PhD in India: Full Form, Duration, Eligibility, Courses & More

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is an extensive research program. It deals with researches in various streams such as science, engineering, management, pharmacy, mass communication, law, commerce, etc. It is the most common and prestigious degree that aims for jobs in academics. Moreover, it is an earned research degree and awarded in diverse specializations. However, students need to contribute some original results or ideas in a particular field of interest. Additionally, PhD students need to submit a PhD thesis or dissertation at the end of the program. These researches will likewise extend the boundaries of knowledge from their end.

The PhD degree involves 3-5 years of research work with a thesis contributing to a subject of interest. Moreover, to complete a PhD degree, a student needs to complete course work, comprehensive examination, research work, and dissertation. However, one needs publication for a PhD degree as well. On the other hand, students need to have a master’s degree for applying to the PhD program. Moreover, the cut-off score solely depends on the university/ Institution. Students also need to qualify for the entrance examination, as well as the interview for admission to the PhD program. However, some universities accept national test score where other universities has their entrance test followed by an interview.

Table of Contents

What is a PhD? 

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is one of the highest academic degrees for an academician. Moreover, it is a doctoral research degree that takes 3-5 years of extensive research work. Students work towards a dissertation and provide an original contribution to the subject of interest. Additionally, the concept of PhD was developed in nineteenth-century Germany with the modernized research industry. At that time the highest degree in academia denoted the master’s degree with mastery on a body of fellowship. However, the focus shifted towards the creation of new knowledge and ideas and the PhD degree surfaced for those who had the necessary expertise in a particular area of interest. As of today, the employment of teaching positions in Universities require a PhD degree. The academicians may also use post-nominal letters like PhD/Ph.D./M.Phil depending upon the awarding universities.

The requirements of earning a doctoral degree vary in different universities. Nevertheless, during PhD studies, students are called doctoral students. Moreover, one has to complete the coursework and dissertation successfully to get a doctorate. Students likewise also need to qualify for a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination aims to test the basic knowledge of a student.

A student must aim for a good publication in peer review journal while pursuing a PhD. Finally, at the end of the PhD, students need to defend the doctoral thesis before an expert panel. However, in recent years the number of PhD graduates has been increasing drastically which denotes the interest in higher education among students across the globe.

Definition of PhD 

The PhD full form is defined as Doctor of Philosophy. However, the word “philosophy” has a greek meaning which translates to “lover of wisdom”. Moreover, the minimum time duration of a PhD degree is of 3 years and the maximum time duration is of 5 years.  The 3-5 years of research work with a thesis contributing to a subject of interest completes a PhD degree.

Furthermore, to complete the doctoral degree, a student needs to complete course work, comprehensive examination, research work, and dissertation. Also, the main objective of the PhD is to prepare the next-generation scientists and researchers for our academic society. Additionally, students should have a post-graduation degree for applying to the doctoral courses.

On the other hand, students should satisfy all the eligibility criterias and must qualify for the entrance examination for admission to doctoral programs. Moreover, there are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program. However, some universities conduct their own entrance tests for admission followed by interview round. 

Additionally, PhD applicants can apply for a doctoral degree in any stream having prior academic experience in the particular subject. However, according to UGC circular 2017, the distance PhD is not recognized anymore.

Full-Form of PhD 

A PhD is one of the highest academic qualifications a student can achieve. Furthermore, the full form of PhD is Doctor of Philosophy. On the other hand, PhD is an abbreviation of a Latin word (Ph)Philosophiae (D)doctor

Moreover, other doctorate degrees are more specialized or based on more professional or practical subjects. Therefore, all PhD degrees are Doctorates but not all Doctorates are PhD degrees. However, the suffix for the name changes depending on the area of specialization of the PhD degree.

For instance, when a student is pursuing a doctorate in mathematics, the course will be called a PhD in mathematics. However, candidates will get the “Dr.” title after completing the doctoral degree. Additionally, it is a self-directed research degree supported by one or more supervisors in any university.

What is a Doctorate? 

Any qualification that awards a doctoral degree is called a “Doctorate”. However, if a student makes a new contribution to his/her field of interest then he/she can earn a doctorate. Additionally, it is a very advanced degree symbolizing your mastery of a subject. Moreover, the degree requires extensive research and studies. However, students should do detailed research and contribute a new interpretation or an angle of studies in a subject.

Additionally, this degree is one of the top-tier degrees in academics. However, there are mainly two types of doctorate degrees available such as research-based degrees and professional application degrees. The research-oriented degree is commonly referred to as a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Nevertheless, the word “Philosophy ” here refers to the pursuit of knowledge or core of research rather than the actual subject.

Henceforth, the core component of a PhD is the dissertation process. On the other hand, the professional doctorate is called an applied doctorate/terminal doctorate. Additionally, it focuses mainly on the application of the subject with real-time scenarios. Moreover, this type of degree helps in career advancements in high-level corporate jobs, building teaching credibility, or establishing a consulting business. This applied PhD degree may or may not include a dissertation. Moreover, it encourages you to handle real-time issues in the field, research, and propose a solution for the problem.

History of PhD – Its Origin 

PhD was developed in the nineteenth century in Germany. Previously, the highest degree denoted the master’s degree with mastery on a body of fellowship. However, the focus shifted towards the creation of new knowledge and ideas. The PhD degree surfaced for those who had the necessary expertise in a particular area of interest. Moreover, the university of Medieval Europe organized the academics in four faculties like Arts, Theology, Law (civil /canon), and Medicine. Most importantly, all the faculties offered intermediate and final degrees. At that time the Master’s and Doctorate degrees were offered interchangeably for the final degree. Moreover, the doctorate was just a formality for masters or teachers of arts.

However, in the middle ages, the Doctor of Theology/Divinity, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Law degrees were standardized in most places. In 1810, the academic situation of Germany had changed through educational reforms. Also, the University of Berlin model was founded by the Prussian Government. Nevertheless, the faculty of Philosophy demanded contributions in research attested by the dissertation for awarding the final degree.  Therefore it was originally the equivalent to a master’s degree in Arts in Germany.

Moreover, in the United Kingdom, the research degrees appeared in the late 19th century in the form of DSc/ScD (Doctor of Science). The The University of London first introduced the Doctor of Science degree in 1860 as an advanced course in science after a B.Sc degree. Before mid 19th century, professorships did not have the criteria of holding an advanced degree in a particular subject. However, this scenario changed after some scholars went to Germany for obtaining a PhD degree in science and humanities. Therefore, the Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, New York University and Princeton University started granting the degree in the next two decades.

Why Should you Do a PhD?

The Doctorate degree is one of the highest degrees in academia. Henceforth, it signifies the achievement of the greatest level of competence in a particular field of study. Moreover, it also signifies the research and analytical skills of the PhD holder. The long journey of a doctoral degree likewise incorporates training in methodology, research, and analytical skills to a student.

A student must know the features of a doctoral degree before pursuing the degree. The PhD course duration is of minimum 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. Additionally, students should have a post-graduation degree for applying to the doctoral courses. Now, read below to know about some important points before opting for  a PhD:

High Qualification

Firstly, a PhD course is a higher degree that focuses on a particular area of your study. Therefore, while pursuing a PhD, candidates have to focus on specialization and proceed with the research.

Diverse Career Options

PhD is one of the highest degrees in India as well as abroad. Likewise, students with PhD degrees can have a very good career opportunity in life. Students need to have skills and knowledge to excel in their careers. However, the most popular job option after a doctorate is a teaching job in a university. 

Furthermore, there are other job options as well such as R&D, Industrial professional, and start-up mentors, etc. Many industrial organizations consist of PhD groups for their research activities. They help in designing new products and do strategic planning. Likewise, there is a wide range of career opportunities for PhD holders. Students can apply in R&D, research industry, start-ups, academic publishing, etc.

Knowledge-Based Degree

A PhD degree can give you in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. Additionally, it validates a student’s ability to do individual research. During the PhD studies, one has to complete the coursework and dissertation successfully to get a doctorate. However, after coursework students need to qualify for a comprehensive examination that aims to test the basic knowledge of a student. A student must aim for good publication in peer review journal during PhD lifetime.

Long term Studying Options

Some PhD applicants aim to pursue long-term career goals. Nevertheless, candidates can pursue further studies also. A postdoc position is the most traditional step in academia after PhD Candidates can utilize the post-doc years for good publication, earning experience, and building a professional network.

Development of Other Skills

There is much more in doctoral studies other than dissertation and viva. A student can learn presentation and public speaking skills by presenting your work in seminars and conferences. Moreover, a candidate can learn about time management as well. Additionally, they can make a fruitful network of academicians during this time.

Contribution to the Field of Research

Last but not least, students will get a chance to contribute to their chosen field of research by their findings. It can shed light on a new angle of a topic. Moreover, a new contribution can improve research and guide future researchers in your subject of interest.

Duration of PhD in India 

The PhD duration normally is 3-5 years in full-time and 5-6 years in part-time mode. However, a PhD is a pure research degree, unlike under-graduation and post-graduation. Most importantly, in modern times the PhD has become very diverse and consists of various qualifications in different components. The degree moves towards various stages. Read below to find the different stages in a PhD.

  • Firstly, students have to conduct a meticulous literature review and a survey of scholarship options in the subject of interest.
  • Secondly, they have to conduct research and collect experimental data.
  • Furthermore, students have to produce a thesis comprising all data and findings of their research.
  • They also have to complete writing the thesis and present it as a dissertation.
  • Finally, students have to defend their work and thesis in the viva voce examination.

Students can get a doctoral degree satisfying all the stages and qualifying for the viva and examination. However, these stages vary from university to university. Nonetheless, these steps follow the same sequence over 3 years in the PhD program.

However, the PhD duration solely depends on some factors such as funding factors, country/institution, and the research topic/research nature. Some research work requires additional training, projects, teaching which can extend the duration. In general, part-time PhD studies take twice the duration as full-time. Therefore it will take almost 5-6 years.

The work is the same as the full-time work just it is less intensive through the weekly routine. The part-time PhD supports students with other employment or family commitments. However, there is some instance where part-time students will convert to full-time PhD students if applicable.

Duration of PhD in India: 3-5 years

First Year of PhD 

Firstly, students have to make a solid ground as a researcher and get complete information about the PhD scholarships scheme available as per their eligibility. Secondly, students will have an initial meeting with the supervisor for discussing the topic of research, plan of action as per the research proposal. Moreover, students have to do a detailed literature review for the decided topic.

The student will also need the expert guidance of the supervisor for surveying and evaluating your research topic which will ensure the novelty and the importance of their work in the current scenario. The literature review will give details about how much work is done in the particular subject and what kind of results were present previously.

Additionally, students can start the primary base work which may involve designing and planning experiments, resources, and time management. Nevertheless, in the first year, the M.Phil up-gradation can happen where the students initially take admission as M.Phil degree and then upgraded to the PhD depending upon their work progress. Moreover, students have to appear before the research committee for submitting the work progress and can be upgraded to doctoral candidates.

Second Year of PhD

The second-year is the most important year where you do your core research work. However, the detailed process varies for each subject of research, but the main focus of the year is to conduct experiments, gather experimental results, survey, archival research, and others. A students’ dissertation is based on the research path.

Moreover, students can start writing thesis chapter by chapter to form the total thesis. Nevertheless, the meetings with supervision should go regularly and a supervisor will keep an eye on the research progress and path. Additionally, a supervisor will provide feedback on the progress, new ideas and read the drafts the student will produce in this timeline.

This second year is the most important time for a research scholar as you have started to collect the data and develop insights from this data. Nonetheless, you will not face the pressure of submitting the dissertation within the timeline. Therefore, in this time students can present their work in seminars, conferences, publishing research work in journals, and can gain teaching experience.

Third Year of PhD

The third year of doctoral students is mainly dedicated to writing as it is the writing-up phase. Moreover, in this time students will be pulling together all the results from the previous 2 years and combine them in their dissertation. This job is very crucial.

However, it’s not a good practice to still be adjusting the experiments, collecting results, and starting some new work. In some cases, students can extend their research work and use the fourth year for finalizing the dissertation. Nevertheless, this adjustment depends on the funding as well as the terms for PhD enrollment in a University. However, you have to write the thesis and submit it on time. Additionally, the supervisor will help the students in this phase and check the final draft for making any changes or adjustments.

Students can submit the thesis only after getting a nod from the supervisor. However, after the submission students have to appear for a final viva voce for defending the thesis and will have a formal discussion with the internal and external examiner. This is the assessment procedure for getting a PhD Nonetheless, after qualifying for the viva students will be awarded a PhD degree.

Selection Criteria for PhD Aspirants in India 

A full-time PhD usually takes a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years to complete. Additionally, for a part-time PhD, it usually takes 5-6 years. Every University has its own selection criteria. And all applicants need to fulfil the eligibility criteria to take admission for a PhD. Here are some of the important details for PhD selection criteria:

  • The PhD applicants must have at least 55% in their post-graduation.
  • However, the SC/ST/OBS/specially-abled candidates should have at least 50% in post-graduation to apply to the PhD program.
  • And the students with prior job experience in the same area of interest are preferred for PhD application.
  • Moreover, there are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program.

Now, read below to know about some other details regarding the selection criteria:

Language Proficiency

Abroad, a student who doesn’t have English as a first language need to give an English proficiency test for the PhD program. However, students with English at the university level can be exempted from the test. The most popular language proficiency tests are IELTS and TOEFL. However, in India students do not need to appear for a language proficiency test.

Academic Details 

As mentioned above, the PhD applicants must have at least 55% in post-graduation. Likewise, SC/ST/OBS/specially-abled candidates must have at least 50% in post-graduation. Moreover, the students with prior job experience in the same area of interest are preferred for PhD application. Furthermore, students have to clear some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. The format of the entrance test solely depends on the governing body of the examination or the University.

  • The announcement of cut-off marks is done each year by different Universities.
  • Hence, after selection, students need to take admission in the respective department and a research guide is assigned to the student as per the PhD guidelines of the University.
  • However, some Universities specify the criteria for the PhD applicants to have M.Phil for pursuing a PhD.
  • The candidates who have cleared UGC NET can get direct admission for PhD at some Universities.
  • Nevertheless, students applying for PhD in Engineering and Technology should have a qualifying score in the GATE examination.

What to Study After PhD? 

PhD is considered as one of the highest qualifications in academia. However, there are several career opportunities after PhD A candidate can apply for a teaching job at University or as a research assistant. Moreover, there are other job options as well such as R&D, Industrial professional, and start-up mentors, etc. Many industrial organizations as their PhD groups for research activities, designing of new products, and strategic planning. Nevertheless, candidates can pursue further studies also.

A postdoc position will be the most traditional step in academia after a PhD. Students can get a contract of varying length such as 1- 4 years depending upon the project. However, students can stay in the PhD institution and continue the work of PhD or they can apply for other institutions. Moreover, candidates can utilize the postdoc years for good publication, earning experience, and building a professional network.

Doctor of Science 

Doctor of Science is also called Scientiae Doctor and abbreviated as D.Sc./ Sc.D./ S.D./ D.S. It is an academic research degree. Moreover, it is awarded in many countries. In some countries, it is a standard doctorate but in most countries, it is a higher doctorate. However, this degree is awarded to students who have substantial scientific knowledge and made notable contributions to the academic community. Additionally, a student will need to have a PhD for applying to a Doctor of science. However, in some cases, it is an honorary degree. This degree was first used in Russian Empire in 1819 but abandoned later.

Then again, the degree  resurfaced and got approved by the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR in 1934.  Additionally, this degree is awarded by a national government agency called the Vysshaya Attestatsionnaya Komissiya, (VAK). Moreover, students need to defend their dissertation before this committee.

It is a 20-member committee and each member should hold a Doctor of Science degree. Nonetheless, at least five members of the committee should have the same subject area as the applicant. Henceforth, in this degree, candidates have to conduct independent researches and there will be no academic supervisor. However, at this time they can supervise some PhD students.

Doctor of Literature 

Doctor of Literature is also called as D.Litt and it is a 2-year Postgraduate Doctorate course. Moreover, Doctor of Literature includes writing, literature, composition, poetry, fiction, etc.

Students should have a PhD in literature with at least 50% marks from a university or institution. However, the selection of candidates depends on the merit or the results of the entrance test. There are some entrance examinations available for a D.Litt degree such as DEB, UGC, AIU, NEE, etc. The course fees vary from INR 2000 to INR 1,50,000 depending upon the college or university.

Furthermore, students can get job opportunities as an assistant professor, senior research scientist, senior political advisor, educational departmental head, chief research scientist, operations manager, etc. after completing D.Litt’s degree.

Postdoctoral Researcher 

A post-doctoral researcher is also called an ad postdoc. Moreover, a postdoc should conduct independent professional research after doctoral studies. The objective, however, is to conduct research, teaching, and training for pursuing a better career in academia or other fields. The postdoc researcher can avail scholarships from the funding bodies. Moreover, in this time the researchers should aim for high-impact publications in reputed journals. Additionally, several premier Institutes like the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, Indian Institutes of Management offer different postdoctoral positions. Also, the salary of a postdoctoral fellow varies from INR 40,000 to INR 70,000 per month.

List of Popular PhD Courses in India 

Firstly, students need to check the official website admission details for admission dates. Usually, all universities/institutions publish the PhD notification 4-5 months before the course cycle commencement. Moreover, they have to choose the appropriate subject depending on their qualifications and interest in specializations.

After that, students need to submit a research proposal for PhD to the department, he/she wants to apply to if necessary. Now, read below to know about PhD subjects for science, arts, and commerce.

PhD Science – Top Courses (2021)

PhysicsBioScience

Mathematics

Applied science

Chemistry

Mathematical and Computational Sciences

Physiology

Clinical Research

Bioinformatics

Environmental Science and Engineering

Zoology

Botany

Computer Science

Management

Biochemistry

Electronics

Microbiology

Life science

Home Science

Applied Mathematics

Animal Nutrition

Soil science and Agriculture chemistry

Cognitive Science

Applied Physics

Computational Sciences

Marine Biology

Ecology

Applied Chemistry

Plant Sciences

Biostatistics

Analytical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry

Human Genetics

Remote Sensing

Biophysics

Geoinformatics

Animal Science

Clinical Research

 Material Science

Molecular Biology

 Plant Sciences

Public Health

Computer Science and Information Technology

 Forensic Science

Ayurveda

 Food and Nutrition

PhD Commerce – Top Courses (2021)

Accounting & Financial Management

Commerce & Management

Statistics

Accountancy

Business economics

Banking and finance

Commerce

Finance

PhD in Arts – Top Courses (2021)

ArtsHumanities

 Psychology

Public & Economic Policy

Economics

Sociology

Humanities & Social Sciences

English

Public Policy

Geography

Library & Information Science

 Social Sciences

History

International Relations & Politics

Tamil

Hindi

Social work

Sanskrit

Philosophy

political science

Music

Physical Education

 Public Administration

Urdu

Linguistics

Fine Arts

Marathi

Arabic

Woman studies

Kannada

Rural development

Anthropology

 French

English literature

International relations

 Theology

Russian

 Human rights

 criminology

Ancient history

PhD Admission Process in India: Step by Step Procedure to get a PhD in India 

Students can apply for admissions in a particular University once the admission dates get released. The minimum time duration of a PhD degree is of 3 years and the maximum time duration is of 5 years. Additionally, students should have a post-graduation degree for applying to the doctoral courses. Students should satisfy all the PhD eligibility criteria and must qualify for the entrance examination for admission to the PhD programs. Moreover, there are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program. However, some university conducts their PhD entrance exam for admission followed by interview round. Please see below to know about the steps for PhD admission.

Step 1:

Firstly, visit the official website of the university/ institute and check the PhD-related admission details and notification. Additionally, candidates should select the subject they want to apply for a PhD.

Step 2:

Likewise, students need to check the official website admission details for admission dates. Usually, all universities/institutions publish the admission notification 4-5 months before the course cycle commencement.

Step 3:

Then, students have to fill in the personal and academics details in the application form carefully and upload all the necessary documents with the application form as per guidelines.

Step 4:

Applicants have to pay the application fee applicable. Also, the payment can be done online (Net banking/ credit/debit card) or offline (demand draft/ challan) as per the specific university/institute guidelines.

Step 5:

After that, students need to submit a research proposal for PhD to the department he/she wants to apply to if necessary. Nonetheless, after scrutiny of each application, the shortlisted candidates will get a call for appearing in the entrance examination. Students can collect the previous year’s question paper for reference.

Step 6:

The format of the entrance test solely depends on the governing body of the examination or the University. Moreover, there are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program.

Step 7:

Some Universities conduct their PhD entrance test for admission. Therefore, students who satisfy all the eligibility criteria will get a call for the entrance examination.

Step 8:

Moreover, after the entrance examination, students may have to appear for a personal interview round as per the specific university admission rules.

Step 9:

The selected students for the PhD program will be assigned to the research guides as per the PhD guidelines of the University.

Step 10:

The syllabus for PhD courses solely depends upon the university and the specialization the candidate opts for. Additionally, PhD consists of coursework as well as extensive research.

PhD Eligibility in India

Read below to know about the eligibility criteria for PhD admission.

Post-Graduation:

Students should have at least 55% post-graduation. However, the SC/ST/OBS/specially-abled candidates should have at least 50% in post-graduation to apply to the PhD program. And the students with prior job experience in the same area of interest are preferred for PhD application.

Entrance:

There are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program. However, some Universities conduct their PhD entrance test for admission followed by interview round.

Interview:

Some Universities conduct interviews after the entrance test. Thereby, students can get the interview details on the respective university/Institute website.

Experience:

Students with prior job experience in the same area of interest are preferred for PhD applications.

Entrance Exams for PhD in India 

There are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD universities. Some universities conduct their PhD entrance test for admission followed by an interview round.

Additionally, the format of the entrance test solely depends on the governing body of the examination or the University. The selected students for the PhD program will be assigned to the research guides as per the PhD guidelines of the university. Now, read below to know about the details of different entrance examinations in India.

UGC NET:

UGC-NET or NTA-UGC-NET is called a national eligibility test. This test determines the eligibility of junior research fellowship award or assistant professor post in Indian colleges or Universities. However, the National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of UGC (University Grants Commission) organizes the UGC NET examination.

The test was conducted by CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) till July 2018. This examination happens twice a year one in June and the other in December. Moreover, UGC-Net is an online examination. The examination contains two papers with 150 questions in total and the duration is 3 hours. However, the age limit for candidates is 30 years as of 1st June 2020. Additionally, the top 6% qualified students are eligible for NET Lectureship and a separate list for JRF will be also there.

CSIR-UGC NET:

Another important examination for PhD entrance is CSIR-UGC-NET (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test). It is also called CSIR NET and it occurs twice a year (June and December). Moreover, the examination determines the credibility of students as lecturers or for awarding JRF fellowships. However, students need to register for a PhD course at a recognized University for a fellowship application. And candidates need to have a doctoral degree for applying to the lectureship examination. CSIR-NET examination is conducted in subjects like Chemical Sciences, Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Physical Sciences.

TIFR GS Exam:

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a deemed university and situated in Mumbai. This university offers PhD and some other advanced integrated courses. The TIFR GS test is for institutes’ post-graduation programs in several streams. However, the university offers M.Sc.-PhD course in several specializations like Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry and some research-oriented courses in computer science, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, etc.

The examination is of 3 hours duration and the paper contains three parts such as Mathematical Aptitude, Computer Science and Systems Science. The examination occurs in March and offline mode. Moreover, students having MA/M.Tech/M.Sc./ME can apply for this examination.

Types of PhD in India 

Students should have a post-graduation degree for applying to the doctoral courses. Students should satisfy all the eligibility criteria and must qualify for the entrance examination for admission to the PhD programs. Universities conduct their PhD entrance test for admission followed by an interview round as well.

The applicants can choose the mode of PhD they want to pursue. Additionally, they can opt for any option between full-time PhD, part-time PhD, or distance PhD Please read below to know about different PhD types.

Part-Time PhD

In general, part-time PhD studies take twice the duration as full-time PhD. Therefore, it will take almost 5-6 years. Moreover, the work is the same as the full-time work just it is less intensive through the weekly routine. The part-time PhD supports students with other employment or family commitments. However, there are certain situations wherein part-time PhD students convert to full-time PhD students if applicable.

Hence, the part-time PhD students have the advantage to conduct the research work off-campus and they don’t need to worry about time limitations too much. Moreover, the part-time options are for those individuals who have a job and want to pursue higher studies as well. Some of the top Universities like IIT, JNU offer part-time PhD options as well. Having said that, the average fee structure for this kind of PhD is INR 2,00,000 -INR 7,00,000. Additionally, the admission process is quite the same as a full-time PhD means the admission is by entrance test followed by interview depending upon different Universities.

Full-Time PhD 

This is the most common type of PhD. Likewise, the duration of the PhD is a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. This PhD format is most accepted and the course fee for a full-time PhD ranges from INR 4,00,000 to INR 15,00,000. Nevertheless, the admission to full-time PhD is done via GATE/UGC NET/CUCET/VITMEE/JNUEE. Additionally, many top universities in India offer full-time PhDs such as IITs, NITs, AIIMs, and IIITs.

In general, full-time PhD students can complete their work faster than part-time or distance PhD students. Moreover, they can invest better concentration on research work and complete a more credible and qualitative PhD Additionally, unlike the part-time or sponsored students, they can avail the scholarship options or can gain experience as a teaching assistant. However, one has to complete the coursework and dissertation successfully to get a doctorate. Moreover, a student must aim for good publication in peer review journals during PhD lifetime. Lastly, at the end of the PhD students need to defend the thesis before an expert panel.

Distance PhD 

The distance PhD options are for students who don’t have ample amount of time to do the course full time. Moreover, the PhD can be done through online mode offering enough flexibility to the students. The online PhD allows students to do the course from internal colleges in an affordable range. Additionally, some renowned open universities like IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University), YCMOU (Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open Universities) offer a degree program in distance learning mode.

However, University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a circular stating that distance learning PhD degrees will not be recognized. According to UGC regulations, only regular mode PhD courses are eligible for appointment as teachers or other academic positions in Universities. Nonetheless, UGC has defined the regular mode of PhD includes only full-time or part-time PhD programs. Moreover, the eligibility criteria for distance mode PhD are at least 55% in master’s degree and for some universities NET qualification is necessary.

PhD Fees in India

The fee structure for PhD varies for different Universities. Also, the fee structure varies following the course and University. Students can download the admission brochure as well as the course curriculum to get the details of PhD admission and fee structure. In general, government-aided universities have relatively less fees than private Universities. Some Universities offer a fees waiver system depending upon the candidate’s economic condition, caste, and merit. Now, read below to know about the fee structure of different universities.

University Type

Fee Structure

Private Universities

Rs 50,000 – Rs 2 LPA

Public Universities

Rs 10,000

Deemed Universities

To be declared

Institutes

To be declared

Stipend for PhD in India 

A student needs adequate financial support without which it would be very difficult for them to continue their PhD studies. Moreover, candidates taking admission to the PhD program are eligible for a monthly stipend from different sources. Some Universities offer stipend facilities like IIT. On the other hand, there are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for getting fellowship during PhD.

Moreover, students can avail scholarships after qualifying for some of these national entrance examinations. Nevertheless, the average monthly stipend in India is INR 15,000-35,000. Only full-time scholars are eligible to receive the stipend. However, the stipend is for the monthly contribution of a researcher and often needs a monthly progress report for evaluation.

University Type

Average Stipend

Private Universities

Rs 25,000

Public Universities

Rs 28,000

Deemed Universities

To be declared

Institutes

Rs 32,000

Top Fellowships for PhD in India 

PhD in one of the highest qualifications in the academic field. It gives high expertise in a particular field of interest. Moreover, PhD requires 3-5 years of hard work and dedication. Therefore, students need adequate financial support without which it would be very difficult for them to continue their PhD studies. There are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program.

And students can avail of the scholarship after qualifying for some of these national entrance examinations. Nevertheless, there are many PhD scholarships and research fellowships are available in India that are offered by the Government of India as well as academic institutions.

Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) :

The Junior research fellowship (JRF) scheme by University Grants Commission is for the students who have qualifying scores in NET-JRF (National Eligibility Test-Junior Research Fellowship) by UGC and  UGC-CSIR (UGC-Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) joint test. It occurs twice a year (June and December).

Moreover, the examination determines the credibility of students as lecturers or for awarding JRF fellowships. However, students need to register for a PhD course at a recognized University for a fellowship application. And candidates need to have a doctoral degree for applying to the lectureship examination. CSIR-NET examination is conducted in subjects like Chemical Sciences, Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Physical Sciences.

However, the duration of the fellowship is of 2 years as a Junior research fellow and then the progress of the students will be evaluated by an expert committee.  Moreover, if the progress is found satisfactory then the tenure of the scholarship will extend for another 3 years under enhanced emoluments and the student will be upgraded as a Senior research fellow. Therefore, the total time duration of JRF and SRF is of 2+3 or 5 years. However, the students who are not yet registered for PhD shall join as a research fellow under this fellowship scheme.

Maulana Azad Scholarship:

Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) is funded by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. However, this fellowship is for financially weaker backgrounds. Moreover, students pursuing PhD/M.Phil can apply for the Maulana Azad National Fellowship program. Additionally, students from Social Science/ Humanities/ Science/ Engineering & Technology streams can apply for the fellowship. Any minority community Parsi/ Muslim/Jain/ Sikhs/ Buddhists and Christians are eligible for this fellowship program. However, applicants having a minimum of 50% marks in masters with CSIR-NET/CBSE-NET qualifications can apply for the Maulana Azad Scholarship.

The candidate’s family income should be under 2.5 LPA and they must produce a legit income certificate properly signed and issued by Tehsildar or Block officer. Nevertheless, transgender candidates are also eligible for the fellowship with a family income of less than 2.5 LPA. Students will get INR 25000 per month as a junior research fellow for 2 years and then INR 28000 per month as a senior research fellow for another 3 years. Additionally, students will get INR 10,000 per annum contingency for the first 2 years and INR 20,500 per annum contingency grant for the next 3 years.

Prime Minister Fellowship for Doctoral Research:

The Prime Minister’s Fellowship for Doctoral Research is a one-of-a-kind fellowship leveraging a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). However,  SERB is an autonomous body under the DST (Department of Science and Technology), Government of India. Moreover, this scholarship is for meritorious scholars who want to do Industry-related research. Additionally, they will get almost double the scholarship that they would get otherwise.

However, one-half of the fellowship will come from the Government of India and the other half will come from the partner industries associated with the research project. Additionally, the aspirants can apply anytime within 14 months of their PhD registration. Till now more than 145 fellowships have been awarded and 60 institutions and almost 100 industries have been supporting this venture.

Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships:

The Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships are for Indian scholars, registered for a PhD at an Indian University/Institution. However, the duration of the fellowships is for 6-9 months. Additionally, the applicant needs to be affiliated with a US host institution for a grant. Moreover, the applicant has to secure an invitation letter from a US institution. Nevertheless, the student needs to do adequate research in a relevant subject and should be registered in an Indian institution on or before 2nd November 2020. 

However, they should include a recommendation letter from the supervisor reflecting the applicant’s research area, need for scholarship, date of registration, and topic.

Jobs After PhD in India 

The PhD degree is measured based on skills and knowledge. Moreover, students need to have skills and knowledge to excel in career. However, the most popular job option after PhD is a teaching job in a university. Moreover, there are other job options as well such as R&D, Industrial professional, and start-up mentors, etc. Additionally, many industrial organizations as their PhD groups for research activities, designing of new products, and strategic planning. However, the average remuneration for professionals at industrial R&D is much higher. Additionally, some development centres also hire PhD students for multiple roles. PhD students generally get higher salaries than any other graduates as they possess high experience and skills. Now, see below to know about the jobs options available for students after PhD

Type of Job

Average Salary

Research Associate

INR 5 LPA

Professor in University

INR  5.11 LPA- INR 35 LPA

Scientific Advisor

INR  16 LPA- INR 36 LPA

Medical research centers

INR 15 LPA

Science Writing

INR 7 LPA

Public sector and science communication

INR 12 LPA

Patent Lawyer

INR 23 LPA

List of Top 10 Universities for PhD in India 

QS World University Rankings is a well-known ranking method of universities all over the world. Therefore, the QS system depends on 3 parameters such as global overall ranking, subject rankings, and five composite faculty areas with five independent regional tables, such as Latin America, Asia, Emerging Europe the Arab Region, and Central Asia. Hence, it is one of the three most viewed rankings in the world, and it receives its approval from the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG).

However, the ranking was previously known as Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings. Moreover, the QS university ranking depends on eight indicators such as employer reputation, academic reputation, faculty/student ratio, papers per faculty, staff with a PhD, citations per paper, international students, and international faculty.  Now, see below to know about the NIRF ranking of different Universities.

University

NIRF Ranking

Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

1

Institute of Chemical Technology

2

Jawaharlal Nehru University

3

University of Hyderabad-Hyderabad

4

Tezpur University

5

University of Delhi

6

Banaras Hindu University

7

Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology

8

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani

9

Aligarh Muslim University

10

Frequently Asked Questions About PhD in India (FAQs) 

How to do a PhD in India?

Firstly, students can apply for admissions in a particular University once the admission dates get released. However, the minimum time duration of a PhD degree is of 3 years and the maximum time duration is of 5 years. Additionally, students should have a post-graduation degree for applying to the doctoral courses.

Moreover, students should satisfy all the PhD eligibility criteria and must qualify for the entrance examination for admission to the PhD programs. Furthermore, there are some national entrance examinations like CSIR-UGC- NET, GATE, UGC-NET, etc. for admission to the PhD program. However, some university conducts their PhD entrance exam for admission followed by interview round.

How many years is a PhD?

A doctorate is one of the highest degrees in academia. However, it also signifies the research and analytical skills of the PhD holder. The duration is of minimum 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. Moreover, students should have a post-graduation degree for applying to the doctoral courses.

Is Doctor higher than PhD?

The PhD and MD both are higher degrees. Moreover PhD meaning Doctor of philosophy where MD denotes Doctor of Medicine. However, MD is a higher degree in the field of medicine and PhD in higher research-oriented specialization in various subjects.

Is a PhD a doctor?

A PhD is one of the highest academic qualifications a student can achieve. Moreover, the minimum time duration of a doctoral degree is of 3 years and the maximum is of 5 years. However, the word “philosophy” has a Greek meaning which translates to “lover of wisdom”.

On the contrary, a doctorate is a qualification awarding a doctoral degree. Additionally, students have to present advanced work making a significant contribution to the particular subject of interest. Then a candidate can earn a “Doctor” degree. Additionally, PhD is the most common kind of doctorate. Moreover, other doctorate degrees are more specialized or based on more professional or practical subjects. Therefore, all PhD degrees are doctorates but not all doctorates are PhD degrees.

Can I complete a PhD in 2 years?

Firstly, the PhD duration normally is a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years in full-time and 5-6 years in part-time mode. However, PhD is a pure research degree, unlike under-graduation and post-graduation. Moreover, the PhD duration solely depends on some factors such as funding, country/institution, and the research topic /research nature. Hence, some research work requires additional training, projects, teaching which can extend the duration. 

Additionally, the part-time PhD studies take twice the duration as full-time. Therefore, it can take almost 5-6 years. However, the work is the same as the full-time work just it is less intensive through the weekly routine. Most importantly, the part-time PhD supports students with other employment or family commitments. 

Can I do a PhD in 1 year?

No, the PhD duration normally is a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years in full time and 5-6 years in part-time mode. All students in the first year of PhD have to complete the PhD coursework and qualify for a comprehensive examination. Moreover, in the first year, students have to confirm the research topic with the guidance of the supervisor then make a research plan. Additionally, students have to do a detailed literature review for the decided topic. Hence, they can start the primary base work which may involve designing and planning experiments, resources, and time management.

Hence, every year in a PhD is crucial, so it is not possible to complete a PhD in a year. It requires detailed research for 3-5 years.

Which PhD is the hardest?

A PhD student chooses a subject where no one has ventured before. Hence, it becomes difficult to explore the research options. Moreover, students should choose the PhD subject as per their forte. However, some of the hardest PhDs are Juris Doctorate, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Paediatric Medicine, Math, Philosophy, and Religion.

Can I get a PhD in 3 years?

Yes, a student can get a PhD in 3 years as the minimum duration required for PhD in India is 3 years. However, PhD is a pure research degree. So, PhD students need to do experiments and publish their findings. The degree moves towards various stages.

  • Students have to conduct a literature review of the subject. Thereafter they need to survey scholarship options.
  • They have to conduct research and collect experimental data.
  • Students have to produce a thesis comprising all data and findings of their research.
  • They have to complete writing the thesis and present it as a dissertation.
  • Students have to defend their work and thesis in the viva voce examination.
  • Students can get a doctorate satisfying all the stages and qualifying for the viva voce examination.

What’s the easiest PhD to get?

Firstly, students should choose the doctoral subject as per their expertise and not by any other’s recommendation. However, some of the easiest PhD to get are Doctor of Dental Medicine, Psychology, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Physical Education, Sociology.

How old are PhD students?

There is no age limit for PhD students. However, the age limit for JRF (Junior research fellowship) is 28 years. Though PhD is a research degree for which students have to register themselves under a university. Additionally, JRF is a post where you can avail a government fellowship. However, if a student has a JRF fellowship he/she can register themselves for the PhD degree under a university as a junior research fellow.

Who is the youngest PhD holder in the world?

Karl Witte has awarded a PhD degree at the age of 13. He holds a Guinness Book of World Records record for the youngest doctorate. Moreover, Witte was 9 when he could speak multiple languages like Greek, Italian, French, German and Latin. He also published a book on Dante He spent his entire life as a Dante scholar.

Do I need a PhD to be a professor?

A professor is a scholar with a doctorate and can teach in universities or colleges. Additionally, they usually do original research and have specialization in many subjects. Moreover, a professor is considered to be the highest-ranked teacher in terms of salary and experience. However, UGC (University Grants Commission) has introduced new regulation of making PhD degrees compulsory for a lectureship at the university level 2021. Moreover, according to the seventh pay commission, PhD is a minimum qualification for applying to any teaching post at universities. There are also distance doctoral options for students who don’t have ample amount of time to do the course full time.

Read more
List of universities offering PhD, click here.

Explore by Stream

Management

285 Universities

Law

184 Universities

Engineering

191 Universities

Medical

60 Universities

Commerce

184 Universities

SCIENCES

329 Universities

Computers

15 Universities

Agriculture

51 Universities

Humanities

64 Universities

Animation

2 Universities

Arts

191 Universities

Aviation

3 Universities

Dental

3 Universities

Education

216 Universities

Mass Comm.

38 Universities

Paramedical

14 Universities

Hotel Mgmt.

7 Universities

Veterinary Sc.

13 Universities

Vocational

2 Universities

Architecture

46 Universities

Design

46 Universities

List of universities offering PhD