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What Exactly is PhD Degree?

Guest Post by Anu (PhD Student at University of New Mexico)

Scientific research (PhD Degree) is neither easy not hard. It needs persistence, patience and polite collaborative efforts to reach the goals.

Major steps involved are problem discovery and defining to write a hypothesis followed by data collection, analysis and organization that would help in describing the significance of results and its future applications.

Problem discovery and defining

Finding a problem requires knowledge as to what needs to be answered in a specific area. Therefore, prior to selecting a problem, selecting a topic is emphasized.

It is advisable to select an area as your focus of interest, in which funds are available.

Related : 15 Questions Every Student Should Ask Before Doing PhD

Generally, the research interest of the professor you join for doctoral studies becomes your area of interest.

Often Professors have grants to pursue a specific problem. Therefore, most PhD students do not discover a new problem.

Few students who do, their professors are in the process of writing grants and your idea might be used to fund your research.

Further, defining a problem needs literature survey and support to describe the importance of the problem and its solution. Problem is presented as a question.

Hypothesis

After defining the problem and its possible solutions as results, one of the most promising, feasible and predictable solution is adapted as a hypothesis. Hypothesis is a hypothetical statement presented as an answer to the question.

Feasibility of the hypothesis is considered most important in the research world regardless of it being proved or disproved. During the course of research, hypothesis undergoes several rounds of changes, modifications and turns.

The final version can be completely different from the initial one or remain exactly the same.

Data collection, analysis and organization

Series of experiments are conducted to find answers to a problem. These experimental data are deeply analyzed and organized to form a story to present them as evidences for a predicted outcome.

Data collection takes majority of the time in research. A PhD student takes longer because of enormous time utilized in learning the skills in acquiring the data.

However, it is advised to maintain data in highly organized manner. Often a hard copy and multiple soft copies are important to ensure prevention from any form of data loss.

Results, its significance and future application

No research is a waste. However, it is evaluated on the basis of its significant implications and applications in future. Hence, it is considered utmost important to present applications of the research, its benefits along with its limitations.

Suggesting troubleshooting for the current limitations is highly recommended. Being optimistic with defining future applications is a good sign, however, over-optimism is strongly not recommended.

Research is a never ending process

Research is a long lasting, never ending process. With every new finding, more problems and questions come up. It is a very intellectual, strong and brave decision to figure out where to stop and pursue one direction.

There is a fine line between good ending and abrupt ending in any story. Therefore, I consider this task as the most difficult part in research.

Seeking help from experienced people to guide you in finding the best direction is always favorable. I wish you find your direction.

Continued – How to Select PhD Committee Members

21 Comments

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  2. Ramesh on August 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Hi,

    I have completed MTech one year back in VLSI with CGPA 8.6. Now I want to do PhD in the same area(VLSI or Integrated Electronics or Micro Electronics) from USA.

    What Score do i need to get in GRE n TOEFL to get funds from University ?.
    Can anybody list the universities offering the research area that I am looking for ?

  3. H BALAJI on June 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    I have same confusion for PhD in biochemistry and if u suggestion please do u mail me for help…plz..

  4. balpreet kaur on April 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    hello
    i am in second sem of my masters.i am doing B.Sc(hons)-M.Sc(hons) biotechnology(dual degree).till now my cgpa is 7.09(63.81%),i have not done any research work during my masters.but have completed one month training in rDNA technology.i wanted to go for Ph.D(abroad),but almost every where research work is mandatory,if some university is not asking for research,they ask for good grades which i dont have.i really feel dishearted.kindly guide me what should i do??

  5. Vidushi on December 14, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Hi, I have completed my M.tech in computer science and engineering with 8.0 CPI and I am interested in doing Ph.D from a good University of US. So how could I prepare plus where should I apply for clearing the required test and for getting admission in Ph.D

  6. piyush narayan on November 25, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    Hello, I have completed my Masters in biotech, now m planning for P hd in fall 2013 session from any reputed US university. So what is the right time to contact with professors to get their approval.

    Thank you
    Piyush

    • raju on March 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      piyush,
      i have same confusion for PHD in biotech…..if u meet any reply, u do mail to me for help……..plz

  7. Nirbhay Arya on October 10, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Hi, i am doing M. pharm in pharmaceutices. I have planned to do Ph.D. in USA in sept- 2012
    so, please send me about funding and exams which is necessary to get admission in USA.

  8. Mozidur Rahman Biswas on June 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    To whom it may concern

    I am interested to pursue PhD in Environmental Economics if full scholarship is allowed by any standard university.
    I am Masters in Economics and completed coursework in M.phil in Eco
    If responded positive I may proceed and send CV
    MRB

  9. sneha on June 1, 2011 at 6:15 AM

    hi i am sneha and i have done MSc. biotechnology with first divison and and i looking for the admit in universities of USA. i have done research in molecular biology and had a training by IARI and DBT (INDIAN AGRICULTURE RESEARCH INSTITUTE AND DEPARTMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY) in DNA marker and genomics. i have published a research paper also.

    what i have to do for phd in USA ?
    is gre is essential?
    what is the criteria of selection in phd?
    what is the minimum toefl score for the selection in USA universities?
    can i get full fundings in molecular biology or biotechnology there?
    kindly revert this as soon as possible

    regards

  10. sneha on June 1, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    hi i am sneha and i have done MSc. biotechnology with first divison and and i looking for the admit in universities of USA. i have done research in molecular biology and had a training by IARI and DBT (INDIAN AGRICULTURE RESEARCH INSTITUTE AND DEPARTMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY) in DNA marker and genomics. i have published a research paper also.

    what i have to do for phd in USA ?
    is gre is essential?
    what is the criteria of selection in phd?
    what is the minimum toefl score for the selection in USA universities?
    can i get full fundings in molecular biology or biotechnology there?
    kindly inform me as soon as possible

    regards
    sneha

    • BITTU on June 14, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      hi Sneha,
      TOEFL & GRE (General) is must for PhD aspirant and GRE( Subject) would be advantage. Good score in these tests & LOR, SOP and academics, increase the chance to get admission with funding. Every universities have different different eligible criteria and such scores, so suggesting you that search universities website wisely(Will send you list of Universities offering PhD in Biological science).
      Tnx…good luck

  11. Kiran on May 31, 2011 at 7:21 AM

    Hi Anu and others,

    I am Kiran have done MSc Bioinformatics 2010, planning to pursue PhD, I have got through entrance exam for PhD in Bioinfo @ IIIT-Hyd so i have interview on 27th june hence if any of you have suggestions regarding:

    1) What to do and what not to ..?
    2) General questions..?
    3) What questions am i supposed to ask or keep in mind or to know before going to Interview. ?

    or any general or miscellaneous suggestion as many as possible are welcome
    thanks in advance

    Regards:
    Kiran Patil

  12. Kiran on May 31, 2011 at 6:56 AM

    Hiiiii Anu,
    Special thanks from my side also kindly keep posting articles/blogs regarding Phd because in HSB very less often we get posts on Phd specially for aspirants who wish to pursue Phd in abroad.
    Once again thank very much.

    Regards:
    Kiran Patil

  13. AshwiniKumar Jha on May 30, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Hello Dear,
    I am planning PHD next year September(2012) from some U.S universities, for that reason in which month shall i go for the GRE test, and can you please tell me what would be the eligible score to get admitted in a good college, if i have secured a CGPA of 7.5 in my masters.
    Thank You.

    • BITTU on June 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      Hello Ashwini,,
      you must have attempt GRE hardly up to Oct-Nov, because most of universities have December deadline.
      Tnx

  14. Kranti on May 30, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Hey Anu,
    I want to give you special thanks because I am also planning to go for Ph.D. next year. You really put large information in concise manner.Once again thanks and keep posting your valuable experience in post forms which will help students like me as path finder. Gud luck.

    Regards,
    Kranti

  15. sulejman on May 30, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    where can I do indipendent doctoral dissertation research fully founded on field of content addressable memory?

  16. Sarang on May 30, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Thanks Anu for the useful discussion on this topic..
    Its of significant help for starters..

  17. Vignesh on May 30, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Very good post.What is your field of research ? Please tell me your past educational accomplishments as well. Thanks. Best of luck.

  18. Rakesh Singh on May 30, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Can you tell what are the future prospects of PHD degree . Which are the various fields in which i can work . How much money can i earn . If i am interested in opening a consultancy through research line can i do

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