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5 Most Important Factors To Consider When Choosing A University For PhD


Can I submit multiple applications to the universities worldwide for PhD?


Making the ultimate choice to study for a PhD’s qualification is not easy. A lot of things need to be considered thoroughly. Over the past few months, we’ve been doing a lot of surveys to determine the most important factors to consider when choosing a university for PhD. Applying a PhD research programme to a typical college or university is easy, but have you consider all the important factors?

Most of the time, students do not perform deep background research regarding the university that they are going to apply. There are more than 800 universities around the world for you to choose from. This will create endless possibilities for you but you will eventually need to decide. You should think carefully when applying for a PhD research programme as the whole application process including getting a university admission offer letter takes time and costly.

We’ve written the 5 most important factors to consider when choosing a university for PhD that we hope will help you. Here are the 5 most important factors to consider when choosing a university for PhD.

1. Research Passion

Never undervalue your instinct! It is true that you should make a choice based on a rational thinking, but you’re going to spend your next three to four years carrying out your PhD research. So, it is important to 100% make sure your heart is in the correct place.

It is always the best option for you to identify your research passion then look for the supervisor. It can save your time and energy.



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2. University Ranking

They are many established indicators use to measure the performance of a university such as QS World University Rankings, THE World University Rankings, and Financial Times EMBA Rankings.

Do browse through these sites as the provided resources will certainly help and guide you to make your decision. You deserve the world-class PhD research!

3. Employer Reputation

Graduated from a high employer reputation university definitely will make a huge difference in your future career. In other words, it can create many job opportunities for PhD graduates. University with high employer reputation and strong industry linkage will increase the chance to get a postdoctoral position and industrial job.

The strong entrepreneurship culture foster by certain universities will also prepare you to become a successful entrepreneur and solve the pressing challenges faced by the society through innovative technology or idea.



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4. Funding Opportunity

The PhD research funding prospects and tuition fees vary significantly by country. Countries such as the UK has higher tuition fees as compared to Hong Kong while Germany offers free tuition. Prestigious and international scholarships such as Commonwealth Scholarships or Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) can support your PhD research within a specific duration of time but you should also know the fact that such scholarships are very competitive.

Some universities still offer Postgraduate Studentship (PGS) to fully support the PhD study for a limited number of students. It is important to make sure you have a solid funding action plan so that you can complete your PhD study in time.

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5. Research Excellence

The state-of-the-art of the research facilities and ability to access high-impact factor journals definitely can add more values to your PhD study. You should know and compare the research influence or citations as it clearly shows a university capability in leading the innovative ideas or new knowledge.

Do consider the resulting research impact in terms of knowledge-transfer activity or commercialization. The amount of funding obtained from the industry also indicates the quality and viability of the research done by the university.


Well, these are just a few of most important factors to consider when choosing a university for PhD. You can even meet and speak with the university representatives by attending the education fair or QS World Universities Tour at your nearest city to get the most reliable and up-to-date information.

It is not difficult at all to enrol into your dream university for your PhD. What you need to do is having a clear and strong plan. Researching the best options certainly will make a big difference. Good luck!

Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments.

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Chiong Sie Jing

Sie Jing is an experienced proofreader and copyeditor with 8+ years of experience proofreading and editing for a variety of clients. He has helped many PhD students to publish their research in international journals with high impact factor. He is also a Certified Internet Marketing Practitioner (CIMP) & Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB).