top of page

Lecture 2 PhD Goals and Criteria
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." - Socrates 

2.5. How can one to obtain a PhD?

Getting a PhD requires a significant investment of time and effort, but it can be a rewarding experience for those who are passionate about their field of study and want to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge. To get a PhD, one must complete the following steps:

  1. Finish required coursework: Depending on the field of study, students will need to complete a set of coursework in order to fulfill the requirements of the PhD program.

  2. Pass both the written prelim and oral exams: After finishing coursework, students will typically take a written and oral exam to assess their knowledge and understanding of the field of study.

  3. Chose a research advisor and determine research direction: Once exams are completed, students will need to select a research advisor and determine the direction of their research for their PhD thesis.

  4. Perform research work towards PhD thesis: Next, students will engage in research work and gather data that will form the basis of their thesis.

  5. Publish appropriate number of manuscripts and attend professional conferences: To build their reputation and make valuable connections, students may need to publish their research in academic journals and attend professional conferences to present their findings.

  6. Write thesis: Based on their research, students will write their thesis, which is a comprehensive examination of the research question.

  7. Defend thesis: The final step is to defend the thesis in front of a panel of experts in the field.


The defense is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their mastery of the field and their ability to defend their research findings.

2.6. How one can track the progress during the PhD pursuit?

Tracking the progress of a PhD pursuit involves regularly assessing your research work and personal development. You should ask yourself questions such as: "Do I make enough and efficient progress in my research?", "Am I improving my hard and soft skills?", "Am I gaining more skills?", "How do I compare to peers in other universities?", and "Do my current activities align with my career goals?" By regularly reflecting on these questions, you can identify areas where you may need to improve and make adjustments to ensure you are on track to achieving your PhD and reaching your career goals. It is also helpful to seek feedback from your advisor, colleagues, and peers, as well as attending conferences and workshops to stay current in your field and gauge your progress against others. More specifically, the following aspects should be considered: 

  1. Research Progress: It is important to track the progress of research work to ensure that you are making enough progress in a given time frame. This can be done by keeping a record of the research work done, and setting achievable goals to ensure steady progress.

  2. Skills Development: A PhD program provides ample opportunities to develop both hard and soft skills. Regularly evaluating your skills can help you identify areas where you need improvement and determine if you are making progress.

  3. Gain New Skills: A PhD program also provides opportunities to gain new skills. Keep track of the new skills you acquire, and ensure that they align with your career goals.

  4. Comparison with Peers: Regularly comparing your progress with peers in other universities can provide valuable insights into your own progress.

  5. Career Goals: Your PhD journey should align with your career goals. Regularly evaluating your progress can help you ensure that your current activities match the requirements of your career goals.

2.7. When is a time for one to complete a PhD?

Completing a PhD degree is a significant accomplishment that can prepare one for a variety of careers in academia, research, and industry. During the program, students have the opportunity to contribute to original research, become experts in their field of study, and develop a range of skills that are highly valued by employers. These skills include the ability to use scientific methods to make unbiased decisions, write manuscripts and reports fluently, give professional presentations, communicate effectively with others, handle multiple tasks, take ownership of projects, lead groups of people, and collaborate well with others.

In addition to developing these practical skills, completing a PhD program can also help one establish good habits such as strong time management, attention to detail, and a commitment to lifelong learning. These habits are essential for success in a wide range of careers and can help one make the most of their PhD degree.

2.8. What are the skills that a PhD shall develop?

As a PhD student, you are expected to have strong research skills, including the ability to read, understand, and critically evaluate literature in your field. You must also have a solid understanding of the theories and experiments related to your research area, as well as the ability to analyze and interpret data. Additionally, strong writing and presentation skills are essential, as you will need to effectively communicate your research findings in manuscripts, reports, and professional presentations. These skills are what make up the hard skills required for a successful PhD career, and it is important to continuously develop and improve them throughout your studies.

A PhD requires not only mastery of technical and academic knowledge but also strong soft skills. These skills can include: having good habits to maintain focus and motivation, managing multiple tasks effectively, clear and concise communication, working well with others in collaboration, exhibiting leadership qualities, and networking to build professional relationships. These soft skills are essential to succeed not only in academia but also in many professional fields. They can enhance one's ability to perform research and make original contributions to the body of knowledge, as well as allowing one to effectively communicate and collaborate with peers and colleagues. Developing strong soft skills can help a PhD candidate to succeed in their research, as well as in their future career endeavors.

bottom of page