When we say PhD is a postgraduate doctoral degree apart from it being the apex of academic achievement, it also gives you the right to be referred to as “Doctor”. This is not an easy process as students are said to spend up to three years just to bag this degree, students also have to maintain a certain grade in order to continue with the program or get kicked out (this varies with the institution). However there have been many misconceptions as to the right time to use PhD candidate or PhD student, can we say that a PhD student is a PhD candidate or vice versa? Are there any differences between the two? Even if there are differences when can these two distinct terms be used and at what point can one be addressed as either a PhD candidate or student?
WHAT IS PhD?
PhD is the highest academic degree awarded by higher institutions to students. Students upon completion of the program has proved beyond all reasonable doubts that they can add reasonable value to their respective fields are awarded a PhD degree and given the title “Doctor’’. I will like you to know that not only medical doctors are given this title, the title cuts across all academic fields. This degree is said to be pursued by people who are looking to carry out further research in the academic fold.
WHO IS A PhD STUDENT?
A PhD student is one that is aspiring, intending and taking the Doctor of Philosophy program. Note that they haven’t completed the program, they are taking lectures, writing examinations, tests and working on their thesis and research paper.
WHO IS A PhD CANDIDATE?
A PhD candidate in this regard must have gone through the rigorous classes, examinations, and preparation of a thesis. Candidates must have defended the thesis written and has beyond all doubts proven that he/she can actually contribute something meaningful to the society. This candidate, however, is in line to be awarded the doctorate degree. It is a very rigorous and brainstorming process (not trying to scare you) so clearly for you to want to run this program you must, first of all, know what you are doing and also have it at the back of your mind that you aren’t going to play but actually contribute something meaningful and bag your degree of course.
WHAT ARE THE CLEAR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM?
The clear difference between PhD candidate and PhD student is the fact that as a student you are intending, you still have to go to classes, take tests, write examinations and still have to do “student activities” Being a PhD candidate on the other hand takes you steps ahead having gone through the exams, and thesis taking you a step closer to bagging a doctorate degree and having the title PhD added to your name. Pls note that you have to be a student first then a candidate.