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PhD Study in the USA – A Guide for 2023

Written by Mark Bennett

The USA isn’t just the biggest and most popular destination for PhD study abroad. It’s also one of the most unique. The US PhD is a structured degree programme offering comprehensive training alongside independent research. This makes it quite different to the UK and Europe's approach to postgraduate (or ‘graduate’) study.

These unique qualities enhance the appeal, but can also lead to some misunderstandings – particularly when it comes to the cost of a PhD in the USA.

This guide covers everything you need to know about PhD study in the USA. We’ve introduced the different types of universities and graduate schools, explained how doctoral degrees are awarded, discussed how to apply for a PhD in the USA and broken down the fees and funding on offer. We've also covered PhD requirements for international students, including visa information. Elsewhere on FindAPhD, you can read our detailed guide to PhD funding in the USA.

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PhD opportunities in the USA – what’s on offer for 2023

The USA as a popular study abroad destination, with almost 1 million international students. To put that figure into perspective, there are more British students studying in the USA than there are total students at some universities in the UK.

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 doctorate in other countries.

Here are a few reasons to consider America for your PhD right now:

  • Accessibility – A US graduate programme takes longer than a UK PhD, but this can also help you find your feet as a PhD student. You’ll have more time to develop a more detailed understanding of your subject as the basis for your own research.
  • World-leading universities and research – Rankings aren’t everything, but the global league tables continue to be dominated by US institutions. Amongst other things, this reflects the country’s substantial investment in research output and expertise.
  • International community – American universities host huge numbers of students from across the world. Whatever and wherever you study you’ll be welcomed as part of a diverse academic community.
  • Innovation – 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. Its own structured approach to doctoral training is also now influencing PhD study in the UK and Europe.
  • Breadth of opportunity - With 50 states, six time zones and thousands of higher education providers, the USA has something to offer everyone.

It isn’t really surprising that the appeal of US universities is so consistent.

PhD Study in the USA - Key Details
Universities 3,982
Nobel Prizes 403
Oldest University Harvard University (1636)
International Students 957,475
PhD Length 4-6 years
Representative Fees USD $28,000-40,000
Academic Year August to May

Coronavirus updates for international students at American universities

For the latest information on the impact of coronavirus on studying a PhD in America, please check the official government guidence for updates.

American universities

Only around 1,500 of the USA’s almost 4,000 universities award doctoral degrees, but that’s still a lot of options to consider!

Thankfully, the differences between institution types aren’t that important at PhD level. It doesn’t generally matter whether somewhere refers to itself as a ‘college’, ‘school’ or ‘university’. These terms often mean roughly the same thing in American higher education. Instead you should focus on whether or not an institution offers a graduate programme in your subject. These are where PhD study takes place in American universities.

'Graduate' or 'postgraduate'?

In the USA, university education that takes place after a Bachelors degree is referred to as ‘graduate’ study: study that is undertaken by university graduates. The people who study for Masters and PhDs are therefore ‘graduate students’ or ‘grad students’.

Public and private universities

US universities can be divided into two broad groups, depending on how they receive their funding. This affects the fees they charge to students:

  • Public universities are administered as part of state university systems. Because they receive public funding from their state they charge less to local ‘in-state’ students. ‘Out-of-state’ students pay more, regardless of whether they are a citizen of a different US state or a country outside the USA. There isn’t a higher fee specifically for international students.
  • Private universities don’t receive any direct state funding (though they may benefit from federal research funds). This means more of their income is derived from student fees, making them higher than those at public universities. However, private universities don’t usually charge extra to international or out-of-state students.

Other than fees, there is no distinction between the kinds of graduate programmes offered by public and private universities.

Public universities tend to be larger, with more students. But private universities are equally focussed on academic quality, often being run as non-profits. In fact, many of the most famous and highly regarded universities in the USA are private.

'Non-profit' vs 'for-profit'

Some private universities are run as commercial enterprises, using part of their fee income to generate profit for owners and shareholders. Many other private universities are non-profit institutions. The income they generate supports academic activity and covers running costs. Non-profit institutions are more likely to offer high-quality graduate programmes.

Graduate schools

Graduate schools are specialised organisations set up by, and affiliated with, universities. Larger universities may have several graduate schools focussing on different subjects, such as Law, Management and so on. Smaller universities may have a single graduate school that administers all of their graduate programmes.

As a PhD student you may find yourself applying to a graduate school rather than the wider university it is part of. However, graduate schools aren’t a separate type of institution. It doesn’t generally matter how many a university has.

Other institutions

Other types of higher education provider also operate in the USA, but don’t typically offer graduate study. These include community colleges (offering two-year associate’s degrees, below Bachelors level) and liberal arts colleges (offering a comprehensive Arts and Science curriculum, usually for undergraduates).


The federal structure of the USA means there is no government body responsible for accrediting all US universities. Instead a range of accreditors operate independently on a national or regional level. The US Government maintains a database of the universities and programmes they have accredited.

It doesn’t necessarily matter which specific bodies have recognised a given university. But, you should be wary of any institution that doesn’t have any verifiable accreditation.

University groups

Many American universities are part of wider associations. These are formed by the universities themselves, not by any ‘official’ process. Some groups (such as the Ivy League) are very famous and regarded as high quality. Things aren’t quite so simple though, particularly at PhD level. Membership to a prestigious group doesn’t always mean an institution offers a great graduate programme in your subject.

The Ivy League

Probably the best-known and most renowned university group in America (if not the world) the Ivy League was formed as a sporting conference. Made up of eight universities, its membership is actually based on geography and athletics, not academic quality.

That said, the Ivy League does include eight of America’s oldest, wealthiest and highest-ranked universities. A PhD from any of these institutions American is a very prestigious qualification indeed.

Public Ivies

‘Public Ivy’ is a term used for top public universities that are regarded as offering an equivalent standard of academic quality to the (exclusively private) Ivy League.

This grouping is much looser than the original Ivy League. ‘Membership’ is based on the subjective opinion of different writers and commentators. Wikipedia maintains a list of the 30 universities generally counted as Public Ivies.

The Association of American Universities

This is a North American membership body formed by universities and based on academic quality. The AAU is the closest thing in the USA to the UK's Russell Group.

The AAU members include 60 US institutions, as well as two Canadian universities. They include public and private providers and collectively award almost half of all doctorates in the USA. Membership can therefore be a pretty good indicator of graduate programme quality.

US university rankings

The USA performs very well in global university rankings, with more ‘top’ universities than any other country. It’s worth bearing in mind that the sheer size of the American higher education system plays a role here, as do other factors (such as language). Still, the ‘best’ American universities are generally also amongst the ‘best’ global universities.

The following table gives the highest-ranked universities in the USA.

Top 20 American Universities in 2023
University Groups* THE 2023 QS 2023 ARWU 2022
Harvard University AAU, IL 2 5 1
Stanford University AAU =3 3 2
Massachusetts Institute of Technology AAU 5 1 3
California Institute of Technology AAU 6 =6 9
Princeton University AAU, IL 7 =16 6
University of California, Berkley AAU, PL 8 27 5
Yale University AAU, PI 9 18 11
Columbia University AAU, PI =11 22 8
University of Chicago AAU, PI 13 10 10
University of Pennsylvania AAU, IL 14 13 15
Johns Hopkins University AAU 15 24 8
Cornell University AAU, IL 20 20 12
University of California, Los Angeles AAU, PI 21 44 13
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor AAU, PI 23 25 28
New York University AAU 24 39 25
Duke University AAU 25 =50 31
Northwestern University AAU =26 32 30
University of Washington AAU, PI =26 80 17
Carnegie Mellon University AAU 28 52 101-150
University of California, San Diego AAU, PI 32 53 21
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.
*AAU - Association of American Universities; IL - Ivy League; PI - Public Ivy

As you can see, US universities do very well in global rankings. All of the 'top' American institutions are also part of at least one of the groups outlined above.

All have the potential to be great choices for PhD study. That said, global rankings are quite limited when it comes to measuring the quality of graduate study. These courses can involve aspects that might be separate to a university’s broader teaching and research activities.

American university cities

Almost all US cities and larger towns will have a local university of some sort. Some parts of the USA are particularly renowned as hubs for higher education and research.

Here is a selection:

Finding and choosing a US university for your PhD

With so many factors to consider it can seem difficult to make a decision. The best advice is to take your time and evaluate options carefully. The following tips may also be helpful:

  • Remember that you’re choosing a ‘course’, not just a university or research project. Look at the classes, training, facilities and opportunities offered by the graduate programme.
  • Don’t worry too much about the difference between public and private universities. Good institutions exist in both categories.
  • Consider extra-curricular factors. The USA is a big place and 4-6 years is a long time. Individual states, cities and university campuses differ substantially. Try to pick somewhere you’ll enjoy living as well as studying in.
  • Check accreditation. There are huge numbers of universities in the USA. Most are reputable and genuine institutions. But, international students should always ensure that universities have proper recognition.

One of the simplest ways to get started is by using our search. You can also check the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to identify universities with a particular focus on graduate-level study. This is an unofficial, but well established, categorisation of universities according to their size, academic focus and other factors.

Learn more about the Ivy League

How much does it cost to do your PhD at an Ivy League university? Are they really the best universities in the US? How can you earn a place? We cover all this and more in our full guide.

PhD course structure

Unlike doctoral degrees in most other countries, an American PhD is almost never a pure research degree. Original research is still a key requirement for an American doctorate, and you’ll still present and defend a thesis. It’s just that you’ll do a lot more along the way and quite a few other things first.

Whereas doctoral students in other countries normally start researching right away, USA PhD courses begin with taught classes and assessments. It’s only after passing this stage that a student confirms their final dissertation topic and gets to work researching it.

PhD length

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.

The academic year in the USA consists of two teaching semesters: August-December and January-May. These will be when your classes and assessments take place. Most graduate programmes admit students in the autumn (or ‘fall’) semester.

Graduate programmes

US graduate study looks very different to postgraduate study in the UK and other countries. However, it may seem quite similar to the undergraduate study you’re probably used to.

You’ll enrol in a specific graduate programme, usually within a graduate school attached to the university. This programme determines the courses available (and required) for your PhD - a lot like a taught Bachelors or Masters degree.

Most universities will have separate graduate schools and / or programmes for different subjects. Smaller or more specialised institutions may only run one or two programmes. Students will be required to select classes appropriate to their intended research area.

Larger graduate programmes may also offer more specific degree concentrations in particular subjects. For example, an Arts and Humanities graduate programme might offer separate pathways for Literature or History, determining which core classes a student is expected to pass.

The coursework stage

The first part of a US PhD is a lot like a taught Masters. In fact, a distinction between PhD candidates and Masters students may not actually be made at this point.

You will complete a series of taught classes or coursework modules:

  • Core classes are an essential requirement for your programme. They will cover key concepts and research techniques as well as other required subject knowledge.
  • Elective classes are optional. You will still need to complete enough of these to satisfy the credit requirements for your programme, but the options you select will be up to you. This allows you to pick up more specific training or pursue interests that might help develop your own research project later in the degree.

The freedom you have to choose classes will depend on two things. Firstly, the design of your programme and secondly, the amount of technical knowledge required for your subject.

Some programmes require doctoral candidates to undertake other personal and professional development activities. This could include work or volunteering placements or even learning a foreign language. These reflect the USA's focus on producing well-rounded, adaptable graduates.

Once you’ve completed all the classes and requirements for your programme you will face a comprehensive examination (sometimes referred to as a ‘field exam’ or ‘dissertation qualifying exam’). This is sometimes referred to as a ‘field exam’ or ‘dissertation qualifying exam’. The exam checks that you have acquired sufficient mastery of existing knowledge in your field to conduct your own original research. Students who reach this point in a graduate programme are sometimes referred to as being ABD (‘all but dissertation’).

Some students are allowed to exit a graduate programme with a Masters degree at this point. Others may be awarded a Masters en route to their PhD.

Check the details for your programme

Some PhD programmes subdivide the coursework stage so that students begin with qualifying classes and a qualifying exam (confirming they're ready for PhD study) before moving on to more specific preparation for their dissertation stage. It’s a good idea to check and compare details for specific programmes you are interested in.

The dissertation stage

Students who have passed the coursework stage of their programme are ready to be confirmed as full PhD candidates. The final stage is producing the doctoral dissertation. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘capstone project’ for a graduate programme culminating in a PhD.

The first thing you will do is decide upon a research topic. Your proposal may be linked to ideas and directions indicated in your application. You will also have a lot of scope to refine your plans or define a new topic, based on the material you have studied during your classes.

The topic you wish to research must be put forward in a dissertation prospectus. This is a bit like the research proposal submitted as part of a PhD application in some other countries. You will produce an essay outlining your intended project, methodology and outcomes as well as a bibliography, situating your proposal within current scholarship.

Some programmes will expect you to present your prospectus and defend your ideas. This is a bit like the MPhil upgrade that takes place early in a UK PhD. The difference is that you will be examined on your proposal, rather than on a sample of your research or thesis.

From here on a USA PhD looks much more like a conventional research doctorate. You will be assigned a committee of supervisors (or ‘advisors’) whose interests and expertise align with your topic. One of your committee will probably be designated as your principal advisor or dissertation director. They will support you as you carry out research, gather results and write up your findings.

Other development activities may continue to take place alongside your research. Some programmes expect students to carry out teaching and administrative work. You may also be required to submit an academic article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Assessment and examination

American PhDs are much more like taught degrees than the research-focussed doctorates offered in other countries. You will need to pass regular assessments in order to progress with your programme and eventually defend your dissertation.

Requirements will depend on your graduate programme, but will usually include:

  • Coursework – Your classes will be assessed through essays, exams and presentations. You will need to pass these in order to earn enough credits to complete the coursework stage of your programme.
  • Examinations – Your competence will be broadly assessed before you can move on to the dissertation. These examinations may involve oral presentation and debate with members of your faculty. Or they could be a traditional ‘closed book’ exam paper to assess your general subject knowledge. Some programmes involve more than one set of exams.
  • Dissertation prospectus – Your proposed topic and plan will be orally examined by your dissertation committee before you can proceed to your research.
  • Dissertation defence – The final test for your PhD will be a presentation and oral examination of your doctoral dissertation. This is similar to the viva voce used in the UK and other countries.

You may also need to demonstrate that you have satisfied other requirements for your programme. For instance, acquiring language skills, completing professional internships and submitting work for academic presentations or publication.

PhD types

Most universities in the USA simply award the standard PhD (or Ph.D.) as an academic doctorate. This qualification is equivalent to PhDs in other countries.

Some programmes award professional doctorates such as the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) and EdD (Doctor of Education). These usually include very specific practical projects and case studies in addition to academic classes and dissertation research.

Other types of ‘doctoral’ qualification are available to students seeking to qualify for regulated professions such as law or medicine. These JD (Doctor of Laws) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) degrees are organised very differently to academic doctorates and don’t normally qualify students for legal or medical practice in other countries. They are not recommended for international students unless you definitely intend to live and work in the USA.

Fees and funding

Universities in the USA have a reputation for being expensive and basic PhD fees can bear this out. That isn’t the whole story though. Many institutions offer substantial financial support through scholarships or paid assistantship positions.

PhD fees

With a huge range of universities offering PhD programmes in the USA it’s no surprise that American PhD fees vary a lot. Averages also tend to be exaggerated on very high figures for prestigious Ivy League universities. These aren’t typical.

The actual cost of a PhD in the USA varies between public and private institutions and sometimes depend on a students’ residency status:

  • Public institutions charge an average of $12,394 per year for in-state students on graduate programmes. Be aware that fees for out-of-state students (including international students) are higher than this.
  • Private institutions charge an average of $26,621 per year for all students on graduate programmes.

These figures are based on data published by the US National Center for Education Statistics.


US universities commonly provide funding for their students. It's relatively rare for successful candidates on graduate programmes to be entirely self-funding. The ‘sticker price’ for a US PhD may seem high, but it’s probably not the price you’ll end up paying.

Funding will take various forms. ‘Full-ride’ scholarships will cover fees, living costs and other expenses. Other common options include partial fee discounts, full fee waivers or graduate teaching assistantships.

Learn more about PhD funding in the USA

Check out our detailed guide to funding for PhD study in the USA.

How to apply for a PhD in the USA

Applications for doctoral study in the USA are made to graduate programmes themselves, rather than to the overall university and they will have their own entry requirements.

There are three key things to bear in mind when applying for a PhD.

  • Admissions are competitive. Programmes will only have a limited number of spaces available in each student ‘cohort’. They use their application process to select the most promising candidates.
  • The application process will be holistic. Individual elements such as academic grades or entry test scores will all play a part. But, graduate programmes will be looking for well-rounded candidates with the right character and personal potential.
  • Your research proposal will be much less important than it would be for a UK PhD. This is because you will develop your research ideas during a US PhD programme.

In many ways applying for an American PhD is more like applying for a (very selective) undergraduate degree. Instead of trying to prove your suitability for a specific research project or position, you’ll be seeking to demonstrate that you can engage with and develop within a longer programme of study leading to a research task.

There are few different ways in which universities will assess this.

Application materials

Universities and graduate schools will set their own admissions procedures. You should expect to be asked for most (if not all) of the following:

  • Academic transcripts – As well as your final (or projected) grades, universities will want to see a more detailed record of the work you did during your Bachelors and / or Masters degree/s, including the individual modules you studied and the grades you were awarded for them.
  • Personal statement – This should make a case for your interest in the particular programme you are applying to and your suitability for it. Your personal statement should also describe extra-curricular interests and achievements. Universities will want to see evidence that you are a well-rounded individual and will consider your moral character as well as your academic record.
  • Letters of recommendation – These are slightly different to normal references for PhD applications. US universities will expect referees to actively and enthusiastically recommend you for graduate study.
  • Test scores – Graduate entry tests are a very common requirement in the USA. You will normally be expected to provide a score from at least one exam – see below for more information.
  • Research statement – This isn’t always required for PhD study in the USA. If it is, it will be much simpler than a full research proposal. You will only need to give a general sense of your research interests and possible directions you might like to pursue. The specific details for your project will be developed later in your programme and put forward as part of your research prospectus.
  • Writing samples – Programmes in some subjects may ask you to complete a specific application essay on a relevant topic. This could be discussed at your interview.
  • CV – Your application should be supported by a suitably formatted CV, detailing your academic and professional history.

Universities will consider all elements of your application when evaluating you. Make sure you give yourself time to put together a good personal statement and source suitable letters of recommendation. Don’t assume that a glowing academic record will be enough to secure admission to a graduate programme by itself.

PhD Admissions requirements in the USA

You won’t necessarily need a Masters to apply for a PhD in the USA. American graduate programmes effectively combine Masters and PhD study. Some students actually receive a Masters at the end of their coursework stage.

If you do already have a Masters you may be able to receive credit for it and spend less time on the coursework stage of your program. This decision is made by your graduate school, who will decide how relevant your existing degree is.


American universities use a Grade Point Average (GPA) system to measure academic performance. A GPA is shaped by all of the individual assessments you complete during a degree.

US graduate programmes may calculate a GPA equivalent for you, based on your final grades and transcripts. A GPA won’t make or break your PhD application on its own though and programmes are unlikely to set a minimum standard. As a very rough guide you can assume that a GPA of 3.0 or higher is ‘good’. That’s broadly equivalent to a UK 2.1 or ‘Merit’ – so about what you’d expect as a PhD requirement.

USA PhD Admissions tests

Most US universities use entry exams to assess suitability for graduate study. These test your skills in literacy, numeracy, critical thinking and different types of reasoning. A good score demonstrates that you are academically capable of advanced graduate-level work.

Universities don’t normally administer tests themselves (thought they may set essays or other tasks as part of your application process). Instead they use recognised third-party tests. The most common is the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) which comes in two versions:

  • The General GRE test measures your general reasoning and analytical abilities. Different programmes may look at specific aspects of your score. For example, a Humanities programme may be more concerned with your verbal reasoning and literacy than with your quantitative reasoning and numeracy.
  • The GRE Subject test measures the breadth of your knowledge in a specific academic subject. Tests are available in Biology, Chemistry, English Literature, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

American graduate schools won’t normally state a minimum test score for PhD study. They may publish details of the scores successful applicants generally achieve, as a benchmark.

Some PhD subjects may use other graduate entry tests in place of (or in addition to) the GRE. The most common tests are:

  • GMAT – for DBA degrees and other programmes in Business and Management
  • LSAT – for JD programmes
  • MCAT – for MD programmes
  • DAT – for dental programmes

Graduate entry tests

Our separate guides provide more information about common graduate entry tests such as the GRE and GMAT, including information on costs, test content and procedures.

Language tests

A wide range of languages are spoken in the USA, but English is the de facto national language and is used in higher education. If English isn’t your first language you will need to demonstrate your proficiency is sufficient for graduate study.

The most common way to do this is by completing a recognised English-language test, such as the IELTS or TOEFL. Providing evidence of a degree you have already completed in English may also be acceptable.

Application deadlines

US graduate programmes will have specific application deadlines. It’s common for application windows to open between August and December for admission to a PhD in the autumn (or ‘fall’) of the following year.

Application fees

When thinking about the cost of a PhD in the USA, you’ll need to include the 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.

You will also need to budget for the cost of any graduate entry tests and for your visa.


Formal interviews aren’t always required for US graduate programmes. 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.

What happens during a PhD interview?

Your interview for a PhD in the USA will follow a fairly standard format (even if the actual process takes place online). Our guides explain what happens at a PhD interview and look at some of the questions you might be asked.


There are three potential outcomes for a US PhD application. You may be successful or unsuccessful, in which case the university will simply inform you of this. However, you may also be waitlisted as a second-choice candidate. If the first-choice candidate declines their offer or isn’t able to enrol on the programme, you will be offered their place.

Student visas

One of the PhD requirements in the USA for international students is a visa. Exceptions apply to citizens of Canada and Bermuda, who can enter the United States without one.

All other students will need an F Student Visa. This is suitable for study at all academic institutions, including universities and graduate schools.

Visa requirements

US visa applications are handled by the US Department of State and the US Department of Homeland Security. In order to get an F Student Visa you will need to be accepted to study at an accredited university. You must also be of good character and able to satisfy the authorities that you are entering the country as a genuine student.

Application process

You can apply for your visa up to one year before the start of your Masters. However, you will not be able to enter the country more than 30 days before your start date.

There are several stages to a US visa application and they should normally be completed in the following order:

    Be accepted for a PhD at an SEVP-approved institution – Most accredited universities will be able to sponsor students within the Student Exchange and Visitor Programme (SEVP). Once they have accepted you for a PhD they will be able to register you with the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee – You must pay a $350 fee to register with SEVIS. Once you have a receipt for this your university will be able to issue you with Form I-20. This confirms that you are registered as a genuine student at a US university.
  • Begin your application online – You must complete and print the online Form DS-160. This requires you to upload a suitable photograph.
  • Schedule a visa interview – You must attend a visa interview at a US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. This is to check your application and study intentions are genuine. You should need to bring your passport along with the documents you have received so far, including your SEVIS receipt, your Form I-20 and your Form DS-160. You may also be asked to pay your $160 visa application fee prior to your interview. If so, you should bring the receipt for this too.
  • Receive your visa – If your interview is successful you will be granted a visa. There is sometimes an issuance fee for this, based on the principle of reciprocity (if your country charges a visa fee to US students, the US will charge a visa fee to you). You can check reciprocal fees here.

Visa fees

In most cases you will need to pay fees of at least $510 during your visa application. This is made up of a $350 SEVIS fee and a $160 application fee. Some students may also need to pay an issuance fee.

Further information

You should check the official guidelines on the US Department of State website before beginning a visa application.

Next steps

Am American PhD is globally recognised as a high-quality doctoral degree that demonstrates a candidate completed rigorous academic study and training alongside their own original research.

Universities around the world will accept your degree as a sound basis for beginning an academic career. Other employers will also recognise the emphasis on transferable skills and personal development that is a hallmark of the US PhD process.

Can I work in the USA after my PhD?

The USA itself is a world-leader in academic research and an ideal place to seek a university career. However, you will need to apply for a new visa in order to do so (your F Student Visa will expire 60 days after your graduate programme ends).

The US Department of Homeland Security provides detailed information on applying for a temporary or permanent worker visa.

Find a PhD in the USA

Ready to start browsing some current PhD opportunities in the USA? Alternatively, you can look at our other guides to PhD study abroad.

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Last Updated: 02 March 2023