How do you finish a PhD?

In this post we are going to answer the question ‘’How do you finish a PhD?’’ We will present you the steps you must follow to get a doctorate, including some tips to present your doctoral thesis.

How do you finish a PhD?

1. Enroll in a doctoral program.

2. Research.

3. Preparation phase.

4. Write your doctoral thesis.

5. Present your doctoral thesis.

Have you ever considered being a university professor? Does the idea of ​​dedicating yourself to research appeal to you? If the answer to these two questions is yes, perhaps you should start thinking about a PhD.

But what is the doctorate? How many years does it last? Of course, obtaining a doctor’s degree does not mean that you cannot continue training. If you wish, you can enrol in another career, in another master’s degree and even do another doctoral thesis.

To start doctoral studies, it is essential that you have previously passed a university degree and an official master’s degree. This last requirement is especially important: keep in mind that your own degrees do not give access to the third cycle.

Doctoral studies usually last between three and five years. However, the duration may vary depending on the interests of the student, since the thesis often has to be combined with work or other obligations. Nowadays, the possibility of studying doctorate remotely facilitates the achievement of both objectives.

Broadly speaking, this third university cycle has two purposes:

  • Provide advanced research training.
  • Train the student as a future university teacher.

If you want to obtain a doctoral degree, you will have to write a doctoral thesis. The doctoral thesis is a research project in which the future doctor applies the scientific method to reach a series of conclusions.

Any field of knowledge is suitable for doctoral studies, from literature and art history to economics or medicine. Once the thesis is finished, you will have to present the written text to a court and defend it orally in front of it.

The first steps to follow

We are going to see a series of important steps to face the doctoral thesis. Remember that, during the two-year doctorate, it is convenient to reduce obligations to the maximum to focus completely on these higher studies.

Universities require high competence and motivation to pass the doctorate. Therefore, the performance has to be maximum. So, before starting your studies, consider that:

  1. You must request access to the doctoral program: an important step in which you will request the university access to its programs according to the proposed academic offer in postgraduate studies. Each institution will inform you of the particular access conditions.
  1. Previous research training: it is important that, before undertaking a doctorate, you receive specific training for research. This will be a basic part of your doctoral thesis, to which you will spend many hours over many days, months, and sometimes even years. 

Therefore, if you opt for a previous course, you will have a lot of ground gained to advance at a good pace in your subsequent doctoral research.

  1. Research proficiency: once the teaching phase has finished and the appropriate credits have been taken, you must obtain a certificate of research proficiency. To do this, you have to do various research work. 

You will be in constant coordination with the experts from your university and it will be another important part that enables you to start your doctoral thesis.

  1. Preparation phase: it is said that this is the phase most desired by doctoral students. This is when the thesis begins to be definitively elaborated. 

The research on the chosen topic begins, which should not have been touched previously, and which will mark the final grade that you will be awarded to pass your already mentioned doctorate.

How to write a good thesis?

Do you want to write a perfect doctoral thesis? If this is your case, write down these are the elements that cannot be missing to succeed in this complicated training field:

  • Use an anti-plagiarism program: it is obvious that, throughout your thesis, you will have to cite many authors. However, all the text that you write in your own hand must be totally original. That is why it is recommended to pass it through filters and antiplagiarism programs, especially if you want to see it published.
  • Do an original work: the thesis work will have to be completely original and framed in the lines of research that will be configured in the studies related to your doctorate.
  • Investigate every last detail: it is important to be very thorough, careful and organized in the research phase if you want to do a complete, profitable thesis and in which nothing is missing. Therefore, there is no detail that should be left out.

Information of interest in doctoral thesis

Next, we will know more important details to continue doing the doctoral thesis. Elements that cannot be missing and necessary considerations that should not be overlooked:

  • Thesis supervisor: a thesis supervisor is required who must be a doctor, although it can also be co-supervised by up to three co-supervisors.
  • The thesis must be written in an official language of the state or in English, although sometimes it depends on each country. However, the case may vary if it is a study in the field of translation and interpretation or philology.
  • Thesis deposit: it is made once it is finished and lasts 14 calendar days. To do this, you must have a favorable report from the director and a minimum of 2 years will have passed since the registration of the project.
  • Public defense: if there are no observations during the deposit, the public defense before the three-member court is authorized.
  • Call for the act: it will be the president of the court who calls the act of public defense communicated to the Graduate School 15 calendar days in advance.
  • The thesis can be co-supervised if the university has its own agreements with other universities, mainly foreign, which will allow you to earn a bonus to obtain your degree through various institutions involved.
  • The thesis can be presented as a compendium of publications. For this, there must be at least two publications published and accepted after the registration of the project, and they must not have been previously used.

Tips to defend your doctoral thesis

We ended up lending you a hand to overcome the critical moment, the one in which you will see yourself in court defending your thesis to become a doctor in your field of study. To do this, we recommend:

1. Arrive early: check in advance that everything works well.

2. Take care of appearance: dress in a formal and very neutral way so as not to condition.

3. Correct vocalization: pronounce well, speaking in a firm, slow and clear voice.

4. Take care of your posture: relax so that your posture is natural and not forced.

5. Study your work thoroughly: you must know your work from A to Z so that you can answer any question they ask you.

6. Take care of the aesthetics of the thesis: each element you use, be it PowerPoint, Prezi or whatever, will be very well thought out and included.

With security, logic, common sense and a lot of practice, it is certain that you will make an excellent doctoral thesis and achieve your precious title with sufficiency and a good grade. Luck!


Advantages and disadvantages of the doctorate

A doctor is one who has prepared a doctoral thesis and obtains the highest possible university degree.

Original and innovative ideas are born in doctoral programs, but they also require considerable sacrifices on the part of students. Therefore, I want to share with my readers the advantages and disadvantages of doing a PhD.

The doctorate is the highest degree in studies. and it can open many doors for us on a professional level. Especially for those who aspire to obtain a university professor position.

The doctoral studies together with the master’s degree make up the postgraduate and the vast majority of universities have a school for their training.


The doctorate prepares the professional to produce new knowledge through research, something fundamental for the development of science and technology, as well as for social advancement.

The doctor always occupies managerial or highly responsible positions, which allow him a lifestyle where intellectual activity prevails over operational activity, which is why his salary is the highest in the market

In addition, his wisdom and experience are always requested for undergraduate and graduate university teaching, which does not take up much time in their schedule but does ensure good remuneration.

Invitations to international conferences and seminars are never lacking, either as speakers or participants, with all expenses covered as the distinction of the doctor enhances the importance of these events. In the same way, work internships in various countries are done with the most prepared and doctors are the preferred ones for these positions.

Worth less than a master’s degree


They consume three to five years of our lives, but in some institutions, the failure rate exceeds 40%. During that time, the degree work (that is, the thesis) stands above the candidate like the sword of Damocles, even in moments of supposed rest.

In the United States, only 57% of doctoral students obtained their doctorate 10 years after enrollment. In humanities, the figure dropped to 49%, a PhD is not intellectually difficult, but it does require discipline and perseverance.

When looking for work, at least in Spain, they do not take into account the maximum level of studies, but rather value the candidate’s professional experience more.

Few companies and universities support post-doctoral research.

Our family must accept the fact that we do not have a full-time job, or even a part-time one, depending on the requirements and the intellectual rigour of the program, for several years.

Consider whether we are willing to study the same subject for several years. It is important from the beginning of the doctorate, to be clear about the topic you want to investigate.

In my experience, I can tell you that the PhD is the beginning, not the end, of your career as a researcher.

Do not become obsessed with developing the work of a Nobel Prize winner, better focus on doing quality work that demonstrates to your director and the panel of your thesis that you are capable of continuing to develop quality work and defend your thesis as soon as possible.

Remember the words of Fred Brooks: All “theses don’t end; are abandoned.

FAQS: How do you finish a PhD?

How do I finish my PhD?

1) Make sure you meet the PhD requirements for your institution. 

2) Keep perspective. 

3) Write the introduction last. 

4) Use apps.

5) Address the unanswered questions. …

6) Buy your own laser printer. …

7) Checking is important. …

8) Get feedback on the whole thesis.

Can I complete PhD in 1 year?

No, you can’t complete a PhD in 1 year

How many years does it take to have a PhD?

Depending on the degree, it can last up to five years, as is the case with a PhD in Biology. However, there are others that will only take you three years.

Can I complete PhD in 2 years?

Yes, you can complete PhD in 2 years.

Which PhD is easiest to get?

Usually, the easiest areas in which to obtain degrees are known to be education, arts and social sciences.

In this post we answered the question ‘’How do you finish a PhD?’’ We presented you the steps you must follow to get a doctorate, including some tips to present your doctoral thesis.

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


Dinham, S., & Scott, C. (1999). The Doctorate: Talking about the Degree. University of Western Sydney, TES, UWS, Nepean, PO Box 10, Kingswood, NSW 2747, Australia.

Mujtaba, B. G., & Scharff, M. (2007). Earning a doctorate degree in the 21st century: Challenges and joys. Ilead Academy.