Higher Education Guidance & Counselling

How Long Does it Take to Get a Ph.D.? – [Answered]

Ph.D. at first stance is fascinating but becomes a bit threatening when considered about the time to complete it. A report shows that only 56.6% of enrolled Ph.D. people attain their Ph.D. in recent years.

So wondering how long does it take to get a Ph.D.?

The time required to complete a Ph.D. depends upon different factors such as field of study, time of university, course, and publication requirements. According to surveys, the average time to complete a Ph.D. remains 5.8 years in 2017 in USA institutions. But in the same survey report, it is observed that for humanities and arts doctorate, the average time to complete a doctorate remains 7.1 years. Due to this long time duration and other challenges, some people skip Ph.D. on the way. 

The average time duration to complete a full-time Ph.D. is 3 to 4 years, and for part-time, it takes approximately 5 to 6 years. Sometimes it takes 7 to 8 years to complete it, depending on course work, publications, thesis writing, university requirements, availability of funding, and many more.

Factors Influencing Ph.D. Program Duration:

Different factors influence the length of a Ph.D., here we discuss a few of them.

#1 Nature of subjects:

The nature of subjects influences the length of a Ph.D. degree. If you are a student of humanities or arts, it takes approximately 5 years to 6 years to complete a Ph.D. Degree. While you can earn a doctorate in other subjects 3 to 4 years.

  • Physics: 5 years
  • English: 8 years
  • Education: 13 years
  • Psychology: 5 to 7 years
  • History: 5 years

#2 Supervisors Cooperation:

Sometimes the duration of the Ph.D. program may exceed or decrease by the cooperation of supervisors. If your supervisor is cooperative and gives you proper time and guidance, you can easily accomplish your work in the desired period. On the other hand, if you are working with a supervisor that does not guide you, then it may exceed the length of your Ph.D. degrees.

#3 Institutional requirements:

In different institutes, the time required to complete a Ph.D. is different. As in the UK institutes, time requires 3 to 4 years, while in the USA, the average time to complete a Ph.D. is 5 to 6 years. 

The average duration of a full-time PhD in different countries:

  • China: 3 to 4 years
  • USA: 4 to 6 years
  • Canada: 3 to 6 years
  • Australia: 3 years
  • France: 3 to 4 years
  • Germany: 3 to 4 years
  • Japan: 3 to 4 years
  • UK: 3 to 4 years

#4 Availability of Funding:

Another factor that also affects the length of Ph.D. is the availability of funding. When you are doing your Ph.D. in a science subject, it requires extra funds to complete your dissertations. For this, you also search about the availability of the grant.

#5 Fieldwork or Publication Requirements:

If your doctorate requires fieldwork, then it also affects the length of the degree. Because sometimes, fieldwork is time-dependent or also depends on other factors which need time.

Doctoral degree candidates are also required to make publications in good journals to get eligible to receive a Ph.D. degree. Therefore if the publications are not enough or not made in time then the doctoral degree requirement will not be accomplished; hence delaying Ph.D.

#6 Work Requirements:

How you do work and the nature of your work will affect the length of your Ph.D.. Almost every enrolled student works during their Ph.D. degree. If you work inside the university and remain in touch with your supervisors, colleagues, and other group members, you can speed up your Ph.D. But, on the other hand, if you are working outside the university and your work is different from your field of study, then you need more time to complete your Ph.D.

  • #7 Time management

Time management is the main factor in Ph.D. How you spend your time and how much time you spend on the main parts of your research will affect the length of your Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. is distributed into three main parts; Course work, Exams, Dissertation. Every portion requires time, according to the nature of work.

According to the US Bureau of Statistics, Ph.D. coursework requires approximately 2 to 3 years, while dissertation work requires 2 to 3 years.

Summing up

Ph.D. is the top highest degree in academic studies. Different aspects affect the time limit to complete it. But approximately, a full-time P.h.d can be attained in 3 to 4 years in most countries, except from the USA, where the average time duration is 4 to 6 years.

Yousaf Saeed (Scholarship Winner)

It is our pleasure to have Yousaf Saeed on our Guest Authors list. He is a top educationist and renowned research with major publications in his field of interest. Yousaf won a total of 3 fully-funded scholarships to complete his academic career and also won numerous fundings for attending international academic conferences. He is known for his mentorship for helping students to find and apply for international academic opportunities.

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