Doctorate, which is a well-known word for anyone who wants to pursue an academic career in their life, appears as a title that determines the rank of people in the fields of education and specialisation. Derived from the French word ‘doctrat’ and meaning ‘doctoral rank’, the word also provides an understanding of people’s professionalism in the academic field.

‘Doctorate’ is an abbreviation of philosophy, that is, doctor of wisdom level. ‘Doctor’ is used here in the sense of ‘teacher’. The term ‘teacher’ (doctor) of wisdom love (philosophy) comes from the ancient Greek word ‘Philosophia’ (philosophy); in the first days of its use, it meant people who had a detailed education on basic science subjects in the world. Today, ‘Doctor’ is used for individuals who specialise in more specific areas.

This title of Doctor, which proves the proficiency of individuals to teach at the university level, is also an academic degree awarded to these individuals to work in a specialist position. Worldwide, ‘doctorate’ is denoted by the word PhD, which is the abbreviation of the definition of “Doctor of Philosophy” in English. Although it may vary depending on the environment or field of study, a PhD is generally considered the highest level of education a student can achieve.


What is a PhD Program?

The doctoral program is a training program that must be completed to qualify for the title of “doctor”. Here, it is necessary to attend the courses that must be taken during the program and are related to the preferred department. These courses are given in two phases- in the fall and spring semesters. In addition to the compulsory courses, there are also elective courses to be taken during the doctoral programs. After successfully completing the courses, there is a doctoral proficiency exam that the candidates must take. With the proficiency exam, it is tested whether students have sufficient knowledge about the field. After the exam, the thesis period of the successful candidates begins.

During this period, candidates choose thesis topics, present the thesis proposals and exchange information about the thesis studies within the specified time period with the participation of the thesis committee.

The most important point during the doctorate process, which lasts about 3-4 years, is to do the most accurate research on the chosen topic, to analyze the articles, presentations and similar written or digital documents that have been prepared before, to conduct a literature review, to conduct experiments if necessary for the relevant field. and to complete the studies and present the results in the most original form.

Students can make the thesis defense called “viva voce” or the oral defense of their doctorate in front of a small number of supervisors or a large academic jury. These defenses take 1-3 hours on average, and in the end, the student’s proficiency is decided. The doctorate program, which covers the scientific research process, is a program that can usually be started after the master’s degree.

On the other hand, in some cases, there are also doctoral programs that post-graduate students can attend. In addition, some institutions offer students the chance to ‘fast track’ from master’s degree to doctorate as a result of completing the necessary knowledge, skills and studies.


What is an Integrated PhD?

Integrated PhD is a doctorate program that undergraduate students can apply to. There is no requirement to complete a master’s degree here. In order to apply for an integrated doctorate, you are required to have:

  • Completed the first four years of the undergraduate program without including the preparatory class,
  • Have a grade point average of at least 3.00 (80 in the hundredth system) of the courses taken until the semester for which the doctoral program is applied, or being in the first 3 degrees according to the general average of the class,
  • A successful result from the interview conducted by the department,
  • The required score from ALES and related language exams.


How to Apply to the Doctorate Program?

Master’s and doctorate education is organised by the Council of Higher Education. Accordingly, students who want to apply must have received their diploma from a master’s program with a thesis before, and their ALES scores must be 55 or higher.

In addition, candidates must have a score of at least 55 points from a foreign language exam accepted as equivalent by ÖSYM. Sometimes, after completing their master’s degree, students want to continue their doctorate program in the same department and with the same advisor. In such a case, a letter of recommendation is not required. However, if the person is going to do his doctorate at another university and with another advisor, they should receive a letter of recommendation in such a case. In addition to these, the qualifications sought in people for a doctorate are, of course, the ability to work meticulously, to know research methods well, and to be patient and determined.

An academic career is a process that needs to be thought about and the right decision to be made. Just like in other career steps, there will be situations that will force people at some times. Managing these crises well is one of the primary keys to success. In general, the requirements for applying for a doctorate are directly related to the candidate’s grades and research skills.

Although graduate grades are usually sufficient for institutions, some private institutions may require applicants to have at least a second-class honours degree and similar requirements for application. For this reason, it would be appropriate to learn the conditions of the institution to which the doctoral application will be made. In addition, doctoral admission requirements may differ depending on their financial situation. An example that explains this situation is that sometimes a doctoral student is allowed to apply for a doctorate with lower grades if they finance themself.

In some institutions, different items are determined depending on the field of the doctoral program. One of these is the requirement for a permanent professor to serve as a supervisor to the candidate, especially in fields such as psychology, humanities or sciences. In cases where this is not required, the most suitable consultant is selected and appointed depending on the subject and methodology. It’s essential for the healthy progress of this process to thoroughly research the university, field and consultant candidates for each topic mentioned.


Language Proficiency

By the institution to which the doctoral application will be made, a score is expected from YDS, YÖKDİL and similar foreign language exams. Institutions that want to document the proficiency with the score obtained from these exams, usually at least 55 points or more, sometimes find it sufficient to submit a document showing that the undergraduate or graduate education process has been completed in the appropriate language.

Career History / Academic References

During the doctoral application, some institutions may request a detailed document containing all the course content of the candidate or career history, if any. This document can sometimes be just an academic transcript. In addition to this, there are institutions that ask for academic references describing the candidate’s projects and working discipline from the undergraduate and graduate students. These references are required to take academic work, performance, adherence to the targeted line, and the relevant focus of the chosen field of study.


Letter of Intent (Motivation)

Almost every institution may expect a letter of intent from the candidate about why they chose the discipline they applied to study, their goals and motivation sources before starting the doctorate. In this letter, the person is also asked to talk about the activities they have been involved in outside of the classroom and their various abilities. It is essential to prepare the letters of intent according to the framework determined by the institutions. Therefore, before writing, it is necessary to thoroughly research the points that the institution desires and its culture.