phd students can work full time

5 Visa Options International PhD Students Must Know To Work In The U.S.A.

phd students can work full time

Written by Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Like most PhD students preparing to graduate, I started applying for jobs early.

I felt lucky to receive some positive responses right away.

In a very short period of time, I had interviews lined up with 4 different companies.

I went through multiple rounds of interviews, and even reached the stage of salary negotiation in 3 of these cases.

It all seemed to be going well.

Being proactive was paying off and now I was going to have a new job lined up before graduation.

It didn’t take long for all 3 companies to retract their job offers.

All with similar vague and robotic responses that they decided to go a different route.

I thought I was a shoe-in for at least one of them!

I had received positive feedback from every person I met and I followed all the proper interview etiquette, down to the personalized thank-you letter.

I had done everything right.

Meanwhile, graduation was just around the corner and anxiety was building around my immigration status.

The immigration law states that international students attending school in the U.S. must have full-time employment within 90 days of graduation.

Three months might sound like ample time — but it’s not.

Getting a response after submitting your industry resume , going through multiple rounds of interviews, and then eventually receiving a job offer often takes much longer than 3 months.

I frantically applied to more positions and networked as much as possible with industry professionals.

Fortunately, about a month after my graduation, I caught my break and landed a job.

I accepted the offer even though it wasn’t my first choice and the starting salary was lower than what I would have preferred.

But waiting wasn’t an option, given the 60 days I had left, and I couldn’t risk holding off and looking into other companies with the immigration laws looming overhead.

I didn’t realize that the reason offers were retracted or withheld was because I was an international student.

The employers did not want to deal with the hassle of additional immigration paperwork when they could hire someone equally as qualified with American citizenship.

I might have been the right choice, but I was the harder choice, so someone else got the job.

Getting chosen over a U.S. citizen — or someone with established permission to work in the U.S. — is an uphill climb.

It’s so much easier for companies to go with a simple hire without the paper trail process they perceive as being time-consuming and uncertain.

My story is not unique.

It has been 3 years since I graduated.

I do not regret the first industry job I accepted but I wish someone had prepared me for the challenges I would face as an international student.

Why International PhDs Must Know Visa Policy

According to a report by the Global Cities Initiative in 2014 , the number of foreign students on F1 (student) visas in U.S. colleges and universities grew dramatically from 110,000 in 2001 to 524,000 in 2012, two-thirds of which study STEM and business fields.

45% of foreign student graduates extend their visas in order to remain in the same area as they studied.

And the trends show that international students can provide benefit to key metropolitan areas and can strengthen local economies.

Each fiscal year, the Migration Policy Institute reported that 55,000 diversity visas — otherwise known as green cards — are made available as part of a lottery system.

The demand for lottery visas is always much higher than the amount that are made available.

Like any lottery, the odds are not guaranteed and often slim.

In the 2016 program, close to 11.4 million qualified applicants were registered for the lottery, a 21% increase from the prior year.

Sound overwhelming?

You are not alone.

There are thousands of PhDs in your shoes, wanting to transition out of academia but struggling with visa requirements.

As a foreign PhD student, you have benefits that you need to leverage along with your knowledge of immigration policy.

Treat this like one of your courses you need to master so you can present yourself in the best light.

You have to arm yourself with knowledge.

Know your options.

Know your facts.

Get professional advice.

Only then can you start to properly prepare and strategize for your career transition.

If you want a company to sponsor you for a visa, you need to show that you are above and beyond any other available candidate.

You need to leverage your value to the company in ways that make your immigration status seem trivial.

Do the homework for them in terms of what visa you will need and the process that is involved.

Make it easy for them to hire you.

phd students can work full time

5 Visa And Citizenship Options For International PhDs

The American immigration process is not for the faint of heart or the impatient.

It’s an established system placed under high demand and strict policy.

This adds stress and frustration to your graduation process because it is so uncertain.

Multiple visa options exist and trying to sift through the best approach for you requires diligence, professional advice, and strategy.

The details of the steps and time taken to complete them will vary based on what kinds of jobs you apply for, whether you have relatives in the U.S., and which country you come from.

You should always seek help from legal professionals to ensure successful completion of immigration procedures.

Here are 5 of the most common visa options international PhD students must know to help get an early advantage while focusing on your career transition …

If you came to the U.S. as a graduate student, you must have started out on an F1 visa, also known as a student visa.

Once you are close to graduating from your program, you should apply for OPT (Optional Professional Training) through your school’s international student services office in order to be permitted to stay and work in the U.S.

The average time required to get an OPT from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is 1-2 months.

IMPORTANT: Be careful when you apply to maximize the number of days that you have available following graduation.

Keep in mind that you will need to find full-time employment within 90 days of the start date printed on your OPT card.

Best case scenario is that you have something lined up before you graduate and are conscious of your start date.

You can find more detailed information about OPT at the USCIS website.

2. F1-OPT extension.

Your OPT will typically be valid for 12 months.

Those who graduate from an American university STEM program are eligible to apply for an extension of OPT if they have not already applied for another visa status.

Prior to May 10th, 2016 this extension was only valid for 17 months but has since been increased to 24 months.

In order to be eligible for this extension, you have to meet two criteria.

First, you should be employed in a field associated with your field of study, and second, your employer should be enrolled in the e-verify program.

Find out more details about the e-verify program and even check if a company is registered in this program here .

3. J1 visa.

This will be your most likely visa status if you decide to do a postdoc in academia after your PhD.

The official term used for this category is “work-and-study-based exchange visitor programs” and is reserved for non-profit or educational institutions.

Your institution must be accredited with the Exchange Visitor Program through the U.S. State Department.

Multiple programs exist and qualify under the J1 visa and the application must be sponsored by the institution.

The university where you are doing your postdoctoral research will apply for your J1 visa to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs.

4. H1B visa.

This category of visa will typically be your option if you start a job in industry after your PhD , while you are still on OPT.

Your employer, whether in industry or academia, will have to sponsor your application for H1B to the USCIS.

Although you can get H1B through both academic and non-academic jobs, there are a few differences between them.

The H1B offered to academic positions, such as international postdoctoral scholars, falls under the cap-exempt H1B.

In order to be eligible for cap-exempt H1B, you should be employed by a “not-for-profit institution of higher education”, which covers all employees of universities.

The first obvious difference — as suggested by the name — is that there is no cap/quota in the number of applications, unlike non-academic H1B submitted through private companies.

As a result, you will not have to go through a lottery to be selected if you are a postdoc and your application is submitted by the university.

However, H1B offered by academia does not allow you to switch directly to employers in industry.

If you want to join a company after a few years as a postdoc, and you have a cap-exempt H1 visa, you will need to go through the lottery.

IMPORTANT: The cap for H1B visas is often reached within days.

The lottery requires further screening of relevant documents and waiting at least a few months to receive your approval from USCIS before you can officially receive H1B and become eligible to work for your employer.

5. Green card.

A green card gives you a more permanent status compared to J1 or H1 visas and it also makes it a lot easier to change jobs.

Everything else is a temporary fix for your immigration woes that can serve to extend your time while you work towards this.

Once you have a green card, your next employer will not have to do any immigration paperwork similar to what they will need to do to hire a professional on H1B.

There are several pathways to securing a green card, and exploring all the possibilities are beyond the scope of this article.

But the vast majority of STEM PhDs generally take two possible routes to securing a green card: the EB-1 or EB-2 category.

The EB-1 category is further divided into the following two types: EB-1A for extraordinary ability and EB-1B for applicants who can be classified as outstanding researchers.

Depending upon your professional track record, you can be eligible for either as a science PhD.

The advantage of EB-1 is that it has a much shorter waiting time compared to EB-2.

EB-2 visas are given to professionals who are employed full-time in the U.S. and have an advanced degree (Master’s degree or higher).

PhDs will qualify for this category and generally, your employer will have to file the application on your behalf.

As a STEM PhD, it is possible to apply for a residency from either a J1 or H1 status.

However, according to most legal professionals, there are some advantages for filing for permanent residence (green card) while on H1B status rather than when on J1.

Irrespective of which category you fall under and what route you wish to take, the process of applying for and securing a green card requires you to fulfill much more than just having a PhD and the outcome is hard to predict.

It is also expensive, complex, and time-consuming.

As with all of these options, professional legal advice is invaluable before pursuing a green card.

International PhDs do not have an easy ride to full-time employment. You will have to go that extra mile to prove you have what it takes to be the perfect job candidate. Give yourself the time to network and strategize your job search. On top of this, make sure to do your research about the types of visa options available to you. By knowing this information before graduation, you are taking the onus away from the employer to figure out what they need to do to hire you. Speak with a lawyer and start early. You are an incredibly talented PhD, so do not let bureaucracy stand in the way of your transition.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists.  Apply to book a Transition Call here.

Book a Transition Call

Hi, I'm Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I am CEO of Cheeky Scientist, the world's premier career training platform for PhDs. If you want free insights on resumes, LinkedIn, interviewing, careers and more, just enter your details below.

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Arunodoy is a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology and has training in intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and venture capitalism. He also has experience with global biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies, including clinical trial consulting. Arunodoy is passionate about the translation of academic research to the real world and commercialization of scientific innovation so that it can help solve problems and benefit people. He possesses in-depth understanding of both technological and commercial aspects associated with the life science industry.

Arunodoy Sur, PhD

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Can I do a PhD while working

Can I do a PhD while working?

Study tips Published 31 Mar, 2022  ·  4-minute read

Completing a Doctor of Philosophy requires some serious dedication. But committing all your time to research can leave a significant gap in your income. So, can you work and do a PhD at the same time? Let’s find out.

We spoke with two UQ PhD candidates, Chelsea Janke and Sarah Kendall, to get some insights into whether you can get a PhD while working – and how to balance your work with your research.

Can you get a PhD while working?

The simple answer is yes, but we wouldn't exactly recommend it. There’s nothing technically stopping you from continuing to work (at least, to some extent) while you pursue a PhD, but doing a higher degree by research is a big commitment. So, you need to think carefully before you attempt to juggle both.

The more complex answer is that it depends heavily on the type of work you’re doing and how quickly you want to complete your research.

Sarah Kendall quote

PhD candidates can continue working part time while completing their research. Of course, this depends on the nature of their research and other work.

Keep in mind : some PhD scholarships are only available to full-time candidates and may not allow you to earn more than a certain amount to remain eligible. If you’ve applied or plan to apply for a scholarship, make sure to check the relevant terms.

For  international students , some extra restrictions apply. You can work up to 40 hours per fortnight, but this must not interfere with your full-time study load or your academic performance. Further limitations may apply if you're on an RTP scholarship (maximum 270 working hours per year) or being sponsored by your government.

Doing a PhD while working: full time, part time or casual?

Chelsea is quick to warn us that both working and researching full time is a recipe for disaster.

“A full-time PhD could not be done whilst working full time,” she says.

Doing both part time is feasible, but only if you’re happy to wait a few extra years to see the fruits of your labour.

“I know people who have worked part time and done their PhD part time – usually in the same research group or field,” says Chelsea.

“But keep in mind it took them 7-8 years to finish their PhD; it’s not the most efficient strategy.”

Committing to a full-time PhD while doing some incidental work on the side seems like the most popular approach for candidates, in Chelsea’s experience.

“Most full-time PhD students will pick up some casual work tutoring, marking, helping the lab manager, or assisting other researchers with their work,” she says.

“This means they can do a few hours here and there without their own PhD work being too disrupted.”

Sarah’s circumstances allow her to maintain a part-time job while completing her PhD, though she acknowledges you have to be lucky to be in a position to do so.

“PhD candidates can continue working part time while completing their research; of course, this depends on the nature of their research and other work,” says Sarah.

“Both my research and work are very flexible, and I can complete them whenever suits me.”

Learn about Sarah’s research or read her series about becoming an academic in law .

How to balance work with your PhD

Chelsea Janke quote

If you plan to work whilst doing your PhD, you will need to manage your time well.

It’s one thing to ask can I do a PhD while working – actually managing to juggle the two is a whole other challenge. Sarah and Chelsea agree that time management is the most important part of making this work.

Sarah suggests keeping a strict schedule to divide your time evenly between your commitments, as this is what works for her.

“I find that I maintain a balance best by setting specific hours to work on my PhD (usually from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday) and then on my other work commitments (usually Saturdays and sometimes a couple of hours before dinner),” she says.

“The hours you set to work on your PhD and other commitments will depend on whether your other work has set hours though, as well as when you work best – you might get some of your best research and writing done at 5am!”

Top tips for working while doing your PhD

  • Only do so if you really want/need to and if you know you can manage the dual workloads.
  • Tell your boss. Make sure your employer knows about your plans to juggle a PhD with your workload. See if there’s anything they can do to make the journey easier for you. For example, just like Sarah, your employer may be able to provide you the flexibility to complete your work on a schedule that accommodates your research hours.
  • Consider a part-time PhD if cutting your hours or quitting your job isn’t a viable option. Yes, it might take longer. But if it means maintaining a comfortable balance between your research and your current career, it might be the best choice for you.
  • Chat with your PhD supervisor. They’ve been there and done that, making them a great source of wisdom when it comes to pursuing a PhD while also balancing your other life commitments. You may also have peers currently doing a PhD who can provide some advice.

Haven’t chosen your supervisor yet? Read these tips for finding a suitable academic. It’s also a good idea to be upfront with your supervisor about your intention to work/research part time, as some supervisors prefer to work with full-time PhD candidates.

  • Seek casual work at your university and in your field where possible. By keeping your work and research close together (both in terms of location and mindset), you may find it less challenging to keep on top of both.
  • Make sure you’re passionate about your PhD topic . If your research just feels like a second job on top of your usual work, you’ll likely burn out before long. When developing your research proposal , make sure your thesis is providing that spark of curiosity that’s going to keep you inspired to follow through with your research – even on nights when you’re drained from work.

Ready to get started? Whether you’re dedicating yourself to a full-time PhD or keeping a balance between research and work, The University of Queensland is ready to support you.

Learn more about completing your PhD at UQ

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5 Things to Consider Before Doing a PhD While Working

Nicholas R.

  • By Nicholas R.
  • August 19, 2020

Can you do a PhD part time while working answered

Those interested in getting a PhD but dreading the several years of no income or a stipend that doesn’t meet their needs may consider a part time or even a full time job. That way, they can gain experience in the field, save up a little money and have a non-academic route they could later make use of. After all, if you’ve already made it to the point where you’re eligible to study at PhD level, you’ve already proven that you have great time management skills and that you can dedicate yourself to your studies, right?…

It might sound like a workable plan to many, but getting a PhD while working might not be as easy as you may think. Take it from many PhD students and postgrads who warn that it a slippery slope from a part time PhD to no PhD at all.

If you decide to go down this route, keep the following considerations in mind to give you the best chance of succeeding.

1. Know Your Programme

Some part time PhD programmes, especially the ones offered by online universities and distance learning schools, are well suited for those who want to work and study at the same time. Some aren’t as rigorous or time-consuming as others, and in some fields, the experience of working in industry through your current career will be a great benefit. A part time PhD will also have a more manageable workload , and supervisors will usually be more experience in providing support to working students. But keep in mind that some PhD part time programmes will not be eligible for financial aid or funding , at which point part time study may no longer be personally worth it.

2. Know Your Job

If your work is related to your field of study and your employers understand and support the requirements of your PhD, you will have a much less stressful few years. Therefore, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to get your employer on your side.

You can go about this by sitting down with them and explaining what your research will be about, how it will benefit your professional development and how it will benefit them as a business. You will also want to reassure them that you’ll be able to remain committed to your job during your studies, as this is likely to be their biggest concern. Don’t just stop at their verbal support, ask your manager to sit down with you to discuss the possibility of funding support, study days and the assignment of a mentor if your workplace has a doctorate holder.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

3. Know Your Situation

If you have young children, a sick parent, or generally any commitments that require hours of your time, it’s probably best to stay a full time student. If your field requires many publications or relies heavily on being able to network and interact with other researchers, keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to live up to their expectations if you already have work commitments you need to keep up.

4. Know Your Supervisor

Your supervisor should be supportive of the fact that you’re attempting to carry out a PhD whilst working part time rather than seeing it as a hindrance. As is to be expected, part time students generally struggle more than full time ones due to having greater external commitments, less contact time and a longer programme duration (beyond five years). You will want to find a PhD supervisor who is aware of these challenges, and if at all possible, try to get one who has taken this path themselves.

A good supervisor won’t only limit their support to physical help , such as introducing you to other researchers, suggesting relevant literature and facilitating data access, but also to emotional and mental support. A supportive supervisor maintains a good attitude and demonstrates concern for your research project. They should be keen to see you excel, help you refine your research skills and make you feel confident enough to experiment with your research approach and share your work whenever the opportunity presents itself, whether it is at a conference or in your place of work. Although you will be responsible for navigating yourself through your doctorate, a good supervisor will act as your safety net for when you get a little lost.

5. Know Yourself

Even the most organised people aren’t prepared for the workload that comes with a PhD. Make a time chart and be truly honest with yourself about how much time you have in the day, it might not be as much as you would think once you’ve factored everything in. Doing a part time PhD requires about 15-20 hours of commitment per week – will you have 15 hours to spare alongside your job, family and friends and other obligations? If not, then working and studying at the same time will most likely be out of your reach.

These considerations will hopefully put you in a better position to tackle a PhD while working part time (or dare I say it, working full time!). Even still, tackling a several year long PhD programme whilst working is probably one of the hardest things you will do, so if you decide to go down this road, much kudos to you.

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CPT and OPT for Ph.D. Students on F1 visa in USA – What You Need to Know?

OPT For PhD Students | CPT, OPT Employment in USA

While it’s a dream for all of us to study in the USA, very fewer people get the opportunity. The United States has been home to many great universities being a dream to almost all to get in. With so many top universities, the challenge is actually to get an admission.

With so many applicants, few make it possible for themselves to study at the world’s top universities like Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and many more. But for international students, just getting an admission doesn’t end all the challenges. The struggle is to survive in the USA with so many rules and restrictions.

The USA is one of the most popular and preferred countries by the student to do their Ph.D. because it increases their knowledge of Global understanding as well as creating a good network for future goals. In total, the length of the course is usually four to six years (full-time), but it may even take eight to ten years who do not have a master’s degree. Still, students with a master’s degree can complete it within four to five months, where a student spends the first four years on course stage program and two to four years working on their thesis.

OPT allows direct employment to F1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply for OPT either during their studies or after completion of their graduation. A pre-completion OPT visa allows the student to work during their studies but only for 20 hours a week, and post-completion OPT enables a student to work for 40 hours a week in the area of their expertise. But as the Ph.D. is a six-year-long course, it becomes difficult for an international student to do research and gain experience with limited time allotted to work.

Employment – CPT and OPT for Ph.D. Students in USA

A Ph.D. student can enter the United States on either an F1 or J-1 Visa, but it generally depends on your funding source, and at times on the university’s preference or certification. If you are completely self-funded, you can be on an F-1 visa.

As surviving in the USA without a job can get difficult, Ph.D. students are always in confusion if they should use up there pre-completion OPT to work or save it to work after the completion of their Ph.D.

Ph.D. students have an exceptional situation in which OPT regulations understand that students may use their work employment for their Ph.D. research, or that students can often balance working with research. For this F1 Students with PhDs, who have completed their required coursework but have not defended their thesis and graduated can decide on to end their I-20 and then apply for an OPT visa or can start working as an intern with CPT (Curricular Practical Training).

The following options will help Ph.D. students decide what options you have to work while still pursuing your Ph.D.:

Work on OPT after Ph.D. Completion or Use CPT, while still pursuing a Ph.D.:

While you are still working on your research during your Ph.D., you are eligible for CPT, which will advise you to gain CPT practical employment training and have a paid or unpaid internship during your CPT before deciding to apply OPT for Ph.D. students.

Students can have an internship full-time as well as part-time to gain practical knowledge as well as earn US dollars while you still study. Part-time CPT is unlimited, while you can use full-time CPT for 12 months. After the completion of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible to apply for OPT during your Ph.D. This standard approach allows students to build concentration on their research work and finish it before deviating the focus on working full-time employment.

End I-20 during Ph.D. Research; while completing degree begin OPT:

In case you have used your CPT completely, or if your CPT isn’t appropriate for a job you want to have, then as a Ph.D. student, you can end your I-20 any time after their required course work is complete, and then you can start with OPT for Ph.D. students. This option should be used carefully if you are planning to apply for STEM extensions as you will need to complete your degree and have it awarded before the first year of OPT ends, to be eligible to apply for the OPT extension. Because of the degree is not completed after completion of OPT and you cannot choose to use your STEM extension, you will have to leave the US and complete your Ph.D. in your home country as the US doesn’t permit you to return as a regular student.


Difference Between OPT and CPT

Can I have multiple OPT Jobs or OPT Employers?

Either to work as an OPT visa holder, you will have to complete at least one year as a full-time student to be eligible for OPT. The average time to get an OPT from United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is probably 1 to 2 months. Make sure if you are planning to have for post-completion OPT, you will need to apply it before 90 days of completion of your degree.

If you have used up your OPT visa and still wish to work in the USA to gain more professional experience, you can apply for a visa change after completing your Ph.D. You can change the F1 visa from OPT to H1B visa . For that, you need to ask your employer to sponsor your visa, and then you can continue working in the USA. H1B will make you a professional employer instead of just training while you work as an OPT visa holder.

International students doing a Ph.D. in the USA do not have easy excess to full-time employment. They always need to prove their worth to get a good full-time job. So use your time well to plan and increase your network while you still study to get a good full-time job.

Also, make sure to use your visa options wisely while you apply for OPT and full-time jobs . Do your homework well in terms of which visa are more beneficial for you to get a full-time job.

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Working and studying for a PhD at the same time

Studying for a PhD is a big commitment, either full time for 3-4 years or part-time for generally 6-7 years. If you want, or need, to be working and studying for PhD this could have an impact on your study: here are some of the things you may find it helpful to think about before starting your PhD.

Is funding for a PhD in the UK enough to live on?

If you are fortunate enough to have full funding for your PhD, your studentship should cover both fees and living expenses and be tax-free. The stipend levels for students studying for a PhD in the UK is set by UK research councils for their own studentships, and this is followed by Universities for their own studentships. These will provide enough to live on and not to have to be working and studying for a PhD.

If you are looking for PhD Funding, you can search for your ideal studentship from the many opportunities we have listed on Postgraduate Studentships. We have a section for Charities and Trusts who are set up to support students looking to get additional financial help with their studies.

How much work is included in a Graduate Teaching Assistantship?

Some PhD studentships are called Graduate Teaching Assistantships – this means that you will be teaching for a certain number of hours in each academic year and this is part of the conditions of the studentship. It is advisable to find out exactly how this works with the University advertising the opportunity. Will you receive separate payments or is this part of the studentship? How many hours will it involve and how will that relate to your PhD? Will you receive training?

If you are considering an academic career, there may be some advantage in getting some initial experience. However you may also struggle with working and studying for a PhD at the same time.

Should I study my PhD full-time or part-time if I need to work?

If you need to work and study, it’s important to think about how you will manage that. Can you study full-time and work at the same time and if so how much work can you do? A full-time PhD is regarded as a full-time commitment. So anything other than a supplementary job for a few hours per week is challenging. Some students start with a full-time PhD and then move to studying the PhD part-time. So you would need to discuss this with your university first.

Planning to study a part-time PhD takes longer overall but it may also give you the time to do your PhD and to make the money you need. If you do decide to study part-time you may already have a job that will allow you to have flexible hours. Think also about part time work in a field that relates to your study. If you need to look for a job that will help you do your PhD, your University is likely to have temporary or part-time jobs that students can apply for on campus – most universities have a database of these jobs for students so you can find out in advance what the pay rates are and if that would be enough.

Universities also have a range of part-time jobs which may be administrative or involve working in labs. If you apply for one of these jobs, especially in your own department, it’s important to make sure you work out how you will manage this. This way, you’re prepared for when you are working on your PhD and when you are working on your job.

What if I am an International Student?

If you are an international student in the UK there will be restrictions on how many hours you can work. The UK Government has made some improvements to this. There are more opportunities now to study and work in the UK .

Talking to your University about your options

Your university wants you to succeed at your PhD. It has experienced students working whilst studying and works and what doesn’t. If you are planning to work whilst studying it’s a good idea to talk to your department. These questions may form part of your application process because your Supervisor will want to make sure you have the means to conduct your research as well as support yourself.

Many students study for a PhD and work for at least part of the time and complete their PhD successfully. If you look at the options beforehand, you can plan what works best for you. This way you can get the most from your PhD whilst working at the same time.

Looking for PhD Funding? There are a wide range of study funding opportunities for intending PhD students on PostgraduateStudentships

Receive Email Updates of the latest PhD and Masters opportunities and funding from PostgraduateStudentships and MastersCompare .

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you work and do a phd.

In short, yes, you can work while studying for your PhD.

The hard part to juggle is finding the time to do both. You may find that part-time study is more flexible for you but it takes longer to complete. An excellent way to combine work and study is to get a job within the university you are studying at.

Check out other sources of support for PhD Students .

Full Time PhD Vs Part Time PhD

There are several benefits to both full time and part time PhD study. It can be extremely difficult to juggle a full time postgraduate position alongside working. It’s not called full-time for nothing! This is intensive but you can complete a full time PhD faster than it’s part-time equivalent.

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Tier 4/Student visa and employment

Employment rules for Tier 4/Student visa holders.

What kind of work can Tier 4/Student visa holders do?

Tier 4/Student visa holders must not:

  • Be self-employed or engage in business activity (for example, they must not work for a company in which they hold shares of 10% or more)
  • Take employment as an entertainer or as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach
  • Work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • Take on a permanent job

How many hours per week?

Tier 4/Student visa holders can work up to:

  • 10 hours per week if studying a programme below degree level (e.g. a pre-sessional or foundation programme)
  • 20 hours per week if studying a programme at degree level

Students must not work more than the maximum amount of hours in any one week in term time. ‘Week’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as ‘a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday’.

Tier 4/Student visa holders can work full time during vacations and after their programme end date, up to their visa expiry date.

They can also work full time once their  Student/Tier 4 visa is valid prior to commencing their programme of studies provided they revert to 10/20 hours per week once Welcome Week starts.

PhD students

PhD students can take up to 8 weeks of annual leave per year, during which they can work full-time provided the holiday has been fully approved and recorded by the School.

They may also work full time during the period between their thesis submission and their viva exams as long as this has been recorded as a holiday period within their 8-week allowance, though not all employers  will allow this.

Interruptions of study

Student who have interrupted their studies should not be allowed to work in the UK, regardless of the length of their interruption.

Withdrawals and Exclusions

Students who have withdrawn from their programme or have been excluded from studies do not have permission to work in the UK.

Students completing their programme of studies earlier than expected

Students can work full-time during their wrap-up period (the time between the programme end date and the visa expiry date). UKVI will normally grant wrap-up periods as follows:

  • Programme of 12 months or more: 4 months
  • Master’s programmes of 13 months or less: 6 months

If a student completes their programme of study earlier than expected, the University will need to inform UKVI. This will result in the student’s visa being curtailed (shortened) to 4 or 6 months after their new end date. The student can continue to work during this time but must cease working at the end of the new wrap-up period, regardless of whether their visa has already been curtailed or not.

Exiting with a lower award

Students who exit their programme of studies with a lower award will normally need to leave the UK within 60 days of being notified by UKVI. Students in this position do not have a right to work in the UK.

A comprehensive guide to part-time PhDs

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Doing a PhD part-time can be an attractive option for many reasons. However, part-time PhDs are less common than full-time ones, and there tends to be a lack of information on this option. This guide to part-time PhDs answers the most common questions that prospective part-time PhD candidates have.

The difference between a part-time and a full-time PhD

How much work is a part-time phd, how long does it take to do a phd part-time, where is it possible to do a phd part-time, benefits of a part-time phd, disadvantages of a part-time phds, is it worth doing a part-time phd, skills necessary for completing a phd part-time, conditions for success in a part-time phd, online part-time phd programmes, ten questions to ask yourself before embarking on a part-time phd.

The main difference between a part-time and a full-time PhD is typically the amount of time that a student spends per week on PhD-related tasks. The typical length of a full-time work week is five 8-hour days, comprising 40 hours in total. In some countries, this includes breaks. Thus, 38-40 hours/week can generally be considered full-time employment.

A part-time PhD carries fewer hours per week than full-time employment.

Precise definitions of part-time work differ. While some consider part-time employment as anything less than 38 hours/week, the OECD for instance defines part-time workers as those who work less than 30 hours/week.

Some universities have minimum requirements for part-time PhDs, for example, a minimum of 20 hours/week. Others, however, are more flexible. They allow part-time PhD candidates to spend anything between a few hours to several days per week on their part-time PhD studies.

Coursework that is required in PhD programmes is generally adjusted to part-time candidates and stretched over a longer period. The same is true for certain deadlines and comprehensive exams if required.

The degree that is awarded upon successful completion of a part-time PhD is the same as those being awarded for completing full-time programmes.

Most degree certificates don’t even mention that a PhD was pursued on a part-time basis. There is no reason to worry that a part-time PhD degree may be perceived as worth less than a full-time one.

A part-time PhD requires pretty much the same amount of work as a full-time PhD. Part-time PhD programmes are spread out over a longer period, but the requirements in terms of credits and output ( a monograph or cumulative dissertation ) are usually the same.

Part-time PhD candidates are often highly aware of their time limitations. In turn, they may be better at utilizing their limited time during the week. For instance by minimizing procrastination, prioritizing tasks and making strategic decisions. However, this is difficult to generalise.

Part-time PhD students may be more inclined to work during evenings and weekends.

Other responsibilities during the ‘normal’ working hours result in less attention to PhD-related work. And sometimes, PhD work requires several hours of uninterrupted deep work.

In some cases, the lack of opportunities to focus on the PhD for a longer period can increase frustrations and stress levels. This is particularly true when part-time PhD students start together with a cohort of full-time PhD students and compare their progress with that of their full-time peers.

Ultimately, how much work a part-time PhD requires depends very much on a student’s research project, personality, efficiency, subjective perception of workload and stress, supervision, luck with experiments, and so on. This does not differ from a full-time PhD.

In most cases, a part-time PhD takes longer than a full-time PhD. A general rule of thumb is that the fewer hours someone spends on a PhD per week, the longer it takes to complete it.

The number of years that full-time PhD students take to complete a PhD varies. Some finish in three years. Others require four, five or more years. Thus, there is a huge variation in the time it takes to finish a PhD. The same is true for part-time PhDs.

There are also differences between universities. Some universities have a strict programme that takes, for instance, three years for full-time PhD students and six years for part-time PhD students.

Other universities adapt to the specific circumstances of individual PhD candidates. They may allow someone to finish a part-time PhD in three years as long as all requirements are met. But they may also be okay with a part-time candidate who spends a decade on his or her PhD studies.

Can you complete a part-time PhD programme? Yes, absolutely.

But due to the vast differences between universities as well as PhD programmes, it is essential to inform yourself properly before applying for a part-time PhD.

The regulations in terms of length of a part-time PhD have a major effect on a PhD trajectory, time planning, tuition fees if applicable, etcetera.

There are plenty of opportunities to do a PhD part-time, but the specific opportunities and arrangements depend very much on individual universities.

Some universities advertise specific part-time PhD programmes on their web pages. Or, with a little bit of digging, provide information online for those who are interested in part-time PhDs.

For other universities, it is difficult to find any information on part-time PhD programmes online. This does not always mean that there are no opportunities. Sometimes, it requires sending emails to the admissions office, or contacting a potential PhD supervisor directly to ask for part-time possibilities.

There are also differences in national contexts. In some countries, for instance, in Germany, part-time PhD studies are often the norm. In Germany, many paid positions exist that encompass 60% of a full-time equivalent: time during which a PhD student is required to work in a lab or assist a professor. In the remaining 40% of the time, which is unpaid, a PhD student is expected to work on a dissertation.

In some other countries, PhD students tend to be employed in the public sector, receive a salary and make pension contributions. In those cases, they tend to fall under the same regulations as the non-academic workforce. This can mean, for instance, that they have the right to change their contract to part-time, for instance in the case of care responsibilities.

There are many benefits to doing a PhD part-time. Some of the most common advantages are

  • More secure finances: Many full-time PhD students experience financial insecurities because PhD scholarships are often not enough to cover living expenses, or do not cover the whole PhD trajectory. Part-time PhD students often work next to their PhD studies which provide additional income and a layer of financial security.
  • Improved employability: This includes industry employability and employability in academia. Industry employability is enhanced if someone already gains substantial work experience outside academia, through working in a certain profession while doing a part-time PhD. Employability in academia is enhanced if someone already gains academic work experience (for example as a research assistant) and teaching experience (for example as a junior lecturer or teaching assistant) while doing a part-time PhD.
  • Flexibility: Doing a PhD part-time tends to provide increased flexibility. For instance, students who have care responsibilities are more likely to be able to combine their PhD studies with their other responsibilities on a part-time basis.
  • Efficiency: The advantage of many part-time PhDs is that they are very aware of their time limitations and force themselves to be strategic in their choices. Part-time PhD students also often benefit from existing work experience and tend to be a bit older than full-time students. Combined, they sometimes are more confident and struggle less with imposter syndrome. Since procrastination is essentially linked to a fear of failure, part-time PhD students on average may be more confident, suffer less from procrastination and are therefore able to work more efficiently.

There are also disadvantages and challenges in part-time PhDs. Some of the most common disadvantages of doing a PhD part-time are:

  • Difficulty to maintain a work-life balance: ‘Getting it all done’ is always challenging. Adding a part-time PhD to existing tasks, activities and responsibilities can negatively affect a person’s work-life balance. Part-time PhDs frequently require multi-tasking, which can interrupt the flow of work and lead to mistakes. Furthermore, evenings, weekends and holidays may be the only times when uninterrupted PhD work for several hours or days is possible. When part-time PhD students are not very good with boundary setting, they can easily feel overwhelmed and as if they can never take a break.
  • Tuition fees: While not all PhD students (regardless of whether full-time or part-time) have to pay tuition fees, many do. Tuition fees tend to be adjusted in part-time programmes. Nonetheless, paying tuition fees for several years can be a financial burden. In addition, part-time PhD students are not always eligible for all scholarships and funding opportunities.
  • Less supervision: Part-time PhD students often work even more independently than their full-time counterparts. Of course, the amount of supervision differs for full-time PhD students as well. However, a simple reason for less supervision is simply that part-time PhD students are not always physically present in a lab or department. They have less spontaneous interactions with their supervisors and other professors. It reduces the opportunities to ask a quick question or get feedback on a small issue. Part-time PhD students may be more reliant on more formal, scheduled meetings every few weeks or months.
  • Feelings of isolation: Part-time PhD students may feel disconnected and isolated due to a lot of independent work, less physical presence and opportunities to connect with colleagues and peers. Furthermore, part-time PhDs tend to be in the minority, as full-time PhDs are still more common. This means that part-time PhDs may feel misunderstood and have no one to share their unique experiences and challenges with.

Following your curiosities and researching a topic in-depth can be a wonderful thing.

Yet, the question of whether a PhD part-time is worth doing or not is difficult to answer. It depends on the unique situation and ambition of each person in question.

Some people embark on a PhD part-time to progress in their career. Some people hope for a financial reward after completing a PhD part-time. Some people intend to change careers and use a part-time PhD to start the process while still earning money in a different job. Some people look for a challenge and embark on a part-time PhD for self-fulfilment. Some people have no other option but to do a PhD part-time.

Every person has to decide for him- or herself whether it is worth it, sensible and feasible. The decision requires a lot of self-reflection, and financial and life planning.

The decision to do a part-time PhD should not be treated lightly.

Completing a PhD part-time requires several skills. These skills can be learnt. However, a complete lack of these skills at the start of a part-time PhD will make the trajectory much more challenging.

First of all, part-time PhDs benefit from a high degree of self-discipline.

Those who struggle to motivate themselves and to get the smallest task done without any external pressure, might not be the best candidates for part-time PhDs. Part-time PhD work requires a lot of self-discipline as well as self-motivation.

Next, the ability to multi-task and keep a cool head in stressful situations is a big advantage for those who embark on a part-time PhD.

Stressing out easily and feeling easily overwhelmed with many tasks and deadlines, on the other hand, is counterproductive in a part-time PhD.

Furthermore, flexibility and the ability to adapt to different circumstances is pivotal.

Part-time PhD students tend to wear many different hats. They need to be able to switch between different roles and juggle lots of different tasks and responsibilities.

Additionally, not everything will work according to plan. Part-time PhD students have to accept that things do not always work out as expected and have to quickly adapt to new situations.

Lastly, the ability to work independently can make or break a part-time PhD trajectory. Working on a PhD part-time often means working from home, alone, without social interaction and constant feedback opportunities. Not everyone is cut out for this type of work.

A fundamental condition for success in a part-time PhD is the selection of a fitting research topic.

As in any PhD, regardless of whether full- or part-time, a PhD student spends many waking hours on the topic. If the topic is not interesting to the PhD student, and he or she is not passionate about it, motivation to work on it will inevitably decrease over time.

At the same time, the most passionate and skilled PhD student may still struggle if the institutional environment and supervision are suboptimal.

A supportive institutional environment that assists, accommodates, and invests in part-time PhD students can make a world of difference.

Probably even more important than the institutional environment is a good relationship between the part-time PhD student and PhD supervisors.

The quality and quantity of supervision matters, but also the social compatibility between students and supervisor/s. Therefore, applying to a programme without having ever met the prospective supervisor in person is a risky business.

If a prospective PhD student intends to continue working part-time in a different job, all parties should be informed and agree with the arrangements. If there is a connection between the PhD topic and the job, some employers even enter a formal arrangement that allows the student to do PhD work during some ‘normal’ working hours.

Pulling off a part-time PhD without all parties approving, or even knowing about it, can create a lot of problems along the way.

Lastly, a certain degree of financial security is required. Of course, this depends on the unique financial arrangements made by a part-time PhD. However, if other work, scholarships or grants are not enough to cover living expenses during a part-time PhD, it is not advisable to embark on this journey.

While online, part-time PhD programmes were available before the Covid19 pandemic, they have become much more common in the last two years. There are some strong opinions when it comes to online, part-time PhD programmes.

Proponents of these online programmes highlight how they can help to create a more level playing field . It allows PhD candidates, for instance, to live in a low-cost living area, while following a PhD at a prestigious university in a high-cost of living area.

Opponents lament the decreasing quality of PhD supervision in online PhD programmes. Some argue that doing a PhD increasingly becomes increasingly financialised, with universities collecting tuition fees but not providing adequate support.

However, with everything, this is very difficult to generalise . It requires prospective PhD students who are interested in these programmes to inform themselves thoroughly and to decide on a personal basis whether an online programme is a good fit or not. Speaking with others who already do, or finished, online part-time PhD programmes might be particularly useful.

If you consider embarking on a part-time PhD, your decision can be supported by asking (yourself) the following questions:

  • What is my motivation to do a part-time PhD?
  • Am I passionate enough about my (potential) research topic to spend several years working on it?
  • What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of doing a part-time PhD, and how can I mitigate the disadvantages?
  • Do I have enough self-discipline and endurance to do a part-time PhD with limited supervision?
  • Do I have the flexibility to incorporate potential coursework into my day-to-day agenda?
  • How many hours/week do I want to spend on my PhD, and how many hours can I (afford to) spend on it?
  • What are the part-time PhD regulations of the university/universities where I consider applying?
  • Is the (potential) PhD supervisor a good fit, and does the institutional environment seem supportive of part-time PhD students?
  • How can I finance the part-time PhD?
  • What do I want to do after completing the PhD?

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Combining work and study

Understand the regulations about working alongside completing your studies

It’s important to ensure that you achieve a balance between your academic work and other activities. As a student, the maximum number of hours which can be worked during term-time is 20 hours per week.

Term time dates and allowances differ between level of study so ensure you check these before carrying out any work. The table below outlines the University’s policy regarding work and study for full-time students. Please note, term dates do not apply to all students - please see the table below. 

University term dates.

Tier 4/student visa Guidelines

At the University students with a Tier 4/student visa generally have a right to work while studying. Work permissions and restrictions are stated on your student visa/Biometric Residence Permit.  There are limits on the type of work and length of employment permitted. These restrictions depend on the type of programme the visa is issued for. The table above states the legal restrictions on your right to work in the UK. The restriction on the number of hours you can work includes any voluntary work you are undertaking. For more information on the type of work prohibited, please check the Home Office Student route caseworker guidance . Working Restrictions for International Students (on Student Visas)

Working rights and limits during studies - Tier 4/student

UK or 'Home' Students

During the summer term undergraduate students who have completed all of their exams and have no other university work to do, may be able to work up to full time for the remainder of the term at the discretion of their Academic Tutor. If working through  Campus Jobs  an email will be required confirming this from the relevant tutor.

PhD students

UK or 'Home' students who have submitted their thesis and are waiting for their viva may work more than 20 hours per week, with permission from their PhD Supervisor. If working through  Campus Jobs  an email from the relevant PhD Supervisor will be required to confirm this.

Due to Home Office regulations, this policy does not apply to PhD students holding a student visa.

Part-time students (UK & Home students only)

Part-time students are entitled to work more than 20 hours per week during term-time, if they wish.

Working Time Regulations

If you are entitled to work full-time during vacation periods, you must not work more than 48 hours in one week.  Further information about working time regulations .

How Students Balance Full-Time Work and School

Returning to school has its challenges. Here we explore how students balance it all.

Earning a degree is one way to get on a path toward a more gratifying career. But it presents a dilemma for those who need to maintain full-time employment. A job is necessary to pay for school (and life), but school may demand some of the time you typically dedicate to work.

In this Article:

The Challenge

  • Pros and Cons of Working While Attending School

Advice from Alumni

Balancing work and school is a common problem. In a New York Times Opinion column, grad student and writer Rainesford Stauffer detailed the challenges she’s encountered throughout her college career as someone who has always had to work for a living.

“Collegiate life became an impossible riddle. Which should I quit, the thing that would advance my personhood and career prospects or the thing that enabled me to pay for it?” wrote Stauffer.

The writer funded her undergraduate degree with a combination of student loans and work. But she was surprised when her graduate school professors weren’t more understanding of her need to maintain a job, which sometimes meant missing seminars, workshops, and office hours.

“By working, am I missing opportunities to enhance my education? Undoubtedly. But the truth that gets stuck in my throat every time someone encourages me to leave my job is that my work actually enables my learning. If I hope to complete my education, I can’t ignore paying for it,” wrote Stauffer.

Loans can ease the burden of paying for college, But many are hesitant to live on borrowed money, particularly if they have dependents. Scholarships, even full rides, still leave most students with housing and other costs to bear.

A report by Georgetown University titled Learning While Earning: The New Normal illustrates the problem of college accessibility for people who can’t pay for college outright.

Study Shows Pros and Cons of Working While Attending School

Statistics show that access to higher education is further complicated for those with families or obligations outside of work and school, which often tighten financial and time constraints.

The Georgetown research indicated that a significant proportion of working students with dependents are living below the poverty line. That includes 66 percent of employed learners aged 16 to 29, and 39 percent of those aged 30 to 54.

And though those who remain employed while attending school tend to take out less in student loans, they certainly don’t graduate debt-free. Among students with more than $50,000 in student debt, 22 percent did not work during college, compared to 14 percent of working learners. Still, more than 40 percent from both cohorts have student loan debt.

These statistics underscore the need for many people to maintain full-time employment while they attend school, either to help pay tuition or simply to keep themselves afloat.

The upshot is that after graduating, working learners in most fields are more likely to move into a managerial or professional position than those who only worked or attended school without a job, according to the Georgetown report.

Plus, research from the Pew Research Center shows that the earning potential of people age 24 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree has risen 13 percent since 1984, while the average income of those with master’s degrees has increased by 23 percent.

The numbers show a degree is worth it, but that doesn’t negate the personal struggles and financial hardships that students often have to endure just to afford the cost of living while going to school.

Harvard Extension School’s graduate and undergraduate programs are designed for part-time, non-residential learners, so we see our fair share of people with families and careers in full swing who want to pursue their next chapter without disrupting their lives.

We asked some of them how they do it, and here’s what they had to say.

I took one course at a time. We tend to want immediate results from our invested efforts. The more courses you take, the earlier you will graduate. I had to learn that for someone in my position, with a full-time job and two children, I had to take one course at a time.
I was able to balance my studies with work/family/exercise by multi-tasking. … Anywhere there was overlap with work and school, I would try and use that to my benefit.
My determination in earning a degree from Harvard Extension School drove me to meet all my obligations for my education and career. It took a number of sleepless nights and long hours of hard work. … I also give a lot of credit to my amazing circle of family and friends who have supported me.
I scheduled my class and study time into my calendar each week and then stuck with the plan. I treated time with my family as sacrosanct, and that motivated me to do my school work during the scheduled school work times and to stay focused.
Look at all of the courses offered at HES and design a personalized curriculum to get the most of what you want out of the experience.For example, I was granted some exemptions to study entrepreneurship and organizational behavior.
Organization and having realistic expectations is key (for you and all around you). The support of my loved ones was incredible, and the empathy of the people I work with was always so motivational. … Random acts of kindness go a long way in this process, and a vacation does too!
Sticking to a schedule allowed me to balance my work and school life. I found that if I scheduled time to study and made a commitment to get that work done, then I finished all my work on time.

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Scholarships for international students | Study abroad fully funded

Welcome to this comprehensive guide to help international students find scholarships to fund their university education, regardless of level of study. this guide covers the cost of scholarships, where to find scholarships, how to apply for a scholarship, tips for application forms and how to prepare for a scholarship application.

young woman celebrating receiving a scholarship award next to her computer with her two friends smiling in the background

When looking to study abroad, students can often be deterred by the high cost of university. However, scholarships can help to alleviate the cost by providing funding to students to help with the expense of tuition fees, accommodation, travel and academic materials.

This guide outlines everything international students need to know about applying for and getting scholarships.

This guide will address:

What is a scholarship?

How to find a scholarship

Types of scholarships for international students

Tips for getting university scholarships

Scholarships for the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Scholarships for Europe

Global international scholarships for university students

Scholarships based on your country of residence

Scholarships for refugee students

Scholarships for students with disabilities

Scholarships for postgraduate students

Scholarships for STEM students

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about scholarships

A scholarship is a financial award granted to students to help with the cost of studying at university. Scholarships can vary in amount and can usually be used to pay for tuition fees, living costs, travel costs and academic materials among other things.

Scholarships can be awarded based on various criteria such as academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, research areas, leadership potential or financial need.

Scholarships are open to all students including domestic, European Union and international students and can be used for all levels of university study including undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees, research programmes, doctoral programmes and PhD programmes.

Where can you find scholarships for international students?

1. University scholarships: These are given by the university based on good grades, extracurricular activities or financial need. Universities will set their own criteria for applying to scholarships, and each university has its own list of scholarships it provides.

2. Academic or merit-based scholarships: These are for students who achieve high grades in school, either in a particular subject or in final exams and have a good academic record or GPA .

3. Performance-based scholarships: These are for students who are exceptional in areas such as sports, arts or music and are looking to pursue that at university.

4. External scholarships: These come from organisations outside universities, such as businesses, charities or higher education associations. Applications to them are usually separate from any university application forms.

5. Government scholarships: Most governments will have their own range of scholarships that will fund tuition fees and travel expenses (such as airfare) for international students wishing to apply to study in their country. Many will also be targeted at students from specific countries or regions.

6. Country/region-based scholarships: These can come from a range of sources including universities themselves, government departments, businesses or charities and will be aimed at students from a particular country or region.

What types of scholarships available for international students?

1. Partially funded scholarships: Unlike a full scholarship, these will cover only some of a student’s expenses. Therefore, students may need to find other ways to pay for the rest of their university expenses such as personal savings, help from families, part-time jobs or other scholarships. Some may offer funding for only one or two years of study.

2. Fully funded scholarships: These cover all expenses, including full tuition fees, accommodation and living costs throughout the university degree course.

3. Research grants: Research grants are financial awards given to university students so they can do in-depth studies and learn more about specific topics in their courses. These are offered globally and can be provided by institutions, government bodies or private organisations.

4. Work-study programmes: Some universities offer programmes in which students can work and gain experience while earning money for their studies.

5. Undergraduate scholarships: These are awarded to students pursuing an undergraduate degree.

6. Postgraduate scholarships: These are awarded for students pursuing postgraduate degrees, doctoral programmes and PhD programmes.

How to get a university scholarship

Obtaining a scholarship as an international student can be competitive. Here are some tips to help your application stand out.

1. Begin by researching all the different types of scholarships available, including those from governments, universities, companies and charities for the study abroad country of your choice. Contact universities to find out what they have available, and ask teachers or counsellors at your school if they know of any.

2. Ensure that you meet the criteria for each scholarship, including academic grades, country/region of residence, and thresholds for funding requirements.

3. Try your best to maintain your academic grades, as you will often have to list these as part of your application.

4. Partake in extracurricular activities or activities that are related to your degree, which can help to boost your application.

5. Connect with current university students , alumni , school counsellors or university admissions officers for insights and guidance on applying for a scholarship.

6. Ensure that you have all the correct supporting documents, such as university acceptance letters, proof of financial need, English language test results and academic transcripts.

7. Write a compelling personal statement outlining your achievements, extracurricular activities, academic goals and how the scholarship will help you to develop these skills while at university.

8. Secure recommendation letters from teachers or professionals aligning with the scholarship requirements.

9. Proofread your application as many times as you can and, if possible, find someone else to review it.

10. Submit applications well before the deadline to avoid last-minute issues.

11. You can apply to multiple scholarships at a time, so keep a list of all deadlines and requirements for each application so you can stay on top of them. Remember, each scholarship is unique, so adapt these tips to fit the specific requirements of the opportunities you pursue.

What scholarships are available in the UK?

Scholarships available in the UK for international students : Use this guide as a starting point to search for scholarships in the UK, including government-backed schemes and university scholarships.

New scholarships for Indians to study in the UK: UCL and Imperial College London have two scholarship programmes for Indian students aspiring to undertake their studies in the UK.

UK government AI scholarship and visa package: The UK government created a scholarship programme and visa pathway to help international undergraduates, doctoral candidates and early career researchers to pursue studies in AI and data science in the UK.

The Rhodes Scholarship: The Rhodes Scholarship provides support for students from any part of the world to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford .

Chevening scholarships: Chevening is a UK-government scholarship scheme that offers fully funded scholarships for master’s courses at UK universities for students from 160 countries.

University of Birmingham Commonwealth Scholarship : The University of Birmingham Commonwealth Scholarship provides a £3,000 award for eligible students from Commonwealth countries enrolled in a master’s programme at the university, with the scholarship amount deducted from their tuition fees.

GREAT Scholarships:   The  British Council’s GREAT Scholarships  offer students from 15 countries around the world funding and scholarships to study in the UK.

What scholarships are available in the US?

S cholarships available in the US for international students: Use this guide to find a scholarship if you are thinking about studying abroad in the US.

MPOWER Financing: MPOWER Financing’s Global Citizens Fund provides scholarships of up to $10,000 for refugee, DACA and international students studying in the US.

Fulbright Foreign Student Program: The US government’s Fulbright Foreign Student Program has been supporting people to study in the US for more than 80 years. It is one of the most widely recognised and prestigious scholarship programmes in the world.

Scholarship opportunities available at historically black colleges and universities: Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the US offer a wide range of scholarship opportunities for international students, among them the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNCF Scholarships, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the National Racial Equity Initiative Scholarship.

What scholarships are available in Australia and New Zealand?

Scholarships for international students in Australia and New Zealand: For international students considering studies in Australia or New Zealand, this guide outlines some of the scholarships offered by governments and universities.

The Pinnacle Foundation: The Pinnacle Foundation in Australia offers scholarships and mentorship to LGBTQIA+ students seeking full-time higher education degrees at public institutions.

Monash International Leadership Scholarship: The Monash International Leadership Scholarship covers tuition fees for successful applicants to the university.

Australia Awards Scholarships: The Australia Awards Scholarships offer fully funded opportunities for students from Africa and the Indo-Pacific region to study at Australian universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

What scholarships are available in Canada?

Scholarships in Canada for international students: This guide will provide you with all the options for scholarships in Canada from universities and the government.

MPOWER Financing: MPOWER Financing’s Global Citizens Fund offers scholarships of up to C$10,000 to support refugee, DACA and international students pursuing their studies in Canada.

Vanier Canada Graduate scholarships: The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship offers financial assistance to doctoral students applying to study in Canada.

What scholarships are available in Europe?

Scholarships available in France for international students: If you are hoping to study in France, this guide outlines the types of scholarships that may be available to you.

Imagine Fellows : HEC Imagine Fellows is open to master’s students from war-torn countries who hope to study at HEC Paris .

Scholarships available in Germany for international students: This guide provides information on all the options for scholarships in Germany, including DAAD scholarships and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Scholarship.

Scholarships to study in the Netherlands for international students: If you are planning to study in the Netherlands, this guide to scholarships will help you find the right one for you.

Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Programme : The Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Programme offers funding and mentorship opportunities for students across Africa to study abroad.

World Bank Scholarship Programme : The World Bank Scholarship Programme is open to students who wish to study development-related topics for their master’s degrees.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme : The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships for students from select countries to pursue a postgraduate education.

Google Generation Scholarships : Google has developed a range of scholarships for those studying computer science, gaming and technology.

IELTS Prize : The IELTS Prize is an annual award that supports IELTS test-takers with £3,000 towards their university tuition fees.

Search for scholarships by your country of residence

When preparing to study abroad, international students may find it challenging to navigate the multitude of scholarships available. Below you will find a list of scholarships organised by country of residence.

Scholarships for Chinese students looking to study abroad

Scholarships for Indian students to study abroad

Scholarships for African students to study abroad

Scholarships for students from Japan to study abroad

Scholarships for South Korean students looking to study abroad

Scholarships for Indonesian students looking to study abroad

Scholarships for students from Hong Kong to study abroad

Scholarships for Malaysian students to study abroad

What scholarships are available for refugee students?

University scholarships available for refugee students: Many universities worldwide provide scholarships, grants and financial aid to students who are refugees. Explore this guide to learn about the available financial support for students with refugee status from different parts of the world.

What scholarships are available for students with disabilities?

Scholarships for students with disabilities: Financial support for international students with a disability is available from a variety of organisations, charities and universities. This guide covers scholarships for students with a range of additional needs, including learning difficulties, invisible illnesses and mobility issues.

What scholarships are available for postgraduate students?

For students looking to continue their studies at postgraduate level, scholarships will be a great resource to help them continue their studies. They can either help with the tuition fee costs or can be used to contribute towards research projects or academic advancements in your chosen subject.

Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships : Available for international students from Commonwealth countries who wish to pursue a master’s programme in the UK.

GREAT Scholarships : Offered for postgraduate studies in the sciences, technology, creative industries, healthcare and medical sciences. Available for students from specific countries, including China, India, Pakistan and Japan.

University of Cambridge Scholarships : Awarded to students looking to undertake a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge . It covers the full cost of studying and provides additional discretionary funding.

The American Association of University Women Fellowship : Offers fellowships for non-American women pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in the US. Fellowships range from $18,000 to $30,000, depending on the degree.

Rotary Foundation Global Grant : Provides up to $12,500 to international students studying at a graduate level in the US.

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program : Provides scholarships for outstanding students from selected developing countries to pursue postgraduate study. The scholarships are 50 per cent grant and 50 per cent loan.

Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships : These are postgraduate-level scholarships for domestic and international students looking to pursue research degrees at participating Australian universities.

Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Program : Provides an opportunity for students from ADB’s developing member countries to undertake postgraduate studies at participating academic institutions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Victoria University of Wellington Master’s Scholarships : Scholarships for full-time research-focused master’s degrees at Victoria University in New Zealand.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships : Offered to international students pursuing postgraduate study in natural and social sciences or health sciences in Canada.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships : For international students applying to a doctoral programme in the social sciences and humanities in Canada, with an annual value of up to C$60,000 per scholar for a maximum of three years.

University of Saskatchewan Master’s of Excellence Awards : Open to international master’s students starting a research-based graduate programme, providing C$2,500 per term for a maximum of five months.

What scholarships are available for STEM students?

STEM scholarships provide financial support to students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields . Additionally, they may include opportunities for mentorship and research experiences to enhance recipients’ academic and professional development.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Industrial Design Studentships : One-year studentships for graduates in engineering or science looking to enhance their industrial design skills in the UK.

Institute of Engineering and Technology : The Institute of Engineering and Technology based in the UK awards for scholarships starting from £1,000. They are open to students worldwide.

Institute of Civil Engineering QUEST : The institute offers scholarships and awards ranging from £1,000 to £2,500 for postgraduate students studying civil engineering .

The Aero MSc Bursary Scheme : This scheme covers tuition fees for MSc students in aerospace engineering in the UK.

Marshall Scholarships : The Marshall Scholarships offers scholarships for students from the US hoping to study a STEM subject in the UK.

Frequently asked questions about scholarships.

When attending open days or speaking to university admissions officers, consider asking about the available scholarships, eligibility criteria, application processes, scholarship details, duration and renewal, competition, alternative financial aids, student support services, networking opportunities, and cultural and visa aid. Be sure to adapt these questions to the specific university or institution you’re interested in for valuable insights into the available scholarships.

1. How do scholarships work?

Scholarships are financial awards given to students based on a range of criteria including academic merit, research proposals, nationality and financial need. These funds aim to support students to pursue their education by covering a portion or the entirety of tuition fees, living expenses or other educational costs.

2. How to apply for scholarships?

To apply for scholarships, students need first to find the right scholarship for their studies. They then need to complete the application forms and submit the required documents, which may include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation and personal statements. Each scholarship has its own application process, and it’s important to carefully follow instructions and meet deadlines.

3. Where can I find scholarships?

We can help you get a scholarship as an international student through many of our guides and “scholarship of the month” spotlights. Online scholarship databases, university websites and government scholarship portals are also valuable resources for discovering available opportunities.

4. What do scholarships cover?

Scholarships can cover a range of university-related expenses, including tuition fees, accommodation, books, airfare or travel expenses, and living costs. The specific coverage will depend on the scholarship provider.

5. Do scholarships cover all expenses?

While some scholarships may cover all expenses, others may only partially cover certain aspects of your time at university. It’s crucial for students to carefully review the terms and conditions of each scholarship to understand the extent of financial support offered.

6. What are the eligibility requirements for scholarships?

Eligibility requirements for scholarships are different for each award and can include academic achievements, leadership qualities, nationality, financial need, extracurricular activities and more. Read the criteria outlined by each scholarship provider to determine what you need to provide to demonstrate your eligibility.

7. How can I find eligibility criteria for scholarships?

Eligibility criteria for scholarships are usually detailed in the scholarship guidelines or terms and conditions provided by the awarding institution or organisation. Students can find this information on the official websites of universities, government agencies or scholarship databases.

For our “scholarship of the month” features, we provide details on the highlighted award and what a candidate will need to demonstrate eligibility. You can also subscribe to our student newsletter to find out about new opportunities as they arise.

8. What is the easiest scholarship to get for international students?

Figuring out the “easiest” scholarship can be subjective as eligibility criteria and competition vary. However, some scholarships may have more accessible requirements. It’s advisable for students to explore opportunities offered by universities, governments and organisations with criteria aligning closely with their academic and personal achievements.

9. Are there government scholarships for international students?

Each government will have their own scholarship schemes for international students. Below are just a few of them.

In the UK, the Chevening Scholarships and Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan support individuals to study in the UK.

In the US, the Fulbright Program and Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program offer opportunities for international students to study, conduct research or teach.

Canada offers the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and ICCS Scholarships for doctoral students and those interested in Canadian studies.

Meanwhile, Australia Awards and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships in Australia facilitate study, research and professional development for international scholars.

10. Do scholarships consider where you were born or your nationality?

Yes – some scholarships will be specifically offered for students from a certain country or region. Examples include scholarships for Chinese , Indian , African , Japanese , South Korean , Indonesian and Malaysian students, as well as students from Hong Kong . But there are many other scholarships that provide funding for students living in countries outside of these listed above.

11. How can international students get ready for scholarship applications?

Preparation for scholarship applications can begin long before completing the application itself. Research where you want to study and then look at government and university scholarships in your chosen destination. Make sure that you keep your grades up and take part in extracurricular activities as these can all help to boost your application. Ensure that you then collect all your supporting documents in plenty of time and that you’ve taken all relevant tests and exams.

12. What are needs-based scholarships?

Needs-based scholarships are there to help students who may not have the financial means to fund their education. These will be based on things such as such as family income, assets and how many people are in the household.

To apply, students usually need to show documents such as income tax returns, parental wages and proof of assets to demonstrate their financial situation.

13. What documents are needed for scholarship applications?

Although every scholarship application is different and can require specific documentation, most ask for an accurately completed application form, academic transcripts or records demonstrating scholastic performance, letters of recommendation from teachers or employers, a compelling personal statement or essay, and a comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé detailing your educational background and extracurricular activities.

There may also be other documents required, so be sure to read the application requirements carefully.

14. Is there support for international students during the application process?

Yes, international students can often access support during the scholarship application process through their university international office. These offices provide guidance on application requirements, procedures, and may offer assistance in navigating the application process. It is best to contact them directly as you start your application for specialised help.

Students can also speak to their teachers or high school counsellors for help with their applications.

15. Are there any extra benefits when you are awarded a scholarship?

In addition to financial support for tuition, accommodation and living expenses, many scholarships offer added benefits. These may include mentorship programmes, networking opportunities or exclusive events to enhance your overall academic and personal development.

16. How long do scholarships last, and can I renew a scholarship? What are the conditions for renewal?

The duration of scholarships varies, and applicants should carefully review the terms and conditions of each award. Some scholarships cover the entire duration of your academic programme, while others may be renewable each year. The conditions for renewal often depend on maintaining a certain level of academic performance or meeting specific criteria outlined by the scholarship provider.

17. How competitive are scholarships?

Some scholarships can be very competitive depending on the popularity of the programme and the number of applicants. Usually, prestigious scholarships have a higher level of competition, while others with specific eligibility criteria may be more accessible. It’s best for students to research each scholarship and tailor their applications to align with the specific criteria to give themselves the best chance of submitting a successful application.

18. What services are available for international students on scholarships?

International students on scholarship programmes can access various support services provided by universities. These may include academic advising, career counselling and assistance with visa and immigration matters. Additionally, universities often offer orientation programmes and workshops to help scholarship recipients navigate the academic and cultural aspects of their studies.

19. Is there a specific office or adviser for international scholarship-related questions?

Yes, many universities have dedicated offices or advisers to assist international students with scholarship-related questions. These offices can provide information about available scholarships, application processes and offer guidance on eligibility criteria.

20. Can I connect with alumni who have received similar scholarships?

Yes, connecting with alumni who have received similar scholarships can provide valuable insights and advice. Universities often have alumni networks or associations that can help you make these connections. Alumni can share their experiences, offer tips on the application process, and provide guidance on making the most of the scholarship opportunity.

21. How to write a great scholarship application essay?

Writing a scholarship essay involves clearly expressing your goals, achievements and the reasons you deserve the scholarship. Begin by carefully reading the essay prompt and ensuring that your response addresses all aspects. Craft a compelling narrative, focus on your unique qualities and experiences, and illustrate how the scholarship aligns with your academic and career aspirations.

22. How to prepare for scholarship interviews?

Preparing for scholarship interviews involves researching the scholarship provider, understanding the goals of the scholarship, and anticipating common interview questions. Practise explaining your achievements, goals and reasons for applying. Dress professionally, demonstrate enthusiasm, and be ready to discuss your academic and extracurricular experiences in a concise and compelling manner.

23. What are the deadlines for scholarship applications?

Programmes have different deadlines, so make sure you take note of every due date on your chosen scholarship applications. Carefully review the application guidelines provided by each scholarship and plan accordingly because many scholarships do not accept late applications.

24. Are there scholarships for community college students?

Yes, there are scholarships available for community college students. While some scholarships may be specific to four-year institutions, many organisations, foundations and institutions offer scholarships that are inclusive of community college students. It’s essential for students to explore both local and national scholarship opportunities and check with their academic advisers or financial aid offices for guidance on available options. Additionally, some scholarships may be tailored specifically to the field of study or academic achievements of community college students.

25. Are there scholarships open to high school students?

Yes, high school students can start their scholarship search early, allowing them to have awards ready for their first year of university. You will often need to know which country or university you have been accepted to, so read the application criteria for each scholarship and get everything ready before you start applying.

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Additional information about International Student Program reforms

Ottawa, February 5, 2024— Further information is being provided to clarify the announcement of an intake cap on new international study permit applications and other changes . International students make important contributions to Canada’s campuses, communities and economy; however, we have seen unsustainable growth in the International Student Program in recent years. These recently announced reforms will support sustainable population growth in Canada and improve system integrity, while helping to ensure that international students have a positive experience in Canada.

1. Cap and provincial attestation letter

As of 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024, most new post-secondary international students at the college or undergraduate level must provide a provincial attestation letter (PAL) from a province or territory with their study permit application. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will return any application received that does not include a PAL, unless otherwise exempt.

This attestation will serve as proof that the student has been accounted for under a provincial or territorial allocation within the national cap. Provinces and territories have been asked to have a plan in place for issuing PALs by March 31, 2024. The Government of Canada is working with the Government of Quebec to determine how the certificat d’acceptation du Québec pour études could serve as a PAL.

International students whose applications were received by IRCC before 8:30 a.m. on January 22, 2024, as well as those who have already been approved for a study permit and intend to travel to Canada for an upcoming program, do not need to take further action as a result of the cap.

Who needs a provincial attestation letter?

  • most post-secondary study permit applicants
  • most non-degree granting graduate programs (for example, certificate programs and graduate diplomas)
  • anyone else not included in the exception list below

Who doesn’t need a provincial attestation letter?

  • primary and secondary school students
  • master’s or doctoral degree students
  • visiting or exchange students
  • in-Canada study permit and work permit holders (includes study permit holders applying for an extension)
  • in-Canada family members of study permit or work permit holders
  • students whose application we received before 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024

2. Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) update for graduates of master’s degree programs

In recognition that graduates of master’s degree granting programs are excellent candidates to succeed in Canada’s labour market and potentially transition to permanent residence, we have made a change to the length of the PGWP, so that they have the opportunity to meet the required Canadian work experience in order to apply for their permanent residence.

Starting on February 15, 2024, a longer, 3-year post-graduation work permit will be available to those who are graduating from a master’s degree program that is less than 2 years and who meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria.

The length of PGWPs for programs other than master’s degrees will continue to align with the length of the study program, to a maximum of 3 years.

Who is eligible for a longer post-graduation work permit (PGWP)?

  • Graduates of programs that are at least two years in length at PGWP-eligible designated learning institutions are eligible for a 3-year PGWP, as are graduates of master’s degree programs less than 2 years in length.

3. PGWP eligibility for public-private partnership college programs

Some provinces allow public colleges to license their curriculum to be delivered by an affiliated private college. In these cases, students physically attend a private college, but graduate with a diploma from a public institution. Concerns have been raised with regard to the quality of education provided by these institutions, as well as the lack of sufficient student supports. The Auditor General of Ontario has also raised concerns about a lack of oversight into program quality and student services at these institutions.

As such, IRCC has made a change to restrict PGWPs for these institutions, anticipating that without the ability to apply for a PGWP, there will be a reduction in the number of international students enrolling in them.

Who is eligible for a PGWP after graduating from a public-private partnership college program?

  • International students currently enrolled will remain eligible for a PGWP if they meet other program eligibility criteria.

Who is not eligible for a PGWP after graduating from a public-private partnership college program?

  • New students enrolling in this type of program will not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

4. Changes to open work permit eligibility for spouses

In the coming weeks, eligibility for open work permits for the spouses and common-law partners of international students will be updated.

Who can get an open work permit?

  • Eligibility is limited to the spouses and common-law partners of students in graduate (master’s and doctorate) and professional degree–granting programs only.
  • Once these changes are in effect, spouses and common-law partners of international students seeking to extend their existing work permit will continue to be eligible under this stream.

Who will not be eligible for an open work permit?

  • The spouses and common-law partners of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible for an open work permit unless they already hold an open work permit under this stream.

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Ph.D. Program Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy program at the College of Education prepares students for careers of research or scholarly inquiry and teaching at the college/university level. The program consists of: (1) continuous research and faculty discussion inquiry, (2) courses in education and related fields designed to develop a comprehensive academic basis for future work in research and teaching, and (3) teaching and other related experiences tailored to individual needs and career goals.

Table of Contents

  • Enrolling in First & Second Year Courses
  • Research & Teacher Preparation
  • Advancing to Prospective Candidacy 
  • Forming a Supervisory Committee
  • Research and Inquiry Conference
  • Eligibility
  • General Exams
  • Completing the Oral General Exam
  • Dissertation Credits
  • Preparing the Dissertation Proposal
  • Forming the Reading Committee
  • Conforming to Stylistic Standards
  • Completing the Final Exam (Dissertation Defense)
  • Submitting Your Dissertation to the Graduate School
  • Maximum Allowable Time

1) Enrolling in First & Second Year Courses

Upon admission to the Ph.D. program, you are designated "Post-Master's," meaning that you have been assigned to an adviser, but do not yet have a doctoral Supervisory Committee. The goal of the post-master's phase is to arrange research/inquiry experiences and coursework that will qualify you for Prospective Candidacy. You are assigned a first-year adviser whose research and scholarly activities are in your field of intended specialization. During the first year of study, your adviser will be a central figure, helping you plan academic life.

Working with your adviser, you will: (1) identify a research topic and secure ways and means for participating in the selected project, (2) select first-year courses, and (3) prepare documentation for advancement to Prospective Candidacy. Although the role of faculty advisers is designed to assist you in completing the Ph.D. degree, it is your responsibility to follow all procedures of the Graduate School and College of Education.

In the College of Education's LSHD program, post-bachelor's students may be admitted to work toward a Ph.D. without formally completing a master’s degree program. Post-bachelor's applicants to the Ph.D. track are expected to have research experience and/or research potential, as well as research interests that align with faculty expertise. Post-bachelor's students in the LSHD Ph.D. program may choose to complete an M.Ed. along the way.  Those who would like to complete their M.Ed. along the way must meet the minimum 45 credit Graduate School requirements for the LSHD M.Ed. program. The 45 credits include a minimum of 21 credits in EDPSY coursework, 18 minimum numerically graded credits at the 400 or 500 level, and 18 minimum credits at the 500 level or above.  

If you are a post-bachelor's student working within the prospective Ph.D. track and plan to obtain your M.Ed. along the way in LSHD, you will complete a qualifying paper no later than the quarter in which you complete 45 credits. The qualifying paper is designed to be the equivalent of a master’s final exam or thesis in quality, and must be evaluated by two members of the graduate faculty. This paper must be separate from your R&I paper.

2) Research & Teacher Preparation

A number of useful methods exist for inquiry into educational problems and issues. You will need to develop an appreciation for the diversity of options available. Initial preparation consists of studying the fundamental differences and similarities among various approaches to inquiry in education through the required Educational Inquiry Seminar Series (EDLPS 525 and 526; see the General Catalog for course details). Please note that these courses are sequential; EDLPS 525 is the prerequisite for EDLPS 526. You should complete this sequence as early in the program as possible, preferably in your first year.

Additionally, you will be required to complete a minimum of four additional 500-level courses (combined total of no less than 12 credits) relating to methods of educational inquiry; in these four courses, you must earn a grade of at least 3.0 (or written verification that you would have received a 3.0 in courses that are offered C/NC). You are strongly encouraged to select coursework representing at least two broad approaches to inquiry (quantitative, qualitative, philosophical, historical, etc.) offered both inside and outside the College of Education. The final selection of appropriate courses will be made with the advice and consent of your adviser. The required Inquiry series must be completed prior to your advancement to Prospective Candidacy; two of the four additional research courses must be completed prior to your Research and Inquiry Presentation.

Each Supervisory Committee will design experiences to promote excellence for students who will seek teaching positions. The nature of these experiences will vary according to your prior experience. Some students come to programs in education with substantial experience as teachers, and for them, fewer graduate school experiences may be required.

For some students, the annual Research and Inquiry Presentation will be enough to polish their instructional skills and to demonstrate mastery of instructional approaches. Other students may need to serve as teaching assistants, either formally or informally. Your Supervisory Committee will see that you have appropriate, supervised experience as needed to promote effective teaching skills.

The advancement to Prospective Candidacy process--including the materials and discussions involved in it--is an opportunity for students, advisers, and the broader faculty to evaluate the student’s progress up to that point and to plan for future course taking, committee member selection, and dissertation interests.

You may be considered for advancement to Prospective Candidacy after completing 24 credits of study, including the Inquiry Seminar Series if required (EDLPS 525 and 526) and a minimum of nine credits within your chosen field(s) of study.  Individual programs may require additional coursework, and your adviser will inform you of any additional requirements early in your first quarter of study.  

Once you meet the minimum requirements, your adviser will help you prepare documents for presentation to the faculty. Those documents include (1) a course of study form (including grades received in each course), and (2) a revised goal statement.  You will revisit and revise the goal statement you wrote when you applied for your program to reflect your current thinking and goals.  Your adviser may require other materials, such as a curriculum vita or a paper from a course.  Check with your adviser to see if additional materials are necessary.  Together, the student and the adviser are required to meet to discuss the materials and to make any appropriate changes before the adviser presents the student’s case to the larger faculty for consideration.  Advancement to Prospective Candidacy needs to be completed before you can do your R&I.

The faculty in your program will review your work, judge the adequacy of your progress, offer suggestions about future course taking, and make a recommendation on Advancement to Prospective Candidacy to the Graduate Program Coordinator (the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs).  While we encourage as much faculty input as possible, a minimum of one faculty member besides your advisor will take part in this review. Advisers are then required to meet with the student to provide a summary of the collective input gathered from the larger program faculty meeting. 

Once you have advanced, you should initiate the  Prospective Candidacy Form  to notify the Office of Student Services about completing this milestone.

A summary of the process is below: 1. Meet minimum requirements for advancing to prospective candidacy. 2. Prepare course of study, revised goal statement, and whatever materials your advisor or program requires. 3. Meet with advisor to go over documents and revise as needed. 4. Advisor meets with program faculty and presents the student’s case for consideration. 5. Faculty in program review work, judge adequacy of progress, offer feedback, and make recommendation on advancement. 6. Advisor meets with student to give feedback and decision of the faculty. 7. Student initiates the  Prospective Candidacy Form  online. Once signed by the faculty advior, the completed form is then automatically submitted to the Office of Student Services.

Probationary language: If, after reviewing the student’s case, the program faculty decides that the student will not be Advanced to Prospective Candidacy, the student will be warned or placed on probationary status per the Graduate School's policy on Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress. At that time, the advisor must call a meeting with the student, one other faculty member, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.  This group may require additional materials (i.e. course papers), and the student may offer additional materials as well.  The meeting should take place no later than the second week of the following academic quarter.  At this meeting, the faculty members and student will discuss what is necessary to lift probationary status. Examples might include: improving grades, revising the goal statement further, and requiring certain courses. 

4) Forming a Supervisory Committee

Once you have been advanced to Prospective Candidacy, you should direct your attention to forming a Supervisory Committee. In concert with your adviser, you should explore which members of the graduate faculty would be willing to serve on your Supervisory Committee. Each member of a Supervisory Committee will devote substantial time to working with you and should formally indicate willingness to serve. The chairperson of the Supervisory Committee, who must be a graduate faculty member from the College of Education, should express the willingness and availability to supervise a dissertation, since this is normally the most time-consuming responsibility.

Supervisory Committees will be formed in accordance with Graduate School policy

  • A minimum of four voting faculty (at least three with graduate faculty appointments) must represent, respectively, your (a) specialization within their broad areas of study, (b) first cognate, (c) second cognate, and (d) specialization outside of the College of Education (definitions of broad area, specializations, and cognates can be found ( here ).
  • No more than two voting faculty from your broad area may be on the committee.
  • An additional graduate faculty member, the Graduate School Representative (GSR), must also serve on the committee. GSRs must be members of the graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees, and must have no conflict of interest (such as budgetary relationships or adjunct appointments) with the College of Education. Members of Supervisory Committees representing students’ specializations outside of the College of Education may also serve as GSRs, provided they are qualified to serve in both roles.

Once you have identified appropriate graduate faculty who are willing to serve, their names should be submitted to the Office of Student Services using the Committee Formation Request Form .  Your faculty adviser must approve the form to indicate their approval.

NOTE: The Graduate School requires each doctoral student who is forming a committee for the first time to submit a Use of Animal and Human Subjects Form to the Office of Student Services.

You should form a Supervisory Committee no later than the quarter prior to your General Exam. It is not imperative that the Supervisory Committee be formed before your Research and Inquiry Presentation. It is necessary, however, for you to have arranged for a group of faculty to evaluate your Research and Inquiry work.

The next task is to meet with your Supervisory Committee to develop a research program for the Research and Inquiry Presentation and to plan a course of study in preparation for the General Exam. Between Supervisory Committee meetings, your chairperson is responsible for serving as your adviser.

The Supervisory Committee may recommend against continuation in the program if your progress toward the degree is unsatisfactory. This may include, but is not limited to, an excessive number of course withdrawals or incompletes, a grade point average of less than 3.0, unsatisfactory performance in field placements, or unsatisfactory performance on the General Exam.

5) Completing the Research & Inquiry Presentation

Research preparation is the foundation of the Ph.D. program, as research will play a paramount role in students’ professional careers. Training to be an effective researcher requires (a) concentrated focus to learn the various methods of inquiry and practice, and (b) employment of these methods in various research projects while pursuing your degree. You will begin research activities during the first year of the program, and will continue to develop skills by conducting various research projects, culminating with a dissertation. The Research and Inquiry milestone consists of two major components: A major product of your research preparation effort is the R&I paper and presenting at the Research and Inquiry Conference annually during autumn quarter.

The purposes of R&I are to:

  • Immerse you in issues of content and method directly pertinent to your chosen specialization.
  • Provide you with practical experience in the use of methods and the application of content learned in coursework.
  • Convey aspects of substance and method that characterize the topic studied, but are not taught in general method or content courses.
  • Afford an opportunity for you to present research to a professional audience and for the audience to learn about the research.

The design, implementation, and presentation of the R&I research shall be under the supervision of your chair and at least two additional faculty members or your Supervisory Committee. At least three faculty members must approve a thoroughly developed research papers prior to taking the General Exam.

In general, your R&I paper should hold substantial promise of contributing to preparation for a dissertation, and at its inception should have a good chance of being publishable in a juried journal. At each meeting, members of the Supervisory Committee will reassess the extent to which your R&I activities are contributing to stated goals, and will provide advice in accordance with their assessment. Between committee meetings, the chairperson will assume primary responsibility for advising and assisting you with preparation of your R&I plan.

After successful completion of the written portion, Students will be required to present at the annual CoE R&I Conference held in autumn quarter. 

5.1) Research and Inquiry Conference

The R&I Conference is a half-day event where students will present their research in two types of session formats. All formats provide a means for grouping related papers into sessions, with different opportunities for moderators and audience participation. Students, with the approval of their advisor, determine which format is optimal for future preparation. Successful participation of in the Research ad Inquiry Conference is required prior to defending a dissertation.

The purposes for R&I conference:

  • To mentor student research experience.
  • To support professional practices toward becoming part of a community of scholars.
  • To build community in the College

Session format options: 

Panel presentations  typically group together 2-5 student presenters with similar topics for a shared presentation and discussion opportunity. Each student will present an abbreviated version of her/his R&I paper, followed by summarizing comments from the moderator and then facilitated audience discussion and questions. A typical structure for a session allows approximately 5 minutes for the moderator’s introduction to the session, 10 minutes per presenter, another 5 minutes for moderator comments and summary, and finally 15 minutes for audience discussion. Individual presenters must be attentive to the time allocation for presenting their work in paper sessions.

Structured poster sessions  combine the graphic display of materials with the opportunity for individualized, formal discussion of the research. Depending on how many individuals plan to participate and how many intellectual areas will be presented, there could be anywhere from 1- 4 individuals in a 60 minute session. These sessions begin with attendees viewing poster presentations, then move into brief oral presentations to the audience gathered as a group, followed by direct discussion with poster presenters. Posters are linked conceptually in terms of education research issues, problems, settings, methods, analytic questions, or themes. 

5.2) Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in the R&I Presentations, you must meet the following requirements:

1.  You must be registered as a graduate student at the University of Washington during the quarter of the R&I Presentation. 2.  You must have completed the following research course requirements: six credits of the Inquiry series (EDLPS 525 and 526), plus two additional research methodology courses at the 500-level.   3.  You must have been advanced to Prospective Candidate status through your academic area.

4.  You must have identified a group of faculty who have agreed to evaluate your R&I work. In some cases, this group will be your Supervisory Committee; it is not imperative, however, that you formally establish your Supervisory Committee before R&I. As an alternative, a group of three faculty members can agree to evaluate your R&I work. 

5.  Some papers might require might need Human Subjects Form approval. If you and your advisor have determined you need this, you must have a Human Subjects Form approved prior to starting the research if the investigation is conducted with human subjects. See Louise Clauss in 115J Miller hall if you have questions regarding Human Subjects applications.

6.  The final copy should be submitted to the faculty evaluators and the Office of Student Services with the approval of three faculty members (or instructors). Instructions on completing the R&I submission process can be found on the Graduate Student Forms page . Please keep in mind that the faculty members have other time constraints. It is to your benefit to submit your research paper for evaluation as early as possible.

6) General Exams

When both you and your Supervisory Committee concur that you are prepared and have completed all course requirements (except the dissertation) — including the completion at least 60 credit hours of coursework, per Graduate School requirements (or 30 hours if you already completed a master’s degree that will be less than 10 years old at the time of graduation from the UW) — your Course of Study and research activities will be evaluated through Written and Oral Exams conducted by the Supervisory Committee.

The General Exam is given in two parts. The first part is written and examines content area in your broad area, specialty areas, and cognates. Upon satisfactory completion of the written portion of the General Exam, the oral portion may be scheduled. During the Oral Exam, members of the graduate faculty may ask any questions they choose. By majority vote, the Supervisory Committee will rule on whether you pass.

7) Completing the Oral General Exam

You are responsible for scheduling the oral portion of the General Exam (locating an adequate room, determining a date and time that is acceptable to all members of the Supervisory Committee, etc.), as well as submitting a Request for General Exam to the Graduate School. You should submit the request after forming your Supervisory Committee (see above) and at least three weeks prior to the date of the General Exam by using the Graduate School’s online process. During the Oral Exam, members of the graduate faculty may ask any questions they choose. By majority vote, the Supervisory Committee will rule on whether you pass. Once you have passed, the Office of Student Services will convey the exam results to the Graduate School. This will result in Candidacy being awarded at the end of the quarter in which you pass your Oral Exam.

8) Candidacy

After successfully completing the General Exams, you enter the Candidacy stage of your program. The main tasks of this phase include preparing a dissertation proposal, completing dissertation research, writing the dissertation, and conducting your final defense.

9) Dissertation Credits

When you and your adviser determine that you are completing dissertation-related work, you may register for dissertation credits (EDUC 800).   The Graduate School requires a minimum of 27 dissertation credits for degree completion, and these credits must be taken over a minimum of three quarters. 

10) Preparing the Dissertation Proposal

Upon successful completion of the oral portion of the General Exam, you and your Supervisory Committee will shift attention to the dissertation proposal. The purpose of the dissertation proposal is to provide you with constructive criticism from the entire Supervisory Committee prior to the execution of your dissertation research. The written dissertation proposal should be approved unanimously by the Supervisory Committee members; approval will be indicated by completing the Dissertation Proposal Form . Approval does not guarantee that the Supervisory Committee will approve the dissertation at the Final Oral Exam, but it does guarantee that the committee may not later disapprove the dissertation on the grounds that the research was poorly conceived. The approved proposal becomes the working paper for conducting your dissertation research.

Once the proposal receives Supervisory Committee approval, you will likely need to submit an application for review and approval by the Human Subjects Division. On its website, the College of Education has summarized some of the most important aspects of the Human Subjects Review Process . You should also consult the website of the UW’s Human Subjects Division .

For additional information about the process, the type of review suitable for a given project, application forms, and general assistance, contact Louise Clauss at [email protected] or 206-616-8291.

11) Forming the Reading Committee

The Reading Committee will be composed of a minimum of 3 members of your Supervisory Committee members, including the chairperson. It is also advisable to include a member who is knowledgeable in the chosen research methodology. The Reading Committee will read and review your dissertation in detail and make a recommendation to the larger Supervisory Committee about readiness to schedule the Final Exam. Once you identify appropriate graduate faculty who are willing to serve on the Reading Committee, their names should be submitted to the Office of Student Services using the Committee Formation Request Form on the Graduate Student Forms page .

12) Conforming to Stylistic Standards

It is your responsibility to ensure that your dissertation meets current Graduate School formatting requirements. You may find information about these requirements on the Graduate School Dissertation page .

13) Completing the Final Exam (Dissertation Defense)

You are expected to pass the Final Exam. The final defense of the dissertation is intended as an opportunity for all involved to celebrate the good results of their work during your career in the College of Education.

You should schedule the Final Exam after submitting your dissertation to the Supervisory Committee. You are responsible for scheduling the Final Exam (locating an adequate room, determining a date and time that is acceptable to all members of the Supervisory Committee, etc.), as well as submitting a Request for Final Exam to the Graduate School. You should submit the request after forming the Reading Committee and at least three weeks prior to the date of the Final Exam by using the Graduate School’s online process. You should also note that you must be enrolled for credit hours during the quarter of the Final Exam. If your Final Exam occurs during a period between academic quarters, then the Final Exam will be considered to have taken place the following quarter, and you must register for that quarter.

The Final Exam will cover your dissertation and related topics, and it may also cover other areas deemed appropriate by the Supervisory Committee. While the committee alone votes on acceptance of the dissertation, any member of the graduate faculty may participate in the Final Exam.

14) Submitting Your Dissertation to the Graduate School

Once you pass the Final Exam and complete any revisions requested by the Supervisory Committee, the remaining step is to submit your dissertation to the Graduate School.

In preparation for submitting your dissertation, you should keep the following Graduate School policies in mind:

  • If you wish to submit your dissertation in the same quarter as your Final Exam, make note of the submission deadlines established by the Graduate School.
  • You may submit your dissertation up to two weeks after the end of a quarter without having to register for the following quarter by using the Registration Waiver Fee . The Registration Waiver Fee option is available to a student who has completed all other degree requirements except submission of the dissertation. You will then be permitted to graduate the following quarter by paying a $250 fee in lieu of registering for credit hours.
  • Submission of the dissertation is done electronically and involves several steps. You should carefully review the degree completion information  available from the Graduate School. All Reading Committee members must approve the dissertation online and you must also complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates .

Specific questions about the electronic submission of dissertations should be directed to Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) at 206-685-2630.

15) Maximum Allowable Time

In planning your program of study and timeline, keep in mind that all requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within a 10-year time limit.

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  1. #46: What makes PhD students succeed?

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