Ph.D. or Doctor of Philosophy is the highest university grade a student can get. The degree is conferred after a course of study is fully completed, and is conferred by most universities in the world. A student can get a Ph.D. in basically any field of study, as long as the student is capable of producing original research and project that expand that area of study. The student is required to come up with a thesis or dissertation that will showcase their research and project in front of the best experts in that field of study. Then, the student is required to defend their thesis/dissertation.

Now, many students tend to abandon the idea of getting a Ph.D. after their master’s degree program for several reasons. Many believe that getting a Ph.D. will hinder their entering into the workforce and getting a job, others believe it is a complete waste of money. However, what all seem to agree about is that a Ph.D. is a waste of time above everything. That is why in the following paragraphs we are going to look at the length of Ph.D. and how much time does it actually take to get a Ph.D. degree.

Standard Length of the Ph.D. Program

Degree holders, as well as universities, always urge the students to think thoroughly and carefully about the Ph.D. program. This is usually because of its length and time it will consume in order to get everything completed and done. The reason for that lies in the number of years it lasts, according to the Survey of Earned Doctorates. It is believed that the average length of a Ph.D. program is 5.8 years. This seems way too long for many students who are looking forward to getting a job and establishing a career. Universities like to point out that if you’re not extremely interested in a study or yourself aren’t incredibly studious and dedicated, then the Ph.D. program will take more than 5.8 years for you.

Some students have seen their Ph.D. programs lasting even between 7 and 10 years, usually, because they had to juggle a job, private life, family, friends and many other things that life tends to throw at people. Another potential problem might be the fact that some universities require students to publish a paper in a first-rate, peer-reviewed academic journal, which can take a few additional years to complete. Not to mention the fact that the majority of Ph.D. students have already obtained a master’s degree, which itself took several precious years out of their pockets. So, it would seem that a student is going to spend most of their lives in university, trying to achieve the highest academic awards without really having the time to experience and practice their knowledge.

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Ph.D. Programs in Other Countries

When it comes to other countries, it seems that the length of the Ph.D. programs does not exceed 5 years. For example, in the UK and other European countries, the length of the Ph.D. programs varies between three, four and five years, depending on the field of study. The same applies to Australia and New Zealand. Some students, often the brightest and most innovative people, tend to complete their Ph.D. in less than three years, but that number cannot be applicable to the general public. It seems that many US students tend to leave to the UK to complete their Ph.D. there as it takes significantly less time when compared to the US. For some fields of study in the US, it can take up to 7 years to complete the Ph.D., while in the UK it can take less than four years. So, if you want to pursue a Ph.D. you might want to consider doing that abroad, as it will probably cost you less and take less of your precious time.

Bachelor’s vs. Master’s Degree and Program

Factors that Affect the Length of a Ph.D. Program

Here are some of the factors that may affect the length of a Ph.D. program;

  • You might have your Ph.D. program completed earlier if you’re able to skip the master’s degree program. Some universities (for certain fields of study), allow students to go straight from bachelor’s degree program to the Ph.D. program. It will still take you a few years, but overall you won’t be spending as much time on your education as you would with the master’s degree program. Of course, this does carry advantages and disadvantages, but that is surely on you to consider.
  • The field of study for your Ph.D. can significantly affect the length of the program. For example, if you’re pursuing a Ph.D. in a field of study that is already well-researched and relatively familiar, then you might not take so much time to complete everything. On the other hand, if you’re pursuing a Ph.D. in a field that is relatively new and has little or no research available, then your Ph.D. is definitely going to take longer to complete.
  • Of course, if you’re motivated to complete the Ph.D. program quickly, it might actually take you less than five years, for example. Motivation and persistence are a huge factor when it comes to such extensive and lengthy studious work. Moreover, if you get a job during these years, chances are that your Ph.D. might suffer, and of course, take longer to complete. Not to mention the fact that your research needs to be funded, so if you can’t get full funding, you will have to do it yourself, which will, again, take time from the actual Ph.D. project and research.
  • If your advisor is not good, your Ph.D. will last more than it should, and that is a fact. The advisor needs to be engaged, insightful and completely immersed in your work, so they can provide necessary help and guidance. Your thesis or dissertation can be completed faster, but it also needs to be quality work, and a good advisor can help with both. If you and your advisor have trouble communicating or getting along, you’re probably looking at a few years longer before the actual Ph.D. completion.