Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to enter in Science and Engineering Ph. D. program in an American University - Part II

Yesterday I tried to compile general admission process for a Science and Engineering Ph. D. program in an American University. However there were few points missing and a couple of explanations needed about the American university system as compared to the Indian university system.

  • In addition to your GPA, GRE score and statement, there may be 2-3 letters of recommendations from your professors/teachers needed with your application package. American higher education system in this way is very different than the Indian higher education system. They take recommendation letters seriously at all level (including for the real employment). It it would be India, you can work hard for an exam, get maximum marks in your entrance exams (NET, GATE etc) and can be happy that you will be admitted at the best institute according to your score, but most of the American Institutes believes that single day performance can not judge you and your ability to pursue a tough and competitive professional program. This is true for any other professional programs (law, business or medical) as well. High IQ or high score is an important factor which tells that you have intelligence to carry on a professional program, but they still want to know more about you, and your general approach towards learning and your pursuance and persistence. This way admission is very subjective in an American University as compared to the Indian system, but it seems that overall outcome is better, as ultimately those students who have hard-working, problem-solving approach and persistence have more chances of success than a high scorer one.
  • American Ph. D. program is in general 5+ years, with committee exams at 1 & 1/2 years, 3 years, 5 years and final defense. In some cases it may take more then 5 years to actually graduate. Students are assigned to a Ph. D. committee comprising of 3-5 faculty members of the same or different department depending upon the research projects. This committee evaluates progress of the student during the committee exams and suggests ways to improve if there is a problem. In most cases, Ph. D. and defense committee is local and publications is a way to show that student's research is progressing ok. This is different then European Ph. D. where Ph. D. is considered an extension of masters program and is only for 3 years. In Europe, it is good if student have a publication, but not necessary for qualifying of Ph. D. exams.
I will add more things as it will come to me, and I am also asking my academic friends from very different backgrounds to tell their side of the story; how they pursue their own academic career and lets see whether all these stories and my general guideline can serve as a purpose of providing wider pictures to the students who wants to pursue a degree in academia abroad.

1 comment:

control valves said...

Thanks for the helpful information. Hope to hear more from you.