What is a PhD?

PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy; also abbreviated as D.Phil or Dr.Phil. Most universities award this doctorate degree fordemonstrating the ability to carry out independent research to high academic standards.

The PhD is awarded in all disciplines. Typically it requires several years of study beyond the master’s degree. The exact number of years varies by discipline and by student.

Most PhD degrees require the student to show his ability by:

  • having studied a particular area within a subject for three to four years.
  • having made at least one¬† new discovery and/or at least one contribution to the knowledge of a sub-area within the chosen area of the subject.
  • having written a dissertation about that area, placing the own independent, novel contribution in context and comparing it critically with other approaches and
  • having defended the thesis in the so-called viva, which is a discussion with examiners, who are experts in the area.

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