What Does Ph.D. Stand For?

Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy. A Ph.D. is the terminal degree for many subjects in the United States. This article provides information about this degree and how it is earned.

View 5 Popular Schools »

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Overview

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are often taken by students looking for a research career within universities, nonprofit organizations or government agencies. Students interested in becoming university professors should expect to spend about a third of their time teaching and the rest conducting research, writing papers on behalf of the university and attending conferences to present their research.

How Long Does a Doctoral Program Take?

A Ph.D. program typically takes 4-8 years of full-time study to complete; part-time study may require a longer time commitment. Many schools have caps on how long a student may be enrolled in a Ph.D. program, which may force some students to pursue full-time status.

Full-time students pursuing a Ph.D. can expect to complete 2-3 years of coursework and spend the remainder of the program working on a doctoral dissertation. A doctoral dissertation is a piece of original research completed under the supervision of an advisor, often a professor.

What Subject Areas Are Available?

Ph.D. programs are offered in many different subjects areas, such as history, English, engineering, philosophy and economics. Not all universities offer Ph.D. programs, but they are fairly common at public state universities. Many Ph.D. programs are highly specific and only offered at certain universities in the country.

Who Might Pursue a Ph.D.?

When choosing a Ph.D. program, students should prepare for a full commitment to the subject they plan to study. Most students earn their Ph.D. because they'd like to dedicate themselves not just to the lifelong study of a subject, but because they'd like to teach others this subject as well.

Show me popular schools

Related to What Does Ph.D. Stand For?

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
What You Need to Know Before Applying to a PhD Program

While earning a Ph.D. is a noble pursuit, it's important to consider all the angles before applying to a program. Read on to...

Ph.D. and Starving: The Plight of the Adjunct

For the past several decades, colleges and universities have relied more heavily on adjunct faculty - essentially part-time...

Universities Offering PhD in Economics Programs: How to Choose

Prospective doctoral candidates in economics might consider their own academic accomplishments when choosing which Ph.D....

Top English PhD Programs: List of Schools

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English or English literature is useful for those interested in teaching at the college...

How Long Does IT Take To Get A PhD IN Nursing?

Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Business
    • Communications and Journalism
    • Computer Sciences
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Legal
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
    • Medical and Health Professions
    • Physical Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Architecture
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Business
    • Communications and Journalism
    • Computer Sciences
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Legal
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
    • Medical and Health Professions
    • Physical Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Architecture
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Business
    • Communications and Journalism
    • Computer Sciences
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Legal
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
    • Medical and Health Professions
    • Physical Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Business
    • Communications and Journalism
    • Computer Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Legal
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
    • Medical and Health Professions
    • Physical Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Architecture
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Business
    • Communications and Journalism
    • Computer Sciences
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Legal
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
    • Medical and Health Professions
    • Physical Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts

Popular Schools

Copyright