Is a PhD worth it? Well, simple answers are no longer popular and therefore a more detailed response is due. The detailed answer is: It depends! It depends on your attitude and aptitude to long hours of hard work, curiosity, frustration, and love for one’s discipline. A PhD in the US is definitely worth it is what most people who have earned a PhD in the US will tell you. Faculty (most) are passionate about their discipline and are great mentors. Lab facilities in the U.S. are usually top notch and research is often cutting-edge. US faculty are active in their disciplines and their reputation depends on the careers their PhD students pursue. So, all in all it is a great investment. But if you want to earn a PhD just to earn “more money” it may not be a good idea. The number one question to ask is: Do I love my major or discipline enough to dedicate my lifetime to it? If your answer is yes, you have crossed the first barrier. Here is a great website from Purdue (www.purdue.edu) that answers most questions students considering a PhD have: http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/dec/essay.phd.html
The PhD is a terminal degree. This means it is the highest degree that one can earn in a given field. Phd degrees from the US are highly sought after by international students all over the world. US institutions are therefore very selective in their selection process.
The path to a PhD is usually Bachelors-Masters-PhD. Some universities will allow you to combine a Masters and PhD. In other words, you will be admitted into a Master's program and into a doctoral program.This is not that common, but such programs are available.
PhD is not for the faint-hearted. It takes 4 to 5 years simultaneously to earn a PhD. It is hard work. It requires a love and passion for research. It requires dedicating ones life to the pursuit of knowledge in a given field. If this is you, then step forward. The US offers PhD in every imaginable discipline and embraces students from all over the world who love learning!
Dr. Uma Gupta is the CEO of PlanetGPA (www.planetgpa.com) that helps international students interested in study abroad.