Basics of International Ph.D. programs

Are you a self-driven student who is interested in studies abroad? Did you finish your bachelor’s degree without issues and have taken your master’s degree to further your education? What are your plans now and what will be your next step?

Some of the reason why students choose to further their education are:

  1. For career opportunities: I already have a job and in order to get a higher position, I need a Ph.D.
  2. For company and personal improvement: My company sees the need for further education and invests in my expertise to apply new learnings to the company
  3. For personal growth: I want to be versatile and exposed to many countries and learnings. I want to have sufficient qualifications to give me the flexibility I need in the job I’d like to pursue.

If you can identify to any of the reasons mentioned, then you must be considering the next questions: What, Where, When and How?

What to study

Ph.D. programs normally stem from the experience and exposure you have had with your master’s degree. You may choose a completely different or non-related course, but universities would require a degree and sometimes position qualifications for courses that they offer. This is to ensure that the student becomes successful. A Ph.D. level no longer has the flexibility to shift from one field of interest to another. This level requires commitment, focus, and dedication for completion.

Most universities offer formal programs that you can choose from (Ph.D. in Literature, Ph.D. in Communication Arts, Ph.D. in Archeology and Arts, Ph.D. in Research Development and Continuing Education, etc…). Not all doctoral programs have to be clinically driven. Some offer scholarships and funding opportunities depending on the universities mission/vision.

Where to study

As an international student, you would want to consider established schools or universities that have been offering their programs for a period of time. This gives you the security that the school/university has earned sufficient exposure, experience and has improved the program since it has started. It also gives you the guarantee that the school/university you plan to enroll in is legitimate (even before you go there) and that you are able to handle it.

You do need to consider, however, how prepared you are in participating in a different culture since you will be part of the minority when you go abroad. Never forget that a learning environment has a huge impact on any student, and if you are going to be uncomfortable being surrounded by non-English speaking locales, think twice with the school/university you plan to enroll in. If you, however, are interested in learning new languages, new cultures and/or new learning environments, then international studies are definitely going to work for you.

When to study

Semesters are different across the globe, usually following the pattern of the seasons each country has. In the US, school normally starts in September. In Australia, January; in Europe, in September; and in Asia, June. The start dates, however, varies, depending on the school/university and the country. It will be best to confirm/check directly.

The best time to study and consider international studies is when you are most ready to take it. This means that you would not have to sacrifice a lot of things at home or at your work place, and if you are, then you must be prepared to change your perspective in your next steps in order to ensure your efforts will not be wasted. Your commitment and dedication is the key to your success.

How to do it?

Most applications are done online, the same thing with grants and scholarships. Information is already available, and in most cases, it is actually the school, that is waiting for your arrival/attendance.

Make sure you have done your research as regards the school/university you plan to go to.


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