Eligibility Requirement for Ph.D. Abroad


A Ph.D. program or Doctor of Philosophy is research based advanced study in the area of your interest. It typically takes three to five years of work to complete a postdoctoral degree. It is unlike other degrees, where GPA scores are considered most important. Ph.D. requires students to undertake in-depth research on the subject of their choice under a designated supervisor. Students are expected to complete their research-based thesis or dissertation and submit it at the end of the program.

The decision to pursue Ph.D. needs to be taken with a lot of consideration. As it is research based, more than your GPA scores the quality of your research, its findings, recommendations, and overall worth in the advancement of the field of study is considered more important during the final assessment. Generally, Ph.D. programs are structured to be a combination of taught and research-based curriculum. First year focuses on taught segments, which is followed by the Qualifying Examination (QE). Post clearing QE, supervised research commences where students have to submit their dissertation/thesis within three years.

Hence, before commencing your journey take into consideration –what are the subjects you would like to research on? Why would you like to do the research? Will your undergraduate/masters studies help you in your Ph.D. program or will you have to gain additional knowledge, what are the universities and colleges that can support your research and project, being a research-based study program, what kind of location would you like to study in-city or a suburban area for example.

Pursuing a Ph.D. degree at an international university has many advantages as they offer more research options. Universities abroad have closer ties with industries and are backed up with regular funding. Faculty and researchers abroad work on path breaking projects in their fields and thus are highly recognized and regarded internationally both by the academia and the industry. Access to various grants, financial aids, and cross-cultural student exchange programs offer Ph.D. students an opportunity to advance their research program with ease.

Top reasons to pursue Ph.D. from international universities



High Quality Research and Development

International universities are known for their research-centric approach. They have a legacy of valuing high-quality research work. Top-notch talent is absorbed easily by big organizations to work for them and this is a phenomenon common across industries like automobiles, engineering, biotech, information technology, and aeronautics to name a few.


Low or No Tuition Fee

In some countries like Germany, Ph.D. students can still enjoy the tuition-free study. The government in such cases bears all the cost, however, no tuition fee is applicable only up to 3 years of Ph.D. studies. Beyond that students are required to pay the fees for themselves. Private universities may charge tuition fees for Ph.D. programs.


Intellectual Legacy

International universities have an impressive line-up of alumni, which makes them highly sought after by potential students the world over. These include great scientists, professors, influential thinkers and artists like Albert Einstein, Immanuel Kant, Angela Merkel, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Sir Paul Nurse, Tina Brown, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mayim Bialik, Brian Cox and more. They have globally made enormous contributions to the growth of their respective fields.


Job opportunities

Students who successfully complete their doctoral program find plenty of jobs in the international marketplace. This is made possible due to a strong academic and industry linkage. A lot of private and public corporations support and participate in research programs at various Universities in countries like Canada, Germany, US, and UK. Students who perform well are taken on-board by organizations post completion of their studies, especially if they get to do a project or internship with them.

Universities abroad offer more options for Ph.D. programs in terms of field of study and specialization. There are several international universities that offer Ph.D. programs at their campuses in Europe, US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and more. Ph.D. programs have both generalized and specific program requirements depending on the area of study.


Let us take a look at the general eligibility criteria or requirement for Ph.D. degree programs abroad:



Academic qualifications

A Ph.D. degree is an advanced study in the field of your interest requires you to have a high GPA in your undergraduate and master’s studies. To be eligible this needs to be relevant to the discipline of your Ph.D. study. The admission committee looks at good performance in the form of distinction or merit. Typically, Arts and Humanities PhDs are more likely to require a Master’s degree. For Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) PhDs, an undergraduate degree may be sufficient, though the requirement would vary from university to university. Such programs are usually a combination of Master’s and Ph.D. programs.


Right Fit

A university will accept students for a Ph.D. program only if it is convinced that the applicant is committed and serious about pursuing the degree. High standards are maintained while finalizing students for the program. Prospective Ph.D. students should showcase demonstrable interest in the area of their study. The application process along with previous academic scores, research proposals, references, and performance during the Ph.D. interview matters the most in evaluating a candidate’s suitability for the program.


Admission Tests

To pursue a Ph.D. degree as an international student you may have to appear for standardized qualifying tests that are globally recognized. This includes tests like –GRE and GMAT. For non-native students, it is mandatory to take English language tests like-IELTS or TOEFL to prove their proficiency in the language. If one wants to opt for a Ph.D. where a foreign language is the medium of study then s/he will have to take the tests to prove their proficiency in that language. For instance, if one wants to study in German then they will have to first take tests like -Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF)/Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH).

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Graduate Record Examination is a standardized entrance exam that is designed to test verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing of the test taker.

  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

Graduate Management Admission Test is a preferred entrance test for admissions to business and management programs worldwide. The test consists of analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning.

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

It is one of the most popular high-stakes English language tests. It is a test of choice for many educational organizations, professional associations, and employers across the world.

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Like IELTS the grade of the test is equally combined in four parts reading, listening, speaking, and writing.



As an international student, your grades or marks achieved during your study period at a school or university are generally converted to GPA or GPE depending on the country you are applying to. However, in the case of Ph.D. programs universities may or may not require you to get submit your converted grades especially in the US. It varies from university to university. However, in some countries New Zealand it is mandatory to submit your GPE score for Ph.D. admission. It is important for you to check for this requirement before applying for a Ph.D. program at a university abroad.


Research Proposal

It is one of the most important deciding factors for an application as it shows one’s understanding of the subject, topics, and proposed research plan. Irrespective of the research area before drafting your proposal plan you should answer questions like what do you want to accomplish out of this research and how do you plan to do so within a limited time period.

A good research proposal will convince the evaluators of the value of your proposed project and that you have a structured plan to complete the project as stated. The proposal should contain all the important aspects involved in the research process with sufficient information for the evaluators to gauge the project plan in detail. Getting advice and feedback from experienced colleagues or teachers helps a great deal while drafting your Ph.D. research proposal.


Letter of motivation

A letter of motivation has to be submitted as part of your admission application for a Ph.D. program. It is submitted for the evaluators of the admission application to understand the objectives of the proposed research project or the Ph.D. program itself. It should include a brief introduction focusing on why you would like to apply for a specific program, describe the research area(s) you are interested in, how your previous academic qualifications and work experience will help you in your proposed research project and what are your future plans based on the research or a Ph.D. degree. Any additional studies or activities undertaken in the past that you think will help in the advancement of your Ph.D. studies should be highlighted in the letter of motivation.


Published Paper

The question of the requirement of a published paper for potential Ph.D. students is often confusing. If you have a published paper then definitely, it adds a lot of weight to your profile as it speaks volumes about your interest in the subject and more importantly about your research skills. However, if you do not have one, it doesn’t mean you cannot apply for a Ph.D. program. If you have experience of presenting at university seminars or conferences, volunteering in a lab, an internship in the relevant industry or have won research awards, they should be highlighted in your profile as they too speak of your ability to research right. Your field of study will also make a difference here. For instance, generally, in streams like arts and engineering, it is not common for students to have published papers, whereas in science-related subjects like biology the probabilities are higher. Thus, a lot of factors count here. If you cannot find an opportunity to get a paper published focus on getting relevant experience that will later help you in your research work during your Ph.D. program.


Work Experience

Many students decide to pursue Ph.D. right after their masters and some take a break to work and then apply for a Ph.D. program. Work experience is not mandatory for a Ph.D. program however, there are several advantages of applying for a Ph.D. program after gaining some work experience. With work experience, one gathers enough information on what to research and can also gather relevant data in advance, it helps students in their study to filter what is necessary and important for them and what is less significant, students with work experience are able to make the most of the program as they have a clear focus and can accordingly have meaningful interaction with faculty and supervisors to help advance their research project.


Student Visa

As an international student, this is one of the main requirements. Every country will have its own rules and regulations for you to consider before applying.

Student Visa in UK

If you’re applying from outside the UK, you can begin your visa application six months before your Ph.D. begins. The Graduate Route is a new UK post-study work visa option being introduced for international students who complete a doctorate after 1 July 2021. It will allow you to remain in the UK for up to three years after your Ph.D. This option will replace the Doctorate Extension scheme for new Ph.D. students starting in 2020-21.


Student Visa in US

All international students need to obtain an F1 visa for full-time Ph.D. studies in the US. F1 visa holders are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT (optional practical training) on completion of graduation. That means you can work for a year after you finish your studies

It is temporary employment permission allowing students the opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study After that, you’ll be required to apply for a work visa if you have to continue working in the US. You can remain in the US up to 60 days after the completion of your course even if you don’t have a job offer or haven’t applied for OPT.


Student Visa in New Zealand

As an international student studying in New Zealand, you will require a student visa which will entitle you to study full-time at the course stated on your visa, work part-time for up to 20 hours a week while studying or full-time in the holidays, depending on your visa conditions. Live by yourself above a certain age, otherwise, you’ll need to come with your parent or legal guardian. If required you want to bring your partner or children with you, they can apply for visas based on their relationship with you.




What if I have a Master’s, but my undergraduate degree is in a different subject or field?

A Master’s degree usually supersedes a Bachelors, meaning that the undergraduate degree grade is less significant.

Which countries pay Ph.D. students?

Ph.D. funding for students is available US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Australia

Do we have to send the converted WES GPA to the USA Universities for Ph.D. programs?

No, you don’t need WES in every case. Most universities are familiar with the Indian education system and should be able to evaluate your performance from your raw transcript. WES conversions often depend on the specific school.

How long is Ph.D. after Masters?

A Ph.D. will typically take three to four years to complete.

Can I finish Ph.D. in 2 years?

It is extremely rare and is a factor dependent on academic performance and professional experience.

Which country offers a free Ph.D.?

There are many European countries that offer free Ph.D. primarily through public universities in countries like Germany, Sweden, France, and Finland.

Is a Ph.D. in the USA free?

No. But students can receive stipends to fund the study. Students can apply for fellowship and grants to cover their expenses.

Which Ph.D. pays most?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) PhDs tend to pay the most, according to research conducted by Payscale.

If you are convinced about pursuing your Ph.D. from an international university, act now. Or you can always reach us at MANYA for admission consulting. Our team of admission advisors will be happy to assist you, as they do for many other aspirants like you. For more information, call our Study Abroad Helpline 1800 102 4646

At Manya – The Princeton Review, as study abroad consultants we have helped thousands of students like you make it to their dream colleges. So, contact our counsellors today to help you and ensure a smooth process from test preparation to getting admission in top international universities. Also, get unlimited support on applications, essays, scholarships, and programs at the offer.

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