Expert Talk : PhD topic should be relevant to the society
Prof. V Peesapati, Hon. Secretary, Royal Society of Chemistry(London) Deccan Section, National Institute of...
Prof. V Peesapati, Hon. Secretary, Royal Society of Chemistry(London) Deccan Section, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) at Hyderabad, gives an insight into how to conduct the research work to obtain a PhD degree
What are the eligibility criteria for pursuing PhD? Post graduation in any subject is the minimum criterion but the student has to pass eligibility test-NET conducted by CSIR/UGC twice a year, usually in June and December. For details visit www.ugc.ac.in, www.csirhrdg.res.in. Those who pass the NET examination can register for a PhD program in any university (recognised by UGC) or national R&D laboratories of their field of interest. Government of India gives fellowships of Rs 16,000+HRA every month for first two years followed by Rs 18,000+HRA every month for the next three years. How does this give an edge to the student over other students? It is a pre-requisite to have a doctorate degree for getting a university lecturer post and to be eligible for UGC scales. In the absence of a PhD, one cannot join university, leave alone getting UGC scales.
Do PhD students get preference over others even in non-academic jobs? In general, even in non-academic fields, students who have obtained PhD get preference in R&D posts in CSIR laboratories/industries and they get paid well.
While doing research, a student conducts in-depth research of one particular topic. Here, is it valid to say that he/she has all the knowledge required about the subject? How? One can't say he/she can attain all the knowledge required, but one can think and create new knowledge and come out with some interesting results of research which can be published in scientific journals.
What should one keep in mind while choosing a topic? One should have a clear idea of the topic of interest and should bear in mind that it should only be challenging but also relevant to the society in general.
After choosing the topic, what important points should students follow for a thorough research?
After selecting a topic, one has to search literature reported earlier and see if there is any work to be done to complete the particular hypothesis/project or to confirm the theory proposed earlier supported by experimental results. After collecting all the data published earlier, one can get a clear idea how to go about a particular problem to solve it by way of clear methodology/scheme to work on with time frame. Here, the student, along with fundamentals should have a deeper understanding of that particular subject in order to proceed in the right direction.
Does the topic one chooses help him/her to move to another level in education or career? Yes. One can move to another level namely Post Doctoral research either in India or it also gives an opening to work abroad with leading scientists for further research. This gives them an opportunity to work on applied research and one can become an entrepreneur/group leader.
What are the various stages of research? There are no stages except many universities insist all students who register for a PhD have to pass the entrance test for enrollment of a PhD program in a particular subject and complete the course work within one year of their registration.
Can one work full time and study PhD? Most universities/institutions insists full time PhD program but in some cases where the candidate is already working as a lecturer/scientist/programmer, part time may be allowed.
Typically how long does it take for one to complete his PhD? Usually it takes four years if it is full time. It can also take more than that. The time to obtain PhD degree depends on factors like lab facilities, library, computer labs, instrumentation (if it is a science subject) facilities, environment and enthusiasm.
Is there a pass or fail grade in PhD? Do theses ever get rejected? There is no such thing like pass or fail grade in PhD degree. Thesis is scrutinised by three referees in different universities. All three are experts in the particular field. On the basis of new findings/interesting results obtained, the trio decide if the student deserves a PhD degree or not. Based on their positive comments, one expert among the three will conduct viva-voce based on clarifications/doubts raised by other experts. If viva-voce is satisfactory, the examiner will recommend the PhD degree to be awarded to the candidate. On the other hand, even if one of the referees is not satisfied with the research work submitted by the candidate, candidate will need to resubmit the thesis. Usually candidates can take six months to one year for resubmission.