A Comprehensive Guide to Applying for a PhD in India [2024]

May 15, 2024
phd in india

Quick Summary

  • A PhD is a postgraduate research degree in India. It’s the highest academic degree in the country. 
  • The cost of a PhD course in India differs based on the kind of university people choose. However, if you take estimates, it can cost you around 80k to 2 lacs.
  • For admission in PhD in India, students require a Master’s degree in a relevant field. An overall grade point average of at least 55% (or equivalent) is required.


Table of Contents

Did you know that India produces over 20 thousand PhD holders, making it one of the top 5 countries with the most PhD holders?

Sounds great right?

And this number of PhD holders is only going to increase in upcoming years, with the rise in new technologies and scientific research more and more people will pursue a PhD in India.

If you are also thinking about pursuing PhD degree, then read this article till the end to know all about doing PhD in India. 

what is PhD

PhD in India- Course Highlights



PhD Full Form

Doctor of Philosophy

Course Level


Course Duration

3-6 Years

Course Fees

₹50000 to ₹1 Lac. Per year

Major Entrance Exams


Avg. Salary of PhD Holder

₹4.3- ₹10 LPA

Reasons To Pursue a PhD in India

It is known that the purpose of a PhD is to teach individuals how to conduct research in a field. Candidates learn how to write scholarly papers and present findings, along with gaining skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. However, there are career-related reasons to choose PhD course, and these reasons are:

  1. Getting monthly allowances from the government to fund research.
  2. A PhD student is seen as an expert in their field, thus, making them eligible for job openings related to teaching and research.
  3. A chance to go to other countries for Academic Exchange Programs and learn various things.
  4. Getting complete control over what you want to study and how you wish to continue with your research.
  5. A PhD student gets to interact and work with the best academicians in their field and the professional experts who will guide them during their research.

Types of PhD Courses in India

There are different types of PhD degrees, some are based on distance and some are based on stream. Here is the list of major types of PhD in India.

Common PhD Degrees

PhD Course


Full-time PhD

A full-time PhD degree is a regular PhD program where the candidate is required to pursue research on a full-time basis under the guidance of a supervisor. It is a 3-5 years program.

Part-time PhD

In this program, candidates who are working professionals and wish to pursue a PhD while continuing their job, can attend classes on weekends. Part-time PhD duration is 4-7 years.

Integrated PhD

This program is a combination of a Master’s degree and a PhD course, and is typically of 5-6 years duration. It is meant for students who wish to pursue a research career in a particular field.

Distance PhD

Distance PhD is designed for candidates who cannot attend regular classes due to various reasons. The coursework is delivered through online mode, and the research work is conducted under the guidance of a supervisor.

Industry-sponsored PhD

This PhD degree is sponsored by a company or an industry, and the research is typically focused on solving industry-specific problems. This course usually lasts for 3-5 years

Stream-wise PhD Degrees


PhD (Chemistry)

PhD (Biotechnology)

PhD (Physics)

PhD (Mathematics)

PhD (Zoology)

PhD (Botany)

PhD (Applied Sciences)

PhD (Clinical Research)


PhD (Accounting)

PhD (Business Administration)

PhD (Commerce)

PhD (International Business)

PhD (Revenue Management)

PhD (Business Forensics)

PhD (Market Volatility)

PhD (Enterprise Risk Management)


PhD (Arts)

PhD (Psychology)

PhD (History)

PhD (English Literature)

PhD (Economics)

PhD (Social Sciences)

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Major PhD in India Entrance Exams

Every university takes its entrance exam for admission and checks the qualification for a PhD of every applicant. However, some entrance exams are conducted on a national level and have more importance. These are the major PhD course entrance exams.

Entrance Exam



UGC NET is a national-level entrance exam which is taken to check eligibility for the post of Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellowship. The exam consists of two papers and tests the candidate’s knowledge of their chosen subject.

GPAT (Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test)

GPAT (Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test) is a national-level entrance exam conducted in India for admission to postgraduate pharmacy programs. It tests the aptitude of candidates in various areas of pharmaceutical sciences and is conducted online.


CSIR entrance exam is conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to select eligible candidates for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Lectureship in various fields of Science and Technology. It consists of multiple-choice questions based on the syllabus of the respective subject.

Have a read at a Comprehensive Guide to Entrance Exams after Graduation.

PhD in India- Eligibility Criteria

Getting admission in PhD course is not an easy task, and if you are trying to get admission to any PhD program, check for these PhD eligibility criteria beforehand.

  1. The candidate must have completed a Master’s degree i.e. (MTech/ MSc/ MA/ MPhil/ MBA). And it must be a full-time Master’s course from a recognised university by the government.
  2. The overall grade point average of the candidate’s Master’s program must be at least 55% (or equivalent).
  3. Candidates under SC, ST, and OBC categories will be given 5%- or 10%-mark relaxations. Applicants must present their reservation certificate to use these benefits.
  4. The candidate must pass the PhD entrance exam.
  5. A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the educational institution or company where candidates are employed is required. Candidates must have job experience in a related field for a part-time PhD.

PhD Course Structure

1. Coursework

In PhD courses, students take a set have to take core courses or seminars in their field of study to build foundational knowledge. The coursework varies according to university but does includes both required and elective courses.

2. Research proposal

After completing the core courses, students must develop a research proposal outlining the problem they plan to investigate, the research questions they aim to answer, and the methods they will use to collect and analyze data.

3. Comprehensive exams

Before beginning their research for PhD course, students need to pass certain comprehensive exams covering their field of study to demonstrate their competence in the subject matter.

4. Research

Once students have completed their coursework and passed their comprehensive exams, they can begin their research. This typically involves conducting experiments, collecting data, or engaging in other research activities to answer the questions outlined in their research proposal.

5. Dissertation

The final requirement for a PhD course completion is the dissertation, which is a book-length document outlining the student’s research findings, conclusions, and contributions to their field of study. The dissertation has to be defended in front of a committee of faculty members and other experts in the field.

Read more: Complete Guide to Writing a Research Paper

steps to write phd dissertation

5 Step PhD Course Admission Process

There is Candidates must take the following seven steps to apply for a PhD in India:

Step 1 Find a Mentor

PhD students should find a supervisor willing to support them through their PhD journey. After finding a supervisor, candidates can apply offline or online. Almost all colleges and universities accept online applications now. However, if you wish, you can apply via the offline process by visiting the office of the university.

Step 2 Fill Online Admission Form

Candidates must complete the online PhD admission form before applying on the university or college website. All the needed qualification for PhD is listed on the university’s official website and should be met. The online application is rejected if candidates fail to meet these requirements.

Step 3 Submit Necessary Documents

After completing the online application form, candidates must provide all necessary papers. These documents may include your passing certificate, degree, and migration certificate. Check the list of papers on the website before applying for the PhD admissions.

Step 4 Pass the Entrance Exam

The college/university needs PhD entrance exam. This exam must be taken after completing the application form. Fill out the form for the entrance exam and appear for it.

Step 5 Pass the Interview

Upon passing the PhD entrance exam, candidates will be invited for a doctoral academic interview. Admission is based on the academic doctoral interview and PhD entrance exam results. The institution or college decides the grades of students at each level and after passing the interview and fulfilling some other requirements you get admission.

Top Colleges for PhD in India


Total Estimated Fees

University of Delhi, Delhi


Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi


Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

₹3 lacs.

Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar

₹3-4 lacs

Calcutta University, Kolkata


Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh


Sharda University, Greater Noida

₹3-4 lacs.

Christ University, Bangalore

₹1-2 lacs.

Top 10 Career Options After PhD in India

Job Profile

Average Salary (in INR)

Assistant Professor

3.8 LPA

Research Scientist

6.8 LPA

Data Scientist

10 LPA

Senior Research Fellow

4.5 LPA

Associate Professor

8.5 LPA

Management Consultant

22 LPA

Postdoctoral Researcher

10 LPA

Source: Ambition Box

Plan Your Career in PhD

Being known as PhD holder is something to be proud of, not just because it’s a symbol of great knowledge but also a great future. If you want a career like this then doing PhD in India is the best choice and if you are confused about how you are going to get admission in PhD, then re-read the article. Do your research, know which specialization you want to choose and excel in your PhD course.

Make sure you carefully explore all your professional options because your career is extremely important. Before making the right decision, look over our career advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a PhD in India cost?

The cost of a PhD course in India differs based on the kind of university people choose. However, if you take estimates, it can cost you around 80k to 2 lacs. This figure can go up or down based on whether you choose a private institute or a government one.

What is the duration of a PhD in India?

A PhD program lasts for three to five years. Candidates have a maximum of five to six years to finish the program. The course length may be different for different institutes and the time taken by student in completing their thesis.

What are the eligibility criteria for a PhD in India?

For admission in PhD in India, students require a Master’s degree in a relevant field. An overall grade point average of at least 55% (or equivalent) is required. In addition to this, candidates must know the language in which the course is taught and evaluated. Now, an MPhil degree is not a must for PhD admissions.

Is it easy to get a PhD in India?

Getting a PhD in India is not easy. Candidates pursuing PhDs in India must pass the entrance exams such as NET. This written exam checks if they have the relevant subject knowledge to conduct advanced research. Candidates must further clear a PhD interview exam. Candidates must clear these rounds before pursuing PhDs in their chosen areas of specialization.

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