Can you finish a PhD in 3 years? (Yes or No?)

In this brief guide, we’re going to answer the question “Can you finish a PhD in 3 years?’’ which are PhD requirements and give some advice for PhD students.

Can you finish a PhD in 3 years?

Yes, you can finish a PhD in 3 years. This is certainly possible in some cases, but only with a huge amount of support, persistence, and likely some degree of luck.

A PhD degree average student will require four to eight years to complete. However, this will depend on some factors such as what kind of doctorate degree you choose,  program design, and where you do your PhD. In most countries except for the USA, 3–4 years is considered normal.

For those students who have a strong interest in earning a Ph.D. degree you have to know that PhD programs last for multiple years and demand most of your time. If you really want to move quickly it will take a lot of effort!

What is a PhD?

PhD or Ph.D. it’s the abbreviation of a Doctor of Philosophy.

The PhD is the study that leads to obtaining the title of Doctor, the highest academic degree that exists at the university level. Once a person achieves the PhD it means that they are an expert in the field or discipline that they develop, since they have demonstrated great merits to achieve this title.

A PhD is awarded to students who complete and defend an original thesis offering a significant new contribution to knowledge in their subject. Demonstrating that knowledge was created and that I was able to contribute something new to science or to the specialty area.

What is philosophy?

Philosophy comes from the Greek word ‘’φιλοσοφία’’ and from the Latin word ”philosophia” which means ‘’love of wisdom’’ or ‘’friend of wisdom’’

Philosophy is a doctrine that uses a set of logical and methodical reasoning about abstract concepts such as existence, truth, and ethics based on science, the characteristics, and the causes and effects of natural things such as humans and the universe.

What are the objectives of PhD?

  • Conduct a literature review (a survey of the current scholarship in your field).
  • Conduct original research and compile your results.
  • Producing a thesis that presents your conclusions.
  • Write your thesis and present it as a doctoral dissertation.
  • Defend your thesis in a live oral voice exam.

These stages can vary somewhat between subjects and universities but tend to fall in the same sequence over the six years of a typical full-time Ph.D.

In resume, the purpose of a doctorate is training qualified students, within the chosen branch, to autonomously develop research and advanced technological activities, both in higher education and research state entities and in public and private companies.

Is there any difference between PhD and Doctorate?

PhD and Doctorate means the same. There’s no difference between PhD and Doctorate. PhD is the abbreviation for Philosophie Doctor or Doctor of Philosophy a common type of doctorate in the academic fields.

Tips to get your PhD in less than 4 years

Be organized

This is obvious, but still, it’s worth mentioning. Fill out a list of short-term and long-term goals in your schedule. It’s always worth knowing what to do.

Define the exact time that you’re going to dedicate to the thesis: Before starting, it’s important that you clearly mark the deadlines. In how many years will you finish your doctorate? Having clear objectives will help you not to fall behind and take time for other activities (hobbies, work, etc.).

  • Establish rigid schedules.
  • Apply a systematic work method.
  • Use a good bibliographic data manager.


During a Ph.D., it’s easy to feel you’ve lost control. In a doctoral program, your success depends not only on your work but on the perception that many other people have of the quality of that work.

Many Ph.D. students have impeccable records. In other words, everyone is very intelligent and highly prepared. So it can be normal to feel like a normal or even mediocre student.

You must be able to control and overcome this feeling of “failure” or you will end up developing disorders such as anxiety and depression.

What should I consider before starting my PhD?

Are you sure you want to do a PhD degree?

In order not to create false impressions, completing a PhD isn’t easy. There will be moments that you’ll feel suffocated and out of your comfort zone. Earning a doctorate can take over 3- 8 years of your life. 

You’ll have to deal with working and studying full time, maybe have another part-time job to pay doctorate costs, and time-consuming coursework. This means no vacations; no going to the movies, the theater, dancing, having a drink with friends, or just sitting down to read a book or stay home playing video games.

Are you sure that is the path you want?

Choose your project, wisely.

Make sure you are extremely passionate about that topic. It’s three years of your life and you need to be passionate about it if you’re going to work on it for too long.

If you can show passion and enthusiasm in the project and science then you’ll be one step ahead of other candidates. 

The choice of the doctoral topic is the most critical stage in the writing of research papers. Be sure to choose a topic that interests you and pique your curiosity,  that makes you develop a natural talent for theory.

The doctorate is the result of intensive research work.

Therefore, an attempt should be made to enjoy the writing process as much as possible. So you will notice that the amount of work and pressure will decrease if you do a topic that you’re passionate about.

Choose a PhD worthy supervisor

The theory is hard, and it requires a lot of student-supervisor interaction.

A supervisor is as important as it’s to be passionate about your project, so make sure that the person overseeing it is worthy.

Does your potential supervisor have a prolific history of editorial work? What is the community of scientists in the lab you may be working on? Are there experienced scientists working in the laboratory? Who will be your advisor? Is your supervisor an expert in the field that interests you? Is the work you are going to do innovative and novel?

There’s nothing more frustrating,  than having a supervisor who is rarely there, shows little interest in your work, and cannot help you when you are struggling with your project.

Guidance would be greatly appreciated by futures PhD degrees students. An adviser can invest a lot of effort into training you to be able to do any original, and excellent work. 

Can you afford it? 

The cost of PhD programs may vary according to the specific program and number of years to finish it The average cost of a PhD program is $30,000 per year. 

However, additional costs may appear during the PhD. Many doctoral programs require: attend conferences, do internships and join professional organizations, but you can’t also forget to pay Housing (+upfront safe extra rent on leases), meals, health insurance, transportation if you live off-campus or far from restaurants/groceries, house utilities, etc.

Do you have family/friend support?

If at any time you find yourself in debt you may have to endure both psychological and financial stress. If you don’t have any family/friend support or emergency fund if something goes wrong how will you deal with it?

If you don’t have any family/friend support, we recommend you as a second option to look for scholarships

PhD general requirements 

Before starting the doctoral studies it’s essential that the student has previously passed a university degree (bachelor’s degree) and a master’s degree (optional). And all requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within 3-8 years.

Those are the general requirements for the doctor of philosophy:


PhD Candidates must take rigorous tests to determine the depth of their knowledge in their area of ​​research. You’ll have to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) or another admission exam.


The normal residency requirement is the equivalent of three Academic Years of full-time study beyond the bachelor’s degree. 

The use of a previously earned master’s degree to reduce PhD residency requirements is contingent upon approval of the Program Director of Graduate Study.


A student is advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. when he/she has completed satisfactorily all the requirements, departmental and general, requisite.


The PhD candidate must present a dissertation on a topic related to his or her area of specialization that presents the results of original research and gives evidence of excellent scholarship he dissertation must be approved  by the professor or by the Graduate Council

So, can I finish a PhD in 3 years?

To successfully develop your doctoral thesis in 3 years you don’t have to be a genius, you just have to have a solid answer to the question, why do I want a doctorate?

No one can answer this question for you. If you don’t know why, it’s not worth doing the thesis. If you have it clear, go ahead. But remember that to be successful in your company … you must have initiative, flexibility, interpersonal skills, organizational skills and communication skills. Still, you must be careful  choosing your thesis advisor, many things depend on them during your work.

Remember, the PhD is the beginning, not the end, of your career as a researcher. Don’t be obsessed with developing the work of a Nobel Prize winner, do quality work that shows your director and the panel of your thesis that you’re capable of continuing to develop quality work and defend your thesis as soon as possible.

You can do this, you just have to make a great effort! 

FAQSs: Can you finish PhD in 3 years? 

How many years it will take to do PhD?

Most students average in the USA in four to eight years complete a Ph.D.  A doctorate degree typically takes four to six years to complete. In other countries, it’s generally complete in three or four years. However, in the USA you can finish your PhD earlier than six years. depending on the program design, the subject area you’re studying, and the institution offering the program.

Can you skip Masters and do PhD?

Yes, you can get a Ph.D. without a master’s degree. The common path to a PhD begins with a Bachelor’s course and continues through a Master’s degree. However, there’re many universities where you can study for a doctorate without going through a master’s degree. It all depends on the program you want to access and the requirements.

What is higher than a PhD?

After the professional title comes to the titles that are called postgraduate. You can choose between the specialization, which takes about a year; the master, which takes between one and two years, and, finally, the doctorate, also known as Ph.D. Then, there’s actually no other degree. A doctorate is the highest university degree worldwide.

Is a PhD better than a masters?

A master’s degree is a postgraduate academic degree. Master’s degree has some definite benefits in that it requires less time and money than a doctoral degree.. The master’s degree can allow specialization within a field while a PhD is designed for those with a profile more inclined towards teaching and research.

Are PhD called Dr?

Doctor originally meant “teacher”. So, yes once you earn your PhD degree you can be called ”Doctor of Philosophy”

In this brief guide, answered the question “Can you finish a PhD in 3 years?’’ which are PhD requirements, some tips for PhD students.

So, are you ready to take the risk?

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.


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