In the world of degrees, many possibilities exist, and one of them is a PhD. You might start to wonder what a PhD is and how you can obtain one. Note that a PhD stands for a doctor of philosophy, and these degrees are available in a diverse array of fields.

Types of PhDs

When you are interested in getting a PhD, you could obtain one in so many different fields. It’s possible to be a doctor of theology, philosophy, history, English literature, Spanish, rhetoric and composition and so forth. If you are able to find the subject matter as a possible masters degree, then you are usually able to find a PhD program for it as well. Of course, not all schools offer every program, and you may have to move away from home to complete your studies. The most popular programs vary, depending upon what it is that you hold an interest in.

Prerequisites for a PhD

Many people assume that you need to have a masters degree before you can get a PhD, but this simply is not true. In most schools, you can enroll in the doctoral program as long as your undergraduate GPA was high enough. Many institutions will also require high scores on the GRE and possibly the subject-specific GRE for your field. During the course of a PhD, you will need to gain some teaching experience; however, if you already have adjunct experience, then this requirement will often be waved.

Time to Complete a PhD

No one set time exists to complete a PhD. Most programs recognize that their students are adults who are working full-time jobs, and the programs are crafted toward those needs. For example, it might be possible to complete an online PhD in Public Administration in the course of two years if you go full-time, but it could take a part-time student upwards of six or seven years to complete a doctoral degree in English. It all depends upon the subject matter, school and your status as a student.

Where to Find PhD Programs

PhD programs are offered at so many different types of schools. Of course, you are going to find them at Ivy League universities, but you can also discover these programs at less prestigious schools at well. Look toward some of the popular schools in your area. Generally, some of the top-ranked programs in a state school system will also offer PhD programs. You can also take many programs online although they generally have a resident requirement.

Financing a PhD

People often want to know how much money they are going to make with a PhD. You must understand that no one answer exists. The programs are so wide and diverse. Measuring Usability’s article “How Much is a PhD Worth?” by Jeff Sauro suggests that people with this degree generally make $17,000 more each year than people who don’t. This is a broad estimate though; some fields will be much lower, and some fields will be much higher.


A PhD can really help you to expand your knowledge base and to get you a job. However, you need to conduct research on the specific program in which you are interested.