5 tips to start PhD doctoral studies

By | June 29, 2019
  1. Check for PhD admission notifications for doctoral degree.
  2. Fill out the doctoral application form online.
  3. Appear for a PhD entrance examination.
  4. Go and Face a PhD interview.
  5. Get admission and start PhD study.

Claiming that you need to start your PhD process and begin to work on your doctoral studies are two different things that you need to know.

For you to successfully work on your PhD then you need to dedicate a lot of time and effort for you to get to your best.

Every final year masters students and even undergraduate students always ask what next after their studies. The most suitable place for landing is always for a PhD. study. Some think that this is always a soft spot but believe me, it’s not always that soft.

A Ph.D. study daunts to be an intense process especially if you have been working hard on your masters or your current degree.

Despite that, we are going to provide you with a guide that will ensure that you are going through the degree process in the smartest and quickest way possible.

The first take before you start your PhD. is actually preparing for your PhD. Here are the tips that you need to have when beginning your PhD. Here are the preparation tips for your PhD.;

Start PhD Early

Each and every university has got its own deadline but most of the application deadline is usually during autumn though some Universities extend this deadline up to spring.

For you not to be caught up by the deadline then its advice that you start PhD process very early. This should always be at the beginning of the term.

When you are applying for a Ph.D. then it’s important that you understand the different types of doctorates that are being offered in place. This calls for downtime research on the various potential Ph.D. places and programs.

Affirmative decision on the area to specialize

Anybody who considers starting PhD has to be absolutely passionate about the subject that he or she is going to handle.

Thus you have to zero into the exact area that you need to specialize keeping in mind that this will be your bread and butter for the next half-decade.

When making a decision on which area you will specialize you need to consider the theory of a specific subject and the practical aspect of making a research on it.

For instance, when you need to pursue a Ph.D. on Engineering, you need to make an assertive decision on getting your hands dirty in the labs and workshops or rather stay on campus as you venture into the field work.

Take time to research on potential supervisors

One of the most important decisions that you can make is deciding on who to do your PhD. with i.e. your supervisors.

When reviewing on potential supervisors then you need to keep in mind the following; academic qualification, their publication records, the number of the Ph.D. students that the supervisor is handling.

When it comes to selecting the right supervisor always ensure that you make advance talks with them before even starting PhD

When specializing for an engineering or science PhD. then a research supervisor is highly recommended.

Perform some reconnaissance

A reconnaissance is essential in ensuring that you can adopt the new entertainment of the school at both the professional and personal level. A reconnaissance is can be done during the Postgraduate open days.

Ask Questions.

During the application process, you need to involve current advisers, lectures and other academic staffs and you need to ask relevant questions on the type of Postgraduate program that you are applying for.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Different Fields of study do have different requirements on the way to study. Despite that, we do have the general requirements that one has to fulfill for him or her to enroll for a Doctor of Philosophy.

Who is qualified for a Ph.D. Degree program? A Ph.D. Degree if you have done both an Honors Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree then you directly qualify for it.

Despite that, the program has got the own separate qualification requirements for you to be able to sit that program which is going to have a look at the two of them.

When looking forward to elevating your levels of study then the first set has always been to complete your undergraduate degree. During your undergraduate program is very important that you maintain a high-Grade Point Average.

After you have a completed your undergraduate degree the next step can actually be completing the master’s degree though some do go directly to the Ph.D. degree depending on the policies of the university. Here is a complete step towards pursuing your Doctoral Degree;

Step 1 Complete the Undergraduate Degree

The first step of pursuing your PhD. is pursuing and completing the undergraduate level. When selecting an undergraduate program then its important that you do choose a university that is accredited. An undergraduate degree usually takes at least 4 years to complete though some take a shorter time. When undertaking your undergraduate program it’s usually important that you thrive and strive to attain high-grade point average (GPA).

Step 2; Complete the Master’s Degree

Some of the university policies do allow for one to pursue a PhD. with only a Bachelor’s Degree Honor while most of them don’t allow for that. For you to remain safe then it’s important for you to have a Masters Degree.

A master’s degree takes at most 2 years and you will be done. If you go for an accelerated program then you are likely to take between 12-14 months.

Some of the colleges will also call you to complete the graduate entry exam so you need to be very keen on that.

Having a bachelor degree and a master’s degree gets you qualified to pursue a doctoral degree. This is this the stage where you can start PhD doctoral studies.The two degrees provide you with a basic foundation on the knowledge and theory of the research that you will conduct during your understudy at the Ph.D. Level.

During the enrollment in your doctoral program you will have to provide the following documents;

Undergraduate and graduate transcripts

Resume and CV

Recent GRE or GMAT scores.

Letter of recommendation

Statement of Purpose.

Guide on your Ph.D. Application

When looking forward on how to start your PhD. program then having an affirmative mind on the Ph.D. application procedures is very essential towards nailing it down on beginning to work on your Ph.D. program.

Ph.D. the application is the first step of starting your PhD. program from any recognized institution of learning. When embarking on a brave journey towards pursuing your Ph.D. then performing thorough research on the eligibility and Ph.D. entry requirements as soon as possible.

Here are some of the tips that will guide you through the application of your Ph.D.

Never delay the application process

For a successful applicant, you need to have brainstormed on your application months. What is likely to delay your application process is actually your finances that is why it’s recommended that you do begin the application as early as possible.

The other common delay is likely to occur due to the lack of the requirements to start the application process. You need to check on the requirements of the Ph.D. and begin working then as soon as possible.

Taking time to prepare for the application is the critical and advantageous cause of the following reasons;

  1. a) It provides enough time for the letter of recommendation writers to thoughtfully prepare a letter.
  2. b) Provides more time to review your materials and fix any errors through proofreading.
  3. c) It eases the deadline pressure thus allowing for the smoother process of application.

Acquire a letter of recommendation

Starting PhD doctoral study is one of academic works and not career work, thus when looking for a letter of recommendation try the best to get a letter of recommendation that portrays your past academic life.

Thus a letter of recommendation is supposed to be from your past academic work levels. Recommendations letter are there to serve and attest your ability t handle your doctoral-level research and academic work.

Always include Research /Work Experience in your field

Each and every university has got its own criteria for evaluating applicants despite that evaluating the research work that you have previously done or your work experience is very important.

When including your work experience during your application you must know that spending more time away from your academic can be a major drawback in your application.

Prepare for a standardized Test

When applying for most of the Ph.D. Programs you are likely to be requested to sit for a test. One of the common test that you are likely to be subjected to include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

This test is also called the PhD entrance examination. Before you think of starting your PhD, you must prepare thoroughly about the topic that you want to research. The preparation for this test can be done online or you can purchase books and go through it. For you to remain in the applicant pool it’s critical that you maintain high scores in the test.

A letter of motivation

When going through the application process a letter of motivation is always required. A letter of motivation shows your clear objectives of pursuing the curse.

When writing this letter you need to describe your research areas and the areas that do interest you. You also need to focus on the contribution that your work experience, qualities, and qualifications will actually make in this field of study.

It’s also important for you to mention on the experience that you have made in the preparation of your advance study.

Guideline through the Application Process.

For you to begin the application process then it’s important that you do have a strong background in the research process. When reviewing anything that you must know about applying for a Ph.D. then it’s important to note that one can apply for a Ph.D. when he or she is about to qualify for a master’s degree program.

When going through the application there are various common application tips or cautions that you must always keep in mind.

Different Universities have got their own criteria and admission conditions thus it’s important that you review the admission criteria of your university.

Here is the general step by step guideline on getting started with your application;

Finding a Supervisor and a department

When looking forward to pursuing your Ph.D. then finding your supervisor and your department is always the first thing that you can always do.

Finding a department and coordinator is always predetermined by the course that you are going to undertake. Most of the departments in the common universities do have Ph.D. and Postgraduate Coordinators. They are usually instrumental when it comes to assisting you to select the right supervisors. You can also approach potential supervisors directly.

If you have decided to approach the supervisor directly then it’s very important that you send an email to them first before meeting them. The email should be able to explain your research interest, you also need to attach a brief CV including the standards that you have achieved.

You can also access the potential supervisors through the coordinators. The departments are supposed to show up interest in your proposed study after which you will be contacted so that you can proceed to the next step.

Formal application for a Ph.D. Study and Scholarship funding

You will submit your proposed project after which you have to get the acceptation you will then proceed to submit a formal application for your Ph.D. admission. If possible you can apply for a scholarship so that you pursue your Post Graduate degree.

Some of the application can be made online while some of the application can be submitted manually. When submitting the application you need to include the required documents which include;

Undergraduate and graduate transcripts

Resume and CV

Recent GRE or GMAT scores.

Letter of recommendation

Research Proposal

Preliminary research outline

Additional support letter/ references

Following the above steps is an assured way of securing a position

Step 1 Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

You have to sit for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and score a high score for you to be approved to pursue your online doctorate degree. The preparation for the GRE takes about 3 months and you will be ready.

Step 2 Language Proficiency test.

The language proficiency tests might be applicable and sometimes proof that you sat for that exam might be mandatory for the approval of your application. The common language proficiency test includes IELTS and TOEFL.

Acquire official translation of your grades

An official translation of your grades and a recommendation letter from your professor are very critical for your application to be approved.

Select the program and submit your application.

Once you have accomplished the necessary requirements you will submit your application by submitting the necessary documents. You will also look for your future supervisor. The application should be submitted on the online platform.

Stages of a Ph.D. Program

Do you project to clear your Ph.D. easily and fast? What you need to know is that it requires extra effort to see you through? Before you even think of applying for one, you have to make up your mind and be ready to face all the challenges that await you.

There are a number of steps that you will be taken through until you clear up with your program. Some of this mileage is outlined and explained below.

Identifying your major specialization

Before you enroll in PhD., you need to know specific areas that you intend to work at. At the onset of your study, you will find yourself studying a number of courses for about two years.

Remember, you need not enroll for Ph.D. first then select your major. At least you should be having what you target to graduate with before joining.it takes about one and a half years to two years to complete the diversity courses.

Identification of a supervisor

The second step you need to take is to find a professor who will supervise your project. You need to select your supervisor for the first two years. At this stage, it is also important to come up with your area of research.

Note that at this moment, there is no need for you to come up with an exact subject of study. You are required to choose other courses other than those at the diversity list.

You need to seek support from your adviser on this matter. You have to choose a total of three courses which will give you a guideline on the kind of research you design to have.

Program for research preparation assessments

Before you can start your research, you will have to be tested if you are in a position to work out. It is your responsibility to set out date or time for you to go through the examinations.

Submitting the document of the qualification for the research

This is the fourth step for your Ph.D. program. You have to submit this document to the office of th3e graduates. This document is popularly referred to as RQ and has the following features.

It has information that will prove your background necessities.

This document has your coursework and satisfies GPA fulfillment.

It also provides a prove of finishing the preparatory examinations of the research.

You have to file this document when you clear your third year of study. As from the admission, you will take about two years or two and half years to your RQ proposal document.

The fifth step is for you now is a Ph.D. candidate

At this step, you have to choose a committee with aid of your supervisor. Your committee needs to be approved by the Graduate advisor before you can come up with final plans of the committee.

Set a date that is convenient for the members of the committee to avail themselves for the proposal. Work smartly to pass the examination for the proposal after which you will be required to finish applying for the chance to pursue Ph.D.

It will take you around two and a half years or three and a half years from admission to reach this stage.

The final and justification

You have to find a date for your last defense and ensure you pass it. During this session, at least four out of five members of the committee should be available.

Let the member absent explain in writing why not attended and also accept to go through your assertion and give out the remarks. The defense of your desertion will happen between your third to fifth years of study since admission.

If you happen to join PhD. directly from your bachelors, you will take extra courses at your first two years.

Thesis submission

This is the final step. You have to present your desertion to the school of the graduate.

The stages involve a postgraduate research project.

The format of Ph.D. research may not appear the same. The structure tends to vary from universities or from different courses. For example, you may be studying the same discipline under the same supervisor yet the way you carry out the research may vary.

However, there are is a common element of the research process that will seem to appear in any of the research projects. Some of these steps are outlined below.

Preparation of the proposal for the research

Your research proposal is not a need for your Ph.D. You only need it when applying for the Ph.D. This proposal should contain the exact question you intend to answer.

It has to explain how the work you are handling is relevant to university objectives. In addition, it is from the proposal that the plan you have set to clear up the PhD. is included. This should contain all possible findings.

The proposal should be the guiding tool of all the necessities you intend to go through the Ph.D. project itself.

Working out on the literature review

Immediately you meet your supervisors, the next thing you will do is to carry out a literature review. This information should outline a detailed analysis of activities within your field.

You will receive guidance mostly from your supervisor which will enable you to understand and bring to board all necessities of the available scholarships. Despite the fact of the originality of the PhD., a literature review is a tool that will enable you to exhibit expertise in studentships.

Through this tool, you are able to reveal that you have mastery content of your work and that you can advance it further. When working on the literature review, you should be careful customarily it forms part of your last paper.

Handling your Research work

Literature review mostly consists of the published documents. When you clear with this section, you now drifty immediately to conducting a number of researches.

The research is an original work that you carry out.  However, this does not burr you from reading about other people’s works or articles as you also need to be empowered with what others have realized. Your point of concentration now is on your research.

You need to seek out new ideas and record for later analysis. The types of researches available include, experimental or empirical for the case of STEM subjects, appraisals or case studies for those in social science.

The research work is important as it has a great impact on your Ph.D. You will receive great support from your supervisor. However the everyday management of duties lye in your hands.

Upgrading your PhD

Some countries such as the UK will enroll new Ph.D. scholars for an M Phil after which they are introduced into full doctoral programs. This process will take about a year after full-time learning. Sometimes you may be forced to work out for relatively less degree which not have to appear strange.

Actually, it is a critical element of study which shouldn’t be taken for free. Being an M Phil student, you have high potential understand your field well and that you can easily come up with new research. One important point you need not forget as a Ph.D. student is that you are required to be original.

After going through the M Phil training, you are required to graduate into Ph.D. by simply being taken through an oral test which will see your thesis converted.

Production of the thesis

This stage requires that you complete your thesis and prepare to start working on your dissertation. This is after you have confirmed to be a candidate.

As a Ph.D. student, there are some terms you have to know their meanings to be used to. For example, you have to realize the difference between thesis and dissertations. But is there really a difference?

Well, the two words can be used exchangeable but you have to know that thesis is the principle or point you are trying to argue about while dissertation simply means a statement you have written about your thesis.

You will work out on your thesis but after publishing it, you submit a dissertation.

Presentation of the dissertation on paper

After the research and identification of your thesis, you are required to write up on paper your dissertation, during the write-up period.

This is most probably the last period of your Ph.D. After this, you will then present a dissertation of your thesis a foundation for your examinations.

This kind of test is called a viva voce exam. Your dissertation should vary from 70000 to 100000 words, with the following structure.

Introduction. It consists of the summary of your driving principles and summary of the other chapters. You can also provide abstract the argument you are handling.

Literature review. This immediately follows the introduction.

Other chapters to include results, thesis, methodology, data

The last part of the dissertation is the conclusion.

The dissertation is then presented to your supervisor who will go through and afterward give you a reply. It is then submitted for assessment upon agreement between the two of you.

The defense at viva voce.

Marking of the Ph.D. isn’t done the same way as the other degrees. Submission is done for oral examination which is known as viva voce. Viva voce is a Latin word that generally means living voice. There is a group of the examiner who has read through your thesis and of which you will be required to defend your thesis before. You will meet both internal and external examiners. At the end of viva, the possible results are; pass with no correction or pass with minor corrections or major corrections, or recommendations for an M Phil or fail.

What a typical Ph.D. Usually involves

A PhD. is the best tool you can use to solve most of the issues affecting society. It also gives you an opportunity to be exposed to all kinds of job opportunities for your self-support.

It is a process that requires you be patient and determined to face all forms of challenges for you to succeed. A PhD. will take about 3 to 4 years for you graduate.

The cost varies from universities and also programs. It also depends if you will receive funding, scholarships or if you are self-supporting.

For you to qualify you to need to have passed your master degree in some countries while other countries will allow joining directly from your bachelor degree.

You can study the Ph.D. as a full-time or part-time student. It depends on your agreement with the institution. You need to identify your thesis and defend it for you to be awarded a doctorate.

There is an upgrading program called M Phil that equips you with basic ideas on how to handle the Ph.D. You may come up with your own research proposal or be provided by the supervisors.

Everything you need to consider before embarking on a PhD

Find out more about the Ph.D. programs available before landing on one. You may end up p[pursuing a wrong PhD. while leaving out a wonderful one.

You should not pursue a Ph.D. because you just want to continue with your academics. Your judge is research-based and not on the merit of your course.

You should at least rest after your undergraduate study before enrolling for the Ph.D. This will help you to relate academics to real-life situations.

You should choose a Ph.D. with open-minded research options.

Learn to be time conscious in your study.

10 Steps to a Ph.D. Failure

How will you feel if you sacrifice all your resources to pursue a Ph.D. and end up failing? It is so painful indeed. You can overcome these challenges by avoiding some issues as the follows.

Segregating from others. By doing so, you lose big minds that can help you achieve your dream.

Evading from thinking appropriately. You have to take enough time to think else you will be perceived as lazy and avoided.

Avoiding to ask anything you need.

Be one person who creates a more excuse.

Waste most of your times speak well of nonsense things.

Waiting until the last tick when you do vital things.

Ignoring blunders done by yourself.

Ignoring to come up with important judgments.

Expertise in all areas

Being too unperceptive more so to your supervisor

Be unable to picture why you are at this point.


Ph.D. is doable. You only need to package yourself well and face it in the smartest way possible. You need to be discouraged by anything you face. It has been done by many why, not you?