The Etymology of PhD and Its Essence

How many of you know what does PhD stand for? It is a word with a Latin origination “Philosophiae Doctor”. Some wonder why PhD in any stream is explained as Philosophy. The answer here is tricky and may not be known to many. The use of the word philosophy here is not connected to the branch of science but rather to the original Greek meaning which says “Love of Wisdom”. It is a degree that highlights that the scholar has contributed to existing knowledge with his hard work and wisdom.

The only way one can find out how to do a PhD is to do one!!

In light of the above statement and the etymology of PhD that has been explained, I wonder how relevant would all tips and advices be? But we still do not refrain from giving them. I suppose there isn’t any harm also, as long as we pick up ways to simplify a journey that otherwise would be herculean for many.

As much as we dream to celebrate the end of our PhD journey, I say the beginning needs to be celebrated as well. With plenty of novel experiences and opportunities coming way, it may be over whelming. A great percentage of people quit from their PhD half way because they cannot adapt to the requirements and challenges. Even if it isn’t rosy, I say do not quit. There are good reasons for not doing so.

The requirements and challenges of PhD are distinct for each country while keeping in mind the core essence of the degree. In countries like the US and Canada they call for a specific course work before starting pure research work. In the UK things are changing, there is focus on other activities such as contribution towards teaching and other activities. The conclusion or as we say the culmination of a PhD requires to submit the original contribution to research in the form of a thesis. It has to be of standard to be reviewed published in journals of repute. To maintain the worthiness of the degree it does not end here, in the end the candidate is expected to defend work in front of a panel of experts which is called as VIVA. The word VIVA has been taken from the Latin word “Viva Voice “meaning “Live voice”. Only once the panel is satisfied with the work and the defence given by the candidate do they finally allow to award the degree and the person may get the word Doctor Prefixed to his name.

At the end, it isn’t the end. In fact a PhD is a beginning of one’s professional journey that will require you to use not just the academic skills you have mastered through the course but also the patience, determination, tolerance and capacity to hard work to move along to lead you to your path to success.

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