While hearing the words PhD may instantly make you think of a medicinal doctor, an individual can obtain a PhD in practically any field of study. A PhD simply states that you hold the highest academic degree possible in your specific field. Generally speaking, there are a few basic requirements that must be met before an individual can begin working on his or her PhD. Additionally, there are a few things that can help give you an extra boost as the admissions committee peruses your application.
If obtaining your PhD is your ultimate educational goal, then you must first complete a degree program to get your bachelor's degree. Ideally, you will want to obtain your bachelor's degree in the field of study that you plan to get your PhD in, or at the very least a related field. For example, if you have your bachelor's degree in history then it is perfectly feasible for you to pursue your PhD in a field such as political science. Although many PhD programs do not require that you have a completed undergraduate thesis, it will definitely give you an edge against your competition.
Keep in mind, admissions into a PhD program are often limited, so if there is something you can do to make yourself stand out against the competition that will be great! This also demonstrates to the admissions committee that you are capable of thoroughly researching a specific academic topic and relaying it effectively to an audience. Try to land yourself a position as a professor's research assistant; this too will look good to the admissions committee as they consider you for their PhD program. As an added bonus, this will make it perfectly fine for you to ask this professor to write you a letter of recommendation to accompany your admission packet. A high score on the GRE may also help you stand out from your fellow PhD seekers.
As you begin working towards your PhD, you will want to do your homework regarding nearby universities that offer a program that suits your educational needs. For instance, check to see if the school offers internships, positions as research assistants or teaching assistants, and the availability of scholarships. While it will require a little extra work on your part, you may want to consider applying to more than one PhD program. This may help to ensure your acceptance into one of your choices of schools, which will help to keep your educational timeline on track. Remember, just because you are accepted by a PhD admissions committee, does not mean that you have to accept. You will want to measure each of your educational options to completely ensure that you choose the one that best fits your learning style, your educational goals, and your intended career path.
Within your PhD coursework you will be required to teach undergraduate students, complete the coursework towards your degree program, conduct research, and write a dissertation. Of course, each of these requirements will directly pertain to your intended field of study.