Being a PhD Student – What is a PhD? & Why pursue a PhD?

Phd student

What is a PhD?
Why Pursue a PhD?

A PhD degree is rated highly worldwide and a PhD student has to work really hard in order to get the much respected PhD degree. Students often ask- what is a PhD? So, before we proceed to take a look at the top reasons for which students should go for doctoral studies, let us find an answer to one of the most commonly asked questions.

What is a PhD? 

Derived from the Latin Words, Doctor Philosophiae, PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy, and it’s regarded as the highest degree by most universities of the world. Pursuing the degree requires a lot of research work.

PhD is known by various abbreviations like Ph.D., D.Phil. The degree is also referred as the doctorate degree. A PhD student after completing the degree can use the title doctor in front of his/her name.

Why pursue a PhD?

With the increase in opportunities in the field of education, many options have opened up. Students from all around the world are pretty much confused about the course they should pursue, because after their under graduation, they will have different options to consider. Some students may be willing to go for an MBA or MS, while others might consider different master level courses.

Before you plan and decide to take up a particular course, you must understand whether or not the course is meant for you. Among ‘n’ number of available options, PhD still remains one of the elite courses to consider.

reasons for phd for aspiring phd student

The following points will educate an aspiring PhD student about the top reasons for considering doctoral studies-

Research is the Top Priority for a PhD Student

Students who are bored with the same old bookish education, and want to go for an exciting course that focuses on the practical aspects, should pursue a PhD. PhD from an elite university offers enough scope and facilities for ground breaking research and development of a PhD student.

Remember, students with great academic scores that lack the ability to conduct research, will fail to get the PhD degree. However, if you are strong with the concepts, and are ready to challenge the research oriented tasks, then a PhD is exactly meant for you

Challenges Your Assumptions and Intellect of Doctorate Student

A PhD student comes across projects that are truly challenging, they test his/her patience and intellect. The continuous learning process makes doctoral studies even more interesting as the theories that you have assumed since years, can be proven wrong in one single day, and your thirst for knowledge will creep up.

In your quest for getting the ultimate PhD degree, you will come across debatable topics, challenging situations, or even a very demanding schedule. All these circumstances will add on to your knowledge bank and will go a long way in developing your entire persona as a credible researcher.

Rich Expertise in the Field of Your Interest

An aspiring PhD student who has a strong liking for a particular subject, and has an inevitable thirst for knowledge, should pursue a PhD. Believe it or not, this can make him/her an expert in the field of his/ her interest.

An Example
Suppose, you are interested in the field of marketing, and during your undergraduate years you have studied a lot about the 4Ps of marketing, distribution management, supply chain management, etc. However, if one of these subjects genuinely interest you and compels you to learn more about it. Then going for a PhD in that particular topic, will help you carry an in-depth research, and you will get a strong foundation from where you can conduct groundbreaking experiments on various theories, that had drawn your interest in the past.

The Best Environment to Excel   

Scholars who are willing to explore their skills and excel in the field of their interest, a PhD degree from an elite university is a perfect fit for their career.

If you are up for demanding schedules, intellectual stimulation, flexible working hours, mixture of lab and office work, and don’t really mind gaining from the experienced faculty. Then going for doctoral studies from a top institution will provide you the launching pad to explore new ideas, learn, and excel in the field of your interest.

When you compare the rigors of the academic environment of the PhD program with that of your undergraduate campus experience, then there is a notable difference-

  • Your opinion will be heard and your assumptions will be challenged.
  • You will have complete freedom to present your ideas and research.
  • A PhD Student can act independently.
  • During your doctoral studies, a PhD student will come across world class faculty. These experienced mentors will act as a guide and provide him/her the much needed assistance, help and knowledge.
  • Critical thinking is valued and a PhD student is encouraged to think outside the conventional ideas.

Learning Key Skills

If you understand – What is a PhD? You will have an idea that the core work involved in pursuing a PhD is hardcore research, writing thesis and publications. However, these are not the only skills that you learn. A PhD student will come across diverse environments and has to perform in challenging circumstances. Subsequently, improvise on the current skill sets and in the process learn a lot of the other key skills too.

The following are the set of skills that one learns through his/her doctoral studies-

  • Time Management

In the hectic schedule, students are under constant pressure to meet the specified deadlines. These priorities help them discover the best ways of managing time. In other words, the students who are into doctoral studies truly understand the value of time, and are skilled enough to manage time effectively.

  • Communication Skills

PhD programs are highly demanding, students pursuing doctoral studies often have to present their ideas, research, and findings in front of a mass audience. The ability to conduct research is arguably appreciated, but the results need to be presented convincingly as well.

Therefore, without the students themselves realizing, regular presentations shape their communication skills, and helps them to present themselves in front of the entire world.

  • Prioritize Work

A PhD student is often surrounded with the imposing schedule. This enhances his/her ability to prioritize work. In other words, the PhD student gets an idea about the amount of time and effort, that is needed to be allotted for a particular project or task.

  • Team Work Skills

While pursuing doctoral studies, a PhD student often works in groups. It is not an individual’s effort that can crack the code, but the efforts of the team on a whole determine the outcome of the research. This develops a sense of responsibility among the students pursuing doctoral studies. A PhD student learns to work with the team, for the team and ultimately stand by the team.

A World Changing Experience

The modern world is ever changing, and the need for continuous improvement is inevitable. Starting from the dependence on technology to the need for medicines, they all require continuous innovation, and research drives innovation leading to inventions.

PhD students can be a part of a world changing experience, and with the help of their research they can bring about a much needed change. Believe it or not, even a single PhD student can make a world of difference.

Alumni from top PhD institutions have made notable contributions to the society, and have been rewarded with the highest honor. Do not be surprised, if your ground breaking research lands you in the list of elite personalities who have even received a noble prize for their contributions to the world.

Respect associated with the Degree

Without a shadow of a doubt, PhD degree holders, are considered to have a high level of intellect and are respected world over. The recognition and appreciation that are associated with the individuals that earn a PhD degree is unparalleled, and the Dr. prefixing their names on the name plate is what adds an icing on the cake.

So, if you had a dream of having the title of a Dr behind your name and get the distinction of being an individual, who has earned the highest qualification, then you should surely consider pursuing a PhD.

Abundant Opportunities

A PhD degree gives you the much needed respect, and the best part is, you start earning from the moment you start learning.

Students are eligible for a stipend, which they get every month, for conducting their research. The placements are big and PhD students are offered thousands of dollars after they pass out. They go on to become scientists, professors, research associates, work in the research and development division of different companies. The scholars have a lot of other options to choose from.

In the worst situation they have a degree with a prestigious title Dr associated with their name, and have all the necessary set of skills that can be useful for their future endeavors.

Worldwide Recognition

Researchers, scientists and professors from all around the world, who have conducted groundbreaking research, written thesis, and talked about their various experiments, often become the center of attraction.

They are invited by different countries, elite institutions and even by research companies to make their valuable presence felt. They contribute immensely by giving presentations, attending seminars, conferences, and workshops, and thus enlighten the whole world with their commendable knowledge and ideas.

This indeed gives them an opportunity to explore the world, and thereby gaining the recognition of being a person, who can truly make a difference.