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2024 Best Grad Schools in the United States for Doctorate Degrees

There are lots of options to choose from today when trying to decide which grad school to attend. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Best Doctor's Degree Colleges ranking is part of that endeavor.

What's on This Page: * Our Methodology

  • Best Graduate Schools List

what to get a phd in

Choosing the Best Grad School for You

Quality Badge

Our analysis looked at 691 grad schools in the United States to determine which ones have the best doctorate degree programs. Our ranking for the best grad schools is based on objective factors. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another. The following gives more info on what goes into our ranking factors and why we consider those factors.

Higher Than Average Earnings

To determine the overall quality of a graduate school, one factor we look at is the average early-career salary of those receiving a doctorate degree from the school. Recent students who earned a doctorate degree in the United States entered the job market making an average of $75,260 while those in the top 20 schools on our list made an average of $88,513.

Taking Out Student Loans

Graduate students may also take on a lot of debt while working on their doctorate so we factor that into our rankings as well. The average amount taken out in student loans for graduates at a particular school may be crippling for those who earn less than average wages after graduation.

More Ranking Factors That Are Important

We also analyze a number of other factors in addition to average post-graduation earnings and average student debt when coming up with our yearly Best Doctorate Degree Schools ranking. On a broad level, other factors that go into our rankings include such things as the demand of the school, the student body caliber, if the school has online options, and the educational resources provided by the school.

We go into more detail on these factors on our graduate school ranking methodology page.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Not quite ready to work on your doctorate? Check out our Best Master's Degree Schools ranking.

Top Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States

Learn more about these excellent grad schools below:

MIT crest

Our analysis found Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be the best grad school for doctorate degrees in the United States in this year’s ranking. MIT is a private not-for-profit institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 568 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from MIT go into careers with an average salary of $115,303 during the early years of their career.

Learn More About Massachusetts Institute of Technology

UPenn crest

The excellent doctorate degree programs at University of Pennsylvania helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the United States. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,254 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from UPenn make an average of $97,555 a year.

Learn More About University of Pennsylvania

Stanford crest

A rank of #3 on our Best Doctorate Degrees in the United States list means Stanford University is a great place for students working on their degree. Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Stanford, California. It awarded 1,105 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, doctorate degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $98,295 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Stanford University

Harvard crest

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Harvard University. The school came in at #4 in the United States on this year’s best doctorate degree schools ranking. Harvard is a private not-for-profit institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school has a large population, and it awarded 1,444 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from Harvard go into careers with an average salary of $95,158 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Harvard University

Princeton crest

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Princeton University. The school came in at #5 in the United States on this year’s best doctorate degree schools ranking. Princeton, New Jersey is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out doctorate degrees to 293 students in 2020-2021.

Full Princeton University Report

Carnegie Mellon crest

Carnegie Mellon University landed the #6 spot on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 333 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Full Carnegie Mellon University Report

Northwestern crest

Northwestern University landed the #7 spot on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Evanston, Illinois is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out doctorate degrees to 1,028 students in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, doctorate degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $93,954 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Northwestern University

UChicago crest

University of Chicago landed the #8 spot on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. University of Chicago is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Chicago, Illinois that handed out 755 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from UChicago make an average of $96,200 a year.

Learn More About University of Chicago

Rice crest

Rice University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Rice is located in Houston, Texas and has a medium-sized student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 207 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

Learn More About Rice University

USC crest

University of Southern California did quite well in the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #10. Located in Los Angeles, California, the large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,914 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from USC make an average of $87,196 a year.

Learn More About University of Southern California

UC Berkeley crest

University of California - Berkeley ranked #11 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. UC Berkeley is a large public school situated in Berkeley, California. It awarded 1,187 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Graduates with a doctorate degree from UC Berkeley make an average of $88,876 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on University of California - Berkeley

Vanderbilt crest

Vanderbilt University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit institution located in Nashville, Tennessee. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 787 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Vanderbilt make an average of $91,182 a year.

Learn More About Vanderbilt University

Georgetown crest

Georgetown University did quite well in the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #13. Georgetown is a large private not-for-profit school situated in Washington, District of Columbia. It awarded 1,014 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Graduates with a doctorate degree from Georgetown make an average of $105,462 per year during the early years of their career.

Learn More About Georgetown University

Yale crest

Yale University did quite well in the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #14. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, the fairly large private not-for-profit school awarded 742 diplomas to qualifed doctorate degree students in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from Yale go into careers with an average salary of $91,187 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Yale University

Teachers College crest

Teachers College at Columbia University did quite well in the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #15. Teachers College is a small private not-for-profit school situated in New York, New York. It awarded 185 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Graduates with a doctorate degree from Teachers College make an average of $78,856 per year during the early years of their career.

Full Teachers College at Columbia University Report

Duke crest

Duke University came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Located in Durham, North Carolina, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 949 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Graduates with a doctorate degree from Duke make an average of $92,967 per year during the early years of their career.

Full Duke University Report

Columbia crest

Columbia University in the City of New York landed the #17 spot on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Columbia is a large private not-for-profit school situated in New York, New York. It awarded 1,502 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Columbia make an average of $102,938 a year.

Learn More About Columbia University in the City of New York

Bentley crest

Bentley University did quite well in the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #18. Bentley is located in Waltham, Massachusetts and has a medium-sized student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 1 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

Full Bentley University Report

Suffolk crest

Suffolk University landed the #19 spot on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. This medium-sized private not-for-profit school is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and it awarded 351 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from Suffolk is $56,355 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Suffolk University

Cornell crest

Cornell University landed the #20 spot on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Cornell is a private not-for-profit institution located in Ithaca, New York. The school has a large population, and it awarded 777 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from Cornell is $107,405 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Cornell University

Georgia Tech crest

With a ranking of #21, Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus did quite well on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Atlanta, Georgia is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out doctorate degrees to 577 students in 2020-2021.

Full Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Report

Brown crest

Brown University ranked #22 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Providence, Rhode Island, and it awarded 293 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from Brown is $60,843 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Brown University

WUSTL crest

Washington University in St Louis came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. WUSTL is located in Saint Louis, Missouri and has a fairly large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 742 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from WUSTL make an average of $72,507 a year.

Learn More About Washington University in St Louis

Notre Dame crest

University of Notre Dame did quite well in the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #24. Notre Dame, Indiana is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out doctorate degrees to 422 students in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Notre Dame make an average of $78,016 a year.

Read full report on University of Notre Dame

Caltech crest

With a ranking of #25, California Institute of Technology did quite well on the 2024 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Caltech is located in Pasadena, California and has a small student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 184 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from Caltech go into careers with an average salary of $59,996 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on California Institute of Technology

Rest of the Top 50 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

NYU Crest

Narrow Doctorate Degree Schools by Region

Rocky mountains, middle atlantic, great lakes, new england, plains states, far western us, other u.s. territories, rest of the top 15% doctorate degree schools in the united states.

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Doctorate Degree Schools ranking:

More Rankings

Bachelor's degrees, returning adults, master's degrees.

More Rankings >

Notes and References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ( IPEDS ) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s ( College Scorecard ).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies .

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what to get a phd in

What Can You Get a PhD in? [Doctorate Guide]

What can you get a PhD in? This question is frequently asked by people who want to expand their knowledge and unlock new career paths by earning a doctoral degree.

What Can You Get a PhD in

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You can earn a PhD in a wide variety of fields, ranging from anthropology to zoology. This guide explores some of the most popular types of PhDs, associated careers, and factors to consider when selecting an online PhD program.

What Can You Get a PhD In?

Colleges and universities offer doctorate programs in a broad range of disciplines, so aspiring PhD students have many options.

The best PhDs to get depend on your professional goals, interests, and previous education. Here are ten of the most common PhDs that people pursue.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

  • Online PhD in Anthropology
  • Online PhD in Biology
  • Online PhD in Business
  • Online PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Online PhD in Computer Science
  • Online PhD in Education
  • Online PhD in English
  • Online PhD in Psychology
  • Online PhD in Nursing
  • Online PhD in Physical Therapy

The program that’s best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

PhD in Anthropology

Museum curators with PhD in Anthropology degree

You can deepen your understanding of anthropological research methods and theories with a PhD in Anthropology.

Many programs allow doctoral students to specialize in a subfield, such as archeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. Courses vary by program but typically cover data analysis, field research methods, and public archeology.

Graduates who earn this degree may go on to work as college professors, forensic anthropologists, and museum curators.

PhD in Biology

Biotech professionals with PhD in Biology degree

A PhD in Biology prepares students to contribute new knowledge to the biological sciences. Students can focus on various areas of specialty, including computational biology, ecology, and genetic epidemiology.

These programs often have interdisciplinary curricula that allow students to study advanced biological concepts and research methods. Course subjects may include biochemistry, contemporary biology, molecular neuroscience, and statistics. Current professionals work in bioinformatics, biotech, education, healthcare, and other industries.

PhD in Business

Business consultant discussing with business owners

A PhD in Business trains business leaders and researchers. Students learn how to use advanced financial models and strategies to solve complex business issues.

Business PhD programs frequently teach subjects like accounting, consumer behavior, industrial organization, and microeconomics. Additionally, they cover research methods like econometrics and statistical analysis.

Graduates can use their business knowledge and skills to become business consultants, C-suite executives, economists, and professors.

PhD in Clinical Psychology

Medical psychologist in a session with patient

You can enrich your understanding of the human psyche with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. This degree focuses on researching mental health issues and psychological science. Students also learn how to apply their knowledge in clinical settings.

Typically, courses cover adult psychopathology, clinical interviewing, professional ethics, and psychological assessment. Students may also be required to complete clinical practicums. Graduates often pursue careers as child psychologists, neuropsychologists, and medical psychologists.

PhD in Computer Science

Senior software engineer & chief technology officer discussing

A PhD in Computer Science allows students to expand their knowledge of advanced computer systems and theories.

Curricula often cover a broad range of topics, like algorithms, data management, and random computing. Additionally, this degree trains students to conduct cutting-edge research in subfields of computer science, such as artificial intelligence and cryptography.

Graduates frequently work as chief technology officers, computer and information research scientists, and senior software engineers.

PhD in Education

Professor guiding his students

If you want to research educational approaches and theories, you might consider a PhD in Education. This academic degree trains students to develop new learning methods and promote more effective teaching.

Common courses include advanced qualitative methodology, educating diverse learners, and instructional design. Also, many students specialize in higher education, literacy, special education, and other niches. Current professionals with this degree often work in teaching, administrative, and research positions in colleges and K-12 schools.

PhD in English

Technical writers & editors reviewing paperworks

A PhD in English gives students the opportunity to interpret, theorize, and teach literature, film, and other types of media.

Courses cover literature from a variety of cultures, genres, and periods, such as children’s literature and Victorian literature. Moreover, these programs often promote interdisciplinary research that engages with history, psychology, and other fields. This degree can help you qualify for a position as a college professor, editor, or technical writer.

PhD in Psychology

Psychologist in a session with a patient

A PhD in Psychology prepares students to conduct independent research on human cognition, behavior, and mental processes.

Students also learn how to implement clinical research methods and design experiments with human subjects. This research-intensive degree covers subjects like affective science, developmental psychology, professional ethics, and history and systems of psychology.

Additionally, many programs include clinical practicums. Graduates frequently work as academic researchers, clinical psychologists, and market researchers.

PhD in Nursing

Clinical researcher discussing with a nurse

A PhD in Nursing gives students a strong theoretical foundation in healthcare delivery and nursing science.

Standard course topics may include grant writing, leadership for nurse scientists, and methods in clinical research. This degree also trains students to apply advanced research methods to develop innovative approaches to patient care and improve healthcare policies.

A PhD in Nursing can unlock careers in clinical research, health policy, and nonprofit organizations.

PhD in Physical Therapy

Physical therapist providing assessment to a patient

A PhD in Physical Therapy allows students to research the science of physical therapy and educate others about the latest approaches to treating ill, injured, and disabled patients.

The curriculum typically addresses subjects like applied physiology, movement science, and prosthetics. Students also learn how to treat patients in clinical settings. This degree helps prepares students for specialized physical therapy careers in acute care, oncology, sports, and other areas.

How to Choose a PhD Program

Friends checking on PhD Programs online

The right PhD program for you aligns with your goals and sets you up for academic and professional success.

These considerations can help you compare online PhD programs :

  • Faculty reputation . Prestigious faculty can assist with networking and connect you with exciting professional opportunities, such as presenting at top conferences.
  • Funding opportunities . Many PhD programs offer complete funding packages, which may include stipends and other benefits.
  • Placement rates . Programs that place alumni in tenure-track academic jobs and high-paying industry positions may provide excellent career support.
  • Research areas . It’s strategic to look for a program that offers courses and extracurricular activities related to your interests. For instance, an English PhD program with speculative fiction courses might be ideal if you want to study science fiction writers.

Additionally, you can contact current PhD students to get a sense of the program’s culture and learn about their experiences.

Do You Need a PhD to Be a Professor?

Professor discussing to his class

You don’t always need a PhD to become a professor . The requirements vary by institution and position.

Some colleges hire people with master’s degrees and relevant industry experience to teach freshman-level courses. For instance, someone with an MBA and several years of work experience might teach undergraduate finance courses.

Schools that require a terminal degree may also accept a doctorate degree from an accredited university, even when it’s not a PhD. A professional doctorate degree focuses on practical applications of knowledge, while a PhD emphasizes original research.

How Hard Is It to Get Into a Ph.D. Program?

PhD degree students researching together

If you want to learn how to get a PhD, you can start by researching admissions criteria for online programs in your field. Requirements vary by program, so some schools may be more difficult to get into.

Here are some common admissions requirements:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field
  • GRE scores (only some schools require them)
  • CV or resume
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample
  • Interview with the admissions committee

The specific requirements influence how challenging it is to get into a particular program, so it’s beneficial to research the criteria ahead of time.

What Is the Easiest PhD to Get?

PhD students doing their group research works

The difficulty level of any PhD is highly subjective. But choosing a quality PhD program can increase the likelihood that you finish your degree on schedule.

A PhD program with these qualities can help facilitate your success:

  • Classes that align with your research focus
  • Knowledgeable faculty who enjoy mentoring graduate students
  • Full-funding packages
  • Student support services, like mental health counseling
  • Professional development workshops
  • State-of-the-art research facilities
  • Clear program milestones

Additionally, you may finish your doctoral degree faster. A program with less requirements makes it one of the easiest PhDs to get such as fewer credit hours or doesn’t include a dissertation component.

What Are Some of the Highest Paying PhD Degrees I Can Get?

Highest Paying PhD Degrees

Many careers that require an advanced degree have lucrative median salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , here are the median salaries of ten high-paying careers often pursued by people with PhDs:

  • Physicists — $142,850
  • Computer and information research scientists — $136,620
  • Pharmacists — $132,750
  • Political scientists — $128,020
  • Economists — $113,940
  • Mathematicians — $112,110
  • Medical scientists — $99,930
  • Physical therapists — $97,720
  • Clinical and counseling psychologists — $90,130
  • Postsecondary business teachers — $88,790

Many factors can affect salaries and job availability, including geographic location, skills, work experience, and your PhD program’s reputation.

Does It Matter Where You Get Your PhD?

students getting PhD degrees

The institution you choose for your PhD can impact your academic performance, career trajectory, and personal life.

Choosing a program that offers financial support can give you more time to focus on your studies and develop marketable skills. Additionally, you may find it easier to conduct and publish innovative research with access to leading faculty and top facilities.

Employers often consider a school’s reputation when considering job candidates, so selecting a prestigious program could boost your chances of landing a preferred position.

Earning Your PhD Degree Online

Woman earning her PhD Degree online

What can I get a PhD in? Colleges and universities offer a broad range of doctoral programs in numerous disciplines. These degrees enable you to study advanced concepts in your chosen field and immerse yourself in the world of academic research.

Graduates use their PhDs to pursue a variety of careers in academia, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. Many jobs that require graduate degrees offer lucrative wages and other benefits, such as academic tenure.

If you want to build your expertise and perform ground-breaking research, you can begin your journey by researching online PhD programs from accredited universities.

what to get a phd in

  • Harvard Business School →
  • Doctoral Programs →

PhD Programs

  • Accounting & Management
  • Business Economics
  • Health Policy (Management)
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Technology & Operations Management

Students in our PhD programs are encouraged from day one to think of this experience as their first job in business academia—a training ground for a challenging and rewarding career generating rigorous, relevant research that influences practice.

Our doctoral students work with faculty and access resources throughout HBS and Harvard University. The PhD program curriculum requires coursework at HBS and other Harvard discipline departments, and with HBS and Harvard faculty on advisory committees. Faculty throughout Harvard guide the programs through their participation on advisory committees.

How do I know which program is right for me?

There are many paths, but we are one HBS. Our PhD students draw on diverse personal and professional backgrounds to pursue an ever-expanding range of research topics. Explore more here about each program’s requirements & curriculum, read student profiles for each discipline as well as student research , and placement information.

The PhD in Business Administration grounds students in the disciplinary theories and research methods that form the foundation of an academic career. Jointly administered by HBS and GSAS, the program has five areas of study: Accounting and Management , Management , Marketing , Strategy , and Technology and Operations Management . All areas of study involve roughly two years of coursework culminating in a field exam. The remaining years of the program are spent conducting independent research, working on co-authored publications, and writing the dissertation. Students join these programs from a wide range of backgrounds, from consulting to engineering. Many applicants possess liberal arts degrees, as there is not a requirement to possess a business degree before joining the program

The PhD in Business Economics provides students the opportunity to study in both Harvard’s world-class Economics Department and Harvard Business School. Throughout the program, coursework includes exploration of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, probability and statistics, and econometrics. While some students join the Business Economics program directly from undergraduate or masters programs, others have worked in economic consulting firms or as research assistants at universities or intergovernmental organizations.

The PhD program in Health Policy (Management) is rooted in data-driven research on the managerial, operational, and strategic issues facing a wide range of organizations. Coursework includes the study of microeconomic theory, management, research methods, and statistics. The backgrounds of students in this program are quite varied, with some coming from public health or the healthcare industry, while others arrive at the program with a background in disciplinary research

The PhD program in Organizational Behavior offers two tracks: either a micro or macro approach. In the micro track, students focus on the study of interpersonal relationships within organizations and the effects that groups have on individuals. Students in the macro track use sociological methods to examine organizations, groups, and markets as a whole, including topics such as the influence of individuals on organizational change, or the relationship between social missions and financial objectives. Jointly administered by HBS and GSAS, the program includes core disciplinary training in sociology or psychology, as well as additional coursework in organizational behavior.

Accounting & Management  

Business economics  , health policy (management)  , management  , marketing  , organizational behavior  , strategy  , technology & operations management  .

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Getting a Ph.D. in Psychology

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

what to get a phd in

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

what to get a phd in

Verywell / Evan Polenghi

Ph.D. vs. Psy.D.

Job opportunities, earning a degree, specialty areas, alternatives.

Getting a Ph.D. in psychology can open up a whole new world of career opportunities. For many careers paths in psychology-related career paths, a doctoral degree is necessary to obtain work and certification. A Ph.D. is one option, but it is not the only educational path that's available to reach some of these goals.

A Ph.D., or doctor of philosophy, is one of the highest level degrees you can earn in the field of psychology . If you're considering pursuing a graduate degree, you might be wondering how long it takes to earn a Ph.D. in psychology . Generally, a bachelor's degree takes four years of study. While a master's degree requires an additional two to three years of study beyond the bachelor's, a doctoral degree can take between four to six years of additional graduate study after earning your bachelor's degree.

Recently, a new degree option known as the Psy.D. , or doctor of psychology, has grown in popularity as an alternative to the Ph.D. The type of degree you decide to pursue depends on a variety of factors, including your own interests and your career aspirations.

Before deciding which is right for you, research your options and decide if graduate school in psychology is even the best choice for you. Depending on your career goals, you might need to earn a master's or doctoral degree in psychology in order to practice in your chosen field. In other instances, a degree in a similar subject such as counseling or social work may be more appropriate.

A doctorate in psychology is required if you want to open your own private practice.

If you want to become a licensed psychologist, you must earn either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in clinical or counseling psychology.

In most cases, you will also need a doctorate if you want to teach and conduct research at the college or university level. While there are some opportunities available for people with a master's degree in various specialty fields, such as industrial-organizational psychology and health psychology , those with a doctorate will generally find higher pay, greater job demand, and more opportunity for growth.

In order to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, you need to first begin by earning your bachelor's degree. While earning your undergraduate degree in psychology can be helpful, students with bachelor's degrees in other subjects can also apply their knowledge to psychology Ph.D. programs . Some students in doctorate programs may have a master's degree in psychology , but most doctorate programs do not require it.

After you’ve been admitted to a graduate program, it generally takes at least four years to earn a Ph.D. and another year to complete an internship. Once these requirements have been fulfilled, you can take state and national exams to become licensed to practice psychology in the state where you wish to work.

Once you enter the graduate level of psychology, you will need to choose an area of specialization, such as clinical psychology , counseling psychology, health psychology, or cognitive psychology . The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits graduate programs in three areas: clinical, counseling, and school psychology.   If you are interested in going into one of these specialty areas, it's important to choose a school that has received accreditation through the APA.

For many students, the choice may come down to a clinical psychology program versus a counseling psychology program. There are many similarities between these two Ph.D. options, but there are important distinctions that students should consider. Clinical programs may have more of a research focus while counseling programs tend to focus more on professional practice. The path you choose will depend largely on what you plan to do after you complete your degree.

Of course, the Ph.D. in psychology is not the only graduate degree option. The Psy.D. is a doctorate degree option that you might also want to consider. While there are many similarities between these two degrees, traditional Ph.D. programs tend to be more research-oriented while Psy.D. programs are often more practice-oriented.

The Ph.D. option may be your top choice if you want to mix professional practice with teaching and research, while the Psy.D. option may be preferred if you want to open your own private psychology practice.

In the book "An Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology," authors John C. Norcross and Michael A. Sayette suggest that one of the key differences between the two-degree options is that the Ph.D. programs train producers of research while Psy.D. programs train consumers of research. However, professional opportunities for practice are very similar with both degree types.

Research suggests that there are few discernible differences in terms of professional recognition, employment opportunities, or clinical skills between students trained in the Ph.D. or Psy.D. models. One of the few differences is that those with a Ph.D. degree are far more likely to be employed in academic settings and medical schools.

Social work, counseling, education, and the health sciences are other graduate options that you may want to consider if you decide that a doctorate degree is not the best fit for your interests and career goals.

A Word From Verywell

If you are considering a Ph.D. in psychology, spend some time carefully researching your options and thinking about your future goals. A doctoral degree is a major commitment of time, resources, and effort, so it is worth it to take time to consider the right option for your goals. The Ph.D. in psychology can be a great choice if you are interested in being a scientist-practitioner in the field and want to combine doing research with professional practice. It's also great training if you're interested in working at a university where you would teach classes and conduct research on psychological topics.

University of Pennsylvania; School of Arts and Sciences. Information for applicants .

American Psychological Association. Doctoral degrees in psychology: How are they different, or not so different?

U.S. Department of Labor.  Psychologists . Occupational Outlook Handbook .

Norcross JC, Sayette MA. An Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology (2020/2021 ed.) . New York, NY: The Guilford Press; 2020.

Davis SF, Giordano PJ, Licht CA. Your Career in Psychology: Putting Your Graduate Degree to Work . John Wiley & Sons; 2012. doi:10.1002/9781444315929

US Department of Education. Bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by sex of student and discipline division: 2016-17 .

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Ph.D. Commencement robing Martin West and Christopher Cleveland

Additional Information

  • Download the Doctoral Viewbook
  • Admissions & Aid

The Harvard Ph.D. in Education trains cutting-edge researchers who work across disciplines to generate knowledge and translate discoveries into transformative policy and practice.

Offered jointly by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Ph.D. in Education provides you with full access to the extraordinary resources of Harvard University and prepares you to assume meaningful roles as university faculty, researchers, senior-level education leaders, and policymakers.

As a Ph.D. candidate, you will collaborate with scholars across all Harvard graduate schools on original interdisciplinary research. In the process, you will help forge new fields of inquiry that will impact the way we teach and learn. The program’s required coursework will develop your knowledge of education and your expertise in a range of quantitative and qualitative methods needed to conduct high-quality research. Guided by the goal of making a transformative impact on education research, policy, and practice, you will focus on independent research in various domains, including human development, learning and teaching, policy analysis and evaluation, institutions and society, and instructional practice.   

Curriculum Information

The Ph.D. in Education requires five years of full-time study to complete. You will choose your individual coursework and design your original research in close consultation with your HGSE faculty adviser and dissertation committee. The requirements listed below include the three Ph.D. concentrations: Culture, Institutions, and Society; Education Policy and Program Evaluation; and Human Development, Learning and Teaching . 

We invite you to review an example course list, which is provided in two formats — one as the full list by course number and one by broad course category . These lists are subject to modification. 

Ph.D. Concentrations and Examples

Summary of Ph.D. Program

Doctoral Colloquia  In year one and two you are required to attend. The colloquia convenes weekly and features presentations of work-in-progress and completed work by Harvard faculty, faculty and researchers from outside Harvard, and Harvard doctoral students. Ph.D. students present once in the colloquia over the course of their career.

Research Apprenticeship The Research Apprenticeship is designed to provide ongoing training and mentoring to develop your research skills throughout the entire program.

Teaching Fellowships The Teaching Fellowship is an opportunity to enhance students' teaching skills, promote learning consolidation, and provide opportunities to collaborate with faculty on pedagogical development.

Comprehensive Exams  The Written Exam (year 2, spring) tests you on both general and concentration-specific knowledge. The Oral Exam (year 3, fall/winter) tests your command of your chosen field of study and your ability to design, develop, and implement an original research project.

Dissertation  Based on your original research, the dissertation process consists of three parts: the Dissertation Proposal, the writing, and an oral defense before the members of your dissertation committee.

Culture, Institutions, and Society (CIS) Concentration

In CIS, you will examine the broader cultural, institutional, organizational, and social contexts relevant to education across the lifespan. What is the value and purpose of education? How do cultural, institutional, and social factors shape educational processes and outcomes? How effective are social movements and community action in education reform? How do we measure stratification and institutional inequality? In CIS, your work will be informed by theories and methods from sociology, history, political science, organizational behavior and management, philosophy, and anthropology. You can examine contexts as diverse as classrooms, families, neighborhoods, schools, colleges and universities, religious institutions, nonprofits, government agencies, and more.

Education Policy and Program Evaluation (EPPE) Concentration

In EPPE, you will research the design, implementation, and evaluation of education policy affecting early childhood, K–12, and postsecondary education in the U.S. and internationally. You will evaluate and assess individual programs and policies related to critical issues like access to education, teacher effectiveness, school finance, testing and accountability systems, school choice, financial aid, college enrollment and persistence, and more. Your work will be informed by theories and methods from economics, political science, public policy, and sociology, history, philosophy, and statistics. This concentration shares some themes with CIS, but your work with EPPE will focus on public policy and large-scale reforms.

Human Development, Learning and Teaching (HDLT) Concentration

In HDLT, you will work to advance the role of scientific research in education policy, reform, and practice. New discoveries in the science of learning and development — the integration of biological, cognitive, and social processes; the relationships between technology and learning; or the factors that influence individual variations in learning — are transforming the practice of teaching and learning in both formal and informal settings. Whether studying behavioral, cognitive, or social-emotional development in children or the design of learning technologies to maximize understanding, you will gain a strong background in human development, the science of learning, and sociocultural factors that explain variation in learning and developmental pathways. Your research will be informed by theories and methods from psychology, cognitive science, sociology and linguistics, philosophy, the biological sciences and mathematics, and organizational behavior.

Program Faculty

The most remarkable thing about the Ph.D. in Education is open access to faculty from all Harvard graduate and professional schools, including the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Learn about the full Ph.D. Faculty.

Jarvis Givens

Jarvis R. Givens

Jarvis Givens studies the history of American education, African American history, and the relationship between race and power in schools.

Paul Harris

Paul L. Harris

Paul Harris is interested in the early development of cognition, emotion, and imagination in children.

Meira Levinson

Meira Levinson

Meira Levinson is a normative political philosopher who works at the intersection of civic education, youth empowerment, racial justice, and educational ethics. 

Luke Miratrix

Luke W. Miratrix

Luke Miratrix is a statistician who explores how to best use modern statistical methods in applied social science contexts.

what to get a phd in

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor studies the economics of education, with a particular interest in employer-employee interactions between schools and teachers — hiring and firing decisions, job design, training, and performance evaluation.

Paola Uccelli

Paola Uccelli

Paola Ucelli studies socio-cultural and individual differences in the language development of multilingual and monolingual students.

HGSE shield on blue background

View Ph.D. Faculty


The following is a complete listing of successful Ph.D. in Education dissertations to-date. Dissertations from November 2014 onward are publicly available in the Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH) , the online repository for Harvard scholarship.

  • 2022 Graduate Dissertations (265 KB pdf)
  • 2021 Graduate Dissertations (177 KB pdf)
  • 2020 Graduate Dissertations (121 KB pdf)
  • 2019 Graduate Dissertations (68.3 KB pdf)

Student Directory

An opt-in listing of current Ph.D. students with information about their interests, research, personal web pages, and contact information:

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Student Directory

Introduce Yourself

Tell us about yourself so that we can tailor our communication to best fit your interests and provide you with relevant information about our programs, events, and other opportunities to connect with us.

Program Highlights

Explore examples of the Doctor of Philosophy in Education experience and the impact its community is making on the field:

Teacher standing happily in front of class

Reshaping Teacher Licensure: Lessons from the Pandemic

Olivia Chi, Ed.M.'17, Ph.D.'20, discusses the ongoing efforts to ensure the quality and stability of the teaching workforce

Maya Alkateb-Chami

Lost in Translation

New comparative study from Ph.D. candidate Maya Alkateb-Chami finds strong correlation between low literacy outcomes for children and schools teaching in different language from home

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How to Choose a PhD Program

Successfully completing a doctoral program requires commitment and perseverance. the most important step in this process is to consider whether academic life is right for you and what kind of doctoral program — from discipline to environment — will be the best fit for your goals and preferences., we asked our current students and faculty, “what is key to making this decision” following are some questions they suggested you ask yourself, and answer, in order to select the appropriate program..

First, a basic description of a doctoral program:

As a doctoral student, you will spend the first two years of your program exploring areas of interest through coursework. In the two to three years that follow, you will select and pursue your own research topic, one which will make an original contribution to the existing body of knowledge in your field. Your original research culminates in an extensive written document known as the doctoral dissertation.

General Questions

If you are considering your career options, answering these questions will help you clarify your goals and ambitions — and determine if a doctoral program is the right decision for you.

  • Am I the type of person who is suited for a career in academia? Am I independently motivated to answer questions that I find interesting?
  • Do I want to spend the rest of my career doing research, as well as reading and talking about it?
  • Do I have a strong enough academic background in order to apply and be accepted by the program?
  • Is now the time for me to pursue a PhD?
  • What are my goals after completing the PhD?

Program Questions

If you know you want to pursue a doctoral degree, answers to these questions will help you select the right program for you.

  • How many faculty are working with students?
  • How many faculty members are doing research in areas related to my own interests?
  • What opportunities are there to work with a variety of faculty and to be exposed to different approaches in research (modeling, work with data, experiment design)?
  • Am I technically prepared to learn to do research in this field?
  • Most PhD students change their vision of research and many change their intended concentration area after joining the program and being exposed to a variety of research styles. Does my program of choice offer flexibility needed to do so?
  • Is there financial support for students to attend academic conferences to present their own research?
  • What opportunities are there for students to participate in colloquia, both as an attendee and as a presenter?
  • What is the department’s placement record? What types of jobs do graduates take and where?
  • Finally, how well do graduates of the program perform in the long term (contributing to the field through publication, practice of management and earning tenure)?

Hear From Our Doctoral Community

From undergrad to phd, the diverse skill set you need to become a professor, from phd student to colleague.

  • Guide to Applying for Graduate School

The process of preparing for and applying to a PhD program can be overwhelming. The University of Pennsylvania has created this webpage to help prospective PhD students think through the process so you can put together a strong application.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree one may obtain within a particular field of study. This ranges from studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields; Social Science fields such as Education, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology; as well as Humanities fields such as English, History, Music, Philosophy, and more. The PhD degree aims to prepare people to think critically, develop research, and produce scholarship that may be used for further research or implementation . The PhD historically prepared students to take on faculty roles in colleges and universities, and that is still the goal for many students pursuing the PhD. However, today the PhD is a sought-after degree in many other industries including pharmaceutical research, arts organizations and other nonprofits, publishing, government policy, big tech, finance, and more.

  • Who can apply to a PhD program?   PhD education is available to people from various educational, occupational, socioeconomic, and demographic backgrounds.
  • Who should get a PhD?  People interested in uncovering new ideas, solutions, or processes within a specific area of study through conducting independent research.
  • Why is it important for diverse candidates to become PhD holders?   Our world thrives on heterogeneous ideas and experiences, which is why it is indispensable to include students with diverse perspectives in our PhD programs. These students will generate important and original research.

Most PhD programs are fully funded, meaning that for a specific number of years, the program will pay for your tuition and fees and health insurance, as well as provide you with a stipend for living expenses . The structure of this funding varies by field. Below is an outline of general funding information as well as trends according to field of study.

  • Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships: Part-time service that provides teaching and research training opportunities within your area of study.
  • Funding packages provided through faculty research grants: Many STEM fields fund students through research grants awarded to faculty. In these cases, students perform research alongside the faculty. 
  • Fellowships: Internal or external merit-based funding. Some fellowships require an application while others are given via nomination. Educational institutions typically have a resource listing fellowship opportunities. Winning a competitive fellowship looks good on your resume.
  • Grants: Requires an application with supporting materials of either your grades, scholarly work, and/or anticipated research. These are available through internal and external means. Grants greatly vary so be sure to always understand the requirements. Educational institutions typically have a resource listing grant opportunities. Winning a competitive grant looks good on your resume.
  • Employment: For example, serving as a residential advisor, on-campus jobs, etc. Some PhD programs restrict additional employment, so be sure to check before applying for jobs.
  • The funding opportunities described here often can be combined.

Choosing a school or program that provides the most potential funding may be a challenging decision. The value of the same amount of funding will differ depending on the cost of living in different geographic locations. Admitted applicants should investigate cost-of-living tools (available on the web) and be sure to understand how their funding will be structured. Ask questions when you are admitted, such as: 

  • Could you share more about your program’s funding mechanism?
  • For how long is funding guaranteed? How does that compare to the average time-to-completion? Historically, what percentage of students have received funding beyond the guaranteed funding package?
  • Does funding cover tuition, fees, books, health insurance?
  • Does the funding rely on teaching, research, or other service? How much and for how long? 

Choosing a program for your studies is a personal decision that should reflect not only your research interests, but your work style, and interests outside of the classroom. Here we have identified five key tips to consider when selecting schools. 

  • Ask about which programs are strong in your area of interest, which have high completion rates, and which have career outcomes that align with your goals. 
  • Explore the websites of the professional academic associations in the field(s) that interest you. Many will have a directory of doctoral programs and other resources for graduate students. For example, see the American Economic Association’s list of graduate programs and their preparing for graduate school page .
  • Conduct a general internet search with terms related to your research interest.
  • Determine your geographic and personal preferences. Does the area meet your community needs? Is it important that the university aligns with your sociopolitical values? Do you prefer a large city or a smaller/college town? Is there a particular region(s) that has better access to resources needed to conduct your research?
  • Access your current or former university career center. These services are often still available for former students!
  • As you narrow your choices, try to identify at least 3 faculty in the programs of interest with whom you’d like to study. Also note how many of them have tenure. If relevant, research which of those faculty are taking on advisees in your year of matriculation.
  • Read articles from faculty with similar research interests.
  • Note the number of awards, publications, and service activities of faculty.
  • Identify research opportunities funded by both your program and university at large.
  • Connect with current and former students in the program for informational interviews.
  • Connect with campus Diversity Offices.
  • Whenever possible, before submitting your applications, make an appointment to visit the campuses and department(s) that interest you.
  • Use  LinkedIn  to see what graduates of your program are doing and how they are involved in their communities.
  • Estimate your feasible cost of living by geographic location and compare to the funding package offered.
  • Consider availability of health insurance, childcare, housing, transportation, and other fringe benefits.
  • Connect with a local bank or your prospective university’s financial services office for budgeting, savings, and other financial wellness advice.
  • Research the career outcomes for PhD graduates from the institutions that interest you in your specific field.
  • Your First Year in a Ph.D. Program
  • What Does Academic Success Mean and How to Achieve it?  (STEM)
  • Pathways to Science  (STEM)
  • 7 Advantages PhDs Have Over Other Job Candidates  (Industry)
  • During your undergraduate/master’s education, you should pursue coursework and/or research that will prepare you for the higher expectations of a PhD program; for example, taking a research methods course, pursuing a summer research experience, or conducting research with a professor at your home institution.
  • Identify instructors who could write a letter of recommendation. Share with those instructors your interest in doctoral studies; faculty can be excellent resources for advice as well as recommendations!
  • Experiences outside of higher education can also strengthen your PhD application. These may range from project management to volunteer work.
  • Develop soft or hard skills. A soft skill that is most useful from the first day of your PhD program is networking. This is necessary not only for meeting other students but also to find collaborators with similar research interests and selecting faculty for your dissertation committee. Learning how to negotiate will also serve you well when approaching collaborative projects. Hard skills related to your field might include learning statistical analysis software, economic theory, a foreign language, or search engine optimization. In short, identify a few soft and hard skills that you can familiarize yourself with prior to your program’s start date.
  • Finally, prepare by identifying leading researchers and practitioners in your field , exploring peer-reviewed literature and/or publications, and gain familiarity with research methods.
  • Typically, PhD applications are due 10-12 months in advance of the program’s start date (i.e. apply in November to start the following September). A good rule of thumb is to begin your application process 6 months before the deadline. 
  • The availability of reduced application fees or fee waivers varies and sometimes depends on financial status and/or experiences (AmeriCorps, National Society of Black Engineers, attending certain conferences, etc.). If you are interested in a reduced fee or waiver, reach out to the program coordinator for details.
  • Be sure to address all the specific questions/topics in the statement prompt. 
  • Clearly state why you want to pursue a PhD.
  • Propose your research interest.
  • Identify the faculty you’d like to study under. 
  • Discuss the unique qualities/experiences you offer to the program/school.
  • Outline what you hope to do with your degree.
  • Ask for recommendation letters early in the process, at least 2-4 weeks before the deadline. A good letter takes time to write!
  • Provide recommenders with your resume, information about the program, your statement of purpose and/or information about your research interests and research goals.
  • Consider your current/former instructors, supervisors, colleagues. These should be people who can speak to your work ethic, academic abilities, and research interests.
  • Test scores (i.e. TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, etc.) may or may not be required.
  • All transcripts including those for coursework completed abroad and transfer credits. Some programs require official transcripts, which take longer to procure.
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Writing sample (field dependent): Include a graduate-level sample and update any statements, statistics, etc. as needed. It is highly encouraged that you edit your previous work.
  • Diversity statement: Many institutions offer an optional short statement where students can expand on their diverse backgrounds and experiences that may contribute to the diversity interests/efforts of the school.
  • Dress professionally, even if the interview is virtual. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit but dress pants/skirt and a blouse/button down shirt would be appropriate.  
  • Develop an engaging elevator pitch, a 30-60 second summary of your research interests and what you hope to gain by becoming a student at that particular university. Practice your pitch with a career counselor, faculty advisor, or friends, and ask for honest feedback.
  • Prepare 2-3 questions to ask during the interview. These could include questions about program expectations, the experience and success of their PhD students, and (academic/financial/mental health) support for PhD students.
  • Some interview programs will include multiple activities including a social event. Be sure to maintain a professional attitude: do not drink too much and keep conversation on academic/professional topics.
  • This is also your opportunity to decide whether this campus is a good fit for you.
  • Academia Insider  is a good resource. 

Unlike undergraduate and master’s level education, coursework is just one component of the degree. A PhD comes with additional expectations: you must independently conduct scholarly research in your field of study, train in specific activities such as teaching or lab/field research, pass “milestone” requirements along the way, such as comprehensive exams, and complete the process by writing a dissertation. Furthermore, some fields require you to write multiple articles (number varies by field/program) for conference presentation and/or peer-reviewed publication.

There are other important elements as well:

  • Student/Advisor relationship. This is one of the most valuable relationships you can have as a PhD student. Your faculty advisor not only assists you with learning how to approach your research topic, but also typically serves as the lead supervisor of your dissertation research and writing, and ideally mentors you throughout the PhD experience. The selection process of choosing your advisor varies so be sure to know what is expected of you as a student and what is expected of the faculty member. Whenever possible, it is important to align your personality and work style with that of your faculty advisor. Many universities publish expectations for the PhD student/faculty advisor relationship;  AMP’ed  is Penn’s guide.
  • Other relationships: Your faculty advisor is far from the only important person during your PhD career. Other faculty members will also serve on your dissertation committee and be potential mentors. Students in your program can also provide good advice and guidance along the way.
  • Coursework: Most programs have a number of required courses all students must take regardless of research interests. Once you have finished this requirement, the classes you choose should closely align with your research topic. Choose courses that will help you learn more about your dissertation topic and research methods. It is a good idea to discuss elective course selection with your advisor. 
  • The dissertation is a large-scale, written document that explores a narrow research topic of your choice. It is the final step before receiving your degree and must be presented and “defended” to your dissertation committee (made up of faculty members) for approval. Defending means that you have to answer in-depth questions about your topic. While this might sound daunting, the dissertation is simply a demonstration of all the knowledge and expertise you have acquired through your PhD education. 
  • Networking comes in many forms and includes connections with your fellow classmates, faculty members, and scholarly community. Formal networking events typically take place at academic conferences, where scholars and students present research. Increasing your academic circle will not only allow you to have study buddies, but offer you the opportunity to collaborate on articles or even gain employment. Your school’s career center can provide best practices for effective networking. 

Explore  graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania  and click on the programs that interest you to learn more about admissions and academic requirements.

Upcoming Penn recruitment events include:

  • Fontaine Fellows Recruitment Dinner (by invitation only): every March
  • IDDEAS@Wharton  (Introduction to Diversity in Doctoral Education and Scholarship): April 18-19, 2024. Deadline to apply is January 31.
  • DEEPenn STEM  (Diversity Equity Engagement at Penn in STEM): October 11-13, 2024. Application opens in March 2024.
  • DivE In Weekend  (Diversity & Equity Initiative for Mind Research): Fall 2024

National conferences to explore:

  • The Leadership Alliance  supports students into research careers
  • McNair Scholar Conferences
  • SACNAS , the largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the U.S.
  • ABRCMS , the annual biomedical research conference for minoritized scientists
  • The PhD Project  for students interested in business PhD programs

what to get a phd in

PhD Admission Guide

Gain admission to your dream school, guide to phd admission.

While some students swear off further education after undergrad, some love the thrill of intellectual discovery and research. For these students, graduate school is a natural choice. Graduate degrees are separated into “professional” and “academic” categories. Professional degrees are JDs and MDs, while academic degrees are PhDs (literally “Doctorates of Philosophy” regardless of what field you actually study).

Whether or not you need to pursue a PhD depends entirely on what career you wish to have. Some require higher education, while many others do not. In this guide we’ll go over how to apply to PhD programs, what they are looking for, and how the application process works. This guide is focused on the US and Canada; Europe has a system which is simultaneously similar and very different.

What PhD Programs Look For

what to get a phd in

PhD programs want to make sure you are prepared academically for the rigors of the program, and that you have a concrete research goal in mind. PhD programs culminate with each student answering a research question they devise, contributing new knowledge to the world in the process. 

Thus these programs seek to evaluate your intellectual ability, research goals, previous research experience, and how you will contribute to their program. To determine this, they ask for the following:

Letters of Recommendation

We’ll go through each of these in turn, and explain what graduate programs are looking for from each.

Your GPA in undergrad is the single most important factor in PhD admissions. If your GPA is too low your application will be dismissed out of hand. While there are no hard limits, we suggest a minimum GPA of 3.5 for serious contention, especially at top schools. If your GPA is below 3.0 then you will likely not get admitted into any PhD programs.

The reason for this is that PhD programs are a lot of work. Being intelligent is necessary, but is far from sufficient alone. Everyone in PhD programs is intelligent, and everyone is also willing to do the work. Your GPA is seen as the primary indicator of your willingness and ability to do academic work to a high standard, and your preparation for the rigors of a PhD program.

Along with your overall GPA, schools request your major GPA. This is your GPA when calculated only using courses in your major. This is usually expected to be higher than your overall GPA. Your major GPA should be over 3.5.

While taking harder courses in undergrad is a great experience, they can also harm your overall GPA. Of course, the best approach is to take very hard classes and do well in them, but this is not always possible. We recommend taking a blend of courses, so you are never overloaded, and able to give each the attention it needs to do well.

Academic Preparation

Your GPA and transcript is also used to judge your academic preparation for the program. You should have a solid grounding in the field, and have taken advanced courses as well. Taking graduate level courses in undergrad can exemplify this. 

Some PhD programs also require research languages. This is more common in the social sciences and humanities, but all students will benefit from knowing other languages well enough to do research in them. You should look up language requirements when researching programs to apply to.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test meant for students who intend to apply to graduate programs. Both MA and PhD programs ask for GRE scores. Much like the SAT or ACT in college exams, the test is meant to be a standardized measure of academic preparation and logical skill.

The test consists of six sections. The first is writing, next are two on verbal reasoning, then two on quantitative reasoning, and finally a research or experimental section, meant to test new questions. The entire test is offered on the computer, with one minute breaks after each section, and a ten minute break after the third section. While there is also a paper-based test, almost all testing is now done on a computer. Due to the pandemic, both testing centers and at-home testing are offered. The GRE is a multi-stage test, and how well you do on earlier sections determines the difficulty of later sections and questions. 

The verbal sections each consist of 20 questions, to be answered over 30 minutes. The whole is scored on a scale of 130-170. The quantitative section is scored the same, and consists of two 20 question sections, each of which should be completed in 35 minutes. The writing section is scored from 0-6. For this section, you write an essay on a given issue in 30 minutes, and offer a response critiquing a provided argument for 30 minutes.

Your total score from the GRE is given from 130-170. While the exact scores you need to enter graduate school vary, higher is better. In addition, some programs only care about your verbal score, while others only care about your quantitative score. How much weight each program puts on GRE scores varies greatly.

We recommend studying for the GRE for some time before testing. You can take the GRE up to five times per year, but must wait at least 21 days between testing dates. Only scores from the past 5 years will be released or considered by graduate programs.

Curriculum Vitae

This is akin to a resume, but is dissimilar enough that the two cannot be used interchangeably. The purpose of a CV is, like a resume, to detail what you have accomplished academically and in your career. It is far more focused on academics however, and is widely used for academic careers.

We recommend finding a template for a CV online, or asking your college’s advisors for help in creating one. If you already have a resume, then you will easily be able to convert it into a CV.

What admissions officers are looking for in your activities is primarily signs of research. This should be in whatever field you intend to pursue a PhD in. Publications are also incredibly valuable. All of academia runs on publication, and getting an early start helps your career at every step.

You should try to do research while still in undergrad. What this looks like depends entirely on what field you are pursuing. While the research does not have to exactly line up with what you wish to pursue, it should teach you skills which are cross applicable. Higher level academic research has its own set of methods and language which must be learned, and students who are already familiar with the forms and structures of research have a leg up in graduate school. 

Publication is not required, but is nice to see. If you have completed a master’s degree, you should have some publication history; of your thesis if nothing else. Speak with your academic advisors about getting your work published.

Each graduate school you apply to will ask for an essay. You will be able to use the same basic form for each, but will need to edit it to be about the particular program you are applying to. Most schools only require a single essay, although some programs ask for a second on diversity.

The purpose of this essay is to explain your research interests, what you have studied, your intended area of specialization, and what your focus will be on. Every PhD student is asking and trying to answer a very specific research question. This question forms the basis of their dissertation, and will be the focus of your life for several years if you are accepted.

Thus the essay is the most important part of your application. Your grades and GRE are required to see if you are academically ready for graduate school, but the essay lets readers know if you are a match for their program, and serious about your research.

Your essay should begin by stating which program you are applying to, and why. Next, go through your previous academic experience in the field, both coursework and research. You don’t have to go through every class, but cover the ones most relevant to your desired research topic.

You should discuss any prior research you have done in the field. If you completed a thesis for your undergraduate degree or a master’s program, cover that here. If you have any publication credits, cover those as well. This should relate directly to the field you are trying to enter. If you wish to pursue lab work, discuss your previous experiences; if instead you are pursuing field work, talk about your experiences there.

Next you should talk about the research you specifically wish to pursue through a PhD. You don’t need to have an exact research question worked out, but it is helpful to have some idea; you should at least know the subfield you will be focusing on. The more specific you are, the better. Having some discussion of methodology can be nice, but is not always necessary.

If there are any ongoing research projects ongoing at the school you wish to work on, cover those next. You should discuss how these projects specifically relate to your own research interests. Finally, you should talk about which professors you wish to work with. Professors take on graduate students to advise, and you ideally want one with a specialization at least tangentially related to your field of interest. The more closely related the professor’s studies are to your own, the better.

You will be able to leave much of this essay the same for each school you apply to, changing only the name of the program, the research projects, and the professors you wish to work with. 

This essay should be a page and a half to two pages long, single spaced. You should go into sufficient detail for those reading it to understand the research you want to pursue. These essays are reviewed by the faculty who run the department, and they make the admissions decisions for PhD programs. There are many more applicants than there are spaces, and admissions rates are low. The more specific and detailed you are in this essay, the better the faculty will understand your research aims, and the better your chances will be.

Diversity Statements

Not all programs ask for these, but you will likely be able to reuse the same essay for those that do. The purpose of the diversity statement is to see what unique points of view and experiences you will be able to contribute to the program. PhDs are about learning, and the more viewpoints and ideas within a program, the broader the experience will be.

If you are a member of an underrepresented group, an immigrant, come from an underprivileged background, or come from an area which is generally underrepresented, we suggest discussing that in this essay. You should not write an essay about your interactions with members of these groups, or a study abroad experience.

Above all, this essay should be authentic to you and your experience. The goal is to show how your background has shaped you as a person, and how it impacts your view of the world.

As with college applications, letters of recommendation are required for PhD admissions. These tell admissions committees who you are as a student and researcher, and give their opinion on how you will perform when doing graduate level work. Academic fields are small and often insular, and the professors writing your letters will often be known by those reading them, either by reputation or in person.

Programs ask for two to four letters. These should primarily come from professors who know you and your work well. If you had a thesis advisor, they should write one of your letters. If you’ve worked doing research for some time, then a mentor or lab director can also be a good source of a letter, even if they haven’t taught you in class. Letters should not come from non-academic sources, unless you have worked professionally in that field. 

While you have the option to read the letters that are written for you, you should always waive that right. If you don’t trust your writers to craft good letters for you, then you shouldn’t be asking them for letters. Asking to see letters is considered a sign of lack of trust, and is gauche. Many professors will decline to write letters if you insist on seeing them.

You should ask for letters well in advance of when they are due; we recommend at least a month or two. If you are asking non-tenured faculty for a letter, more leeway is recommended, as they have more on their plate, and are often more stressed. You may need to send a reminder as deadlines approach. You should also share a copy of your essay with letter writers, so they know exactly what subfield you intend to pursue, and can discuss this in their letters.

Finally, you should be aware of politics when asking for letters. Some professors do not like each other at all. If you are seen as the protege of a professor who others detest, this can impact your admissions chances. Always discuss which schools and programs you are applying to with your letter writers. You should also discuss your choices of writers with an advisor (for example a thesis advisor) familiar with the field. Academic politics are incredibly petty, but if you plan to pursue a PhD you need to be aware of the game, and how it is played.

what to get a phd in

If your application passes the first review, you will be invited to do an interview. This will be with faculty in the program you are applying to. This is to further get to know you, and to understand your research objectives. 

You should be able to clearly explain what you want to research, and how this program will help you do so. The people talking to you will all be familiar with the field, though not necessarily your specific subfield. They are looking for your ability to communicate and explain your view. Be prepared to answer some questions about the specifics of your goals, though it’s ok if you don’t know everything right now.

Interviews are generally in person, though due to the pandemic, virtual interviews have become more common. This is also your chance to ask any questions you have about the program you were unable to find answers to online. You can practice for this interview with an advisor or mentor; many schools have career centers which hold mock grad school interviews as well.

When and How to Apply to Grad School

There is no unified platform for PhD applications. Instead you must apply to each program individually, through the school’s website. This will mean filling out information multiple times, but they fortunately don’t ask for much. Once you have your documents in order, the rest is personal, demographic, and contact information.

You will need to pay to have your GRE scores sent to each school you apply to. Even though this is all electronic, they still charge dearly for it. 

Applications are generally due in December or January, with interviews held over the next few months. Applications open in September or October. We recommend getting your applications in before the due date, though most programs don’t use rolling admissions. Each program sets their own deadlines, so you should track when each of your applications is due carefully to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

Paying for Grad School

PhD programs are for the most part fully funded. This means you will not be paying tuition, and will also get funding to live on. This funding is generally contingent on academic standing, and doing work TAing, teaching, or on ongoing research projects (or most commonly, all of the above). Many grad students also work full or part time to support themselves. 

While you will not need to take on additional debt to pay for graduate school, you will not be well paid either. While the exact amount graduate students receive varies by school and program, it is generally in the range of $20-30,000 annually. This goes towards food, housing, and supplies.

While you are in a PhD program, you will not have to make payments on any government loans you took out to pay for undergrad, though they will continue to accrue interest. Making payments on them during grad school is difficult, but will greatly cut down on the amount you need to pay back later.

There are also outside scholarships available to help pay for graduate studies. While the amounts offered by these vary, most are small. They can help greatly with paying for the necessities however, and applying to them is usually worth the time investment.

Grad School Admission FAQ

Now we’ll answer some of the most common questions about applying to PhD programs.

Can older students apply?

Yes. Many professionals return to school for a PhD long out of undergrad. We suggest taking some courses at a local university in the field you plan on entering before you do this however. Academic research advances quickly, and this will familiarize you with the latest developments. Further, this will introduce you to professors who can provide you with letters of recommendation.

What are my odds of acceptance?

This depends on both your field and program. Generally, however, it is quite difficult to gain admissions to a PhD program, and admission rates hover around 10%. Only the best students get accepted, and this is even more the case at the top schools and programs.

When should I start thinking about applications?

When you choose your major, you should decide what level you want to reach within that field. Some majors lend themselves to PhDs if you want to work in that field, while others allow employment at various levels.

Where should I apply?

You should find programs with professors who are dedicated to your particular subfield. A prestigious institution which does not focus on your area is far less useful, regardless of how famous its name is. You are looking for someone who will be able to advise you, and help you perform worthwhile research. Further, professors are looking for students studying fields similar to their own when they admit graduate students.

How long are PhD programs?

Generally programs last 4-5 years, though this can vary based on field. The exact structure of the programs also varies a lot based on field and program.

what to get a phd in

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what to get a phd in

what to get a phd in

  • Doing a PhD in Mathematics
  • Doing a PhD

What Does a PhD in Maths Involve?

Maths is a vast subject, both in breadth and in depth. As such, there’s a significant number of different areas you can research as a math student. These areas usually fall into one of three categories: pure mathematics, applied mathematics or statistics. Some examples of topics you can research are:

  • Number theory
  • Numerical analysis
  • String theory
  • Random matrix theory
  • Graph theory
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Statistical forecasting
  • Matroid theory
  • Control theory

Besides this, because maths focuses on addressing interdisciplinary real-world problems, you may work and collaborate with other STEM researchers. For example, your research topic may relate to:

  • Biomechanics and transport processes
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Financial mathematics
  • Machine learning
  • Theoretical and Computational Optimisation

What you do day-to-day will largely depend on your specific research topic. However, you’ll likely:

  • Continually read literature – This will be to help develop your knowledge and identify current gaps in the overall body of knowledge surrounding your research topic.
  • Undertake research specific to your topic – This can include defining ideas, proving theorems and identifying relationships between models.
  • Collect and analyse data – This could comprise developing computational models, running simulations and interpreting forecasts etc.
  • Liaise with others – This could take many forms. For example, you may work shoulder-to-shoulder with individuals from different disciplines supporting your research, e.g. Computer scientists for machine learning-based projects. Alternatively, you may need frequent input from those who supplied the data for your research, e.g. Financial institutions or biological research colleagues.
  • Attend a wide range of lectures, seminars and events.

Browse PhD Opportunities in Mathematics

Application of artificial intelligence to multiphysics problems in materials design, study of the human-vehicle interactions by a high-end dynamic driving simulator, physical layer algorithm design in 6g non-terrestrial communications, machine learning for autonomous robot exploration, detecting subtle but clinically significant cognitive change in an ageing population, how long does it take to get a phd in maths.

The average programme duration for a mathematics PhD in the UK is 3 to 4 years for a full-time studying. Although not all universities offer part-time maths PhD programmes, those that do have a typical programme duration of 5 to 7 years.

Again, although the exact arrangement will depend on the university, most maths doctorates will require you to first register for an MPhil . At the end of your first year, your supervisor will assess your progress to decide whether you should be registered for a PhD.

Additional Learning Modules

Best Universities for Maths PhD UK

Some Mathematics departments will require you to enrol on to taught modules as part of your programme. These are to help improve your knowledge and understanding of broader subjects within your field, for example, Fourier Analysis, Differential Geometry and Riemann Surfaces. Even if taught modules aren’t compulsory in several universities, your supervisor will still encourage you to attend them for your development.

Most UK universities will also have access to specialised mathematical training courses. The most common of these include Pure Mathematics courses hosted by Mathematics Access Grid Conferencing ( MAGIC ) and London Taught Course Centre ( LTCC ) and Statistics courses hosted by Academy for PhD Training in Statistics ( APTS ).

What Are the Typical Entry Requirements for A PhD in Maths?

In the UK, the typical entry requirements for a Maths PhD is an upper second-class (2:1) Master’s degree (or international equivalent) in Mathematics or Statistics [1] .

However, there is some variation on this. From writing, the lowest entry requirement is an upper second-class (2:1) Bachelor’s degree in any math-related subject. The highest entry requirement is a first-class (1st) honours Master’s degree in a Mathematics or Statistics degree only.

It’s worth noting if you’re applying to a position which comes with funding provided directly by the Department, the entry requirements will usually be on the higher side because of their competitiveness.

In terms of English Language requirements, most mathematics departments require at least an overall IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each individual subtest.

Tips to Consider when Making Your Application

When applying to any mathematics PhD, you’ll be expected to have a good understanding of both your subject field and the specific research topic you are applying to. To help show this, it’s advisable that you demonstrate recent engagement in your research topic. This could be by describing the significance of a research paper you recently read and outlining which parts interested you the most, and why. Additionally, you can discuss a recent mathematics event you attended and suggest ways in how what you learnt might apply to your research topic.

As with most STEM PhDs, most maths PhD professors prefer you to discuss your application with them directly before putting in a formal application. The benefits of this is two folds. First, you’ll get more information on what their department has to offer. Second, the supervisor can better discover your interest in the project and gauge whether you’d be a suitable candidate. Therefore, we encourage you to contact potential supervisors for positions you’re interested in before making any formal applications.

How Much Does a Maths PhD Typically Cost?

The typical tuition fee for a PhD in Maths in the UK is £4,407 per year for UK/EU students and £20,230 per year for international students. This, alongside the range in tuition fees you can expect, is summarised below:

Note: The above tuition fees are based on 12 UK Universities [1]  for 2020/21 Mathematic PhD positions. The typical fee has been taken as the median value.

In addition to the above, it’s not unheard of for research students to be charged a bench fee. In case you’re unfamiliar with a bench fee, it’s an annual fee additional to your tuition, which covers the cost of specialist equipment or resources associated with your research. This can include the upkeep of supercomputers you may use, training in specialist analysis software, or travelling to conferences. The exact fee will depend on your specific research topic; however, it should be minimal for most mathematic projects.

What Specific Funding Opportunities Are There for A PhD in Mathematics?

Alongside the usual funding opportunities available to all PhD Research students such as doctoral loans, departmental scholarships, there are a few other sources of funding available to math PhD students. Examples of these include:

You can find more information on these funding sources here: DiscoverPhDs funding guide .

What Specific Skills Do You Gain from Doing a PhD in Mathematics?

A doctorate in Mathematics not only demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning, but it also provides you with highly marketable skills. Besides subject-specific skills, you’ll also gain many transferable skills which will prove useful in almost all industries. A sample of these skills is listed below.

  • Logical ability to consider and analyse complex issues,
  • Commitment and persistence towards reaching research goals,
  • Outstanding verbal and written skills,
  • Strong attention to detail,
  • The ability to liaise with others from unique disciple backgrounds and work as part of a team
  • Holistic deduction and reasoning skills,
  • Forming and explaining mathematical and logical solutions to a wide range of real-world problems,
  • Exceptional numeracy skills.

What Jobs Can You Get with A Maths PhD?

Jobs for Maths PhDs - PhD in Mathematics Salary

One of the greatest benefits maths PostDocs will have is the ability to pursue a wide range of career paths. This is because all sciences are built on core principles which, to varying extents, are supported by the core principles of mathematics. As a result, it’s not uncommon to ask students what path they intend to follow after completing their degree and receive entirely different answers. Although not extensive by any means, the most common career paths Math PostDocs take are listed below:

  • Academia – Many individuals teach undergraduate students at the university they studied at or ones they gained ties to during their research. This path is usually the preferred among students who want to continue focusing on mathematical theories and concepts as part of their career.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher – Others continue researching with their University or with an independent organisation. This can be a popular path because of the opportunities it provides in collaborative working, supervising others, undertaking research and attending conferences etc.
  • Finance – Because of their deepened analytical skills, it’s no surprise that many PostDocs choose a career in finance. This involves working for some of the most significant players in the financial district in prime locations including London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. Specific job titles can include Actuarial, Investment Analyst or Risk Modeller.
  • Computer Programming – Some students whose research involves computational mathematics launch their career as a computer programmer. Due to their background, they’ll typically work on specialised projects which require high levels of understanding on the problem at hand. For example, they may work with physicists and biomedical engineers to develop a software package that supports their more complex research.
  • Data Analyst – Those who enjoy number crunching and developing complex models often go into data analytics. This can involve various niches such as forecasting or optimisation, across various fields such as marketing and weather.

What Are Some of The Typical Employers Who Hire Maths PostDocs?

As mentioned above, there’s a high demand for skilled mathematicians and statisticians across a broad range of sectors. Some typical employers are:

  • Education – All UK and international universities
  • Governments – STFC and Department for Transport
  • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals – NHS, GSK, Pfizer
  • Finance & Banking – e.g. Barclays Capital, PwC and J. P. Morgan
  • Computing – IBM, Microsoft and Facebook
  • Engineering – Boeing, Shell and Dyson

The above is only a small selection of employers. In reality, mathematic PostDocs can work in almost any industry, assuming the role is numerical-based or data-driven.

Math PhD Employer Logos

How Much Can You Earn with A PhD in Maths?

As a mathematics PhD PostDoc, your earning potential will mostly depend on your chosen career path. Due to the wide range of options, it’s impossible to provide an arbitrary value for the typical salary you can expect.

However, if you pursue one of the below paths or enter their respective industry, you can roughly expect to earn [3] :

Academic Lecturer

  • Approximately £30,000 – £35,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £40,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £45,000 – £55,000 with 10 years experience
  • Approximately £60,000 and over with significant experience and a leadership role. Certain academic positions can earn over £80,000 depending on the management duties.

Actuary or Finance

  • Approximately £35,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £45,000 – £55,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £70,000 and over with 10 years experience
  • Approximately £180,000 and above with significant experience and a leadership role.

Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering

  • Approximately £28,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £35,000 – £40,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £60,000 and over with 10 years experience

Data Analyst

  • Approximately £45,000 – £50,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £90,000 and above with significant experience and a leadership role.

Again, we stress that the above are indicative values only. Actual salaries will depend on the specific organisation and position and responsibilities of the individual.

Facts and Statistics About Maths PhD Holders

The below chart provides useful insight into the destination of Math PostDocs after completing their PhD. The most popular career paths from other of highest to lowest is education, information and communication, finance and scientific research, manufacturing and government.

Percentage of Math PostDocs entering an industry upon graduating

Note: The above chart is based on ‘UK Higher Education Leavers’ data [2] between 2012/13 and 2016/17 and contains a data size of 200 PostDocs. The data was obtained from the Higher Education Statistics Agency ( HESA ).

Which Noteworthy People Hold a PhD in Maths?

Alan turing.


Alan Turing was a British Mathematician, WW2 code-breaker and arguably the father of computer science. Alongside his lengthy list of achievements, Turning achieved a PhD in Mathematics at Princeton University, New Jersey. His thesis titled ‘Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals’ focused on the concepts of ordinal logic and relative computing; you can read it online here . To this day, Turning pioneering works continues to play a fundamental role in shaping the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

Ruth Lawrence

what to get a phd in

Ruth Lawrence is a famous British–Israeli Mathematician well known within the academic community. Lawrence earned her PhD in Mathematics from Oxford University at the young age of 17! Her work focused on algebraic topology and knot theory; you can read her interesting collection of research papers here . Among her many contributions to Maths, her most notable include the representation of the braid groups, more formally known as Lawrence–Krammer representations.

Emmy Noether

what to get a phd in

Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who received her PhD from the University of Erlangen, Germany. Her research has significantly contributed to both abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Additionally, she proved a groundbreaking theorem important to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In doing so, her theorem, Noether’s theorem , is regarded as one of the most influential developments in physics.

Other Useful Resources

Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) – IMA is the UK’s professional body for mathematicians. It contains a wide range of useful information, from the benefits of further education in Maths to details on grants and upcoming events.

Maths Careers – Math Careers is a site associated with IMA that provides a wide range of advice to mathematicians of all ages. It has a section dedicated to undergraduates and graduates and contains a handful of information about progressing into research.

Resources for Graduate Students – Produced by Dr Mak Tomford, this webpage contains an extensive collection of detailed advice for Mathematic PhD students. Although the site uses US terminology in places, don’t let that put you off as this resource will prove incredibly helpful in both applying to and undertaking your PhD.

Student Interviews – Still wondering whether a PhD is for you? If so, our collection of PhD interviews would be a great place to get an insider perspective. We’ve interviewed a wide range of PhD students across the UK to find out what doing a PhD is like, how it’s helped them and what advice they have for other prospective students who may be thinking of applying to one. You can read our insightful collection of interviews here .

[1] Universities used to determine the typical (median) and range of entry requirements and tuition fees for 2020/21 Mathematics PhD positions.

  • http://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/Degree-programmes-2020/MPhilPhD-Mathematics
  • https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/dphil-mathematics?wssl=1
  • https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/mapmpdpms
  • https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/research-degrees/mathematics-mphil-phd
  • http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/2020/sci/phd-mathematics/
  • https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/mathematics-phd
  • https://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/school-of-mathematics/studying-here/pgr/phd-application
  • https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-courses/mathematics-phd/
  • https://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/phd/degrees/mathematics-phd
  • https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/programmes/list/05325/phd-pure-mathematics/
  • https://warwick.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/courses-2020/mathematicsphd/
  • https://www.exeter.ac.uk/pg-research/degrees/mathematics/

[2] Higher Education Leavers Statistics: UK, 2016/17 – Outcomes by subject studied – https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/28-06-2018/sfr250-higher-education-leaver-statistics-subjects

[3] Typical salaries have been extracted from a combination of the below resources. It should be noted that although every effort has been made to keep the reported salaries as relevant to Math PostDocs as possible (i.e. filtering for positions which specify a PhD qualification as one of their requirements/preferences), small inaccuracies may exist due to data availability.

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How to Get a Ph.D. in Physics

Last Updated: August 22, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Sean Alexander, MS . Sean Alexander is an Academic Tutor specializing in teaching mathematics and physics. Sean is the Owner of Alexander Tutoring, an academic tutoring business that provides personalized studying sessions focused on mathematics and physics. With over 15 years of experience, Sean has worked as a physics and math instructor and tutor for Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and Stanbridge Academy. He holds a BS in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MS in Theoretical Physics from San Francisco State University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 148,180 times.

Physics can be an exciting field to go into! You can pursue a career in academics, in government research, or in the private sector. To start on the road to getting a PhD, develop your science and math skills. If you're still in high school and college, you have ample time to focus on your science education; if not, don't be deterred. Even without a science degree, you can find and apply to a PhD program of your choice. After that, all you need to do is complete your PhD program; it's not an easy task, but it's one you can achieve if you set your mind to it.

Developing Your Education in High School and College

Step 1 Focus on physics in high school, if you can.

  • It can help to find a role model. If there are physicists in your community, try contacting them to see if they'll help you in your pursuit. Many may be willing to have you shadow them for a period of time.
  • Don't forget to invest time in math classes, as well, as math is essential to physics.
  • Make sure you are well-rounded, though. To do well on college entrance exams, it helps to be proficient in as many subjects as possible.

Step 2 Take your entrance exams.

  • To do well on these exams, you'll need to prep ahead of time. Your school may offer prep courses, but you can also purchase study guides that have practice tests. Taking practice tests gives you an idea of what the actual exam will be like, so you can go into the test with less anxiety. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Find the right undergraduate program.

  • Though not necessary, it can help to know whether you want to go into theoretical or experimental physics, though it's not a requirement. [4] X Research source

Step 4 Use your time wisely.

  • Ask your professors about opportunities in your college and surrounding area.

Applying to a Graduate Program

  • You do not need to be a genius to get a PhD. Graduate school is hard work, but success depends on your dedication more than on your ability.

Step 2 Work on your GREs.

  • Like the SAT and ACT, you can find any number of prep courses and prep materials for the GRE. You can also find practice tests to take online.

Step 3 Decide if you need to go through a master's program, or if you will go directly into a PhD program.

  • Keep in mind that in some cases, schools will collapse a master's program and PhD into one program. So when you choose a master's program, you may very well be choosing your PhD program, as well.
  • 4 Try to meet and talk to physicists. Look into physics talks for the general public in your area or contact a physics department directly. Most places will be happy to give you information and point you to resources about graduate programs.

Determining Your Research Focus

Step 1 Make the mental switch to research.

  • Take the time to gain some experience. Apply for lab positions so you can get a feel for what it's like to do research in a lab full time.

Step 3 Do some research into topics you love.

  • Choosing a school with professors whose research you enjoy is a great way to focus your work. As your work gets more individual, you want to work with professors who have similar interests.

Step 5 Apply to a PhD program.

  • Submit all the appropriate paperwork for your application, including your transcripts, academic references, and your basic application. [10] X Research source
  • In many cases, you'll need to write a personal statement or research proposal, as well.

Working on Your PhD

Step 1 Take your placement exams.

  • Try to focus classes on the area you want to write on.
  • Outside of class, read as much as you can in your area.

Step 3 Connect with professors.

  • The best way to get started is to attend department functions so you can start getting to know your professors better, as well as their interests.
  • It can also help to talk with older students informally, so you can get an idea of who will be a good fit for you.

Step 4 Learn to manage your time well.

  • Part of managing your time well is learning to shift your schedule when you need to. If something is taking longer than it should, realize you'll need to cut something else from your day.

Step 5 Take advantage of your school's research courses.

  • You should also take advantage of courses teaching things like writing grant proposals, which is a great skill to have.

Researching and Writing Your Dissertation

Step 1 Find a thesis advisor.

  • If you're still looking, consider taking classes with potential advisors. You can also ask to meet with them, though be sure to do your research ahead of time by reading articles the professor has published.
  • "What are your expectations for a research student?"
  • "How do you offer criticism?"
  • "How often will we meet?"
  • "How quickly will you get back to me with revisions?"
  • Once you've narrowed down your choices, approach the professor and ask them to be your research advisor. If you have an interdisciplinary project, you may need more than one advisor.

Step 2 Work on your research.

  • Start with the outline. You fill in the verbiage last, usually. Figure out what you need to say, and divide it into chapters. Work on the supporting figures next. You'll need plenty of figures and tables to support your conclusions. Additionally, reviewers on your committee may not read every word, but they usually look at all of the figures and read the captions to get the gist of what's going on.
  • When you write, only write. Give yourself a time span where you allow yourself no option of doing anything else but writing. Sometimes it helps to write in the same office/coffee shop/etc. with another student working on their thesis, if you both can keep each other on task. You can take breaks together and take the heat off a bit.

Step 4 Pass your defense.

  • However, by the time you're doing your defense, your paper should have been reviewed multiple times by your advisor, which means you shouldn't have any trouble passing.

Expert Q&A

Sean Alexander, MS

  • Don't let money hold you back. Most physics departments will support their students through teaching assistantships or research assistantships. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Is your interest more focused on learning or on doing science?
  • Would you enjoy actively doing research in physics? All programs require you to take classes or pass exams, but most of your work during a PhD program will be dedicated to doing research.
  • What would you pursue once you get a PhD? If what you are after is a particular job or line of work, consider whether you need a PhD for it.
  • Are you comfortable with spending a few additional years in a university? Most PhD programs in the United States will take 5-6 years on average.

what to get a phd in

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Get a PhD

  • ↑ http://mkaku.org/home/articles/so-you-want-to-become-a-physicist/
  • ↑ https://www.princetonreview.com/college/sat-act
  • ↑ Sean Alexander, MS. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 14 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/?WT.ac=grehome_greabout_b_150213
  • ↑ https://www.elsevier.com/connect/9-things-you-should-consider-before-embarking-on-a-phd
  • ↑ http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/pcphpdphy/apply
  • ↑ http://web.eecs.umich.edu/~imarkov/advisor.html
  • ↑ https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2015/12/07/what-its-like-to-get-a-phd-in-experimental-physics/#43b503524fe0
  • ↑ http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/08/what_is_the_value_of_a_science_phd_is_graduate_school_worth_the_effort_.html

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What Can You Do with a PhD in Psychology?

what to get a phd in

If you’re passionate about building a successful career in psychology, earning a doctorate in psychology could get you there. For those who are passionate about the subject but wonder, “What can you do with a PhD in psychology?“, we’ll help you explore your options so you can decide whether a PhD in psychology is worth the shot. 

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With a PhD in psychology, you can pursue various career paths, including research psychology, psychotherapy, forensic psychology, neuropsychology, and even management consultancy. Alternatively, a doctorate also helps you pursue different areas of specialization within the field of psychology.

Woman writing down notes as she talks to her patient during a therapy session

If you are considering a PhD degree in psychology, you’ve likely already earned your bachelor’s and master’s degrees. However, to progress further into the roles of research, academia, authorship, or lectureship, you have to take the next step. If you’re already employed in a field of psychology, earning a PhD helps you level up.

While a doctoral degree gears you up to become a licensed clinical psychologist, there are plenty of other career options to explore. Here’s a list of the most popular career pathways you can pursue with a PhD in psychology, along with their salaries and growth statistics.

Psychological Researcher

Psychological researchers, or research psychologists, deeply understand the human mind. Their primary duties include conducting experiments to test procedures to explore various aspects of psychology. This includes selecting candidates for clinical trials, administering tests, and carefully observing and documenting the outcomes of their research.

By the time they are done with PhD, psychological researchers are capable enough to review existing literature and contribute to scholarly discussions. Some may serve at universities, while others may work for hospitals or government agencies. If you’re passionate about research and writing, this might be a pretty lucrative field with tons of career opportunities.

  • National average salary: $99,577 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028

Clinical Director or Supervisor

The clinical director is one of the most highly paid yet growing careers in psychology . Clinical supervisors monitor psychologists and other mental health professionals to oversee the quality of clinical care provided. They establish best practices for the workplace and check whether the institution complies with regulations in the mental health field.

As a clinical director, you’ll serve in various settings, including mental health clinics, hospitals, universities, or even private practices. Also, these professionals arrange development opportunities for staff members, gather feedback from patients, and delegate cases to team members.

  • National average salary: $120,761 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031


Like clinical psychologists, psychotherapists support individuals with mental health conditions and help them live a fulfilling life. Unlike clinical psychologists, psychotherapists diagnose more general mental health issues. They closely monitor their client’s behaviors, emotions, and thoughts to develop specific treatment plans for them.

Woman writing down on her clipboard as a woman in her couch talks during a therapy session

Additionally, they use different tools and therapeutic techniques to develop coping strategies for their patients and improve the way they regulate emotions. A PhD in psychology potentially makes you a perfect fit to deal with the complexity involved in psychotherapy. Ultimately, you understand your clients better to know where they’re coming from.

  • National average salary: $115,281 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032  

Psychometrics Specialist

A psychometric specialist looks at assessments to gather information about a patient’s personality, symptoms, and cognitive abilities. They often join hands with mental health specialists to facilitate research or diagnose and treat patients. On top of that, these professionals play a key role in collecting data for research and ensuring its accuracy.

They use a combination of interviews, examinations, and standardized tests to gather data about a patient’s psychological state and decode it to help clinicians and researchers reach conclusions. As a psychometric specialist, you’ll work in research or educational institutions, clinics, government agencies, or independently as a consultant.

  • National average salary: $62,264 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028 

Human Resource Director

If you would rather work in an organizational setting, a PhD in psychology also helps build a mindset that prepares you to work in HR. HR directors are highly paid individuals responsible for shaping the recruitment and selection process in an organization. They create and implement corporate policies in areas like talent management, employee relations, and workplace culture.

With a PhD in psychology, you bring a deep understanding of human behavior, emotions, and motivation to the role. Plus, as an HR director, you can use the knowledge from your doctorate to develop thoughtful policies, systems, and resources to support employee well-being.

  • National average salary: $116,601 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031

Marketing Director

With a PhD in psychology, you can also serve as a business or marketing director and build a fruitful career. Marketing directors use the knowledge of psychology to bridge the gap between relevant products and customers. Serving at multiple profit or non-profit sectors, these graduates contribute to public relations, management, and technical services.

As a marketing director, your background in psychology equips you with the right knowledge of consumer behavior and effective ways to communicate with them. This, in turn, helps you develop successful marketing campaigns that resonate perfectly with your audience.

  • National average salary: $120,014 per year
  • Growth: Expected to grow 10% from 2018 to 2028

Woman explaining with the help of a whiteboard while a man listens intently, while sitting down

Management Consultant

Management consultancy is another productive career path you can choose after a doctorate in psychology. Management consultants improve an organization’s efficiency, productivity, and performance. With a deep understanding of psychology, you can easily identify and deal with the underlying issues and patterns within your company.

Plus, management consultants provide feedback and recommendations on addressing employee and business management problems. They might also join hands with top-level management to devise practical solutions that align with the company’s core values.

  • National average salary: $108,555 per year 
  • Growth: Projected to grow 10% from 2022 to 2032

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychology is a rapidly growing field  that requires individual practitioners to obtain a state license. Psychologists in this field work closely with law enforcement to investigate crimes. For a license, you need to complete a doctoral degree from an APA-approved program and have clinically-supervised work experience.

Licensed forensic psychologists assist legal professionals with addressing the psychological aspects of the cases they’re dealing with. For instance, they conduct evaluations, assessments, and psychological testing to understand the case. Once they have come up with logical reasons, they present their findings and opinions to judges and juries.

  • National average salary: $87,877 per year
  • Growth: Expected to grow 6% between 2021 and 2031

Behavioral Health Specialist

As the name suggests, behavioral health specialists counsel and support individuals with behavioral or mental health problems. They use therapeutic techniques to help patients develop new behaviors and cope with their existing condition. Most importantly, they use their psychological knowledge to identify the root causes of their patient’s behaviors.

If you have a PhD in behavioral health, you can work with patients who have severe mental illness or developmental disorders like autism. The advanced degree helps you set developmental goals for your patients and implement evidence-based treatment plans to guard their well-being.

  • National average salary: $54,663 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 9% between 2018 and 2028

Addiction Counselor

PhD in psychology also enables you to serve as an addiction counselor, where you support patients on their journey to recovery from addictive behaviors. Typically, addiction counselors guide through the rehabilitation process and help manage withdrawal symptoms. They often work together with medical professionals to effectively detoxify clients from drugs and alcohol.

In addition to one-on-one counseling sessions, addiction counselors arrange group therapy sessions. This provides clients with peer support and learning about new experiences and coping mechanisms. They monitor clients throughout the rehabilitation process till they finally achieve sobriety.

  • National average salary: $65,310 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 18% from 2022 to 2032

Prerequisites for Earning a PhD in Psychology

If you’ve made up your mind and want to earn a PhD in psychology, you’ll generally need at least a bachelor’s degree to get in. While some institutions may also require a master’s degree as a prerequisite, it largely depends on the program you’re opting for. Some universities offer combined master’s and doctoral degrees, so you get both degrees at once.

However, the most integral part of your PhD program is the area you’ve chosen. When applying, it’s recommended to thoroughly research the specialties the universities on your radar are offering. This isn’t just about coursework since the topics of your dissertation will also depend on your chosen concentration.

Plus, to make sure you quickly get through the admission process, it’s important to prepare for it beforehand. While the specific requirements depend on your university, here’s a list of some basic prerequisites when applying for a PhD in psychology:

  • A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field
  • A master’s degree (depending on the institution)
  • Strong academic record
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Relevant research experience or coursework
  • Statement of Purpose (SoP)
  • Interview (as a part of the application process)

Person using their laptop while their notebook, papers and phone are in her table

Benefits of Earning a PhD in Psychology

Even if you’re sure about earning a PhD in psychology, it’s best to take a look at the benefits to check whether they align with your future goals. While the time required to complete a PhD may be significant, the benefits you reap make it worthwhile. Here’s an overview of the pros of getting a PhD in psychology:

Obtaining a License

Earning a doctorate in psychology is the only path to practice independently as a licensed psychologist. A license allows you to diagnose and treat mental disorders and provide therapy sessions to clients.

Better Employment Opportunities

Many employers, including those in the educational sector, prefer PhD holders over candidates with a master’s in psychology . This is due to years of experience and practice acquired through a doctoral program. For instance, PhD holders are often preferred for faculty positions, research roles, and leadership positions.

Skill Development

PhD holders are seen as authorities in the field of psychology  and research. Through extensive training and coursework, PhD students develop advanced knowledge and skills in areas like research methodology, statistical analysis, and clinical assessments.

High Paying Positions

Doctoral degree holders in psychology are paid way higher than those with bachelor’s degrees. The difference in salary reflects the higher earning potential that comes with advanced degrees in psychology. For instance, candidates with a PhD may easily qualify for higher paying positions in academia, clinical practice, research, or consulting.

Related Questions

What do you learn in a doctorate program for psychology.

In a doctorate program in psychology, you dig deeper into the field of psychology. For instance, you study research theories and methods and do your own research for a dissertation. Most PhD programs also allow you to gain hands-on experience in real clinical settings through an internship program.

Where can you Work with a Doctorate in Psychology?

Fortunately, you can choose from plenty of workplace options once you get your PhD in psychology. You may work as a psychologist in a clinic or even begin practicing privately. Some individuals with a doctorate serve at government agencies, hospitals, and even educational institutions.

How Long does it Take to Get a PhD in Psychology?

Generally, getting a PhD in psychology takes around 5-8 years , including some hands-on experience and a year-long internship. However, it’s worth noting that PhD programs are highly competitive. So, the earlier you prepare for your dream university for your psychology degree , the sooner you can secure a spot.

We hope we’ve adequately answered the question “What can you do with a PhD in psychology?” for you and you have more clarity about whether this is the right path for you. Whether you’re into clinical practice, research, or social service, a doctorate in psychology can accommodate your personal preferences if you pick the right area for yourself.

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Eastern Launches 100% Online PhD in Professional Practice

what to get a phd in

St. Davids, PA: Eastern University is excited to announce it is now offering a PhD in Professional Practice , designed to provide experienced professionals from diverse career paths an opportunity to carefully examine and thoughtfully assess the outcomes and professional contributions of their careers. 

The degree program is 100% online and can be completed in 3-5 years at the affordable cost of $450 per credit, totaling only $27,360 for the entire program. Students with a theology degree may also qualify for Advanced Standing and a lighter credit requirement. The program offers individualized mentorship from a doctoral supervisor, leading students on an intellectually stimulating path that is personalized towards their own professional goals and personal development.

Housed within Eastern’s Palmer College, this unique program focuses on the scholarly analysis of work within current theoretical and theological frameworks, industry best practices, vocational understanding of professional practice, and theological reflection. The combination and integration of theoretical knowledge and practical expertise allows students to dive deeper into sectors that demand a strong sense of purpose. 

“Beyond the confines of professional disciplines, the Ph.D. in Professional Practice is a celebration of your cultivated wisdom and the legacy you're destined to leave,” says Wynand de Kock, Program Director. “Specifically designed for seasoned professionals at the pinnacle of their careers, it invites individuals who aspire to transcend their current professional boundaries and leave an indelible mark on their respective fields.”

A PhD in Professional Practice opens doors to diverse careers, including senior practitioner roles, consulting positions, academic research opportunities, teaching positions, leadership roles, and more. 

Learn more about Eastern’s PhD in Professional Practice .

About Eastern University

Eastern University is a Christian university enrolling approximately 7,500 students in its undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs. The university’s main campus is located in St. Davids, PA, with many programs available online. Eastern’s core values of faith, reason, and justice are woven into all of its educational programs. For more information visit  eastern.edu  or contact Ally Rosario, Director of Marketing & Communications:  [email protected] .

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'Dance Your Ph.D.' winner on science, art, and embracing his identity

Ari Daniel headshot

Weliton Menário Costa (center) holds a laptop while surrounded by dancers for his music video, "Kangaroo Time." From left: Faux Née Phish (Caitlin Winter), Holly Hazlewood, and Marina de Andrade. Nic Vevers/ANU hide caption

Weliton Menário Costa (center) holds a laptop while surrounded by dancers for his music video, "Kangaroo Time." From left: Faux Née Phish (Caitlin Winter), Holly Hazlewood, and Marina de Andrade.

Weliton Menário Costa grew up in rural Brazil. "I come from the countryside of the countryside of the countryside," he says. He didn't have much, but from his earliest days, he loved to sing.

"I just remember looking at the singers on television and loving them," Menário Costa recalls. "I think if I could have picked a profession — if the world was equal and you could pick anything — I would have picked 'musician.'"

He took a detour into science, but ultimately he's returned to embrace music professionally. And he recently picked up a major accolade. Menário Costa won this year's " Dance Your Ph.D ." contest, an annual competition organized by Science magazine where doctoral students and Ph.D. graduates showcase their research through dance.

Menário Costa's winning submission highlights his work on kangaroo behavior and personality, but it also celebrates his identity — and what he's had to overcome to embrace it.

'I would just sing ... every day'

When Menário Costa was a boy in Brazil, he would try to sing and dance with his younger sister outside. That's when the comments would start.

"People were always like, 'Oh, that's a girl thing, you're a f** or whatever,'" he says. "Back then, I didn't even know what it was. I just knew it was negative. It's a very sexist space and homophobic and all that."

When Menário Costa did receive a compliment, it was usually for how smart he was. So he buried himself in school and excelled. He got into a competitive high school. But even so, he was chronically anxious about what others thought of him and worried that he wasn't good enough.

Scientists studied how cicadas pee. Their insights could shed light on fluid dynamics

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Scientists studied how cicadas pee. their insights could shed light on fluid dynamics.

" So instead of going to parties and dancing or performing and doing the things I actually loved," Menário Costa says, "I would just lock myself in the room and say, 'Hey, I have homework.' But when I would shower, I would just sing ... every day."

With time, Menário Costa made it to Australia — first to study English, and then he received a scholarship to pursue his Ph.D. in behavioral ecology at the Australian National University in Canberra. His research focused on eastern gray kangaroos in Wilsons Promontory National Park in southeastern Australia.

"And my main question was, do kangaroos have personality ... different personalities?," Menário Costa explains. "And then, what's driving the behavior you see? Is it due to personality, or is it the social environment?"

It was during his Ph.D. — when Menário Costa was on this other continent half a world away from Brazil — that he managed to connect with who he really was. He came out as queer. He started singing and dancing out in the world again. And after finishing his Ph.D. amidst the struggles of COVID and bushfires, Menário Costa decided to leave science and dive into creative work.

This medieval astrolabe has both Arabic and Hebrew markings. Here's what it means

This medieval astrolabe has both Arabic and Hebrew markings. Here's what it means

"Now I'm gonna be a singer, now I'm gonna be a dancer, and now I'm gonna be all these things I liked as a kid," he says. Menário Costa started performing at pubs and small venues, mostly singing covers. "Then, last year, I started writing as well, and performing my own original songs."

Diversity in kangaroos — and in dance

To Menário Costa, Science magazine's "Dance Your Ph.D." competition felt like "a perfect way of exposing my work as a singer songwriter ."

His submission — the song and dance "Kangaroo Time" — was born in an act of exuberant collaboration. The music video opens with Menário Costa driving to what appears to be his field site. There are a couple of kangaroo shots, but mostly it's a joyous sequence of dancers on an open landscape in Canberra — drag queens, Capoeira performers, ballet dancers, and people doing samba, salsa, hip hop, Brazilian funk, and traditional Indian dance.

This often-overlooked sea creature may be quietly protecting the planet's coral reefs

This often-overlooked sea creature may be quietly protecting the planet's coral reefs

"The way they move is very different," says Menário Costa, "but also what they wear to perform is quite different. I decided to use the actual diversity we have in a dance community."

This was how Menário Costa represented one of his central findings — that kangaroos have distinctive personalities, based on how much they squirm when they're handled as joeys and at what distance subadults and adult females move away from an approaching human.

In addition, kangaroo siblings often have similar personalities, and for that Menário Costa dances alongside his own sister — the first family member to ever visit him in Australia. "One of the main reasons that made her want to come was to be in that video," he says. "It was so special having her here."

Menário Costa also discovered that when kangaroos move between groups, they adjust their behavior to conform to that of their companions. In the video, he makes his way to other groups and adopts the new dancing styles as he goes.

The main lyrics are simple, but catchy: "I'm gonna share with you... hope you don't mind... some things I learned from my kangaroo time." The phrase "kangaroo time" has a rainbow of meanings.

"It means the time I did my kangaroo research," says Menário Costa. "But [it] also means the first time I lived as a gay man. It's the first time I lived as an immigrant, five years without going home. The time of reconnection to myself, of exploring my sexuality, of bridging these beautiful communit[ies]."

Menário Costa, who now goes by the stage name WELI, says that filming this music video — when all his worlds came together in a single afternoon — feels like his most significant achievement to date. He likens his first place finish to winning the Eurovision Dance Contest.

The video ends with text emblazoned onscreen — "Differences lead to diversity. It exists within any given species; it is just natural."

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Columbia faculty, students continue protests; police order dispersal of gathering at UCLA: Updates

Editor's Note: This page is a summary of news on campus protests for Wednesday, May 1. For the latest news, view our live updates file for Thursday, May 2.

NEW YORK − Hundreds of faculty and graduate student workers rallied on a sunny Wednesday afternoon outside Columbia University’s only open entrance, protesting the university’s decision hours earlier to send police on campus and arrest more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Protesters held signs, including “no cops on campus,” as police entered and exited the campus gates just feet away. Others held signs calling for university President Minouche Shafik to resign. Faculty members said access was heavily restricted, as campus was closed for a second day in the period before finals, open only to students living on campus and essential workers.

The NYPD announced almost 300 arrests had taken place Tuesday at Columbia and City College − hours before Los Angeles police in riot gear swept onto UCLA's campus to break up a violent melee between dueling protesters as opposition to Israel's war in Gaza continued to roll through universities across the nation.

Dozens of the New York arrests involved demonstrators removed from an administration building at Columbia, where officers also took down encampments that had been the epicenter of the protests nationwide.

"Students and outside activists breaking Hamilton Hall doors, mistreating our Public Safety officers and maintenance staff, and damaging property are acts of destruction, not political speech," Shafik said in a statement Wednesday. She added that many students felt unwelcome on campus because of the disruption and antisemitic comments made by some protesters.

At City College, affiliated with City University of New York, officials requested NYPD assistance after the college said students and "un-affiliated external individuals" refused to leave. The school issued a statement saying students have a right to demonstrate peacefully but that police were called in because of "specific and repeated acts of violence and vandalism, not in response to peaceful protest."

About 1,200 people in southern Israel were killed and more than 200 taken hostage in the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The Israeli retaliatory assault has killed nearly 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and obliterated much of the enclave's infrastructure. The humanitarian crisis has fueled outrage on some U.S. campuses and spurred demands for an end to investment in Israeli companies and amnesty for student protesters.


∎ New Hampshire State Police said personnel were at the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College on Wednesday night "in response to illegal activity and at the request of local law enforcement." At the University of New Hampshire, police arrested 10 to 20 pro-Palestinian protesters who started setting up an encampment after a rally. Officers at Dartmouth College cleared out the final tents at the campus encampment shortly before 11:40 p.m., its student newspaper reported .

∎ Several hundred protesters gathered Wednesday for a peaceful demonstration on Ohio State University. School officials had locked up some buildings in anticipation of the demonstration. Unlike last week's protest, which led to almost 40 arrests, the crowd began dispersing around 9 p.m. and the demonstration ended before 10 p.m.

∎ Columbia Provost Angela Olinto said all academic activities at the school's main campus for the rest of the semester, including final exams, will be held remotely, with some minor exceptions.

∎ Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he supports the strong law enforcement response unleashed on protesters at the University of Georgia and Emory University in Atlanta. “Send a message,'' he said. "We are not going to allow Georgia to become the next Columbia University.”

∎ Protesters and police clashed at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when officers broke up an encampment there Wednesday. Video from the scene showed some protesters being pinned to the ground.

∎ Tulane University said at least 14 protesters were arrested from the "illegal encampment" the school said was dominated by protesters "unaffiliated with our community."

Police order dispersal of large pro-Palestinian gathering at UCLA

Police ordered a large group of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators to leave or face arrest late Wednesday, a night after violence erupted at the encampment by counter-protestors.

Video posted on social media showed counterdemonstrators battering a makeshift barricade around pro-Palestinian protesters at the Los Angeles campus. The Los Angeles Police Department said it responded to UCLA's request to restore order "due to multiple acts of violence within the large encampment" on the campus.

The Los Angeles Times reported police did not intervene for more than an hour after arriving as counterdemonstrators wearing black outfits and white masks − some armed with metal pipes and sticks − repeatedly tried to breach the perimeter of the encampment while campers pushed back and several fights broke out.

Los Angeles police said in a statement Wednesday that officers made no arrests and did not use force in its response to the UCLA campus Tuesday night. The department also noted that no officers were injured.

UCLA canceled Wednesday classes and Chancellor Gene Block, who blamed the violence on a "group of instigators'' who attacked the encampment, said the student conduct process has been initiated and could lead to disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion.

The Times also reported University of California President Michael Drake told the Board of Regents that 15 people were injured in the overnight fracas, and he's ordering an independent review of the events, including how UCLA handled them.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom condemned the violence, saying in a statement , "The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism, or lawlessness on campus. Those who engage in illegal behavior must be held accountable for their actions − including through criminal prosecution, suspension, or expulsion.''

The Jewish Federation Los Angeles issued a statement saying it was "appalled" at the violence, which did not "represent the Jewish community or our values." But the statement also said the UCLA administration was at fault for allowing an environment that made students feel unsafe.

UCLA students barricade themselves in courtyard in tense protest

Hundreds of students at UCLA barricaded themselves in a courtyard between two campus buildings Wednesday, using sheets of plywood, planks, ropes, and tents to block the doors leading from the buildings into the outside area.

The mood was anxious. Sporadic announcements over a loudspeaker informed students they were part of an illegal settlement and would face consequences if they remained. In response, the crowd chanted: “We’re not leaving, we’re not leaving.”

“I’m terrified, obviously, I think everybody is,” said 21-year-old student Aidan Doyle. “But we’re going to stay as long as we possibly can, until we’re being physically removed.”

Thousands of students were spread out in the areas directly outside the main protest. Organizers shouted over loud speakers that they didn’t need any more supplies as piles of protective equipment, pizza and Gatorade grew at the main entrance to the camp.

On Tuesday night, the camp was attacked by a group of violent counter-protesters, who fired chemical agents and fireworks into the protestors and assaulted dozens of people.

– Will Carless

Columbia faculty members protest decision to bring in police

Some of faculty and graduate student workers rallying outside Columbia's gates wore orange safety vests that said “faculty,” which they donned days earlier to help protect students in the encampment. 

“There is not a single university left in Gaza, and I bet a lot of you feel there is not a university here in Morningside Heights,” Joseph Hawley, an associate professor of classics, told gatherers, referring to the neighborhood around the school. “But I’m here to tell you the university is here on this sidewalk.”

Barricades still lined city streets outside Columbia’s campus as police officers stood watch. Shafik has asked the New York Police Department to remain on campus until May 17, two days after graduation.

Mana Kia, an associate professor, read a draft statement from the Columbia chapter of the American Association of University Professors saying members "unequivocally condemn President Shafik, the Columbia board of trustees and other senior administrators involved in the decision to call in the NYPD and clear the encampment of student protesters." The statement said the association has "no confidence in the administration."

Organizer says 'ordinary people,' not agitators behind protests

Less than three hours before a huge deployment of New York City police officers broke up an encampment and retook a building at Columbia on Tuesday night, Mayor Eric Adams made a forceful case that the pro-Palestinian protest at the school had been hijacked by "outside agitators'' bent on sowing chaos.

Those involved in pushing for the movement off-campus disagree, saying it belongs to regular folks trying to raise awareness to the Palestinians' plight.

Manolo De Los Santos, an organizer with The People’s Forum, said those joining the protests alongside students are just “ordinary New Yorkers.”“The power of this moment is that it’s everyone coming together,” he said. “It’s health care workers, it’s teachers, it’s city workers. It’s ordinary people who feel so strongly.”   

‘Never felt this much tension on campus,' UNH student says

Police arrested pro-Palestinian protesters who started setting up an encampment in front of the University of New Hampshire's Thompson Hall Wednesday night.

UNH Police Chief Paul Dean estimated between 10 to 20 protesters were arrested after a rally led to demonstrators attempting to set up an encampment at the state’s flagship university, drawing local and New Hampshire State Police. Some demonstrators shouted at officers, calling them "cowards" and chanting "free Palestine."

The peaceful rally lasted until around 6:30 p.m. Then, Dean said protesters rushed in to form an encampment and attempted to barricade their tents. Leftover tents and items on Thompson Hall's lawn were removed by police around 9 p.m., loaded onto a truck as dozens of students watched. 

Shane Tilton, a sophomore who lives in a nearby residence hall, said he walked over to observe after hearing the commotion. He watched from beneath the Thompson Hall arches as the encampment was removed from the most well-known gathering spot on campus.

“I’ve never felt this much tension on campus,” Tilton said. “I feel like there’s a lot of tension. From my perspective, it seems like the cops don’t have much to do here. They seemed like they were here to jump at this opportunity and see some action.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire condemned police’s actions Wednesday night in Durham and at a similar protest at Dartmouth College in Hanover.

“Freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate are foundational principles of democracy and core constitutional rights," said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the state ACLU. "We urge university and government leaders to create environments that safeguard constitutionally protected speech."

– Ian Lenahan and Deb Cram, Portsmouth Herald

'Intifada' chants by some protesters are 'horribly upsetting'

Dozens of protesters gathered Wednesday in and around Fordham University’s Leon Lowenstein Center in Manhattan and established an encampment. The group is demanding the university divest from all companies “complicit in the Israeli occupation and ongoing siege,” according to a statement from the Fordham for Palestine Coalition.

As the demonstration grew throughout the afternoon, it also attracted a handful of onlookers and opponents who occasionally shouted pro-Israel remarks as they passed. Asa Kittay and Carly Connors said they were in class down the street when they heard demonstrators chanting “Intifada,” an Arabic word for uprising or rebellion. Kittay, who held up a tablet with an image of the Israeli flag, said it was “horribly upsetting.”“I believe that these two states can co-exist peacefully,” Connors said. “I do not believe in an intifada. That is not very anti-genocide.” John Lefkowitz, who attended the protest with friends who go to Fordham, said he believes the demonstrations are sometimes incorrectly characterized as antisemitic by people who are uninformed about the position of anti-Zionism.“It’s often told that Jews should feel unsafe in pro-Palestine circles. As a Jew, I’ve never felt unsafe in a pro-Palestinian circle,” he said. “These people are great, they’re not anti-semites.”

Back to the future: Columbia a focal point again in protest history

The descent of police on Hamilton Hall at Columbia University outfitted in full riot gear and enforcing mass arrests Tuesday night fell on the same date and place police cracked down on antiwar protesters in 1968. Some fear the clash heralds a similar outcome at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where political leaders are emboldened to sic the cops on demonstrators ever more intent on showing up.“I don’t think it’ll keep anyone from Chicago, it might even inspire more people to come,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for the Coalition to March on the DNC and the national chair of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.Democrats already feared a repeat of the chaos from 56 years ago where police and demonstrators clashed, drawing all eyes away from the convention.At the crackdown at Columbia April 30, 1968, police arrested over 700 people and over 100 injuries were reported, according to a Columbia University Libraries publication. Police arrested almost 300 people Tuesday between Columbia and City College, according to the city’s top cop.

– Michael Loria

Arraignments from first arrests at New York universities begin

Late Wednesday night, the first arrests from the protests at Columbia University and the City College of New York began to be arraigned at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, the same building where former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial is underway.

Outside the court’s arraignment part, dozens of the protesters’ supporters gathered in the halls, many of them wearing keffiyehs. The mood was jubilant, and many were chatting or conferring with each other in small groups.

When one protester exited the courtroom after his arraignment, he was quickly swarmed by friends and dropped to the floor in a brief moment of celebration.

That protester, who was at the City College demonstrations, had been charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony, and resisting arrest. However, the prosecutor handling his case recommended to the judge that he be released from jail, given that police “continue to investigate” the incident.

Arrests across U.S.: Campus protests across the US result in arrests by the hundreds. But will the charges stick?

– Asher Stockler, The Journal News

NYU encampment stays in place after others in city were torn down

The day after other city schools saw violent clashes with police, the encampment at NYU's lower Manhattan campus stood untouched. Punctuated by faded chalk reading "End Jewish and Palestinian hate," the collection of tents and chairs took up about one city block near 181 Mercer Street, where the university's Paulson Center is located. 

Fenced-off and guarded by a smattering of campus security, the encampment was bracing for hot weather with some protesters carrying umbrellas to block out the sun and one arriving with large bags of ice. Demonstrators needed to present a school ID to enter the encampment. The barricades held signs reading, "Fund our education, not the occupation" and listing the protesters' demands, which include divestment and closing NYU's Tel Aviv campus.

The shadow of Tuesday's mass arrests and the forced removal of encampments on the other end of the island at Columbia and City College of New York was evident. Just outside the barricades, a group of demonstrators huddled to practice safety tactics.

− Anna Kaufman  

New York students continue protests day after mass arrests

Hundreds of demonstrators at Columbia University and City College of New York gathered Wednesday evening a day after administrators from both universities called police in riot gear on the protesters.

“Our encampment is what it could look like to be liberated,” Hadeeqa Arzoo, a City College student, said, as several cars honked in support while she led chants of “Free Palestine.” “So I will continue to cultivate these spaces of liberation within the belly of the beast. That is resistance.”

Even if both schools no longer had encampments, demonstrators promised to continue their activism in support of Palestinians and in opposition to schools’ investments in Israel.

“There is not a single student-led uprising in history met with severe state-sanctioned violence that did not end up being right,” Maryam Alwan, a Columbia student organizer, said. She likened their cause — and police's response — to the civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter protests, including allegations of outside agitators and property damage.

As the sun fell outside City College’s campus in West Harlem, several dozen police officers surrounded the protesters standing inside barricades. The rally, which included two Islamic prayers, would continue into the night before students returned to Columbia, some walking down the valley and back up the hill to the other campus.

– Eduardo Cuevas

UT-Dallas confirms 17 arrests hours after encampment set up

The University of Texas at Dallas confirmed law enforcement officers arrested over a dozen people hours after pro-Palestinian student demonstrators constructed an encampment Wednesday.

UT-Dallas spokesperson Brittany Magelssen told USA TODAY that 17 people were arrested on criminal trespassing charges as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday after university officials gave written notice to remove the tents. Magelssen said UT-Dallas requested outside law enforcement officers to assist. 

“Individuals may peacefully assemble in the common outdoor areas of campus to exercise their right to free speech, but they may not construct an encampment or block pathways. In the last six months, there have been several peaceful protests on the UT Dallas campus,” Magelssen said. "The UT Dallas Police Department and area law enforcement partners are continuing to monitor the situation."

The UT-Dallas chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine said in a social media post students began setting up the "Gaza Liberation Plaza" encampment at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“We reject our university’s complicity in profiting off the genocide. We will continue to escalate and put pressure on our university until UTD/UTIMCO divest from war profiteers and Palestine is free,” the student organization said early Wednesday.

High school students joining the protest movement

The proliferation of antiwar protests in college campuses across the U.S. is filtering down to the younger academic levels , and some of the grown-ups are not happy about it.

A sit-in planned for Wednesday at a Chicago prep school is the latest among high school demonstrations showing support for embattled Palestinians in Gaza. On Monday, about 100 high school students in Austin, Texas,  walked out of their classes in protest . Last week, students in western Washington state similarly expressed their objection to the U.S. backing Israel's military efforts in Gaza.

"I'm protesting against a government that is actively hurting people just because of where they were born and what language they speak," Pia Ibsen, a senior at McCallum High School in Austin, told USA TODAY. Ibsen helped organize a walkout and left class for about an hour and a half.

Some school and government officials have tried to stop the protests, arguing they create a hostile environment for Jewish students. That was the case last week when two county commissioners in New Jersey demanded a school district's superintendent cancel a pro-Palestinian walkout at East Regional High in Voorhees Township. The protest was replaced by a rally for human rights.

− Cybele Mayes-Osterman and Kayla Jimenez

UAW members hope presence at protest will 'move the needle'

In addition to the campus protests, hundreds of people bearing pro-Palestinian signs and t-shirts gathered at New York City’s Foley Square on Wednesday afternoon for a march and rally led by labor organizers on International Worker’s Day.

Participants included Brian Sullivan, 45, a member of the United Auto Workers whose local chapter represents social workers. Sullivan said seeing labor organizers come out in such large numbers could help “really move the needle.”

“UAW endorsed Joe Biden and hopefully he feels some exposure here, that if he doesn’t do what’s right and what the UAW members are asking for, he risks that endorsement,” Sullivan said.

Jeremy Montano, another UAW member who works in the legal field, said the recent “explosion of interest” in the conflict in Gaza, particularly on college campuses, has also given him some hope. “Obviously it’s balanced out with a lot of despair about what’s actually happening in Gaza,” said Montano, 37. “But there’s been a little bit of a source of hope that maybe longer term things might change.”

Almost 300 protesters arrested in NYC; student group says some were injured

New York City police made 119 arrests at Columbia University and 173 at City College in Tuesday night's crackdowns on protesters, Commissioner Edward Caban said Wednesday. Charges range from trespassing to criminal mischief to burglary, and the breakdown of students to non-students facing charges was not yet available, he said.

Police said there were no injuries, although CUNY for Palestine issued a statement saying one student suffered a broken ankle, two had teeth broken and others received burns from pepper spray used by police during the clash.

Mayor Eric Adams said drones and encryption radios used at Columbia provided police with the element of surprise when they retook Hamilton Hall, adding that "professionals at radicalizing" had influenced the student protesters and co-opted the protest but without providing details.

Officers climbed into Hamilton Hall, which protesters had occupied earlier Tuesday, through a second-story window. Within three hours Tuesday night, they had retaken the building, NYPD said.

"It was about external actors hijacking a peaceful protest and influencing students to escalate," Adams said. "We cannot allow what should be a lawful protest turn into a violent spectacle that serves no purpose."

Fordham, another NYC university, establishes encampment

Outside Fordham University’s Leon Lowenstein Center building on Wednesday, another encampment sprung up. Students, faculty and community members surrounded by law enforcement officers and newly erected barricades chanted “Free, free Palestine” and “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” Inside, demonstrators including current and former students milled around their tents, played drums, banged on windows and held up signs reading “Free Palestine” and “Divest genocide funds” for passersby to see.

Julie Norris, a 27-year-old Fordham alumni, said she arrived before 8 a.m. Wednesday to help establish the encampment. Norris, who spoke to USA TODAY on the phone from inside the Lowenstein Center, estimated about 30 people were inside with her and said they plan to stay until their demands are met.

“The students can’t be stopped,” she said. “We saw intense repression against students on other campuses yesterday, and this morning students are ready to stand back up. There’s going to be no business as usual until Palestine is free.”

Northwestern, Brown reach deal: Make pact with student demonstrators to curb protests

Some campus protesters cut deals, claim victory

Some student activists who pitched tents and camped on university lawns to protest Israel's military attacks in Gaza have begun to declare victory after hammering out agreements with school administrators.  Northwestern University  just outside Chicago became the first U.S. school to publicly announce a deal on Monday. On Tuesday, Brown University protesters broke camp after President Christina Paxson said the Rhode Island school will bring divestment demands to a vote. Organizers hope the deals set a new precedent for protest encampments around the U.S. and show a way to find common ground without using force.

“What these students have done is truly, truly historical,” Summer Pappachen, a graduate student and organizer of the Northwestern encampment, told USA TODAY on Tuesday amid cleanup of the lawn students held for days. “We have been able to achieve (our goals) while keeping students safe.”

− Michael Loria

Columbia building cleared: Police storm into building held by pro-Palestinian protesters

What are college protests across the US about?

The  student protesters  opposed to Israel's military attacks in Gaza say  they want their schools to stop funneling endowment money  to Israeli companies and other businesses, like weapons manufacturers, that profit from the war in Gaza. In addition to divestment, protesters are calling for a cease-fire, and student governments at some colleges have also passed resolutions in recent weeks calling for an end to academic partnerships with Israel. The protesters also want the U.S. to stop supplying funding and weapons to the war effort.

More recently, amnesty for students and professors involved in the protests has become an issue. Protesters want protections amid threats of disciplinary action and termination for those participating in demonstrations that violate campus policy or local laws.

− Claire Thornton

Contributing: Reuters

Rob McConnell Interviews - LT. COL. KEVIN RANDLE, PhD (RETIRED) - The Beginning of Modern UFOs

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5 Things To Do The Moment You Feel The 'Baby Blues' Set In

It's not your fault, but there are still things you can do to help get ahead of postpartum depression..

  • Robyn Stein DeLuca, PhD

Last updated on May 04, 2024

Postpartum depression after having a baby

Feeling sad and out of sorts are common postpartum depression symptoms a lot of women have after having a baby. It is completely normal — you have made a gigantic change in your life!

You are physically recovering from a major event (they don’t call it labor for anything). You are likely overtired, overworked, and maybe a little unsure about how to care for this beautiful but mysterious wonder. Compound all that with the tell-tale signs of postpartum depression, and it's no wonder you don't feel like yourself!

RELATED: How To Survive Your First Week With A New Baby (& Keep Your Sanity Intact!)

Here are 5 steps to take as soon as you feel the 'baby blues' set in.

1. forgive yourself..

Feeling sad when you just had a baby doesn’t make you a bad mother. I realize this is not what social norms would suggest, but it’s true. You are a good, caring, loving person who has a typical response to a tectonic shift in daily living. After all, it's called postpartum depression for a reason.

The most common reasons that women become depressed after childbirth are having little social support, a difficult baby, a troubled relationship with the baby’s father, and being depressed before the baby is born. None of these mean you are a bad person. Being able to forgive yourself for these feelings is the first step in helping yourself out of the m.

2. Ask for what you need.

You may have prided yourself on your independence and self-sufficiency before the baby came, but now is not the time to go it alone. In the past, you would have had the automatic support of your community of family and friends to help with the baby, do your chores, or make meals.

Hillary was well-intentioned when she said, “It takes a village.” Call in the community — your partner, parents, siblings, and friends all want to be involved, but sometimes they don’t know what you need. Whether it is tangible help like doing laundry or emotional help like giving you a shoulder to cry on, don’t be shy about asking for what you need.

She feels the baby blues holding new born

RELATED: How Postpartum Depression Almost Killed Me

3. Talk to other moms.

When feeling depressed about any situation, it always helps to talk to others who are swimming in the same soup. Find a new mothers group — either in person or online. You can look for Facebook or Yahoo groups of new mothers in your area.

Many social organizations and libraries also have free monthly support groups for new mothers. You will make friends, get advice, find empathy, and walk away with the knowledge you are not alone in your struggle. These kinds of interactions with others can lighten your mood.

4. Get some exercise.

I know you don’t have the time, but exercise is one of the most reliable ways to lift depressive symptoms. It doesn’t have to be a master pilates class or a 90-minute booty boot camp. 20-30 minutes of brisk walking 4-5 times per week.

If you don’t have someone to give you that time to yourself, you can do it with the baby in the stroller. That way, you get an extra boost because studies show that looking at the blue sky and the green of trees also improves mood and reduces anxiety and stress.

It can be hard to get moving when you feel depressed but try to push yourself here. In just a few days, you will feel the difference.

@alirodmd ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) - Danilo Stankovic

RELATED: What It's Like Being A First-Time Mother With Postpartum Depression

5. If all else fails, see a mental health professional.

If your depression becomes something you can’t make your way out of and is threatening your ability to function, it’s time to bring in the professionals . Fortunately, there are very effective treatments for postpartum depression. Studies show that talk therapy and anti-depressant medication are equally effective.

For talk therapy , you can work with a psychologist or a licensed social worker, usually once a week for about eight weeks. If you prefer the medication route, I suggest working with a psychiatrist since they are specifically trained in how to find the best anti-depressant medication for you (there are many). Your obstetrician and general practitioner are not.

@_jen_hamilton_ ♬ Debussy "Moonlight" Piano Solo(829473) - LEOPARD

I suffered from postpartum depression when I had my first child. It’s not fun and unfair. The guilt alone can be crushing. Let it go, and reach out for what you need. You deserve it. It may take a while, but you will pull out of this and get back to your awesome and happy self.

RELATED: Reject The Cape: Why Constant Worrying Doesn’t Make You A Super Mom

Robyn Stein DeLuca, Ph.D. is a psychologist and postpartum expert. She teaches the Two Day Bringing Baby Home Workshop for Couples, which helps couples improve and protect their relationship when the new baby comes home.

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