Higher Education in India: History, Degree Levels, Stages

The Indian education system is old and dates back to the South Asian Stone Age period. Gurus or Prabhus were the teachers, and the schools were Gurukuls. The subjects learned ranged from Mathematics, Logic, Grammar, Medicine, Philosophy etc. This era also saw the rise of universities like the Taxila and Nalanda for higher education in India. Importantly, only boys went to these schools to learn. This way of learning continued for quite some time. Thereafter came the British, who started educating Indians in ‘modern ways’ to fill up the Indian British offices. Particularly, much of today’s school and higher education in India is similar to British schooling. Today the Government of India with the State Governments look after schooling and higher education in India.

There are four major degree levels of higher education in India. At first, there is the undergraduate level that includes vocational certifications, diplomas and bachelors degrees. After that, there is the postgraduate level, with masters’ degrees for students with a bachelor’s degree. Finally, there are the doctoral studies and post-doctoral study levels. These higher education levels in India are for candidates who already have a masters degree and/or work experience. In particular, students either conduct primary research on a topic or use existing research to solve problems. Post-doctoral studies are for candidates who already have a doctorate degree and wish to conduct research to contribute to their careers.

Table of Contents

Admissions to all higher education in India take place either through the merit of previous qualifying examination or through entrance test. Specifically, there are national and state-level entrance examinations that take place for Engineering, Medical, Management courses and more. After securing a rank, the last round is personal interviews and/or group discussions.

History of Indian Education System

The higher education system in India goes back to the palaeolithic age. Traditionally, there was a guru who taught about religion, logic and Mathematics. Students got an education in Hindu and Buddhist temples or education centres also called Gurukuls. Students, only boys, would go to the guru where they would spend some time learning under the Guru. Major Indian universities cropped up like the Nalanda, Ujjain, Takshashila etc. Each university usually concentrated on one subject area. Thereafter the next major change came with the introduction of British and Christianity in India. The present system of higher education in India took shape during this era. The initial goal of introducing a modern education system in India was to have more educated Indians serve the British offices. The British removed the previous traditional education system and introduced a new system.

Soon, the British reported 11,758 schools and 740 centres for higher education in India in the Madras Presidency from 1822 to 1826. In the same presidency, there was a total of 161,667 students out of which 4,023 were girls. Moreover, the Bengal presidency reported 100,000 schools in villages during 1835. Thereafter, the first medical college of India, in Calicut, Kerala took shape during the Second World War. This was so as to counter the shortage of doctors in the war. After independence, the central and state Governments shared responsibility for education and higher education in India. The Indian Government introduced the National Policy of Education first in 1986. The 1992 version bought about free compulsory education for all children under 14 years. By 1998, then Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee introduced the Vidya Vahini Network and UGC and CSIR. The latter two was to work for higher education in India.

Degree Levels in India

The Indian education system consists of school level that includes primary, secondary and higher secondary education. Thereafter, there is higher education in India. It includes undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies. The undergraduate level or bachelor’s degree includes certification courses and diploma courses. Thereafter, the postgraduate level is also called a Masters degree and has several types of degrees. Lastly, there is the research level where one can either earn a PhD or a Doctorate degree. Each level of higher education in India has further subdivisions and pointers to consider. The Government of India together with the State Governments manages the entire system. Over the years, higher education in India has undergone several important changes. The present levels of higher education in India are in brief below.

Undergraduate/Bachelor’s Level

Bachelor’s is the first degree level in higher education in India. For individuals about to graduate high school, a question in mind would be what is a bachelor degree. To answer that, it is a 3 to 5-year long programme at the end of which one earns an undergraduate degree. Specifically, one can earn a bachelor’s degree in either Arts, Commerce, Science, Engineering or Medical specializations. For general degree programmes like a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Commerce, the duration is 3 years. On the other hand, Engineering degree programmes take up to 4 years to finish while Medical degrees like MBBS wraps up in 5 years.

Admissions take place on both merit basis and through entrance tests. Particularly, for Engineering, Medical and Architecture bachelors courses one must have a national level entrance test score. For example, one must have either JEE Main and JEE Advanced for admission to Engineering degrees. For Architecture, one must have a national rank in the NATA examination. MBBS applicants should also possess a national rank in the NEET. Competition is stiff and one must prepare thoroughly for the entrance tests. Moreover, following the written test score, a round of counselling takes place before taking admission. For merit-based admissions, one must submit the class 12th completion documents. There are specifications of a stream at class 12th depending on the bachelor’s degree chosen by the student. However, for degrees like B.A. or B.Com, there is no stream specification. In order to graduate, Engineering, Architecture and Medical students must complete an internship with an organization.

Postgraduate/Master’s Level

Among all the stages of education in India, the second stage is a PG degree. Also called a masters degree, a Master degree means individuals with a bachelors degree can only apply. There are three types of masters degrees, taught masters, research masters and professional masters. Taught masters courses have set classes according to the programme curriculum. On the other hand, research masters courses are where students conduct research to complete the curriculum. The third type of masters degree is a professional masters degree. Examples of this type of degree are M.Arch, LLM and MBA that are courses for professionals wishing to specialize in a field.

This level of higher education in India ranges in the duration of 2 to 4 years. Particularly, for general masters and professional degrees like a Master of Arts, Master of Commerce or a Master of Science takes 2 years. For research-based degrees, the duration lasts up to 4 years. Also, the duration depends on the fact if the course is full-time, part-time or online. Admissions to masters courses take place through entrance tests. For example, depending on the course, some popular entrance tests are CAT, MAT, SNAP, GATE, NEET PG etc. Similar to the bachelor’s degree level, group discussions and personal interviews also take place before granting admission. Towards the end of the course, students must complete a mandatory internship. Also, one must prepare a report that counts towards course credits.

Doctoral Studies/PhD Level

The third level of higher education in India is doctoral studies. To start, let’s understand what is the meaning of a doctorate? So, a doctorate is the highest degree one can earn in India. They are research-based programmes usually spanning the duration of 4 to 5 years. Also, there are two types of doctorate degrees. Firstly, there is the PhD or Doctor of Philosophy degree. Secondly, there is a Clinical Doctorate or simply put Doctorate. Most people interchange the terms PhD and Doctorate. However, there are differences between both terms. PhD courses aim at conducting new research on a chosen topic. On the other hand, Doctorate degrees concentrate on using existing research to solve a problem. While PhD degrees are for students who have just completed their master’s degrees, doctorate degrees are for candidates already working in the field. One uses the latter to advance careers in a field.

Admissions to all doctorate level of higher education in India is through entrance examinations. Each university conducts its own written test that goes in-depth about the chosen subject. Alternatively, a nationally conducted test like GATE is also acceptable. Thereafter, based on the cut-offs released, the college releases a merit list of chosen students. These students then attend a personal interview round with department heads. The curriculum for doctoral studies involves preparing a dissertation on the research area. One has to then defend their dissertation in front of an expert panel. If accepted, the candidate earns a doctorate degree.

Higher Education Stages in India

Category

Year

Age

Degree Levels/Courses

Undergraduate School

First Year

18-19

Certificates

 

Second Year

19-20

Diploma

 

Third Year

20-21

3-year duration Bachelor’s degree like B.Com, BA etc.

 

Fourth Year

21-22

4-year duration Bachelor’s degree like B.Tech, BE etc.

 

Fifth Year

22-23

5-year duration Bachelor’s degree like MBBS.

Postgraduate School

First Year

21 plus

Master’s degree like MBA, MA, M.Com etc.

 

Second Year

22 plus

 

Third Year

23+

Research/Doctorate School

Three to Five years

24 plus

PhD or Doctorate degrees

Frequently Asked Questions About the Degree Levels in India (FAQs)

What is a degree level qualification?

In the Indian education system, there are several stages in higher education in India. Each stage has different types of degrees one can earn. Degrees are educational qualifications, students earn after completing a course programme after certain years. Admissions to degree programmes take place on both merit basis and through entrance examinations. Tests happen annually on both the national and state levels. In order to earn a degree, there are certain conditions one must fulfil. Namely, there are course credits to earn.

You need to complete each subject that is part of the syllabus, successfully. Additionally, students must complete required projects and reports on time. Some higher education in India courses requires the students to complete a mandatory internship of a few months. Also, for the postgraduate level of higher education in India, students have to finish up a dissertation or a project report. Thereafter, personal interviews take place with the department head where students have to answer questions on the prepared report or dissertation. With all course requirements done, students can graduate with a bachelors, masters or doctorate degree.

What are the top 5 degrees?

Higher education in India has several degrees ranging from certificates to post-doctoral studies. There are several choices from Science, Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Architecture, Law, Medical etc. Furthermore, there are specific programs for future educators like Bachelor of Education and Master of Education. Additionally, for each stage of higher education in India, there are more choices in terms of specializations. However, if one were to pick five courses from all stages of higher education in India, the following are popular among students.

  • At first, there are Management courses. Namely, BBA for undergraduate level and MBA for postgraduate level. MBA students from all streams can apply by securing a rank in an entrance test.
  • Thereafter, in the Engineering category, B.Tech or B.E. courses are a popular choice. Students from the Science stream with a rank in the JEE Advanced test can enrol into B.Tech or B.E. in any stream.
  • Students who wish to work in Computers choose BCA and MCA. These are of 3 and 4 years in duration. Admissions to these higher education levels in India take place on a merit basis.
  • Medical students in India need to take the NEET test. Post that one earns an MBBS degree. This is the bachelors level higher education of India degree. These courses take 5 years to finish.
  • Creative individuals with a keen sense of fashion can have several options for higher education in India. At the bachelor’s level, there is a bachelor of fashion degree. Students can follow it up with a master degree in the same field.

What level is a bachelor degree?

To answer this question first let’s understand what is the bachelor degree meaning. A bachelors’ degree is an undergraduate programme offered at the first stage of higher education in India. This stage also includes certification and diploma courses. Students who have completed their class 12th in either Science, Arts or Commerce streams can apply. Particularly, this level of higher education in India has three different types of bachelors degrees. There are regular programmes like a Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Commerce or Bachelor of Arts. Universities teach these courses over 4 years but one can graduate at the end of the third year with a bachelors degree. Admissions take place through merit lists of class 12th scores.

Thereafter there are Engineering and Architecture bachelors courses. These courses admit students through a national level entrance test. For example for Engineering courses, one must take the JEE Main and JEE Advanced examinations. On the other hand, for Architecture, students must take the NATA. The duration of these courses is on the higher side, 4 years. This period also includes a mandatory internship done during the last couple of academic years. Students also have the option to enrol on a Medical course. These courses take the longest to finish, 5 years. Like other bachelor’s courses, admissions is through an entrance test, the NEET. After securing a rank in the entrance test, students attend counselling sessions on-campus. At the counselling session, university officials will check the documents. If approved, the student can take admission on-spot by paying the admission fee.

Why Indian education system is best?

Indian education system including the higher education in India is older than most education systems in the world. During the stone age period in India, there were Gurukuls or schools that took in students, usually only boys, to study under a Guru. The subjects one could learn was not like the subjects we have today. Teachers taught logic, Mathematics, Philosophy, Arts etc. When the British arrived in India, they introduced massive changes to higher education in India. By effectively wiping out the traditional learning method, there were now schools and universities with fixed curriculums and course learning. After centuries of changes, the present system has its own set of pros and cons.  Post-independence, the Government introduced free and compulsory education for all children below the age of 14. This has led to more girls gaining education and upliftment of the underprivileged communities. Child labour has also been drastically reduced.

Additionally, there are reservations based on caste. Although highly debated, this system ensures students from poor economic backgrounds get access to quality higher education in India. Higher education in India is on par with education from other countries. The IITs and IIMs attract students from all over the world. Due to a higher population, students are naturally taught to be competitive. This quality helps immensely in higher education especially when done abroad. Indian students can take advantage of the open school and part-time higher education in India. If pressed on time or if one is working, these options come in handy. Due to these reasons and several more, India has a highly educated young population today. More and more people are gaining full-time employment or venturing into freelancing and entrepreneurship.

How hard is the Indian education system?

To start, one must know that the words hard or difficult are relative terms. What is hard for one student could be easy for another. The Indian education system, specifically the higher education in India, is synonymous with the word hard. The older generation vouches that their course studies were tougher than the current education system. There are several reasons that make higher education in India harder than in other countries. The first reason being that Indian schooling relies on rote learning. It would be wrong to assume that rote learning is present at the school level and not the university level. Even Engineering and Medical courses ask for rote learning and less application of the learned material.

Secondly, competition is stiff in India. India has the second-highest population in the world. Every year thousands of students graduate with a degree. All are competing to gain admission to the best programme or job, which also has a written test component. The ratio of quality institutes to the number of eligible students is disproportionate. To stand out, students have to work harder. Another major reason is that there have been no recent changes done to higher education in India in a long time. To make the degrees more world-class, regular changes are necessary with the latest information about the industry. There are several challenges to higher education in India. The Government of India recently introduced several key changes to the system through the National Education Policy of 2020. 

What level of degrees are there?

There are four stages of degrees of higher education in India. The first stage is for students who have finished their class 12th in Science, Arts or Commerce stream. One can choose to earn a certificate, diploma or bachelors degree. Colleges offer regular bachelors degrees like B.Sc, BA or B.Com for 3 to 4 years. Additionally, there are Engineering bachelors courses of 4 years and Medical undergraduate courses take 5 years. Thereafter, students who graduate with a bachelors degree can opt for postgraduate courses. Also called master’s courses, they take 2 to 4 years to finish. Students with a B.Com or BA degree can take up regular masters courses like MA or M.Com. Engineering, Architecture, Law and Medical students have the option of professional degrees like M.Arch, LLM or M.E. These programmes are 2 to 3 years in duration. One can graduate after completing an internship and a dissertation.

The last stage is the research degree level. This stage has PhD degrees and Doctorate degrees. Both forms of higher education in India accept masters degree holders and candidates who have work experience. At this level, candidates conduct new research and/or use existing research to solve a real-world problem. This stage ranges in the duration of 5 to 6 years. The final duration of the course will depend on how long the research and writing of the dissertation takes. There is also a post-doctoral stage of higher education in India that candidates take up in order to advance careers through research.

What does degree level mean?

In simple terms, a degree level refers to the stage of higher education in India. Students move between the stages after completing a stage of education. The duration of each stage along with entry criteria is different. Also, the delivery of the curriculum and graduation criteria differs vastly. In India, a student goes through 8 total years of higher education in India stages. This duration does not include doctoral and post-doctoral studies that are of longer duration. Candidates start out with an undergraduate degree after class 12th. One can choose to pursue a bachelors degree in either Science, Engineering, Medical, Architecture or Management subjects. Also, the duration of these undergraduate courses is between 4 to 5 years. Additionally, this level also includes vocational certificates and diploma courses. These courses are of a few weeks to a couple of months in duration.

The second level of higher education in India is the postgraduate level. Here, students who already have a bachelors degree can apply to earn a masters degree. In India, there are three types of masters courses, research-based masters and professional masters. Depending on the learning mode, part-time or full-time, the duration of masters courses is between 2 to 4 years. The last stage is the doctoral studies level of higher education in India. One can either earn a PhD, Doctorate degree or opt for post-doctoral studies. These programmes are the longest in terms of duration, ranging from 5 to 6 years. Candidates who have a masters degree and/or work experience have to take a written test and take a personal interview round for admissions. For all stages of higher education in India, one can pursue the degrees on a part-time basis which will make the programmes longer in duration.

Who takes care of higher education in India?

Higher education in India is under the primary responsibility of the Government of India. In particular, both the central Government and State Governments manage higher education in India. Additionally, the Indian education system also has several tribunals and departments that contribute to the management. On the top is the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Human Resources Development. They prepare policies to bring about major changes in education. Most recently, the National Educational Policy, 2020 bought about several changes in higher education in India. Some major changes in the National Educational Policy, 2020 include changes in the duration of the bachelor’s degree programme. All bachelors degrees will be for four years with an option to leave the programme after the third year.

Another major change was that the policy discontinues the Masters of Philosophy degree. There is also the Department of Higher Education that is responsible to make sure the overall structure of education in India is intact. They will plan changes and introduce them via a policy. Additionally, there is also the All India Council for Technical Education and the University Grants Commission. They are statutory bodies under the Department of Education. While AICTE works mainly on school-level education in India, UGC works on higher education in India. Importantly, the role of UGC is to maintain the standard of higher education in India. They provide recognition and also funds to various institutes and universities.

What does a Bachelor’s degree mean?

Bachelor’s degree refers to an undergraduate level higher education in India programmes. Usually delivered either in full-time mode on-campus or off-campus in part-time mode. Also, the duration of a regular bachelors degree programme is 3 years. Degree programmes in the Arts, Commerce and Science fall in this category. For instance, one can earn a degree like Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Commerce degree in 3 years. Thereafter, there 4 year long bachelors degree programmes. Students enrolled on a Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Technology or a Bachelor of Architecture degree are examples of that. On the other hand, undergraduate Medical degrees are of 5 years in duration. Colleges also offer certificate and diploma degrees at the undergraduate level. Certificate courses are completed in a few weeks to months and diploma courses duration is 1 to 2 years.

As per the latest educational policy, the National Educational Policy, 2020, students can leave a 4 year UG degree after 3 years. In terms of eligibility criteria, all students who have done their class 12th in either Science, Arts or Commerce streams can apply. Admissions take place on a merit basis and entrance tests for regular bachelors degree and certificate, diploma courses. Both national level, state level and university conducted entrance tests. For example, JEE Main and JEE Advanced are two popular entrance tests for admission to bachelors Engineering courses. Thereafter, for the Architecture bachelors degree accepts the National Aptitude Test of Architecture is accepted. All courses take place on a semester system, meaning six months making for two semesters in a year. An internship is necessary for Engineering, Medical and Architecture bachelors courses before graduating. Grading takes place on GPA and CGPA methods.

What is a Master’s degree?

A master degree is a postgraduate level higher education in India programme. Students enroll into them after completing a bachelors or an undergraduate degree. Master degrees in India are for students who wish to expand their learning done at the undergraduate level. Also, with a postgraduate degree, one can gain expertise and specialise in a particular subject area. This can later be followed up with a doctorate degree in the same focus area. Depending on the chosen masters degree, admissions happen through a national, state or university written test. Thereafter, chosen students attend a personal interview round to take admission. As a part of the curriculum, all masters course students must complete a mandatory internship of 2 to 6 months, prepare a dissertation on it to graduate. There are three main types of masters degrees. Namely, taught master’s degree, a research masters degree and a professional masters degree.

Taught masters degrees refer to general masters degree subjects. For example, MA, M.Com or M.Sc degrees in different specialisations fall under this category. The duration of these programmes is generally two years, longer for part-time or online degrees. Thereafter, there are research programmes where one can earn a degree after research work. One can earn a Master of Philosophy or a Master of Research degree. Course material is not taught through classwork but through research and a dissertation. At last, there are professional masters degrees. These degrees are highly specialised and concentrate on only one subject area. Some examples of a professional masters degree are MBA, M.Arch, LLM etc. These courses are 2 to 4 years in duration, longer for part-time programmes. These programmes accept national entrance tests like CAT, SNAP, MAT, XAT etc. Following this, is a round of group discussion and a personal interview.

What are the four types of degrees?

There are four stages of education or types of higher education in India.

  • To start, undergraduate or bachelor, postgraduate or masters, doctorate and post-doctorate. But what is an undergraduate meaning? The undergraduate degree includes certificates, diplomas and a regular bachelors degree. Students who have finished their class 12th from a Government recognized educational board can apply. Also, depending on the course, applicants have to take an entrance test, secure a rank and undergo counselling for admission. The duration of a bachelor’s course is 3 to 5 years. Traditional bachelor degree means courses like Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce duration is 3 years. Engineering undergraduate degrees like Bachelor of Technology of Bachelor of Engineering finished up in 4 years. The longest duration is for Medical undergraduate degrees, MBBS, which is 5 years. Additionally, in order to graduate, one has to complete an internship, depending on the course.
  • Secondly, there are the master’s degree courses. Masters degrees are either taught masters like Masters of Arts or Master of Science or research-based like Master of Philosophy. Moreover, there are professional masters courses like MBA or Master of Architecture etc. The duration of masters courses is from 2 to 4 years, depending on the nature of the course. Again, admissions are primarily on an entrance test basis followed up by a round of personal interviews and group discussions.
  • Lastly, there are doctorate programmes. This category has two-degree categories in them, doctoral and post-doctoral. Specifically, doctorate degrees take in Master’s degree holders with work experience, for PhD degrees prior work experience is not a requirement. On the other hand, post-doctoral degrees are for candidates who have finished their doctoral studies. While the duration of these degrees is from 4 to 5 years, admissions are through entrance tests.

How many types of master’s degrees are there?

In a more general sense, there are two major types of masters degrees in higher education in India. First, there are the taught masters degrees and secondly, there are research-based masters degrees. Also, there is an additional masters degree, a professional masters degree. Taught masters courses are programmes that include lectures, seminars and other coursework requirements as a part of the course module. They are quite similar to undergraduate level courses programmes but masters courses need a lot of self-study and group work for projects. For example, some degrees in taught masters degrees are a Masters of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Laws etc. Thereafter, the research masters degrees are as the name says, research-based. One does a greater degree of independent work, through primary research.

There is less of a set module-based learning similar to a taught masters degree. Students who have completed their bachelors in research can apply. The goal of a research masters degree is to gain expertise in the chosen field. For example, some types of research-based masters degrees are a Master of Research and a Master of Philosophy. Additionally, students can choose to enroll into a professional masters degree. These are more specialized masters degrees and concentrates on a professional study area.  The coursework includes a mix of theory classes and learning of skills through practical classes. Individuals will earn a degree with the word ‘Professional’ in it. Some examples of professional masters degrees are Master of Business Administration, Master of Architecture, Master of Social Work etc. Admissions take place mostly through entrance examinations. Thereafter, with a secured rank, institutes choose applicants for a round of personal interviews before admission.

How many years is a master’s degree?

At first, let’s understand what does post-graduation mean. A masters degree is a higher education in India degree that students pursue after a bachelor degree. The master’s degree is usually completed in 24 months or 2 years. However, there are several factors that can change the duration. Firstly, part-time and full-time masters degrees have different durations. Part-time courses take longer to finish as the curriculum is more relaxed with classes take place over the weekend. Secondly, similarly, there are programmes that are completely online with no on-campus classes like part-time programmes. Online courses are self-paced, making them perfect for working individuals. Thereafter, there are also dual degree programmes. Here one can earn two degrees, generally a bachelors degree with a masters degree at the same time. These programmes take 4 to 5 years. Individuals with clear career goals and plans will benefit from saving a year of education. 

On the other hand, accelerate programmes offer students a chance to earn two different masters degrees together. For example, one can earn an MBA and a law degree at the same time. The duration of an accelerated degree is longer than a traditional masters programme. Lastly, another important factor is the curriculum of the programme itself. Universities and colleges operate on a credit hour basis. Meaning, the number of hours a student spends in classes will account for earning credit for the course and ultimately graduating. For example, for postgraduate students, some courses require 30 to 60 credit hours in order to graduate. Similarly, while a Master of Science, of 34 credits takes 2 years to finish, an MBA degree of 72 credits will take longer from 2 to 3 years.

Is a PhD and a doctorate the same?

PhD and Doctorate degrees are the last level of higher education in India, one can earn. While it is easy to understand that there are several similarities between both, there are also many differences. To start, a PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy while doctorate degrees colleges offer are a Doctor of Business Administration or a Doctor of Education. Thereafter, even though both have the word doctor in them, there is a crucial difference. For a PhD, candidates conduct first-hand research on a research topic. Information collected is primary information which is then used for data analysis and then deriving results from the reports. On the other hand, a doctorate degree student will use existing research to a real-world problem. The idea is to arrive at a solution that is practical and doable.

Another point of difference is how the colleges complete the curriculum. PhD degree students complete a dissertation with new information and then appearing for an interview in front of an expert panel. Compared to that, a doctorate degree student completes a doctoral study. The doctoral study starts with taking a problem, researching all aspects of it in order to come to a solution for it. Thereafter, the candidate will create a proposal with proper methodology, establish findings and defend it in front of a committee. Lastly, a point of difference is the type of students who enrol on both programmes. PhD degree takes in fresh graduates with a passion for doing original research and applying different theories. On the other hand, a doctorate applicant has work experience in the chosen field. They then wish to put their knowledge to advance their careers or increase their knowledge bank.

How many years is a doctoral degree?

The duration of a doctoral degree is flexible. Meaning there is a range of years within which the individual must ideally complete the degree. In most universities and colleges offering a doctoral degree, the duration range is between 4 to 5 years. However, some institutes also have upper limits of seven years. There are several factors that influence the duration of the programme. Firstly, the coursework or curriculum influences the duration. The typical coursework of a PhD degree includes classwork, research, project work, examinations, dissertation preparation and dissertation defence. The curriculum requires taking up certain courses and a specific number of hours. Generally, one has to finish up 12 to 15 courses as part of the syllabus. Research and dissertation preparation also takes a major chunk of time.

Secondly, one has to complete research projects for each course taken up. There are surveys and extensive fieldwork also. Additionally, the research paper itself has a specification of a minimum number of pages to be accepted. Secondly, there are a series of examinations the doctoral student must take. Examinations require extensive knowledge of the subject and take time to prepare. For example, for English, an average doctoral student must have 4 papers. Thirdly, dissertation preparation takes around 2 to 3 years to complete. Also, Students have a committee and a mentor who will guide the preparation process including the research and writing itself. One must do the changes recommended which takes up a lot of time. Lastly, students have to defend their dissertation in front of a panel. This part does not take much time as compared to the overall process. 

What is better a PhD or doctorate?

To understand which higher education in India degree is better, PhD or doctorate, one must know the differences between both. Often people use the terms PhD and Doctorate interchangeably. When one says they are pursuing a doctorate degree, they mean a PhD degree. However, it is important to know what is doctorate degree is an umbrella term that also includes a PhD degree. A PhD or a Doctor of Philosophy degree is much narrow than a doctorate degree. First, one major difference is that a PhD student conducts first-hand original research. Applicants are generally fresh graduates with a masters degree in the same field. On the other hand, a doctoral degree applies existing knowledge and research to solve problems. Problems are real-world problems and candidates find out solutions for them.

Secondly, the PhD course is more theory-based and students take up classes as part of the curriculum. Doctoral degrees are more application based. Importantly, a doctoral candidate has prior experience of working in the field. They are pursuing a doctorate degree to contribute new findings to the field or to advance in career. With the differences on hand, the next step is to understand which degree should one choose. A PhD programme is perfect for candidates who want to conduct new research in a field. Doctoral course are for candidates looking to solve problems with existing research. At last, there are benefits to pursuing both degrees. Deciding which is better and choosing one depends on individual career goals. The outcomes of both programmes are different. Meaning most PhD degree holders go on to work as professors while doctoral degree holders continue working in the field in their previous capacity.

What degree is a doctorate?

A doctorate degree is the last higher education in India degree. It is a post-graduation degree that one takes up after a master’s degree. This is an advanced degree that is often taken up to improve one’s credibility in the field. Meaning to advanced their career and their resumes. A doctorate degree takes around 4 to 5 years to finish up. One must have a masters degree in the same field and/or work experience in the same field, depending on the doctorate degree chosen. However, depending on the difficulty of the doctorate subject, the duration will change. Chiefly, it includes classwork or coursework, examinations, preparing a doctoral study and an interview or a defence session. Importantly, one has the option of two doctorate degrees, a Doctor of Philosophy or a Clinical Doctorate degree.

A Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is a higher education in India where one finds out new knowledge through research.  A Clinical Doctorate degree on the other hand is for individuals who are already working in the field. Students use existing research to solve a problem in the real world. One reason to do a doctorate degree is to gain notoriety in the field. Both classes are quite demanding and need much fieldwork. One must understand that the degrees are challenging. In addition, there are also classes and examinations have to take from time to time. With the research information collected, individuals prepare a dissertation. Usually, the dissertation is of 70,000 to 100,000-word limit. Moreover, to assist in the preparation process of the dissertation, each candidate has a committee and a mentor. Thereafter, after completing the dissertation, candidates go through a defence session where they defend their work. 

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