger eligibility, roles and responsibilities then continue reading the article. 

Individuals in the editor career path is an unsung hero of the news industry who polishes the language of the news stories provided by stringers, reporters, copywriters and content writers and also news agencies. Individuals who opt for a career as an editor make it more persuasive, concise and clear for readers. In this article, we will discuss the details of the editor's career path such as how to become an editor in India, editor salary in India and editor skills and qualities.

Fashion Journalist

Fashion journalism involves performing research and writing about the most recent fashion trends. Journalists obtain this knowledge by collaborating with stylists, conducting interviews with fashion designers, and attending fashion shows, photoshoots, and conferences. A fashion Journalist  job is to write copy for trade and advertisement journals, fashion magazines, newspapers, and online fashion forums about style and fashion.

Corporate Executive

Are you searching for a Corporate Executive job description? A Corporate Executive role comes with administrative duties. He or she provides support to the leadership of the organisation. A Corporate Executive fulfils the business purpose and ensures its financial stability. In this article, we are going to discuss how to become corporate executive.

Production Manager

Quality controller.

A quality controller plays a crucial role in an organisation. He or she is responsible for performing quality checks on manufactured products. He or she identifies the defects in a product and rejects the product. 

A quality controller records detailed information about products with defects and sends it to the supervisor or plant manager to take necessary actions to improve the production process.

Production Engineer

A career as a Production Engineer is crucial in the manufacturing industry. He or she ensures the functionality of production equipment and machinery to improve productivity and minimise production costs to drive revenues and increase profitability. 

Product Designer

Individuals who opt for a career as product designers are responsible for designing the components and overall product concerning its shape, size, and material used in manufacturing. They are responsible for the aesthetic appearance of the product. A product designer uses his or her creative skills to give a product its final outlook and ensures the functionality of the design. 

Students can opt for various product design degrees such as B.Des and M.Des to become product designers. Industrial product designer prepares 3D models of designs for approval and discusses them with clients and other colleagues. Individuals who opt for a career as a product designer estimate the total cost involved in designing.

Commercial Manager

A Commercial Manager negotiates, advises and secures information about pricing for commercial contracts. He or she is responsible for developing financial plans in order to maximise the business's profitability.

AWS Solution Architect

An AWS Solution Architect is someone who specializes in developing and implementing cloud computing systems. He or she has a good understanding of the various aspects of cloud computing and can confidently deploy and manage their systems. He or she troubleshoots the issues and evaluates the risk from the third party. 

Azure Administrator

An Azure Administrator is a professional responsible for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining Azure Solutions. He or she manages cloud infrastructure service instances and various cloud servers as well as sets up public and private cloud systems. 

Information Security Manager

Individuals in the information security manager career path involves in overseeing and controlling all aspects of computer security. The IT security manager job description includes planning and carrying out security measures to protect the business data and information from corruption, theft, unauthorised access, and deliberate attack 

Computer Programmer

Careers in computer programming primarily refer to the systematic act of writing code and moreover include wider computer science areas. The word 'programmer' or 'coder' has entered into practice with the growing number of newly self-taught tech enthusiasts. Computer programming careers involve the use of designs created by software developers and engineers and transforming them into commands that can be implemented by computers. These commands result in regular usage of social media sites, word-processing applications and browsers.

ITSM Manager

It consultant.

An IT Consultant is a professional who is also known as a technology consultant. He or she is required to provide consultation to industrial and commercial clients to resolve business and IT problems and acquire optimum growth. An IT consultant can find work by signing up with an IT consultancy firm, or he or she can work on their own as independent contractors and select the projects he or she wants to work on.

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30 Fully Funded Ph.D. Programs

These fully funded Ph.D. programs are in fields like business, computer science, education and nursing.

Two women standing in the modern library

(Getty Images) |

Many Ph.D. programs are fully funded.

Students interested in graduate research in various fields, from public health and English to computer science and engineering, have numerous options for Ph.D. programs that offer full funding. These programs typically provide waived tuition and fees and an annual stipend. Some also offer health insurance and other benefits. Gaining admittance into these small cohorts can be highly competitive, and the programs can be time-consuming . Here are 30 fully funded Ph.D. programs at U.S. colleges and universities. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list – there are others out there.

A man handling papers from the Hulton Archives, wearing white gloves.

  • Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago

Anthropology Ph.D. students at the University of Chicago can receive funding for up to eight years of study, assuming they are in good standing at the university. During that time, they will receive a full-tuition scholarship plus health insurance and a living stipend – which equated to $33,000 for the 2022-2023 school year – and can apply for external fellowships.

Radcliffe Quad undergrad housing at Harvard University in Fall in Cambridge, MA, USA on November 2, 2013.

Ph.D. in biological sciences in public health at Harvard University (MA)

Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston offers a Ph.D. in biological sciences in public health that aims to provide students with expertise in disease prevention and treatment. This program includes tuition, a stipend and health insurance for five years as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. International students receive the same benefits. Current research in the school's laboratories involves diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, malaria and tuberculosis.

MIT, a private university

(Dominick Reuter) |

  • Ph.D. in business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Students enrolled in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can study a range of fields like organization studies, accounting and information technology. Those pursuing a Ph.D. will receive a full-tuition scholarship plus a monthly stipend of $4,267, capped at $51,204. They will also receive medical insurance, new laptops at the beginning of their first and fourth years of study and $4,500 over five years for conference travel expenses.

Rice University

(Tommy Lavergne | Rice University)

Ph.D. in business at Rice University (TX)

At the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business in Texas, students enjoy full financial assistance upon admission to the Ph.D. program. Aiming to prepare students to teach in fields like accounting, finance, organizational behavior and strategic management, the program provides students with a research or teaching assistantship. Students receive a tuition waiver and a $40,000 annual stipend contingent on making satisfactory academic progress and maintaining full-time student status.

how to phd in usa

Office of Strategic Communication | University of Iowa

  • Ph.D. in business at the University of Iowa

The University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business offers Ph.D. degrees in fields such as accounting, economics, business analytics and marketing. The college says it provides full funding to "virtually all admitted students." This includes tuition and fees, a minimum nine-month stipend of about $20,000 with annual adjustments and comprehensive health insurance covered at 90%. Some departments offer funding for research presentations at major conferences, summer fellowships and paid time off for independent research.

Cornell University buildings viewed from McGraw Tower

Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University (NY)

According to Cornell University 's website, all students admitted to the chemical engineering Ph.D. program at the New York school receive a full tuition waiver, health insurance and a stipend. This funding can come from a teaching assistantship, research assistantship or fellowship, and full stipends are granted for nine months with the likelihood of additional aid in the summer.

how to phd in usa

Chris Taggart | Columbia University

Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Columbia University (NY)

Students enrolled in Columbia University 's Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at the Teachers College in New York receive fully funded tuition and a $25,000 stipend annually for three years. The stipend also carries into a student's fourth year. These doctoral fellows "may be expected to serve" as graduate teaching or research assistants. Students typically complete the mentor-matched program, which includes a full-year internship, in five to seven years.

Unidentified individuals, and University Hall  on the campus of Brown University.

Ph.D. in computer science at Brown University (RI)

Brown University 's Ph.D. students in computer science have access to "full financial support while completing the degree," plus the option to take classes at nearby schools without incurring additional costs, according to the school's website. In fact, doctoral students in any program at the Rhode Island university are guaranteed five years of financial support, which includes tuition remission, a stipend, health services fees and a subsidy for health insurance.

how to phd in usa

Georgetown University |

Ph.D. in computer science at Georgetown University (DC)

Georgetown University 's Ph.D. program in computer science provides scholarships and assistantships that cover full tuition at the Washington, D.C., school and include a stipend and health insurance for the first five years. Once enrolled in the program, students must complete the Apprenticeship in Teaching Program and ultimately write and defend a full research dissertation in a seminar open to the public.

Cherry trees in bloom in the campus of Washington university in springtime

Ph.D. in computer science at Washington University in St. Louis

Ph.D. students in the computer science or computer engineering program at Washington University in St. Louis receive full tuition support and health insurance. According to the university's website: "As a doctoral candidate, you will also receive a generous stipend to cover living expenses and a new, high-end Apple laptop computer. This support is guaranteed as you continue to make satisfactory progress towards your degree." Doctoral students may also qualify for one of three fellowships.

how to phd in usa

Jeff Miller | UW-Madison

  • Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison

Incoming Ph.D. students at the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin—Madison are guaranteed full funding for the duration of the time that they are expected on campus, according to the university's department of counseling psychology website. Doctoral students also receive a benefits package that includes health insurance. Funding may come from financial aid, fellowships, assistantships and/or traineeships.

how to phd in usa

Emory University |

Ph.D. in economics at Emory University (GA)

Students enrolled in the economics Ph.D. program at Emory University typically receive full funding, according to the Georgia university's website. The stipend provided to students is $36,376 per year for five years, starting in fall 2023, and the full tuition scholarship is worth $70,200 per year. Funding for admitted students also includes a $4,370 annual subsidy that covers 100% of a student's cost of health insurance. First-year students have no stipend-related work requirements.

New York City, New York, USA - September 13, 2013: Street view of New York University NYU in Greenwich Village Manhattan. There are people visible in this image.

  • Ph.D. in education at New York University

New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development offers more than 30 degree programs. Many can be pursued on campus or online. Ph.D. degrees are offered in areas like developmental psychology, educational leadership and childhood education. Full-time NYU Steinhardt Ph.D. students are eligible for a funding package that includes an annual stipend – $32,000 for the 2022-2023 academic year – tuition coverage for required coursework and student health insurance for five years.

how to phd in usa

L.A. Cicero, Stanford News Service |

Ph.D. in education at Stanford University (CA)

Stanford University's Graduate School of Education allows students numerous fellowship and assistantship opportunities at the California school, along with a "five-year funding guarantee that provides tuition aid, fellowship stipend, and assistantship salary, and covers the standard cost of attendance," the program website reads. At the Graduate School of Education, doctoral students can choose from a range of academic areas like curriculum studies and teacher education, and developmental and psychological sciences.

Two friends working in a public library, using a computer to find some specific books for their studies together.

  • Ph.D. in education at the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education provides full funding to Ph.D. students as part of a fellowship and research apprenticeship package. This funding includes a living stipend, health insurance and coverage of tuition and fees for up to four years if the student maintains full-time enrollment. Some students may also qualify for additional summer funding.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - November, 20 2010: The Computer Science and Engineering Building on the University of Michigan's North Campus has an eco-friendly design.

  • Ph.D. in engineering at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

Doctoral students in engineering at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor can choose from numerous areas of specialization under umbrella categories like aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and robotics. All engineering doctoral students are guaranteed full funding, a monthly living stipend and health insurance. The exact amount can vary, according to the program's website, and funding comes from a range of sources, including graduate student instructor positions and fellowships.

how to phd in usa

Boston University Photography |

  • Ph.D. in English at Boston University

Annually, doctoral students studying English at Boston University receive a stipend plus full tuition, fees and basic health insurance. This funding is guaranteed for at least five years, with two of those years typically free from teaching requirements. Funding can sometimes be extended up to seven years, according to the university's website, but it's not guaranteed. Students may also apply for various prizes, fellowships and short-term research and travel grants.

how to phd in usa

(Stephanie Diani) |

  • Ph.D. in English at the University of California—Los Angeles

Applicants to the Ph.D. in English program at the University of California—Los Angeles are automatically considered for various funding options. A six-year funding package includes "a minimum of two years of full fellowship, four years of summer stipend support and up to four years of teaching assistantships," according to the school website. Beyond tuition, fees and health insurance are also covered.

how to phd in usa

Jeff Watts |

Ph.D. in international relations at American University (DC)

American University offers doctoral students in its international relations program who do not have external funding a renewable four-year Dean's Fellowship that is contingent on making satisfactory academic progress. The fellowship includes the cost of tuition, fees and a stipend that must be earned via a part-time role as a teaching or research assistant. Students also must "demonstrate competency in a modern foreign language" before graduating.

how to phd in usa

Jonathan Cohen | Binghamton University

  • Ph.D. in management at Binghamton University—SUNY

All students admitted to the interdisciplinary management Ph.D. program at the Binghamton University—SUNY School of Management in New York receive a combination of a full-tuition scholarship and a teaching or research assistantship for each academic year, up to four years. This STEM-designated business doctoral degree prepares students for careers in academia and work in the public and private sectors, and has a student-faculty ratio of 1-to-1, according to the university's website.

how to phd in usa

Duke University Communications |

Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Duke University (NC)

Doctoral students at Duke University in North Carolina studying materials science and engineering generally receive full tuition, a stipend and fee support for the first five years. Students also receive up to six years of health insurance if they are on the university's student medical insurance plan. The doctoral program aims to help students publish with a faculty adviser and develop research skills, with the opportunity to present research at professional conferences.

how to phd in usa

Homewood Photography | JHU

Ph.D. in nursing at Johns Hopkins University (MD)

The School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland provides most doctoral students with three fully funded years of study. Available financial aid includes graduate assistantships, targeted fellowships and nursing-specific funding. The university aims to "advance the theoretical foundation of nursing practice and healthcare delivery" with the degree, its website reads. "By graduation, most Hopkins nurse scholars have been awarded grants that continue their research and set them well on their way to a successful career."

"The Lawn in late afternoon at the historic University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. The lawn was part of Thomas Jefferson's campus design."

  • Ph.D. in nursing at the University of Virginia

All students admitted to the University of Virginia 's Ph.D. in Nursing program are eligible for four years of scholarship funding to cover tuition, insurance and fees, as well as annual stipends. To receive certain aid, students must work 10 hours per week as a graduate teaching assistant. With a heavy research focus, students can expect courses in qualitative, quantitative and historical research, and will have to submit a research proposal for peer review.

Yale University

Ph.D. in nursing at Yale University (CT)

At Yale University in Connecticut, the School of Nursing offers full funding to its Ph.D. students. They receive a monthly stipend for four years in addition to paid tuition and health care. The program allows students to gain in-depth knowledge in a particular area of study. Every incoming Ph.D. student gets paired with a faculty adviser "whose area of expertise and active research most closely matches with the student’s scholarly interest," according to the school's website.

how to phd in usa

University of Minnesota |

  • Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program to study psychology at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities are guaranteed full funding for five years as long as they maintain satisfactory performance and degree progress. This funding includes full-time tuition, a nine-month stipend and subsidized health insurance. Funding comes from some combination of teaching assistantships, traineeships, research assistantships and fellowships. Students in the program can specialize in areas like cognitive and brain sciences, industrial-organizational psychology and social psychology.

how to phd in usa

Matt Cashore | University of Notre Dame

Ph.D. within the Romance languages and literatures department at the University of Notre Dame (IN)

University of Notre Dame doctoral students who focus on French and Francophone studies, Iberian and Latin American studies or Italian studies are guaranteed five years of funding. Funding includes a full scholarship, including tuition and fees, plus a stipend and health insurance. Anyone who completes the Ph.D. degree requirements at the Indiana university within five years will automatically receive a one-year postdoctoral fellowship via the university's 5+1 Program. Fellows will have a teaching load limited to one course per semester.

how to phd in usa

Ph.D. in social work at Bryn Mawr College (PA)

Students admitted to Bryn Mawr College 's Ph.D. program in social work receive full tuition waivers and "substantial stipends" toward living expenses. The Pennsylvania college's website says: "Consistent with our model, all Ph.D. students are funded equally, and do not compete for basic financial support during coursework." The program's cohorts typically include only three or four students each year. According to the college, it awarded the first Ph.D. degree in social work in the U.S. in 1920.

how to phd in usa

Vanderbilt University |

Ph.D. in special education at Vanderbilt University (TN)

Funding is guaranteed for all admitted doctoral students enrolled in the special education Ph.D. program at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. This includes full tuition, a "competitive" monthly stipend and health insurance for up to four years. Students may also be nominated for additional honor scholarships and fellowships. Areas of focus within the Ph.D. program include high-incidence disabilities and early childhood education.

Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Entrance to Northwestern University - School of Law.

Ph.D. in theatre and drama at Northwestern University (IL)

This interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at Northwestern University in Illinois combines coursework in humanities, social science and the visual arts. The program's students receive a five-year full-tuition scholarship plus an annual living stipend. Ph.D students enrolling at this program in fall 2022 will receive a living stipend of at least $36,960 during the 2023-2024 school year. Stipend amounts may change from year to year. Students can apply for subsidies to facilitate conference travel and summer language study.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 4:   Testudo is pictured on the University of Maryland Campus. The University of Maryland announced a transformative investment of $219486,000 in the university on October 4. In a first of its kind announcement, university and government officials unveiled the investment in a celebration event for the campus community.

(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin | The Washington Post via Getty Images)

  • Ph.D. in women, gender and sexuality studies at University of Maryland

At the University of Maryland 's Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Ph.D. students without a master's degree usually have five years of guaranteed funding. Those with a master's degree usually are funded four years, with awards stemming from a mix of departmental fellowships and graduate teaching assistantships. Since the program's establishment in 1999, the department has granted 36 Ph.Ds, according to UMD's website.

how to phd in usa

Learn more about paying for graduate school.

Finding a fully funded program isn't the only option to offset the costs of graduate school. See these seven strategies to pay for graduate school to learn more. Check out the latest Best Graduate Schools rankings to see the country's top business, medicine and law programs – and more. For additional grad school tips, follow U.S. News Education on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn .

Locust Walk with students in fall, University of Pennsylvania, University City area, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Ph.D. programs that are fully funded

  • Ph.D. in biological sciences in public health at Harvard University
  • Ph.D. in business at Rice University
  • Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University
  • Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Columbia University
  • Ph.D. in computer science at Brown University
  • Ph.D. in computer science at Georgetown University
  • Ph.D. in computer science at Washington University—St. Louis
  • Ph.D. in economics at Emory University
  • Ph.D. in education at Stanford University
  • Ph.D. in international relations at American University
  • Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Duke University
  • Ph.D. in nursing at Johns Hopkins University
  • Ph.D. in nursing at Yale University
  • Ph.D. within the romance languages and literatures department at the University of Notre Dame
  • Ph.D. in social work at Bryn Mawr College
  • Ph.D. in special education at Vanderbilt University
  • Ph.D. in theatre and drama at Northwestern University

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Health Sciences PhD candidate awarded prestigious F31 Fellowship

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Humberto Monsivais headshot

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Travis Kelce Went Allllll Out With Taylor Swift's Valentine's Day Gifts

Trav reportedly dropped $3k on a golden rose and that's just the beginning .

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An anonymous source "close to the couple" revealed the alleged presents Travis gave Taylor to The Sun , which apparently included an arrangement of 250 Venus et Fleur roses that cost $2,199.

Round Grandiose

Round Grandiose

Oh, and apparently six hours later Travis sent yet another delivery of the flowers (this time in "hot pink"), as well as a rose sculpture from Perigold that cost $3,090. "Travis knows what she likes and is always wanting to send her lots of nice flowers," a source told The Sun. "Taylor can have the little rose sculpture with her all the time."

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. Travis also reportedly got Taylor a beret from Dior:

D-Dream Beret

D-Dream Beret

Plus an Hermes scarf, a Celine straw hat, and a $5,100 Bottega Veneta purse:

Medium Andiamo

Medium Andiamo

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  1. How to Apply for a PhD in the US

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  1. PhD Study in the USA

    Discipline: Location: PhD Study in the USA - 2024 Over one million international students choose the USA as their study abroad destination, making it the most popular international study destination in the world!

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    From the gleaming glass and steel of New York's skyscrapers to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, or the cold expanses of Alaska to the surfing paradise of Hawaii, America really has everything. Why else choose America for study? It is academically innovative.

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    A PhD in USA takes approximately 5 - 6 years of full-time study and can cost between $12,000 - $45,000 per academic year. PhD programs in USA differ from that in the UK and Europe in that students must first take taught classes, coursework and exams before starting their research project. Why Do a PhD in USA?

  4. PDF GRAD Guide to Applying to Ph.D. Programs

    A Ph.D. is a research degree that involves the production of original knowledge and scholarship. Doctoral degrees have traditionally been regarded as training programs for academics. As such, a Ph.D. program differs from undergraduate or Master's studies. Most Ph.D. programs involve some initial coursework (specific requirements for ...

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    Studying a PhD in The USA - The Complete Guide find your perfect postgrad program Search our Database of 30,000 Courses Refine courses Studying a PhD in The USA - The Complete Guide The USA is a favourable postgraduate study destination for international students due to the high standard of academic study and the wide variety of subjects.

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    How to apply for a PhD in the US Lecturer Giulia Evolvi shares everything you need to know about applying for a PhD in the US from start to finish Admissions Giulia Evolvi Lecturer in media and communication at Erasmus University, Rotterdam March 2 2021 ADVERTISEMENT GRE. TOEFL. Statement of purpose.

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    The key is knowing what to do to prepare and how to compile and submit a strong application. We hope these 10 tips will help you get started. 1. Be true to yourself: First and foremost, consider your goals. Many students are initially interested in pursuing a Ph.D. because they want to become a professor.

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    Step 1 - Before selecting a PhD program, it is important to identify your research interests. Step 2 - Once you have identified your research interests, you can start researching potential PhD programs. Step 3 - When researching PhD programs, it is important to consider their admission requirements.

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    1 Identify your research interests. Take some time to reflect on your past academic work and to consider your current research interests. What type of PhD would you like to pursue? What would you like to research in your pursuit of a PhD?

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    The verbal sections each consist of 20 questions, to be answered over 30 minutes. The whole is scored on a scale of 130-170. The quantitative section is scored the same, and consists of two 20 question sections, each of which should be completed in 35 minutes. The writing section is scored from 0-6.

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    Choose your major subject - The first step before applying for a PhD in USA is to choose the subject in which one wants to do a Major. Most aspirants opt for the course in which they already have a bachelor's degree, though there is no such hard and fast rule that requires one to choose the same subject.

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    1 / 35 Credit Many Ph.D. programs are fully funded. Students interested in graduate research in various fields, from public health and English to computer science and engineering, have numerous...

  18. Fully-Funded PhD. Programs In The USA For International Students for 2024

    Level of Scholarship The doctoral programs are the highest academic degrees awarded to a student by a university. You will only be eligible for the fully-funded Ph.D. program if you have completed a pre-requisite or postgraduate program.

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    To apply for PhD in US, applicants need to have a 4-year Bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale (90%) or a Master's degree in a relevant stream. Furthermore, international candidates must produce English proficiency scores such as IELTS: 6.5 to 8 overall score and a TOEFL iBT overall score of 79 to 110.

  20. Grad Student Profile: Dion Harry

    Tell us about your journey to graduate school and what led you to NC State. I pursued my doctorate because I fell in love with research as a master's student and knew that was one of the primary ways I wanted to help advance the field of higher education. That said, I knew pursuing this degree would equip me with the knowledge and skills to ...

  21. Health Sciences PhD candidate awarded prestigious F31 Fellowship

    Written By: Denise Buhrmester, [email protected] Humberto Monsivais, a PhD candidate in Purdue University's School of Health Sciences, has been awarded the highly prestigious extramural F31 Fellowship from the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. His current research is focused on quantitative MRI for brain metal deposition mapping in human studies on manganese ...

  22. Are hot tubs good for you? Risks, plus if soaking burns calories

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  26. Here's What Travis Kelce Got Taylor Swift for Valentine's Day 2024

    Promise. Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift didn't spend their first Valentine's Day together due to Taylor flying to Melbourne for the Eras Tour (where she casually mentioned being lonely while with ...