How To Get Into PhD Programme After Completing Bachelors
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How To Get Into PhD Programme After Completing Bachelors

Surveys and studies have shown that the United States of America has maintained being the number one destination for those who are looking to pursue Ph.D. and other degrees abroad. One of the reasons for this is that several, if not all, US universities have the variety and extreme coverage in terms of researches related to their subjects of interest. In other words, the student who wishes to pursue Ph.D. choose the USA because the country has been known to invest time, effort, and money in research and development.

Another reason is the fact that most universities offer Ph.D. programs to students who are more than willing or have dreamt of pursuing a Ph.D. in the USA shortly after their achieving a bachelor’s degree. What’s even appealing is that these universities have offers that a student cannot resist: getting a master’s degree while also trying to finish his or her Ph.D. degree.

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This article talks about the nature of applying for Ph.D. after completing your bachelor’s degree. To start, it is important to lay down important facts and answer questions. Some of these questions are as follows:

Can you apply for Ph.D. after a bachelor’s degree in the USA?

It may not be the norm, but there are US universities that are now allowing students to pursue a Ph.D. degree after achieving a bachelor’s degree. However, there’s a catch in this setting. While pursuing a Ph.D. degree, you also need to work your way up the ladder and obtain a master’s degree.

What do a combined MS and Ph.D. degree Mean?

In other words, most of these universities only allow you to enroll in a Ph.D. program if you agree to also work on achieving a master’s degree. To explain further, this means that a student is able to achieve a master’s degree for two to three years and then the student is given the permission to continue with his Ph.D. studies. What makes this setup interesting is that there are universities that automatically discuss a master’s degree upon a student’s admission; some make it tougher for the students by requiring them to take a few extra credits of coursework that eventually leads to the master’s degree.

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To give you a picture, here is a table of the top universities in the USA which offer Ph.D. after a bachelor’s degree:


Minimum requirement

Duration (average)


A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) 5 years (2 years coursework and minimum 3 years for research)


A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

6 years (1-2 years in coursework and rest for research)


A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

Around 5 years


A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

Around 5 years (2 years coursework)


A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

6 -7 years (3-3 years coursework)

University of Chicago

A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

University of Pennsylvania

A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

5-6 years (10-year limit)

Columbia University

A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

5 years

John Hopkins University

A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

6 years

Cornell University A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)


Take note, however, that not all US universities that offer Ph.D. programs cover the combined MS and Ph.D. It is your personal responsibility and discretion to check websites of the universities of calling the registrar’s office for more information.

How Should one apply for a Ph.D. degree after bachelors?

If you are considering applying for a university that offers combined MS and Ph.D. program, take note that the requirements are similar to that of applying for a doctorate. This is because most applicants lack in any advanced skill, advanced degree or journal publication. It is also a tough path to take as most universities have made sure that the application process will be long, tedious, and exceptionally challenging. Some just even accept three to four candidates per session.

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What can you do then? Take a look at the factors below and take them into consideration when applying for Ph.D. after a bachelor’s degree:

1.Strong GPA – Those who have strong grade point averages have higher chances of qualifying for the program. If you are from abroad and have different grading systems, you can ask for help or you can undergo an assessment.

2. Standardized test scores – Be sure to ace your standardized test scores as candidates as these scores can definitely have an impact in your application. The following are some of the required standardized tests you are asked to take.

3.GRE: This test is mandatory for everyone who wishes to pursue any Ph.D. program in US universities. Whether you are applying for management studies or others, you have to take this after obtaining your bachelor’s degree. For doctoral programs, you might also be required to present GRE subject scores of the course as well.

4.TOEFL: TOEFL is an English proficiency test and is only applicable for non-native English-speaking countries. Meaning to say, foreign students need to take this and they are required to get a high score in order to be admitted to Ph.D. courses.

5.IELTS: IELTS is also accepted for international students’ admission to Ph.D. programs. This is similar to TOEFL in the sense that this is also an English proficiency test that is designed for students who belong to the non-native English-speaking countries. This is to test your command over the English language. It has four parameters, namely: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

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6.Letter of Recommendation(LOR): A LORis one of the most crucial requirement when getting an admission to Ph.D. programs. This letter is another person’s independent assessment and outlook when talking about the candidate’s potential. There are several universities who require three LORs while there are those who only need one. Here’s a tip for Freshers: Have your letters of recommendation written either by your professors or employers, it will give you that additional leverage.

7.Statement of Purpose(SOP): Another vital requirement is your Statement of Purpose. This should explain in detail how committed you are to the Ph.D. program and should also contain information about your goals in life.

8.Resume: Although this is not applicable to all US universities, there are those who require the student to submit a resume along with the application. It should, in a glimpse, provide their basic information, including, but should not be limited to, date of birth, academic qualifications, achievements, and details of employment, if any.

9.Research Projects: Most importantly your portfolio of research projects can come in handy when aspiring to be admitted into a Ph.D. program. So be sure to keep records and copies of any research that has been written and/or published.

10.Interview: Most of the universities in the  USA offering direct Ph.D. hold a separate interview round for the aspirants. As in most cases, the Ph.D. interviews are conducted by invitation only. The questions are general as well specific to the subject the candidate wants to pursue.

There you have it, everyone. We hope this article will be able to help you prepare for your journey to Ph.D. Good luck on your way to getting that Ph.D. degree.

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  1. Thanks for such a crucial information but sincerely I am looking the same opportunities in India also so request you to detail some of the institutes that provide the same provisions in India.

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