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A to Z about PhD - Printable Version

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A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 02-05-2009 01:53 PM

This thread will contain details about PhD.
I will try making a compilation of what is there in edulix so far,bring in more info from other sources.If possible a list of professors who are willing to take in enthusiastic students(Seniors should help fill up this part Very Happy)

Now guys I need your opinion.There are a few pdf's and ppt's that contain valuble info about pursuing a PhD..Shd I provide links for such files or post the details in text! A ppt would be more attractive I feel!

Members who had applied for PhD pls contribute.


RE: A to Z about PhD - olivergomes - 02-07-2009 08:52 AM

Well we can provide the link.
Count me in pal.I can easily work on this project.
So we can divide things b/w us and proceed.
I'd suggest we should 1st answer one big q's?Most of us confused whether they shud proceed with MS or PHD?We shud answer this 1st. Then we can tell them the diff. issues they'll need to deal with for PhD.This shud be based on dept. wise.
Wht say? ready to go?Very Happy
MS or Ph.D.?
My personal thoughts on MS vs. PhD:

* Jobs at companies for BS students upon graduation are generally restricted to test, technical sales, and field engineering.
* A BS degree is a stepping stone for graduate studies (i.e. professional degrees) in business, law, medicine, and engineering.
* An MS degree provides an entry to design positions at companies.
* A PhD degree provides an entry into companies in managing technical aspects of design projects or in research and development, and an entry into academia as faculty and post-doctoral researchers. Most PhD graduates go to industry upon graduation.


Is it Important to contact a Professor for PhD?

Yes, it does improve your chances greatly.

Professors, as you might guess, are extremely busy. Professors who are active in research essentially have two full-time jobs. In addition, a professor may receive hundreds of e-mail messages from prospective graduate students each year. So, when you correspond with professors, it is in your best interest to keep the correspondence short (e.g. less than 24 lines) and customize a letter to each professor. Many professors refuse to answer form letters.

To customize your e-mail message, you might spend a couple of sentences on each of the following topics:

* curriculum track to which you are applying for graduate studies
* educational background: school(s) attended, grade point average, BS project title, and GRE scores
* interest in MS only or MS/Ph.D. and why
* a list of detailed research topics that you want to pursue (e.g. wireless communications is too broad).

Also, spend a paragraph on why you contacted the professor and how you would like to contribute to the on-going research in the professor's group. This may require you to read the professor's Web pages thoroughly and may require you to read a paper that the professor has published.

Always attach a resume as a text or PDF file, or provide a Web address where your online resume is. Avoid attaching Word files if possible.


RE: A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 02-07-2009 12:42 PM

Oliver,

Was expecting u here pal!! Very Happy Now abt the materials.All those pdf and ppt are meant to be circulated so it wont be a problem.I am collecting all such materials.U might have seen most of them during ur app process.If I am right U had apped for ECE rite? I have apped for CS ...So first we will provide a general overview like U have started then probably we can get into the specifics!

Keep in touch..Lets bring it out ! Very Happy Very Happy


RE: A to Z about PhD - olivergomes - 02-07-2009 01:31 PM

No probs....i'll do that then..


RE: A to Z about PhD - samkum2 - 02-11-2009 03:53 PM

Hello friends...
here comes the third musketeer...Very Happy

Any ways I am also ready to help you guys...tell me what to do?Smile


RE: A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 02-11-2009 10:34 PM

anything sam...jus post wat ever u feel is a must know for every PhD applicant..I am compiling a document!will post it in sometime Very Happy


RE: A to Z about PhD - samkum2 - 02-13-2009 07:56 PM

Lot of the time this is asked ... Whats the PhD funding scenario?
Here are the few links That i found
PhD Funding
Does PhD admit always garuntee Assistantship?
Difference between Aid and Assistantship
Do you need fellowship or Assistantship in order to attend?
criteria for teaching assistantship


RE: A to Z about PhD - olivergomes - 02-17-2009 08:39 PM

I'll be posting soon.


RE: A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 02-17-2009 08:42 PM

me too Smile


RE: A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 02-19-2009 11:32 PM

Now..this post is from Purdue site..already posted in edulix! but a excellent thing for anyone to start with!

Quote:The Basics
A Doctor of Philosophy degree, abbreviated Ph.D., is the highest academic degree anyone can earn. Because earning a Ph.D. requires extended study and intense intellectual effort, less than one percent of the population attains the degree. Society shows respect for a person who holds a Ph.D. by addressing them with the title ``Doctor''.

To earn a Ph.D., one must accomplish two things. First, one must master a specific subject completely. Second, one must extend the body of knowledge about that subject.

Mastering A Subject
To master a subject, a student searches the published literature to find and read everything that has been written about the subject. In scientific disciplines, a student begins by studying general reference works such as text books. Eventually, the student must also search scholarly journals, the publications that scientists use to exchange information and record reports of their scientific investigations.
Each university establishes general guidelines that a student must follow to earn a Ph.D. degree, and each college or department within a university sets specific standards by which it measures mastery of a subject. Usually, in preparing for Ph.D. work in a given field, a student must earn both a Bachelor's and Master's degree (or their equivalent) in that field or in a closely related field. To demonstrate complete mastery of the subject, a student may be required to complete additional graduate-level courses, maintain a high grade average, or take a battery of special examinations. In many institutions, students must do all three.

Because examinations given as part of a Ph.D. curriculum assess expert knowledge, they are created and evaluated by a committee of experts, each of whom holds a Ph.D. degree.

Extending Knowledge

The essence of a Ph.D., the aspect that distinguishes Ph.D. study from other academic work, can be summarized in a single word: research. To extend knowledge, one must explore, investigate, and contemplate. The scientific community uses the term research to capture the idea.
In scientific disciplines, research often implies experimentation, but research is more than mere experiments -- it means interpretation and deep understanding. For Computer Scientists, research means searching to uncover the principles that underlie digital computation and communication. A researcher must discover new techniques that aid in building or using computational mechanisms. Researchers look for new abstractions, new approaches, new algorithms, new principles, or new mechanisms.

To complete a Ph.D., each student must present results from their research to the faculty in a lengthy, formal document called a dissertation (more popularly referred to as a thesis). The student must then submit their dissertation to the faculty and defend their work an oral examination.

Relationship To Products

In some cases, the results of scientific research can be used to develop new products or improve those that exist. However, scientists do not use commercial success or potential commercial profits as a measure of their work; they conduct investigations to further human understanding and the body of knowledge humans have compiled. Often, the commercial benefits of scientific research are much greater in the long-term than in the short-term.
Research Activities
Computer Science research can include such diverse activities as designing and building new computer systems, proving mathematical theorems, writing computer software, measuring the performance of a computer system, using analytical tools to assess a design, or studying the errors programmers make as they build a large software system. Because a researcher chooses the activities appropriate to answer each question that arises in a research investigation, and because new questions arise as an investigation proceeds, research activities vary from project to project and over time in a single project. A researcher must be prepared to use a variety of approaches and tools.
A Few Questions To Ask
Many of you are trying to decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself.
1. Do you want a research career?
Before enrolling in a Ph.D. program, you should carefully consider your long-term goals. Because earning a Ph.D. is training for research, you should ask yourself whether a research position is your long-term goal. If it is, a Ph.D. degree is the standard path to your chosen career (a few people have managed to obtain a research position without a Ph.D., but they are the exception, not the rule). If, however, you want a non-research career, a Ph.D. is definitely not for you.
2. Do you want an academic position?
A Ph.D. is the de facto ``union card'' for an academic position. Although it is possible to obtain an academic position without a Ph.D., the chances are low. Major universities (and most colleges) require each member of their faculty to hold a Ph.D. and to engage in research activities. Why? To insure that the faculty have sufficient expertise to teach advanced courses and to force faculty to remain current in their chosen field. The U.S. State Department diplomatic protocol ranks the title ``professor'' higher than the title ``doctor''. It does so in recognition of academic requirements: most professors hold a Ph.D., but not all people who hold a Ph.D. degree are professors.
3. Do you have what it takes?
It is difficult for an individual to assess their own capabilities. The following guidelines and questions may be of help.
Intelligence:
In your college and graduate courses, were you closer to the top of your class or the bottom? How well did you do on the GRE or other standardized tests?
Time:
Are you prepared to tackle a project larger than any you have undertaken before? You must commit to multiple years of hard work. Are you willing to reduce or forego other activities?
Creativity:
Research discoveries often arise when one looks at old facts in a new way. Do you shine when solving problems? Do you like ``brain teasers'' and similar puzzles? Are you good at solving them? In school, did you find advanced mathematics enjoyable or difficult?
Intense curiosity:
Have you always been compelled to understand the world around you and to find out how things work? A natural curiosity makes research easier. Did you fulfill minimum requirements or explore further on your own?
Adaptability:
Most students are unprepared for Ph.D. study. They find it unexpectedly different than course work. Suddenly thrust into a world in which no one knows the answers, students sometimes flounder. Can you adapt to new ways of thinking? Can you tolerate searching for answers even when no one knows the precise questions?
Self-motivation:
By the time a student finishes an undergraduate education, they have become accustomed to receiving grades for each course each semester. In a Ph.D. program, work is not divided neatly into separate courses, professors do not partition tasks into little assignments, and the student does not receive a grade for each small step. Are you self-motivated enough to keep working toward a goal without day-to-day encouragement?
Competitiveness:
If you choose to enroll in a Ph.D. program, you will compete with others at the top. More important, once you graduate, your peers will include some of the brightest people in the world. You will be measured and judged in comparison to them. Are you willing to compete at the Ph.D. level?
Maturity:
Compared to coursework, which is carefully planned by a teacher, Ph.D. study has less structure. You will have more freedom to set your own goals, determine your daily schedule, and follow interesting ideas. Are you prepared to accept the responsibility that accompanies the additional freedoms? Your success or failure in Ph.D. research depends on it.
A few warnings:
Students sometimes enroll in a Ph.D. program for the wrong reasons. After a while, such students find that the requirements overwhelm them. Before starting one should realize that a Ph.D. is not:
Prestigious in itself
Almost everyone who has obtained a Ph.D. is proud of their efforts and the result. However, you should understand that once you graduate, you will work among a group of scientists who each hold a Ph.D. degree. (One faculty member used to chide arrogant graduate students by saying, ``I don't see why you think it's such a great accomplishment -- all my friends have a Ph.D!'').
A guarantee of respect for all your opinions
Many students believe that once they earn a Ph.D. people will automatically respect all their opinions. You will learn, however, that few people assume a Ph.D. in one subject automatically makes you an authority on others. It is especially true in the science communicaty; respect must be earned.
A goal in itself
A Ph.D. degree prepares you for research. If all you want is a diploma to hang on the wall, there are much easier ways to obtain one. After you graduate, you will have occasion to compare your record of accomplishment to those of other scientists. You will realize that what counts is the research work accumulated after a scientist finishes their formal education.
A job guarantee
When an economy slows, everyone can suffer. In fact, some companies reduce research before they reduce production, making Ph.D.s especially vulnerable. Furthermore, once a person earns a Ph.D., many companies will not hire that person for a non-research position. As in most professions, continued employment depends on continued performance.
A practical way to impress your family or friends
Your mother may be proud and excited when you enroll in a Ph.D. program. After all, she imagines that she will soon be able to brag about her child, ``the doctor.'' However, a desire to impress others is insufficient motivation for the effort required.
Something you can ``try'' to find out how smart you are
Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. Unless you make a total commitment, you will fail. You will need to work long hours, face many disappointments, stretch your mental capabilities, and learn to find order among apparently chaotic facts. Unless you have adopted the long-range goal of becoming a researcher, the day-to-day demands will wear you down. Standards will seem unnecessary high; rigor will seem unwarranted. If you only consider it a test, you will eventually walk away.
The only research topic you will ever pursue
Many students make the mistake of viewing their Ph.D. topic as a research area for life. They assume each researcher only works in one area, always pursues the same topic within that area, and always uses the same tools and approaches. Experienced researchers know that new questions arise constantly, and that old questions can become less interesting as time passes or new facts are discovered. The best people change topics and areas. It keeps them fresh and stimulates thinking. Plan to move on; prepare for change.
Easier than entering the work force
You will find that the path to successful completion of a Ph.D. becomes much steeper after you begin. The faculty impose constraints on your study, and do not permit unproductive students to remain in the program.
Better than the alternatives
For many students, a Ph.D. can be a curse. They must choose between being at the top among people who hold a Masters degree or being a mediocre researcher. The faculty sometimes advise students that they must choose between being ``captain of the B team'' or a ``benchwarmer'' on the A team. Everyone must decide what they want, and which profession will stimulate them most. But students should be realistic about their capabilities. If you really cannot determine where you stand, ask faculty members.
A way to make more money
While we haven't heard any statistics for the past couple of years, graduate students used to estimate the ``payoff'' using the starting salaries of Ph.D. and M.S. positions, the average time required to obtain a Ph.D., the value of stock options, and current return on investments. For a period of at least five years that we know, the payoff was clearly negative. Suffice it to say that one must choose research because one loves it; a Ph.D. is not the optimum road to wealth.
The good news:
Despite all our warnings, we are proud that we earned Ph.D. degrees and proud of our research accomplishments. If you have the capability and interest, a research career can bring rewards unequaled in any other profession. You will meet and work with some of the brightest people on the planet. You will reach for ideas beyond your grasp, and in so doing extend your intellectual capabilities. You will solve problems that have not been solved before. You will explore concepts that have not been explored. You will uncover principles that change the way people use computers.

The joy of research:

A colleague summed up the way many researchers feel about their profession. When asked why he spent so many hours in the lab, he noted that the alternatives were to go home, where he would do the same things that millions of others were doing, or to work in his lab, where he could discover things that no other human had ever discovered. The smile on his face told the story: for him, working on research was sheer joy.



RE: A to Z about PhD - samkum2 - 02-20-2009 12:26 PM

Put the link to thread as well ravi ...I guess we had a great discussion in that thread...


RE: A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 02-20-2009 01:04 PM

Sam,
The entire PhD thread is mind boggling.Full of useful info for ppl who wanna apply for PhD!
I am just tryin to give as short an explanation as possible.I am yet to add the pdf's and ppt's here.
Smile
What say?


RE: A to Z about PhD - ravitheg - 03-09-2009 03:29 PM

Posted by jugger already,Must read for a PhD applicant
Quote:Notes On The PhD Degree
By Doug Comer of Purdue University

Last week at the department colloquium coffee hour, several students engaged the faculty in a discussion about our Ph.D. program. It became clear that many of the students did not understand the basics; they were surprised at some of the questions and confused by some of the answers.

These notes provide basic information about the purpose of a Ph.D. program in an attempt to help students decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. degree.
The Basics

A Doctor of Philosophy degree, abbreviated Ph.D., is the highest academic degree anyone can earn. Because earning a Ph.D. requires extended study and intense intellectual effort, less than one percent of the population attains the degree. Society shows respect for a person who holds a Ph.D. by addressing them with the title "Doctor".

To earn a Ph.D., one must accomplish two things. First, one must master a specific subject completely. Second, one must extend the body of knowledge about that subject.
Mastering A Subject
To master a subject, a student searches the published literature to find and read everything that has been written about the subject. In scientific disciplines, a student begins by studying general reference works such as text books. Eventually, the student must also search scholarly journals, the publications that scientists use to exchange information and record reports of their scientific investigations.

Each university establishes general guidelines that a student must follow to earn a Ph.D. degree, and each college or department within a university sets specific standards by which it measures mastery of a subject. Usually, in preparing for Ph.D. work in a given field, a student must earn both a Bachelor's and Master's degree (or their equivalent) in that field or in a closely related field. To demonstrate complete mastery of the subject, a student may be required to complete additional graduate-level courses, maintain a high grade average, or take a battery of special examinations. In many institutions, students must do all three.

Because examinations given as part of a Ph.D. curriculum assess expert knowledge, they are created and evaluated by a committee of experts, each of whom holds a Ph.D. degree.

Extending Knowledge
The essence of a Ph.D., the aspect that distinguishes Ph.D. study from other academic work, can be summarized in a single word: research. To extend knowledge, one must explore, investigate, and contemplate. The scientific community uses the term "research" to capture the idea.

In scientific disciplines, research often implies experimentation, but research is more than mere experiments -- it means interpretation and deep understanding. For Computer Scientists, research means searching to uncover the principles that underlie digital computation and communication. A researcher must discover new techniques that aid in building or using computational mechanisms. Researchers look for new abstractions, new approaches, new algorithms, new principles, or new mechanisms.

To complete a Ph.D., each student must present results from their research to the faculty in a lengthy, formal document called a dissertation (more popularly referred to as a thesis). The student must then submit their dissertation to the faculty and defend their work an oral examination.

Relationship To Products
In some cases, the results of scientific research can be used to develop new products or improve those that exist. However, scientists do not use commercial success or potential commercial profits as a measure of their work; they conduct investigations to further human understanding and the body of knowledge humans have compiled. Often, the commercial benefits of scientific research are much greater in the long-term than in the short-term.
Research Activities
Computer Science research can include such diverse activities as designing and building new computer systems, proving mathematical theorems, writing computer software, measuring the performance of a computer system, using analytical tools to assess a design, or studying the errors programmers make as they build a large software system. Because a researcher chooses the activities appropriate to answer each question that arises in a research investigation, and because new questions arise as an investigation proceeds, research activities vary from project to project and over time in a single project. A researcher must be prepared to use a variety of approaches and tools.


A Few Questions To Ask
Many of you are trying to decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself.
1. Do you want a research career?
Before enrolling in a Ph.D. program, you should carefully consider your long-term goals. Because earning a Ph.D. is training for research, you should ask yourself whether a research position is your long-term goal. If it is, a Ph.D. degree is the standard path to your chosen career (a few people have managed to obtain a research position without a Ph.D., but they are the exception, not the rule). If, however, you want a non-research career, a Ph.D. is definitely not for you.
2. Do you want an academic position?
A Ph.D. is the de facto "union card" for an academic position. Although it is possible to obtain an academic position without a Ph.D., the chances are low. Major universities (and most colleges) require each member of their faculty to hold a Ph.D. and to engage in research activities. Why? To insure that the faculty have sufficient expertise to teach advanced courses and to force faculty to remain current in their chosen field. The U.S. State Department diplomatic protocol ranks the title "professor" higher than the title "doctor". It does so in recognition of academic requirements: most professors hold a Ph.D., but not all people who hold a Ph.D. degree are professors.
3. Do you have what it takes?
It is difficult for an individual to assess their own capabilities. The following guidelines and questions may be of help.


Intelligence:
In your college and graduate courses, were you closer to the top of your class or the bottom? How well did you do on the GRE or other standardized tests?
Time:
Are you prepared to tackle a project larger than any you have undertaken before? You must commit to multiple years of hard work. Are you willing to reduce or forego other activities?
Creativity:
Research discoveries often arise when one looks at old facts in a new way. Do you shine when solving problems? Do you like "brain teasers" and similar puzzles? Are you good at solving them? In school, did you find advanced mathematics enjoyable or difficult?
Intense curiosity:
Have you always been compelled to understand the world around you and to find out how things work? A natural curiosity makes research easier. Did you fulfill minimum requirements or explore further on your own?
Adaptability:
Most students are unprepared for Ph.D. study. They find it unexpectedly different than course work. Suddenly thrust into a world in which no one knows the answers, students sometimes flounder. Can you adapt to new ways of thinking? Can you tolerate searching for answers even when no one knows the precise questions?
Self-motivation:
By the time a student finishes an undergraduate education, they have become accustomed to receiving grades for each course each semester. In a Ph.D. program, work is not divided neatly into separate courses, professors do not partition tasks into little assignments, and the student does not receive a grade for each small step. Are you self-motivated enough to keep working toward a goal without day-to-day encouragement?
Competitiveness:
If you choose to enroll in a Ph.D. program, you will compete with others at the top. More important, once you graduate, your peers will include some of the brightest people in the world. You will be measured and judged in comparison to them. Are you willing to compete at the Ph.D. level?
Maturity:
Compared to coursework, which is carefully planned by a teacher, Ph.D. study has less structure. You will have more freedom to set your own goals, determine your daily schedule, and follow interesting ideas. Are you prepared to accept the responsibility that accompanies the additional freedoms? Your success or failure in Ph.D. research depends on it.

A few warnings:
Students sometimes enroll in a Ph.D. program for the wrong reasons. After a while, such students find that the requirements overwhelm them. Before starting one should realize that a Ph.D. is not:

Prestigious in itself
Almost everyone who has obtained a Ph.D. is proud of their efforts and the result. However, you should understand that once you graduate, you will work among a group of scientists who each hold a Ph.D. degree. (One faculty member used to chide arrogant graduate students by saying, "I don't see why you think it's such a great accomplishment -- all my friends have a Ph.D!").
A guarantee of respect for all your opinions
Many students believe that once they earn a Ph.D. people will automatically respect all their opinions. You will learn, however, that few people assume a Ph.D. in one subject automatically makes you an authority on others. It is especially true in the science communicaty; respect must be earned.

A goal in itself
A Ph.D. degree prepares you for research. If all you want is a diploma to hang on the wall, there are much easier ways to obtain one. After you graduate, you will have occasion to compare your record of accomplishment to those of other scientists. You will realize that what counts is the research work accumulated after a scientist finishes their formal education.
A job guarantee
When an economy slows, everyone can suffer. In fact, some companies reduce research before they reduce production, making Ph.D.s especially vulnerable. Furthermore, once a person earns a Ph.D., many companies will not hire that person for a non-research position. As in most professions, continued employment depends on continued performance.
A practical way to impress your family or friends
Your mother may be proud and excited when you enroll in a Ph.D. program. After all, she imagines that she will soon be able to brag about her child, "the doctor." However, a desire to impress others is insufficient motivation for the effort required.
Something you can "try" to find out how smart you are
Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. Unless you make a total commitment, you will fail. You will need to work long hours, face many disappointments, stretch your mental capabilities, and learn to find order among apparently chaotic facts. Unless you have adopted the long-range goal of becoming a researcher, the day-to-day demands will wear you down. Standards will seem unnecessary high; rigor will seem unwarranted. If you only consider it a test, you will eventually walk away.
The only research topic you will ever pursue
Many students make the mistake of viewing their Ph.D. topic as a research area for life. They assume each researcher only works in one area, always pursues the same topic within that area, and always uses the same tools and approaches. Experienced researchers know that new questions arise constantly, and that old questions can become less interesting as time passes or new facts are discovered. The best people change topics and areas. It keeps them fresh and stimulates thinking. Plan to move on; prepare for change.
Easier than entering the work force
You will find that the path to successful completion of a Ph.D. becomes much steeper after you begin. The faculty impose constraints on your study, and do not permit unproductive students to remain in the program.
Better than the alternatives
For many students, a Ph.D. can be a curse. They must choose between being at the top among people who hold a Masters degree or being a mediocre researcher. The faculty sometimes advise students that they must choose between being "captain of the B team" or a "benchwarmer" on the A team. Everyone must decide what they want, and which profession will stimulate them most. But students should be realistic about their capabilities. If you really cannot determine where you stand, ask faculty members.
A way to make more money
While we haven't heard any statistics for the past couple of years, graduate students used to estimate the "payoff" using the starting salaries of Ph.D. and M.S. positions, the average time required to obtain a Ph.D., the value of stock options, and current return on investments. For a period of at least five years that we know, the payoff was clearly negative. Suffice it to say that one must choose research because one loves it; a Ph.D. is not the optimum road to wealth.

The good news:
Despite all our warnings, we are proud that we earned Ph.D. degrees and proud of our research accomplishments. If you have the capability and interest, a research career can bring rewards unequaled in any other profession. You will meet and work with some of the brightest people on the planet. You will reach for ideas beyond your grasp, and in so doing extend your intellectual capabilities. You will solve problems that have not been solved before. You will explore concepts that have not been explored. You will uncover principles that change the way people use computers.
The joy of research:
A colleague summed up the way many researchers feel about their profession. When asked why he spent so many hours in the lab, he noted that the alternatives were to go home, where he would do the same things that millions of others were doing, or to work in his lab, where he could discover things that no other human had ever discovered. The smile on his face told the story: for him, working on research was sheer joy.



RE: A to Z about PhD - samkum2 - 03-22-2009 05:58 PM

A very very interesting thread to read
http://www.edulix.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=68175

P.S. Don't go by the title of the thread...Later lot many stuffs discussed in it Smile

Comparison of PhD in India and USA
Quote:Before giving my thoughts on this, I would like to tell everyone that I am not writing this for scaring people away from doing PhD in INDIA. But since this is edulix I hope most of the people reading this are willing to pursue their further degrees abroad. So I guess I will begin

The thought of answering this question “Why I am not doing PhD in India?” came to mind when my relatives, friends, and most shocking Teachers asked me this questions more number of times than I had imagined them to ask..

I thought answer to this question is quite obvious that why people are opting for PhD in USA than in INDIA…But I found that the knowledge about this in people is quite bleak. Thus I decided to put my thoughts about it on Edulix. Because anywhere else it will look like I am discouraging them.

Hope I am not answering something which is answered 100 times before on edulix

The Primary reason for not doing PhD here is the Quality of research: Here the quality is very low or mediocre for that matter.. I mean only few prestigious universities are doing some good quality research in India like the BARC, TIFR, IIT, IISc etc…apart from that most of them are just COPY. Yes Its simple coping someone’s work and doing it in a little different style. And that little is seriously very little.
Take my example. I Did my M.Sc. by Research from University of Mumbai. The research I did is so very much old and so much copied that I felt guilty of doing it. There was no Creativity what so ever in my research. I felt I just did quantitative work there was no quality in my work.
You will have the idea of it when you see the published papers of mine. I will just put the titles here and you will judge it yourself what a waste I am.
1. “Kinetics and Mechanism of oxidation of DL- Methionine by Quinolinium Bromochromate”

2. “ Kinetics and Mechanism of oxidation of some aliphatic aldehydes by Morpholinium Chlorochromate”

3. “ Kinetics and Mechanism of oxidation of some organic acids by Tetrakis(pyridine) silver Dichromate”

4. “Kinetics and Mechanism of oxidation of some unsaturated acids by tetrakis(pyridine) silver dichromate.
Now you will only have a fair idea of what I am saying I just changed the substrates and Oxidants every time to get a new research and a new paper published!

When it comes to doing research in the big places like BARC and places …the first problem you will face will be you will not get a single guide ready to take you as a PhD student because they generally take Post Doctoral fellows (PDFs) only. And even if they take PhD students they generally come from big universities only! People like me coming from a small college and more research experience have to first clear their written exam then an oral viva with a panel of 10 teachers and then with final oral exam with one or two professors who are interested in you. This happens very very rarely. At this point we think to do PhD from a local university and any available guide with whatever research he is doing. Even that is not Easy. Now days Guides are very few and people interested in Doing research as future are many as all of know if you wanna get a promotion you need to have more degrees.!!!

Now Lets assume I manage to get one such mediocre Guide who is doing mediocre research. First of all I am sure it will not be in Mumbai (where I am staying now) as Mumbai is dried out with guides. Most of them have 4 -5 yaers of waiting period which One can’t afford. So I go out of Mumbai and do My Phd!

Problem TWO starts now.THE GUIDE
Yes Most of these mediocre guides are all time headaches. They will make you work like a donkey!!!!! They think their research scholars (that’s what they call a PhD student here in India, Don’t know about abroad) are their non paid and free of charge available 24/7 available SERVENTS. You will do all his/her job of teacher except taking lectures (sometimes even this) You will prepare notes of his lecture. You will prepare the ppt presentation for her. You will take practical for him(in the name of you getting some experience). You will solve all the difficulties of his/her students who approach him/her. You will start feeling what the hell is she taking salary for????? In INDIA apart from this work you will also do a hell lot of personal work of your guide. Eg. Handle her bank transactions. Buy books for their children from college book stall; fill up their relative’s admission forms in start of year, get medicines for her and her family and what not! Hopefully you will the only not clean her house and toilet!

Now the research,(This could be same in USA also I don’t know) the Guide will just give you a general idea about what you are going to research in next 5 years of your life. After that for next 5 years he/she will never answer you and always tell you “ Find it out yourself” I Now feel this was good! That’s what helped me learn every single thing of my research…which a spoon feeding from my guide would not have helped as much. At the same time I also feel she could have told me “Find it out yourself FROM XYZ BOOK OR PAPER” That would have at least made life little easier! This can also be true that the guide himself might know many of your questions answers in the later years of your research. I repeat in the later part of your research. I have always felt In INDIA we need guides for signature in our thesis only! Rest they are good for nothing!

THIRD and Major problem is FUNDS
If you do have any grants or scholarships or if your professors don’t have any funds GOD bless you. You will spend like anything in research. The chemicals, repairing of instruments, traveling, Food, lodging, your professors minor expenses(which at the end of the year will look so big to you), your fees, your library fees, your internet bills everything at the end will come out to be very huge. My M.Sc. by Research was approximately 3 times costlier than a M.Sc. theory in the same subject. I can just imagine the PhD costs!
Even if you have some sort of funds it still will be very costly.

Anyways lets move ahead.. You finish your PhD after painstaking 5 years…now what? THE JOB You have two choices: First Join some industry in R and D department or QC department (Quality Control) OR start teaching. 60 % start teaching some or the other way.

Teaching: where you want to teach? Degree College or Junior College or School or Private Classes
Now if you wanna teach in Degree College: You will have to clear NAT examination (National Admission Test). It’s a compulsory exam that you must pass to teach in any degree college of India. And this exam is at least 3 times more difficult than the GRE subject test. I am not at all exaggerating here. People take at least 6 to 7 attempts to clear this exam which is equal to 3 years of your life! Till then if you are lucky you will be working on probation for mere 8000 Rs a month. (IS this what your parents would be expecting from you when you are 28 years old?)
But Yes once you have cleared that exam nothing is stopping you. Now that Six Pay commission(SPC) has come a degree college professor generally gets anywhere between 40k to 80k. Which is not at all bad. Clearing NAT also means you can not be jobless for more than 3 months. Gov. will give you some teaching job anywhere in INDIA.

If you intend to teach in Junior college or School: Hell, you will have to do B.Ed. for that. YES. You can not teach junior college or school unless yu have a B.Ed. Degree. So you will have to waste 2 years of your life after PhD in doing B.Ed. As a junior college proff. You get some where between 30k – 50k
But again if you have joined as PhD – B.Ed. you have very bright chance of becoming a HOD very soon. HOD gets about 50k – 90k as per SPC .

Teaching in Private classes is good you may get it very easily and have very good pays also. Anywhere between 500 – 1000 Rs and Hour in a reputed class and 200 – 800 in mediocre classes. But the major problem of classes is Job is never safe. You may be sacked without notice. You will be jobless overnight, if you are only depending on the classes.

The Industries: The salary and promotion part are quite good. But getting into Industry is very very difficult. You might have to wait for 2-3 years for a good appointment in RnD department. Till then what happens is people start teaching in classes. Finally they end up becoming a teacher as they will not join a industry at 20k per month starting when they are earning about 40k in classes.

Comparing it with USA:

Problem One: Quality of Research: I am sure it is much much better than India at any given point of time. Even a low ranked university is doing a better research than Indian Universities.

Problem Two : Getting into those universities and the quality of guide: Getting into US universities might be difficult but not at all impossible according to me. I have seen people with 1000 in GRE and more than 3 backlogs getting into a mediocre University of USA. I am sure he is doing a good research there. All those teachers duties you will do in USA also, but there you will be paid for the same. It is called Teacher’s assistantship and Research Assistantship there. And it will be fixed for 4 Hrs a day only! India me No Time limit kabhi bhi aur kahi bhi kam mil jayega.

Problem Three: Funds: Well that’s not a all a problem there. About 99% of PhD are funded and they have a gr8 stipend available. Anywhere between 1000$ – 2500$ per month. Which more than enough for anyone.

Problem Four: Job Scenario: Well I don’t know much about it but as what I have read on edulix and heard from seniors is that its very good for PhD students. If not anything else you can always start as PDF in which case you will be paid anywhere between 5000$ – 8000$ per month. Again more than enough to stay with your family.

I am Not Commenting much about USA as I don’t know about it as yet. (I haven’t still reached there you know) I request seniors and others in US to throw light on US senaio of PhD.

Let’s Discuss the Pros and Cons of Doing PhD in USA and in INDIA. I feel I have said quite a LOT on INDIA.

Overall what i felt was Doing PhD is US is a better choice.

Comments are welcome on this. If I have said something wrong please correct me. I again repeat I am not discouraging anyone from doing PhD in INDIA. Because Post PhD life in INDIA is good.

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Source : Why I am Not Pursuing PhD in India


RE: A to Z about PhD - praxair1 - 04-17-2011 02:31 PM

Bro...101% correct....I faced some sort of situation during my undergraduate study. Even, I've seen my friends who have scored pretty good percentile in GATE and then again didn't get through the individual exams of IIT's n IISc. It's very good to say "India has an exam system and not an education system".