Saturday, 10 February 2018

How to Become a Doctorate: Must Have Preparations before Enrolling into Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) requires preparations.

In December 2017, I got my doctorate degree and this happened after 7 years since I enrolled into PhD.

The numerous experiences I went through in my quest to attain this degree, it only makes sense if I can share and help those seeking answers to their questions.

This is going to be a series of useful tips which caters to the all-encompassing question - How to Become a Doctorate?

Must Have Preparations before Enrolling into Doctor of Philosophy:

  1. Be Inclined Towards Books and Reading Materials. Interest towards book, newspaper and journal cannot be taught This must come from within. Pressure for reading from parents, teachers and tutors can only last till class 12. But after that, all forms of higher education requires a drive from within to enthusiastically read and write all day long. Simply put, you cannot dream of becoming a doctorate if you hate books and don't wish to spend years in getting some mandatory degrees first and then spend the next 5-7 years in completing PhD.
  2. Get Your Primary Degrees and Marks Ready. PhD requires some basic academic backgrounds i.e. B.A., M.A. and sometimes M.Phil. Also, PhD requires a minimum of 50-55 percent in Masters. You don't need to be a very good student throughout childhood and get 90 percent in each report card. But is does benefit if you are slightly above average.
  3. Get a Year Off After M.A. or M.Phil. While, I never took a year off and soon after completing M.A. I enrolled for direct PhD, I do support getting a break for thinking and planning. A break will maximise your area of research and in due course of time the scope of your interest will get a chance to expand or change. Working for a year will expose you to a lot of readings, access to libraries, contacts with resourceful people, academic bodies and organizations. This will hone your the research skills which is much required for PhD.
  4. Choose the Research Topic Carefully. Know the difference between writing a research article in journal and writing a thesis. The topic selection varies accordingly. The topic for PhD must be an area of your interest. No use choosing an important topic if you don't want to know about it or write about it. Secondly, the topic must be a niche. It must be focussed. Only then can the admission interview and viva will impress the examiners. Topic must be relevant, challenging and a refreshing take on something already widely written on or hardly explored by others. Thirdly, topic must be slightly wide for allowing flexibility (inclusion and exclusion) in writing chapters. While, the original topic cannot be changed, repeated alterations are allowed in forming the chapters. Lastly, don't be too adventurous with topic selection. Choose topics on which one can easily find materials. No use choosing topics if it becomes difficult to find specialized professors, departments and centers in your university. Yet, if you want to explore a challenging topic, your thesis after completion will turn out to be a seminal work.
  5. Gather Information on Government and Private Schemes on Scholarships and Fellowships. This step will help in getting a fixed monthly earning with which you can sustain even without a regular job. Also, it helps in making field trips because not always the university provides funds for field trips. Therefore, find opportunities and explore websites i.e. Fulbright India Fellowship, Commonwealth Scholarship, UGC, HRD, etc.

Hope these 5 tips expand your understanding about your capabilities and commitment towards a doctorate degree.

Once made a decision, you wont regret. Remember not everyone is a doctorate and not everyone is able to continue till the finishing line. Be an example and become an Intellectual !

Click for the step 2 - Screen the Universities to know which university/department is best suited for you.


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