Find Your Perfect PhD | DiscoverPhDs (2023)

Find Your PhD, Fast

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

(Video) The PERFECT PhD daily schedule and clever habits!

Summary

  • When looking for PhD research projects, a great place to start is with our comprehensive and up-to-date database.
  • Speak with lecturers within your area of interest about potential PhD opportunities they may have.
  • Attend Postgraduate Events. Whilst there, speak to current PhD students and career advisors to get an awareness of what PhD projects are on offer.
  • Visit the postgraduate section of university websites and the PhD Research Council section of the GOV.UK website

Finding A PhD

Searching for PhD research projects can sometimes feel like daunting process. Often, it’s difficult to know where to find a PhD position or where to even start.

To make this searching process as easy as possible for you, we’ve curated a collection of the best places to search for PhD projects. By using our recommended collection, you should hopefully gain a greater insight into where your interests lie and which programme is best suited for you.

(Video) How to stop feeling stuck during your PhD [7 easy steps]

Our Comprehensive and Up-To-Date Directory

We can’t create a list of great resources and not include ourselves! At DiscoverPhDs, our primary aim is to connect great students to great PhD projects. To enable this, we provide a comprehensive database of PhD projects offered from universities all across the UK.

We regularly add to our database to ensure you’re getting the latest opportunities and the most relevant information and programme details. On top of this, we’ve created our database to be as easy to use as possible; all our PhD listings provide a direct ‘apply’ link or contact email address of the lead supervisor. This enables you to:

  • Request further information about any aspect of the position,
  • Enquire about the specific applications process,
  • Connect directly with the supervisor

Universities Websites

Search on the website of the universities you are interested in as some many only be listing PhD research projects internally or may link you to other opportunities such as Professional Doctorate Programmes. As examples, have a look at the research pages of The University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Leicester, Sheffield University and The University of Glasgow.

Your Current Supervisor

If you’re currently undertaking a research project or dissertation as part of your undergraduate or master’s degree, it would be a good idea to speak to your current supervisor. Not only would you have already built a good rapport with them, but having worked with you they will have a good idea on what PhD positions would utilise your strengths or best interest you. In fact, a noticeable percentage of past and current PhD students came into their PhD programme because of being recommended by their undergraduate supervisor. Your supervisor will be well-connected – make sure you take advantage of these opportunities.

Tip: Don’t just limit your discussion to your own personal supervisor. All supervisors are within their field of work because they have a natural passion for research and teaching. As such, most supervisors will be more than happy to help any student who wishes to follow in their footsteps and make their own impact.

Postgraduate Events

Nearly all universities hold regular Postgraduate Fairs and Open Days. As part of these events, current postgraduate students may be on hand to share their experiences of their projects and university. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only find out what PhDs the university is offering but to find out more about their facilities, research labs and library collection, etc. Given that you will be heavily relying on these resources during your PhD, it’s important that you know what’s provided by each university. Hearing student stories about what PhD life is really like, what to expect from supervisors and some of the challenges that current students have encountered can be really useful in your decision making process.

Besides the above, career advisers may also be available at these events. Speaking to them will help you understand what you can do with a PhD, whether a PhD is right for you, what degree class you’re expected to hold and how best to prepare for research projects. Seeing as they would have helped many PhD candidates through the decision-making process before, they will provide you with some invaluable insight that you would otherwise be oblivious to.

To help bring all Postgraduate Fairs and Open Days offered across all universities together, we’ve created a helpful Postgraduate Events page which we highly recommend you check out.

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Research Councils

Research councils are nationally funded agencies which offer sponsored PhD research projects (also known as a PhD studentship). Different research councils cover different areas of research, these include:

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC),
  • The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC),
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC),
  • The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC),
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The GOV.UK website has a full list of nationally-funded research councils available online. You can find further details on these councils on the GOV.UK website.

Although our database includes PhD programmes offered by these research councils, it would be a good idea to regularly browse the website of the ones you are particularly interested in case they list some internal only. These councils play an important role in supporting and encouraging doctoral researchers and they regularly hold calls for applications for PhD funding. If you or your potential supervisor have a PhD project proposal defined but need funding, then applying to these calls may become a key first milestone in your postgraduate research journey.

For example, the EPSRC offers a Doctoral Training Partnership programme in which a research student is given funding to pursue postgraduate study with a research question that aligns with the Councils core engineering and physical sciences themes. These awards often have eligibility criteria linked to them, impacting which postgraduate research students can apply; an international student, for example, may not be able to apply to a certain UK based scholarship scheme but there are several other options that can still help you fund your doctoral research; this may involve taking out a postgraduate loan (or more specifically a postgraduate doctoral loan).

To make this searching process as easy as possible for you, we’ve curated a collection of the best places to search for a PhD. By using our recommended collection, you should hopefully gain a greater insight into where your interests lie and which programme is best suited for you.

Further Resources

As you continue your search of PhD research projects, be sure to check our our PhD advice articles, including how to prepare for your PhD application, and interviews with current and past doctoral students. Many of the people we’ve interviewed have completed degrees within a STEM discipline; they offer a wide range of advice on their individual approaches to applied research and independent study, as well as sharing some the impact their work has had. Many have continued the research of their projects within academia after finishing, whilst some have developed successful careers in industry and business sectors.

It’s worth noting that when you apply to undertake doctoral study, you may first be registered as an MPhil researcher, depending on the specific doctoral programme you apply for, officially become a full PhD student after passing an upgrade viva. At the upgrade stage, some students do decide to graduate with an MPhil research degree rather than pursuing further PhD study however this is less common.

We hope the above list will help you find the perfect PhD position and earn your doctoral degree.

(Video) 5 Tips to Find Your Ideal PhD Supervisor

If you have any recommendations besides these resources, please let us know at [emailprotected] so we can look to add it.

If you’re ready to start your search for your PhD, start now with ourPhD database.

FAQs

What does an ideal PhD candidate look like? ›

A successful PhD student is enthusiastic, passionate and has a deep interest in the subject of research. The most important characteristics of a good PhD candidate are dedication and enthusiasm. Problem-solving and finding logical solutions to problems come with a strong passion and commitment.

Is a PhD a lonely experience? ›

In this blog post, we address the popular myth that PhD students work all day and night without time for a proper social life. In fact, PhD life brings a wide variety of opportunities to make new friends and connections. Of course there will be times when a PhD feels 'lonely' for even the most enthusiastic PhD student.

What is the success rate of PhD students? ›

For one thing, the average employment rate for graduates with a doctoral degree is a whopping 97%. But, it's not just getting the PhD qualification that puts you above the rest, it's the years of experience and the skill set that you develop.

Is having a PhD rare? ›

Less than 2% of the world's population has a doctorate. According to the US Census Bureau, only 1.2% of the US population has a PhD.

Is a PhD worth it financially? ›

Having a PhD is worth almost $17k more per year than someone with the same amount of experience.
...
Regression Analysis.
95% Confidence Intervals
PhD$11,500$22,300
Manager$7,600$14,600
3 more rows

What age is the average PhD student? ›

In 2021 in the United States, 44.7 percent of doctorate recipients fell within the age bracket of 26 to 30 years old. A further 30.9 percent of doctorate recipients were between the ages of 31 and 35 years old.

What makes a strong PhD applicant? ›

In a nutshell, for a strong Ph. D. application, you need academic questions that keep you up at night and the discipline to follow the guidelines Dr. Kendrick shared, so that you can demonstrate your willingness and ability to work under supervision to answer those academic questions.

Can you fail a PhD interview? ›

Many PhDs fail their first non-academic interview by treating it like an academic interview. The worst thing you can do during a job search is work hard for months (not to mention the years it took to get your PhD) and then mess it all up in the first 90 seconds of meeting an employer.

Why PhD is so stressful? ›

Stress. With looming deadlines, large scale projects, and a huge amount of personal investment, a PhD can be extremely stressful. This is compounded by the fact that everything is always riding on you and you alone - making the highs higher and the lows, well, let's not go there.

How much sleep do PhD students get? ›

A more recent study of 2,683 graduate students (including doctoral students) gave a similar average of 6.4 hours of sleep a night 2. In a recent workshop with doctoral students, we asked them to actually track their sleep 3 for a couple of days.

What do PhD students do all day? ›

Many PhD students have about 40 hours a week of reading and classwork, plus around 20 hours a week of assistantship or lab time. And that's minimum. You may also be teaching while you're doing your dissertation.

Which PhD is most valuable? ›

25 Highest Paying Doctorate Degrees
  • Immunology.
  • Physics.
  • Aerospace Engineering.
  • Math.
  • Management.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Economics.
  • Pharmacology.
28 Oct 2022

What is the most common PhD? ›

Here are the top ten most popular PhD fields:
  • Chemistry, General. ...
  • Clinical Psychology. ...
  • Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering. ...
  • Psychology, General. ...
  • Education, General. ...
  • Physics, General. ...
  • English Language and Literature, General. ...
  • Audiology / Audiologist and Hearing Sciences.

Is PhD life stressful? ›

Doing a PhD is stressful and isolating under the best of circumstances. And in case you haven't noticed, we're not exactly in not the best of circumstances these days. Stress and anxiety run rampant among PhD students. Many of us are feeling overwhelmed.

Is it common to fail a PhD? ›

The PhD failure rate in the UK is 19.5%, with 16.2% of students leaving their PhD programme early, and 3.3% of students failing their viva.

Is a PhD harder than a doctorate? ›

For those asking, “Is a PhD higher than a doctorate?” the answer is simple: no. A PhD lies within the doctorate category, so one is not better than the other.

What is the easiest PhD to get? ›

Generally, education, humanities, and the social sciences are considered the easiest fields in which to pursue degrees.

Why PhD is so difficult? ›

Stress. With looming deadlines, large scale projects, and a huge amount of personal investment, a PhD can be extremely stressful. This is compounded by the fact that everything is always riding on you and you alone - making the highs higher and the lows, well, let's not go there.

Does a PhD guarantee a higher salary? ›

Earning a PhD does not guarantee you a high salary. Instead, it opens up your career options and gives you the opportunity to pursue higher-paying jobs.

Is 40 too old to do a PhD? ›

You have a chance for a very long career, even if you're 42 and finish your PhD at 50. That's still over 15 years before retirement age. These days, very few people stay at a job for 15 years. Rest assured that you have ample opportunity to have a meaningful career.

What age is too late for PhD? ›

I don't think any age is “too old” to start working on a doctorate. I was 46 when I started in my doctoral program. Several members of my cohort were in their late 50s or early 60s. We all graduated and even the oldest classmates proceeded to grow their careers and apply their degree - mostly in industry jobs.

How old is the youngest PhD? ›

The youngest person to be awarded a PhD is the German child prodigy Johann Heinrich Friedrich Karl Witte (born 10 July 1800; better known simply as Karl Witte), who received his doctorate from the University of Giessen, Germany, on 10 April 1814 at the age of 13 years 283 days.

What should you not do in a PhD interview? ›

Don't give too general answers. Be specific and to the point because that will show us that you are not feigning but you know what you are talking about. Don't get nervous if you think the interview is not going well. In many cases this is just your personal impression, which may be wrong.

What do PhD interviewers look for? ›

Interviewers usually seek candidates who have strong motivations for applying to a specific program. They may also want to know why you have chosen their institution instead of a similar program at another university. It is important to supply clear, specific reasons for applying for the Ph. D.

How many people quit PhD? ›

Attrition: How Much is Too Much?” published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the current Ph. D. attrition rate is approximately 50%. That means one out of every two students who start a Ph.

What percentage of PhD students fail? ›

Anywhere from a third to half of those that enroll at a PhD university will not end up graduating and finishing their dissertation. In fact, the figure of 40%-50% of failing PhD students has been fairly stable over the past three decades.

What percentage of applicants get interviews PhD? ›

While many will be cut based on mediocre essays, lackluster resumes, bad recommendations, or simply a lack of originality, 30 to 50% of applicants will make it to the interview round.

What is the hardest PhD to get? ›

Top 10 hardest PhD Degrees to Earn
  • Boarded Medical Doctor: After spending about eight years to earn your first degree, you are faced with between three and six years of residency. ...
  • PhD in Mathematics: You can't imagine the equations that were solved to gain a higher education degree in mathematics, not to talk of a PhD.

What is PhD syndrome? ›

The “pull him/her down” or the “PhD” syndrome is the Ghanaian colloquial term for malicious envy, the arousal of primitive urges to destroy the good fortune of someone simply because one lacks what the envied other has.

Do PhD students have a life? ›

The daily life of a PhD student can be quite a departure from what you've experienced as an undergraduate or Masters student. You'll have much more independence and little to no 'taught' elements. Your average week will likely involve a similar amount of PhD study hours to a full-time job.

How do you survive a PhD life? ›

15 Tips on Surviving Your PhD
  1. Establish a routine you can follow. It's crucial to stay on track. ...
  2. Start writing from day one. ...
  3. Create a positive community. ...
  4. Build effective networks. ...
  5. Put money woes to rest. ...
  6. Make sound nutrition your ally. ...
  7. Add exercise to your routine. ...
  8. Learn how to deal with rejection.
19 Dec 2018

Which PhD takes the shortest amount of time? ›

It focuses less on application than an Ed. D., but the same types of careers would be possible with either of these two degrees. In terms of time to completion, the shortest program option is likely the EdD as there's often no dissertation required.

Do I need bed if I have PhD? ›

Ed is compulsory for PhD degree holder in order to teach in schools? Yes, you need to have B. Ed course to appear for CTET examination. CTET is Central Teacher Eligibility Test.

Is a PhD difficult? ›

A PhD is not just three years of intense study, but something that will affect your whole life. “It is a long project that is very different to any academic work you'll have done before,” says Alicia Peña Bizama, Life Tools programme manager at the University of Reading. Psychological problems aren't uncommon.

Can an average student do PhD? ›

A PhD program in a good school tends to have the best students, and this is self-evident and tautological. In high school, you have peers of all abilities and aptitudes, and hence the curriculum is geared towards the average person, and hence almost anyone can complete it successfully.

How many hours a day should a PhD student study? ›

If you have good time management skills, you put in 40-50 hours/wk and treat the PhD as you would any other job. If you have poor time management skills, it's more like 0-100 hours/wk, at least until you learn better time management skills.

What is a good salary after PhD? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $398,000 and as low as $40,500, the majority of Doctorate salaries currently range between $77,000 (25th percentile) to $171,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $322,500 annually across the United States.

Is a PhD worth more than a masters? ›

Both master's degrees and PhDs lead to increased salaries upon graduation. While PhDs usually earn a bit more than those with a master's degree, in some fields, the wages are identical, meaning that no financial benefit is gained from going on to a PhD.

Is PhD a prestigious degree? ›

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the top of academic achievement and the most prestigious doctorate. The holder of this degree is recognised as an independent researcher, an expert with in-depth knowledge of the chosen field of study, and a professional with a diverse set of transferrable abilities.

Which PHDS are most in demand? ›

  • PhD in Engineering.
  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.
  • Ph.D. in Physics.
  • Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.
  • Ph.D. in Computer Science.
  • Ph.D. in Economics.
  • Ph.D. in Information Assurance.

How many papers make a good PhD? ›

candidate should be capable of carrying out independent research, and it should be made a policy that every candidate of a doctorate should have published at least 2 papers focusing on specific directions of their theses before they are allowed to do their final examinations.

Is a PhD lonely? ›

Feeling lonely and isolated during your PhD is a common and normal reaction to the set up of most PhD programs. However, that does not mean it is an inevitable and unchangeable part of the PhD experience. There are lots of ways that you can connect with others and find ways to tackle feelings of isolation.

Will a PhD hurt my career? ›

The idea that getting a PhD is going to hurt your chances of getting an industry job is a misconception. In fact, most PhDs go on to get jobs in industry and most get paid more than non-PhDs in the same position. The only way a PhD will hold you back from getting an industry job is if you use it as an excuse.

Which PhD is most useful? ›

Top PhD Programs
  • PhDs Mechanical Engineering.
  • PhDs Economics.
  • PhDs Mathematics.
  • PhDs Electrical Engineering.
  • PhDs Philosophy.
  • PhDs Chemistry.
  • PhDs Engineering.
  • PhDs History.

Does it matter what your PhD is in? ›

Where you do your PhD does matter a whole lot. The location where the school is located, the facilities within the school, the cost of study as well as living, and many factors need to be considered in making a decision.

What is the easiest PhD to attain? ›

Examples of the easiest PhD programs: PhD Psychology. PhD Counselor Education and Supervision. PhD Business Management.
...
Online DBA program focuses:
  • DBA in General Management.
  • DBA in Organizational Leadership and Development.
  • DBA in Strategy and Innovation.

What is the easiest field to get a PhD in? ›

Easiest Ph.

Generally, education, humanities, and the social sciences are considered the easiest fields in which to pursue degrees.

Which is the toughest PhD? ›

1. Boarded Medical Doctor: After spending about eight years to earn your first degree, you are faced with between three and six years of residency. This is the most competitive field in education which means you must have passed through a very rigorous process to earn this certificate.

In which subject PhD is toughest? ›

The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy.

Which PhD has highest salary? ›

25 Highest Paying Doctorate Degrees
  • Immunology.
  • Physics.
  • Aerospace Engineering.
  • Math.
  • Management.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Economics.
  • Pharmacology.
28 Oct 2022

Why are PhD stipends so low? ›

Speaking from a science and engineering perspective, all academics, including PhD students, postdocs, and professors, are underpaid for how much they work and what they do. The reason is that there is very little public demand for it, and thus there is limited funding allocated toward academic research.

Is an online PhD respected? ›

If you go to a quality school, many employers recognize and value an employee who obtains a PhD, no matter if it is online or at a traditional school. However, if you are still wary about the reputation of a particular school, then ask the students who have graduated from the program.

What is the best age to start a PhD? ›

The best age to get a PhD is three years ago. The second best time is now. In reality, the best age to get a PhD is whenever you are able to complete it. The earlier you finish your PhD, the more of a life and career you'll have with it, but there is no optimal age.

What is the most common age to get a PhD? ›

In 2021 in the United States, 44.7 percent of doctorate recipients fell within the age bracket of 26 to 30 years old. A further 30.9 percent of doctorate recipients were between the ages of 31 and 35 years old.

Which PhD takes shortest? ›

With an average completion time of 36 months, the online Doctorate in Public Policy program is considered one of the shortest doctorate programs available.
...
Best Schools Offering The Online Doctorate in Public Policy:
  • Liberty University.
  • Valdosta State University.
  • Walden University.

Can an average person get a PhD? ›

So the answer is: Yes, if you have the necessary other talents, even average intelligence will allow you to get an PhD.

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