Study PhD in USA – A complete Guide in 2021

Study PhD in USA - Tips for International Students on how to get in in 2020
Study PhD in USA – Tips for International Students on how to get in in 2020

This is a detailed breakdown of all you need to know to study PhD in USA. This guide gives you an up-to-date information on the cost to study PhD in USA, how to study PhD in USA without scholarships, the entry and visa requirements to study PhD in USA, list of PhD programs in USA for international students in 2020/2021 academic session and every other question that plague your mind.

Welcome aboard. Let’s get started!!!


Do you know that USA is the most popular study abroad destination for studies for international students? We have almost 1 million international students at its universities and colleges. What makes it so? Keep reading!!!

More than twice the size of the European Union, the United States has high mountains in the West and a vast central plain. The landscape varies across this large country–from the tropical beaches of Florida to the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, from the rolling prairie lands and barren deserts in the west to the vast areas of dense wilderness in the north.

The beautiful geography, weather and quality of education makes USA the most popular study abroad destination for international students. These unique qualities enhance the appeal to study PhD in USA (tens of thousands of international graduate students can’t be wrong).

It’s at PhD-level that the USA really shines though. America’s rigorous approach to graduate study delivers a standard of training and professional development that often surpasses the minimum requirement for a more ‘traditional’ research-focused doctorates in other countries.

PhD programs in USA are more structured and features comprehensive training alongside independent research. You will get to discover more as you read on.

Keep reading to discover how to study PhD in USA with scholarships!!!

Is a PhD Study in USA worth it?

Before taking a decision to send in your application for PhD programs in USA, you need to consider if it’s going to be worth it. Not to worry, we have done our research and come up with some striking reasons as stated by students who have gone through PhD in USA. Here are some few reasons to study PhD in USA;

  • Instead of being required to focus immediately on your dissertation proposal, you’ll have the time to first develop a more detailed understanding of your subject as the basis for your own research.
  • USA is a home to World-leading universities and research centres. Us universities are at the top of university rankings. Amongst other things, this reflects the country’s substantial investment in research output and expertise.
  • International students are highly welcomed in the country. US universities are used to hosting huge numbers of overseas students from countries across the world. Whatever and wherever you study, you’ll be welcomed as part of a diverse academic community.
  • The USA is more of a (post) graduate trendsetter than it’s sometimes given credit for being. America was the second country (after Germany) to adopt the modern PhD degree, and its own structured approach to doctoral training is now influencing PhD study in the UK and Europe.
  • With 50 states, six time zones and thousands of higher education providers, it’s fair to say that student life in the USA has something to offer you, whatever you’re seeking from PhD study.
  • They teach all courses in English. You just have to worry about your IELTS or TOEFL score.
  • Although US postgraduate studies take longer, the essence is to equip you better. This is the reason PhD students from a US university are employed almost immediately (if you did well).
  • You get the chance to stay in USA 6 months after your study. You can apply for a long-term stay with the US embassy.

With so much to offer international students in the world of education, it’s not an exaggeration to say that US is your best bet for PhD programs.

Keep reading to discover the cost to study PhD in USA!!!

The List of Top Best PhD Universities in USA for 2021

Based on 2020 ranking of universities, here’s a list of the top 20 universities for your PhD programs in USA;

  1. California Institute of Technology
  2. Stanford University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Princeton University
  5. Harvard University ,
  6. Yale University ,
  7. The University of Chicago
  8. The University of Pennsylvania
  9. Johns Hopkins University
  10. University of California, Berkeley
  11. Columbia University
  12. University of California, Los Angeles
  13. Cornell University
  14. Duke University ,
  15. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  16. Northwestern University
  17. The University of Washington
  18. Carnegie Mellon University ,
  19. New York University ,
  20. University of California, San Diego

These institutions rank the best in the world. Securing a PhD spot in any of these universities will be a plus to your degree. A certificate from there is not just a paper but “value”

Keep reading to discover the requirements to study PhD in USA!!!

What are the Requirements Needed to Study PhD in USA?

Requirements to study PhD in USA varies from University to university. Also based on your PhD topic, they might need specific requirements. It’s advisable to visit the School’s website after you’ve made a choice.

Here are some basic requirements you’ll need for every application:

  • A scan of your diploma (high school or Bachelor’s degree)
  • A transcript/record of your previous courses
  • A scan of your passport
  • Your CV
  • Testing scores for English proficiency
  • Evidence of scholarship or funding
  • Letters of recommendation (between 2-3)
  • Portfolio and/or writing samples

These are the basic requirements to study PhD in USA. With these, you can send in your application via the medium specified by your university of interest. Check out the school website for more details!!!

Do you know there are over 500 PhD programs in USA? Find out below!!!

What is the Cost of Living in USA for International Students?

As with the tuition fees for PhD in USA, living cost in the U.S. can vary dramatically based on your location, level of extravagance and lifestyle. In a smaller city, you can get by with 800 USD per month. In a bigger city, you will need about 1,500 USD per month. But this largely depends on the accommodation and your spending habits.

Here is a breakdown of prices you’ll find in the U.S.:

  • 3-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant: 55 USD
  • Milk: 0.85 USD
  • Loaf of bread: 2.73 USD
  • Monthly transportation pass (bus, metro): 72 USD
  • Taxi: 1.68 USD per km
  • Rent (private single or shared apartment): 1,000–2,100 USD per month
  • Utilities: 200–250 USD per month
  • Cappuccino: 4.25 USD
  • Beer: 5 USD

Consider the cost to study PhD in USA to see if you have enough financial capacity or seek to study PhD in USA with scholarships!!!

What is the Average Cost to Study PhD in USA?

Unlike many other study abroad destination, USA does not offer PhD programs for free (there are exceptions). The cost to study PhD in USA varies from University to university, also depending on the university location.

After research, we came to to the knowledge that the cost to study PhD in USA can vary between $28,000 to $40,000 per year, but many students find that they can get funding for much, or all, of their studies. You consider to study PhD in USA with scholarships or seek other funding options.

Check out how to study PhD in USA with scholarships below!!!

Are there Scholarships Available for International PhD Students in USA?

Yes, there are many scholarships for international students in USA. Because of the cost to study PhD in USA, provisions have been made by some institutions and The US government to aid students study PhD in USA with scholarships.

You can study PhD in USA with scholarships if you get any of these below;

  • IBM Fellowship Awards Program for PhD Students
  • Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant for Doctoral Students
  • Microsoft PhD Fellowship in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Microsoft Research Scholarship for Scholars in Europe and Africa Middle East (EMEA)
  • Facebook Emerging Scholar Programme
  • Facebook International Fellowship for Doctoral Students
  • Facebook AI Research (FAIR) Residency Program
  • Columbia University International Postdoctoral Humanities Fellowship
  • University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars Program (UMAPS)
  • PEO International Peace Scholarships for Women to Study in USA and Canada
  • Amelia Earhart Fellowship for Women in Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering
  • AAUW International Fellowship for Women, Masters & Doctoral program in USA
  • Ezera Research Fellowship for African Students at University of California, Berkeley
  • AfyaBora Fellowship in Global Health Leadership for African Medical Practitioners
  • George Washington University Global Leaders Fellowship for International Students
  • Fox International Fellowships at Yale University–Graduate Student Exchange Program
  • Short-Term Visiting Scholars Program at Michigan State University
  • Fulbright Foreign Scholarships
  • Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program for International Researchers
  • Yale University Beinecke Library Visiting Graduate Student Fellowships
  • Symantec Graduate Fellowship Program

You can study PhD in USA with scholarships as stated above. This will aid your finances massively. Check out the requirements to apply and secure yourself a scholarship.

Available PhD Programs in USA in 2022.

There are over 500 PhD programs in USA. Finding your beat suit is of utmost importance. Here is a list of PhD programs in USA;

These and many more you would find in USA. You will find the best PhD programs in USA, so keep searching for more!!!

Frequently Asked Questions About PhD Study in USA

When is the Deadline for PhD Application in USA?

Deadlines for applications to PhD programs in USA are between December and February, and institutions should let you know about your application by April.

What is the Language Requirements for PhD application in USA?

You should take proficiency test on either TOEFL, IELTS or GRE depending on your school of choice Institutions in the USA require international students to have a TOEFL score of around 90, but this does figure varies between institutions.

How Long Does It Take To Study A PhD In USA?

In the USA a PhD can take as long as eight to 10 years, but for most students studying full time, it usually takes five to six years. Students who already have a master’s degree in an appropriate subject might find that they can complete their PhD in four or five years, rather than in five or six years.

In total, the length of a PhD in the USA is usually 4-6 years (full time). Students spend 1-4 years on the coursework stage of their programme and 2-4 years working on their dissertation.

Does USA offer Assistantship to PhD students?

And awarding direct funding, it’s common for US universities to offer assistantship positions to their graduate students. These are effectively employment with the university: you will fulfil a selection of responsibilities for a stipend or a fee waiver.

Common types of assistantship include:

  • Graduate teaching assistantships
  • Research assistantships
  • Administrative assistantships
  • Fellowships

What’s the Application fee for PhD programs in USA?

You must pay a fee for each graduate school application you make. This reflects the cost of processing and reviewing your materials. Typical application fees for PhD study in the USA are between $50 and $100.

Do I need an interview?

Some very competitive programmes may use a PhD interview to help distinguish between candidates. Other programmes may offer interviews as an optional part of the process for prospective students who want to discuss their application in person. If your school requires an interview, they will notify you.


Applying for PhD in USA is very competitive. You need to be on your toes to secure a spot and study PhD in USA with scholarships. Gather the right requirements to study PhD in USA, consider the cost to study PhD in USA, and then check out if the PhD programs in USA suits your fancy.

We hope you found this article helpful and enlightening.

Good luck!!!

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