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How To Get A PhD Degree

A PhD degree, abbreviated for Doctor of Philosophy, is a doctoral degree that many graduate students pursue for career advancement. As the highest of degrees in many fields, it gives the person who earns it a wide range of employment and self-employment options. There are several different types of PhD programs, and earning the degree is a long but worthwhile process.

Research PhD Jobs

Research different types of PhD programs and jobs. They range from health sciences and computer sciencesto agriculture and engineering. Graduates may become professors, researchers, independent consultants, executives and much more. The range of job opportunities is very diverse for every field.

Choose A PhD Focus

Some people choose a very applied focus, so the ultimate decision should be something a student wants as a lifelong career. Avoid making hasty decisions. The best option is to choose a desired field of work first, and choose a field where two or more desired applications lie. Graduate degrees are worth their cost, but post-graduate tuition is expensive enough that majors must be chosen wisely.

Complete Program Requirements

Students who choose their PhD focuses before finishing an undergraduate degree should choose an undergraduate program that is closely related to their PhD focus. For example, a person who is interested in robotics and information sciences should choose computer science as a major. Try to develop a good relationship with faculty for future references for the PhD program. During the junior year as an undergraduate student, complete an internship in a related field. After graduation, take the Graduate Record Examination. Scores from this test are required for entrance into PhD programs. PhD applicants must write a statement of purpose and obtain recommendation letters from several professionals who have worked closely with them. Apply to at least one desired program.

PhD Salaries And Projected Job Growth

Average pay ranges for people holding a PhD degree vary from one field to another. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual average salaries for medical scientists and sociologists were about $75,000. However, they jumped to more than $100,000 for political scientists, physicists and astronomers. Prospective PhD students who are seeking degrees that pay the most should research their desired specialties and fields on BLS.gov. Most fields where PhD graduates are hired are expected to grow in jobs at an average rate over the next several years.

Top Online PhD Programs

Rank School FT to PT
Faculty Ratio
Institution
Fin. Aid Rate
Acceptance Rate Retention Rate Graduation Rate Accred.
Years
Default
Rate
Job Place. Rate
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

103 South Bldg Cb 9100,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599

(919) 962-2211

6.25 to 1 46% 34% 97% 89% 112 1% N/A
 
2 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

100 Church Street SE,
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455-0213

(612) 625-5000

3.39 to 1 59% 47% 90% 70% 99 3% N/A
 
3 University of Florida

355 Tigert Hall,
Gainesville, Florida 32611-3115

(352) 392-3261

13.07 to 1 38% 44% 96% 85% 101 2% N/A
 
4 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

14th and R StLincoln,
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588

(402) 472-7211

3.87 to 1 57% 59% 84% 67% 99 4% N/A
 
5 Texas A & M University

805 Rudder Tower,
College Station, Texas 77843-1244

(979) 845-3211

22.71 to 1 52% 63% 92% 81% 88 5% N/A
 
6 The University of Alabama

739 University Blvd,
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0166

(205) 348-6010

2.61 to 1 47% 53% 85% 67% 117 0% N/A
 
7 University of Scranton

800 Linden Street,
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18510-4629

(570) 941-7400

1.75 to 1 91% 72% 88% 77% 85 3% N/A
 
8 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

601 E John Street,
Champaign, Illinois 61820-5711

(217) 333-1000

2.3 to 1 40% 68% 93% 82% 99 3% N/A
 
9 Temple University

1801 North Broad Street,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6096

(215) 204-7000

1.01 to 1 69% 67% 87% 66% 93 3% N/A
 
10 University of Northern Iowa

1227 W 27th St,
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0005

(319) 273-2311

3.24 to 1 56% 78% 81% 66% 96 2% 76%