Doctor of Philosophy

Course Type Ph.D
Duration 5 Years

PhD is a doctoral degree with an academic focus. A PhD course is usually of three years duration and candidates need to complete the course within a maximum time span of five to six years. However, the course duration may vary from one institute to the other. Aspirants need to possess a master’s degree to be eligible to pursue a PhD programme.

Candidates can pursue a PhD programme in any stream. In a PhD course aspirants need to select a topic or a subject and do in-depth research on it and answer any queries related to the topic/ subject.

Earlier, candidates could pursue PhD course through the distance mode, however, as per a circular issued by UGC in 2017 it has been informed that a PhD course pursued through the distance education mode would no longer be recognised.

Candidates who have cleared entrance exams like UGC NET, GATE, JEST and the likes are usually offered fellowships while pursuing a PhD course. Apart from this, universities such as IGNOU and Delhi University (DU) also offer fellowships to students pursuing full time PhD courses with them.

Some popular PhD programmes that candidates can pursue in different streams are listed below:

Popular PhD courses in Humanities

PhD in Humanities

PhD Economics

PhD Geography

PhD in Social Work

PhD in English

PhD in Social Sciences

PhD in Public and Economic Policy

PhD in Humanities & Social Sciences

PhD in Humanities and Life Sciences

PhD in Psychology

PhD in Arts

PhD in International Relations and Politics

PhD in Physiology

PhD in Public Policy

PhD in Literature

Popular PhD Courses in Science

PhD in Chemistry

PhD in Clinical Research

PhD in Science

PhD in Bioscience

PhD in Bioinformatics

PhD Biotechnology

PhD in Mathematical and Computational Sciences

PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering

PhD in Applied Chemistry & Polymer Technology

PhD in Applied Sciences

PhD Zoology

PhD in Physics

PhD in Basic and Applied Sciences

Phd in Mathematics

PhD in Zoology

Popular PhD Courses in Commerce

PhD in Commerce Management

PhD in Accounting and Financial Management

Popular PhD Courses in Engineering

PhD in Engineering

PhD in Genetic Engineering

PhD in Civil Engineering

PhD Program in Quantitative Techniques

PhD in Engineering and Technology

PhD Electronics & Communication Engineering

PhD Computer Science Engineering

PhD in Electronics and Communication Engineering

PhD in Aeronautical and Automobile Engineering

PhD in Information Technology

PhD in Ceramic Engineering

PhD in Production Engineering

PhD in Marine Biotechnology

PhD in Chemical Engineering

PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Popular PhD Courses in Business & Management

PhD Business Administration

PhD in Management

PhD in Aviation Management

PhD in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

PhD in Accounting and Financial Management

PhD in Marketing/ Brand Management

PhD in Commerce

PhD in Commerce and Management

Popular PhD Courses in Law

PhD in Law

PhD in Constitutional Law

PhD in Law and Governance

PhD in Legal Studies

Popular PhD Courses in Teaching & Education

PhD in Education

PhD in Teaching

Required Skillset for PhD

Any aspirant who wants to pursue a PhD in the subject/ field of their choice needs to have a lot of interest and passion for the topic at hand. A PhD requires aspirants to study a topic in-depth and so candidates need to possess the required skill-set and dedication along with being extremely hard working when pursuing a PhD. Apart from these skills, candidates should be good with performing research and collaborating the findings of research conducted by them.

A PhD also requires aspirants to be quick and good with presenting their thoughts and findings and so it is a requirement that candidates be well-versed with written communication and have good writing capacity.

Some key skills that an aspirant should possess while pursuing a PhD are listed below:


Good at research



Good writing capacity



Keen observer

PhD Admission Process

In order to secure admission in PhD or research programmes offered by the educational institute, aspirants need to go through the below mentioned steps:

Step 1: Visit the official website of the educational institute and go through all the details of the PhD courses offered by the institute and select the area of research that the candidate wants to pursue.

Step 2: Candidates need to keep an eye out for any admission advertisement in newspapers or visit the official website of the university to fill the application form for admission in the course of their choice. Usually the admission notification is released 4-5 months before the commencement of the course cycle.

Step 3: Next, candidates need to fill and submit their application forms for the PhD course as per the schedule shared by the educational institute. Aspirants also need to ensure that they pay the application fee on time and submit all the required documents along with their application form for PhD admissions.

Step 4: Some educational institutes also specify that candidates need to submit a research proposal along with their application form. The application form along with the research proposal is submitted at the Research Unit of the educational institute where scrutiny of the application is conducted.

Step 5: After scrutiny of the PhD course application form is complete then most of the educational institutes shortlist the names of the candidates who need to appear for the entrance exam and other admission rounds that are conducted for shortlisting aspirants for admission in PhD programmes offered by them.

Step 6: Candidates who are selected for PhD programmes on the basis of the admission rounds are then assigned supervisors/ guides for their PhD research.

 Course Structure

Steps that candidates need to follow when pursuing a PhD course in order to be conferred a PhD degree are listed below:

  1. Once candidates are selected for PhD courses offered at educational institutes they need to submit their Research Proposal along with their Research Topic.
  2. Then, candidates are allocated a research supervisor/ guide.
  3. After this candidates are provided details of the Course Work, evaluation methodology and the teaching schedule by the Research Programme Coordinator/ Guide/ Supervisor.
  4. While performing research work most educational institutes require aspirants to submit six month progress reports for their research work.
  5. Further, as a Research Student one needs to give at least two seminar presentations as part of their tenure as a Research Scholar and thereafter submit a Certificate in the prescribed format to the Research Unit.
  6. Next, PhD students need to publish at least one research paper in a peer reviewed/refereed Journal and also submit a Certificate in the prescribed format to the Research Unit before they submit their PhD thesis.
  7. Before aspirants submit their thesis, their supervisor or guide will organise a Pre-submission Seminar. This seminar will be open to all. As part of this seminar a report will be submitted which will include suggestions for improvement and the supervisor would ensure that candidates incorporate all these suggestions in the final thesis.
  8. Candidates then need to incorporate all the changes and submit a summary of their thesis to their supervisor or guide at least 45 days before the submission of the thesis.
  9. Finally, candidates need to submit their thesis in hard copy as well as soft copy. This thesis will be examined by external experts. In case any expert suggests any modifications in the research paper submitted by the candidate then he/ she needs to re-submit a modified thesis.
  10. Next, a viva-voce is conducted wherein candidates can openly defend their thesis and present their point of view before a panel of experts.
  11. Candidates who complete all these steps to perfection would only be conferred a PhD degree.

PhD Eligibility Criteria

Aspirants are eligible to pursue a PhD course only if they have completed their master’s degree in a similar course/ field/ stream in which they want to pursue a PhD. Some colleges also specify that candidates need to have completed an MPhil to pursue a PhD course offered by them.

Apart from this, many colleges state that candidates meet the eligibility criteria for PhD programmes offered by them if they have cleared UGC NET. Candidates who want to pursue a PhD in Engineering need to possess a valid GATE score.

There are various categories of PhD candidates. Some of the types of PhD candidates are listed below:

Full Time Research Scholars

Government/ Semi Government Fellowship Recipients

PhD scholars who fall under this category are offered financial assistance under Government/ Semi Government fellowship schemes.

Institute research Scholars with Teaching Assistance

Aspirants falling under this category of PhD scholars are offered Institute Teaching Assistantship as specified by the MHRD.

Self-financed Candidates (Indian/ Foreign)

Indian self-financed candidates are offered a seat in doctoral programmes offered at institutes depending on their track record and experience. Such candidates are offered admission in PhD programmes offered by the institute by taking part in the normal admission process for PhD courses but such candidates do not receive any financial assistance from the institute.

Foreign self-financed candidates are offered admission through the embassy of their respective country only after they get the necessary 'no objection certificate' from MHRD, Govt of India and other necessary approvals from India's Ministry of External Affairs.

Sponsored Candidates

Aspirants falling under this category of PhD scholars are sponsored by (recognised) Research and Development organisations to do full time research at the concerned institute.

Study Leave Candidates

Aspirants falling under this category are given study leave by Government institutes/ companies/ educational institutes for a time duration of less than three years to perform research work at the specified institute. A letter of leave provided by the candidate's institute/ company is necessary to secure admission as a PhD scholar in this category.

ICCR Awardees

Foreign candidates who are sponsored by their respective government are awarded a seat in a PhD course under Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) award holders’ category if they have been awarded the scholarship by their government.

Part Time Research Scholars

Candidates who seek admission under part time research scholars at an institute are offered admission under the below mentioned categories:

  • Research Assistants

  • Institute staff/ Faculty

  • Project Staff

  • External Sponsored Candidates