How to do a doctorate if it did not happen right after graduation?


Making a PhD goes to the head of many people. Perhaps you belong to them. But some time has passed since graduation. You do not have connections with the university, you do not know how to do it all. we will try to explain it in the easiest way, but also to warn against difficulties. For starters, before you make this important life decision, answer a few questions:

For what?

Why do we need this doctorate? we want to explore a field of knowledge, design new solutions, solve problems, increase our chances on the labor market. Maybe “catch” at the university or prove something to yourself or others?

Perhaps you will answer that every reason is good, but think about whether it is worth making such a big effort (including financial) when you can write many other scenarios that lead to similar goals.

However, if your motivation is high, answer the next question:

What interests me? What experience do we have – what do we feel like an expert in? What would we like to explore?

When writing an application to open a doctoral thesis, you must attach a list of scientific papers, creative professional works or artistic output along with a record of artistic works, appropriate for the type of work and documentation of their public presentation and information on activities promoting science or art (from the relevant regulation of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education) . These may be, for example, publications, projects, patents, etc., therefore, it is worth thinking about your doctoral thesis beforehand.

How do we want to do a PhD?

If the selected thematic area is not specified, or if you do not have too many experiences or achievements, then it is better to go to extramural doctoral studies (so-called third degree studies), which last 4-8 semesters and are paid. During studies, you will learn about a research workshop that will be very useful in writing a thesis.

For those who want to get a job right away, there is an individual path – bypassing doctoral studies.

Where to do a PhD? How to get a promoter?

Usually there is a promoter (supervisor) first and he is directing us to his or her own unit (department, institute). we turned to Professor, with whom we had a pedeutology class at the doctoral seminar with such a request, and she simply agreed to it.

The basis is the opening of the wire, made by the university unit to which our application went along with a summary of the achievements we wrote earlier, the subject and the concept of work (instead of work, the wording should be used: doctoral dissertation) and the promoter’s proposition. The board of the unit initiates a doctoral thesis by way of a resolution and appoints a supervisor. From now on, you can say with full responsibility: “I’m doing a PhD.”

What is the concept of work with? The concept of work is a description of what you want to do in your doctoral thesis: you define the research problems and hypotheses, indicate the scope of research, and in the case of project work you characterize what you will design.

You’re getting to work

A doctorate carried out individually requires a lot of self-discipline and good planning, so be sure to start with a plan in which you set the important milestones of this project. If you did not devote enough time to “study” your subject area before opening the doctoral thesis – at this point it is worth devoting it. It will be a pity to change it fundamentally after writing the work chapter, because we have not read something about the key concept.

Then we only have to carry out the planned tasks step-by-step, consistently and unpardoniously when the mail from the supervisor checking the chapter does not come for three weeks (our record is an eight-month wait for a letter from a professor). By the way, it’s worth remembering that we do not make calls to the supervisor, and the emails do not start with “hello”. In the world of dormitories, academic titles are habitually honored and therefore we remember them in communication.

However, it is not the promoter, but the fierce battle … with himself, is the greatest eneour of the doctoral student. Procrastination, excess occupational duties, home storms – all this reflects the implementation of the doctoral schedule. Really. And the remorse that accompanies you every time you go to the cinema or party.

How much does the average time elapse from opening the conduit to obtaining a PhD degree? With this is different. Leaders probably after a year, maybe two have finished work, but there are also those who have been doctoring for many years. And probably there is not a time limit here. we wrote our doctorate for 3.5 years.


When you overcome all the difficulties, complex work, the promoter checks over the rating, the reviewers work on the review, it’s time for an exciting finish. Why is it exciting? Well, because doctoral examinations are interesting for many reasons. There seem to be 3 exams: from the basic discipline corresponding to the subject of the doctoral thesis, from the additional discipline (here the philosophy prevails) and the modern foreign language. Exams are commission-based and their composition is strictly defined. Only the passing of all exams and obtaining positive reviews opens the door to work defense. But before we cross this threshold, let’s stop at the reviews about which the legends are circulating. Some promoters recommend that doctoral students read the reviews of other people’s work in order to be somewhat resistant to what might wait in the future.

we also suggest reading a few reviews in the doctoral theses, which are placed on the website of the Central Commission for Degrees and Titles, first of all to see the structure of the review, see what small things the reviewer can pay attention to, and that – despite many critical remarks – most often the review ends with the wording about the fulfillment of relevant requirements by the work. There are also very positive reviews and sometimes enthusiastic reviews.

The defense itself is open and practically everyone can come to it, because remember that it will not be possible to keep it secret – faculties, institutes have a statutory duty to notify about such an entity event in other universities.

While defending is usually accompanied by a supportive family or smiling friends, but often people who teach, who are really familiar with the topic, take part in the defense – that’s why you need to know your work very well and be prepared for uncomfortable questions.

The exam itself begins with the presentation of the main character, followed by the presentation of the work done by the doctoral student (autoreferat), and after that the reviews are read. There is no fear of experiencing any surprise, because the doctoral student knows the content of the review well before the deadline for defense, so after reading the opinion by the reviewer, he can calmly refer to the allegations, questions or recommendations. The most difficult one begins only after that – the chairman of the committee manages a discussion during which questions are asked. Depending on the rules prevailing in a given committee, all questions are asked immediately and the doctoral student quickly tries to make a note of them, and then in any order to answer them, or after each question receives time to answer. In our case it was a series of 16 questions from individual professors, which we could hardly write, but after the presentation of the answer, there were no additional questions.

After the discussion, the committee holds a meeting and after a certain period of time informs the doctoral student about the adoption of the resolution on accepting the defense.

Now only congratulations and thanks. The closest are with the flower bouquets for the promoter and reviewers, or flowers for the whole commission. Then a mandatory snack. It is worth thinking about this before – reserve a table in a restaurant or order catering (we chose the second option). Usually, the next, but also the promoter or other members of the commission are invited for such a dinner.

At the end of the words, a few about finances. Proverbial sweat and drunkenness, sacrifices – this is not the only cost of a doctorate, in this venture one should calculate a lot of money, not including travels for consultations, exams and libraries – at the moment it is about $ 1,000-1200 one-off payment.

But the next day after the defense you can breathe deeply, order a business card with Dr. before the name and start a new chapter of your life.

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