Decided to pursue a PhD abroad? That is a golden opportunity to develop yourself personally as well as academically. However, do you know how to go about securing a doctoral degree from foreign universities? Applying to foreign universities can be a little overwhelming. To help you answer this, we have created a detailed guide to apply for a PhD program in universities abroad.
Why opt for a PhD abroad?
Although you probably have made your mind why you will apply for a PhD abroad, we will tell you how else it will benefit you.
Pursuing a course like a PhD from a university abroad helps you learn a new language that will benefit you and make your CV attractive. It might also help you if you decide to settle in that country and work there.
Undertaking a doctoral program in a foreign country opens up a lot of new opportunities for you in the field of your research. The specific country you have chosen may also offer more generous funding, lower tuition fees, better laboratory equipment and more experienced supervisors. Not only would these factors result in a more enjoyable PhD, but they could also contribute to more excellent career prospects for you as a professional. For example, you will likely have more opportunities to write publications, attend conferences and collaborate with other researchers.
All this will help you become a better professional and a respectable researcher in the field of your study.
Is it difficult to apply for a PhD abroad?
The answer to this is a no, only if you are well knowledgeable and keen to explore many new things while applying for your university.
Different countries, universities and governments have varying procedures for applying for an international student. Relatively the process is somewhat similar, and we will discuss it in this blog.
The application process can be mainly categorized into three parts:
- The documents you need to provide
- The prerequisite tests you need to sit
- Communication with the potential supervisor before applying
Although we will provide a basic outline for the application, we recommend you keep a check on the university’s official website for date sheets and other important notifications.
The general process for application for PhD in a foreign university
When applying for PhD, most universities, regardless of where they are located, will require the following:
- Online application: An electronic form will be provided by the university, which you will be asked to fill and attach documents and pay the application fee if applicable.
- Academic transcripts: Most foreign universities require scanned copies of your transcripts. You will be asked to submit hard copies only on admission to the university.
- CV: This should further include details of your previous study, undergraduate degree and any experiences relevant to the field you are applying to.
- Statement of purpose: A formal letter portraying why you are applying for the PhD and why you think you are suitable for the project
- Letters of recommendation: Your undergraduate degree course tutor or a teacher who knows you well may provide this.
Language test requirements
If your PhD is to be taken in English and English is not your first language, universities require you to take an English proficiency test. Moreover, some of the well-known English proficiency tests are:
- IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems)
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
- PTE (Pearson Test of English)
The cut-off for these tests is different based on the university and also on the field of research. For example, research projects related to English Literature or Law will require relatively high scores whilst projects in Science and Engineering will require slightly lower scores.
Will I need a student visa?
The requirement of a student visa will depend on which country you are applying to.
- In the United Kingdoms, applicants from outside Europe will need a Visa Tier 4 (Student) for a full-time PhD, as part-time PhDs are restricted in the UK.
- However, in Germany, students will not require a student visa but will require a residence permit.
- In the United States of America, applicants will need to hold an F-1 Student Visa.
- In Asia, the requirements differ in the country you are applying to. For example, in China, you will require an X1 Student Visa, whereas you will require a Student Pass in Singapore.
Due to a significant difference in visa requirements for different countries, we recommend checking this case-by-case basis. One can do this by checking the country’s official government website.
How to apply for PhD in European countries?
For applying to the United Kingdoms universities, there are two ways in which you can apply. You can either apply directly through the university’s website or UCAS Postgraduate system.
Before applying to a PhD program in Spain, Italy and Germany, you will first need to pass a pre-application process. This involves checking that your qualifications meet their eligibility requirements. Before undergoing this pre-screening process, it would be beneficial to first speak to your government.
Once you have submitted your application, the university will review it and contact you for an interview through skype or telephone.
How to apply for a PhD in the USA?
International students who wish to pursue a doctoral program from the United States of America must take an additional exam to apply in the PhD program. The exams are GRE and GRE subject test. Further, the GRE subject test will be on the field of study chosen by you.
Securing a seat in American universities for a PhD program is considered relatively tough. So, applying to more than one university is recommended.
How to apply for PhD in Australia?
For a PhD in Australia, the first requirement is to find a potential supervisor. Moreover, being an international student, it compulsory for you to find a supervisor for applying.
After further reviewing your application and that of your supervisor, if the university thinks you are a suitable candidate, they will shortlist you for an interview over skype or telephone.
PhDs in Australia start at any point in the year, so applying three to four months in advance is advised.
We truly hope your queries are solved on how to apply for a PhD program in abroad universities.
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