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PhD in the USA for Indian Students | Specialisations & More

Updated on 15 April, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

A PhD program from the United States of America is recognized worldwide as a prestigious doctoral degree that speaks of the applicant’s research and academic excellence. PhD in the USA for Indian students, especially from the top-ranked universities, enables research of high-quality and consequently brighter career prospects.

 However, admission to PhD programs in the USA can be quite competitive. Indian students must meet all the eligibility requirements as set by the university’s admission panel. As far as PhD in the USA for Indian students’ cost is concerned, tuition waivers are granted to most of them, and a stipend is disbursed during the entire duration of the course.

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But what are the other benefits of pursuing a doctoral degree from the USA? Let us learn:

Why study PhD in the USA?

 Here are the main reasons why a PhD in the USA for Indian students is beneficial:

●      Flexible structure: The PhD curriculum in the USA is flexibly designed so that the students get ample time to understand the fundamentals of the subject before commencing the research work.

●      Scholarship and financial aids: PhD students in the USA can apply for financial grants with guaranteed fee waivers. Not only this but the meritorious PhD students can also qualify to receive a fixed stipend during the course.

●      World-class universities: A PhD program from a globally ranked university in the USA has its perks. The prestigious universities in the USA are known for innovation, research, academic excellence, and a plethora of post-study opportunities. The globally recognized universities like Stanford University, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer fully-funded PhD programs.

●      Research and innovation: In terms of research and innovation, the USA is the world leader. A PhD fellow can research with a trained professional to gain work experience and opportunities. It helps in broadening the depth of their knowledge and skills. The USA’s PhD curriculum and research facilities produce some of the most known research professionals every year.

●      Student life: The country has an open, multicultural environment that benefits international students. In the USA, the education system is very flexible. The universities allow students to participate in various extracurricular activities actively.

●      Career opportunities: Upon finishing the research degree, one can explore varied career opportunities such as positions in academia, adviser to policymakers, business consultant, entrepreneurs, or anything they may want.

Popular PhD specializations in the USA:

· PhD in Statistics

· PhD in Accounting and Finance

· PhD in Aerospace Engineering

· PhD in Management

· PhD in Public Health

· PhD in Mathematical Modelling

· PhD in Applied Linguistics

· PhD in Psychology

· PhD in STEM Education

· PhD in History

· PhD in Microbiology

· PhD in Computer Science

· PhD in Astronomy

Cost of PhD in the USA for Indian students

The cost of studying for a PhD in the USA for an Indian student can range between $28,000 to $40,000 (INR 20,97,999 – INR 29,97,142) per year. However, a big portion of the tuition fee may be waived off for deserving students.

The fee structure for private and public sector universities varies, with the latter being almost free. PhDs can be funded either by national research councils or by universities themselves.

On the other hand, private universities can be more expensive unless applicants qualify for a scholarship or funding opportunity.

Public institution fees: Public universities grant up to 100% funding options to deserving students. Some of the top public universities like Stanford University and Harvard University offer complete funding to PhD students. The funding is done for the first five years of the PhD program, after which the students need to search for external funding sources if they haven’t been able to complete the course. 

Private institution fees: The average fees charged by private institutions ranges between $28,000 – $40,000 (INR 20,97,999 – INR 29,97,142) per year for a PhD program in the USA. The private universities do have funding options, but only for meritorious students. Private universities do not offer 100% funding for PhD programs.

Listed below are some of the reputed universities that offer fully-funded PhD programs –

● California Institute of Technology

● Harvard University

● Stanford University

● Yale University

● University of California

● University of Michigan

● Massachusetts Institute of Technology

● Rice University

Career opportunities after PhD in the USA:

A PhD degree holder can opt for the below-mentioned career opportunities as per their field of study-:

● College professor

● Management consultancy, finance, or aeronautics

● Scientists

● Medical research centres

● Data analytics

● Analyst in chemical research centres and laboratories

● Managers

● Head of the service in geological centres

● Head of the department

● Assistant professor

● Clinical care

● Psychologist

● Senior web developer

● Patent lawyer

● Chemical engineering, patents, or food technology

● Publishing

● Event management and digital marketing

● Pharmaceuticals, genomics, or clinical care

● Medical scientist

● Accountancy, data science, or consultancy

● Public sector

● Science communication

● Construction manager

● Mineral surveying

● Law official

● Administrative officer

● Hospital administrator

● Advisory positions in government sectors

● Civil service

● Content production

● Senior editor

● Investment banking

● Public engagement and officer

● Social worker

● NGO head

● Public health officer

● Epidemiologist

● Technical writing

● Advisor

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Eligibility for PhD in the USA for Indian students

 A good academic record: The minimum academic qualification for PhD programs in the USA is a full-time master’s degree. Applicants need to have exceptional academic grades in undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The requirement of marks will vary from one university to another, depending upon the rank and specialization.

Work experience: Academic projects, internships, and training records are important for PhD aspirants. Applicants with industry exposure and work experience are usually given preference. You will need to show your work experience certificates during admission. 

Documents: As per the USA government, every student applying for PhD in the country needs to present original documents. The list includes transcripts, application form, fee payment slip, letter of recommendation, visa, passport, internship documents, statement of purpose, and a detailed curriculum vitae.

English language proficiency test: To get admission into PhD courses, the American education system and immigration services need a valid English language proficiency test score. The non-native English-speaking students need to take an IELTS or TOEFL examination to prove their English language skills.

Statement of Purpose: A Statement of purpose (SOP) is an important document required by the admissions committee to filter applicants. It reflects the purpose and goals of a PhD student in a unique manner. There are chances that many students may have the same degrees and scores, but the SOP will be unique for all.

Letter of Recommendation: Letter of recommendation (LOR) is an independent assessment of the applicant’s potential. Universities require a minimum of two letters of recommendation.

Standardized test scores: Apart from the English language proficiency test, applicants need to take other standardized entrance examinations for PhD programs. GRE or GMAT scores are important to pursue PhD programs in the USA.

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upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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