Doctoral programs in the United States

Published: Published Date – 11:28 PM, Sat – 7 May 22

A few universities in the US only offer Fall semester intake while others offer both Fall and Spring semester intake.

Every question has an answer. And ‘Destination USA’ will strive to provide the right answer to all those youngsters who dream of studying in the US.

Mail your questions and doubts to ‘’ to have subject matter experts answer them, right from the degree and program of study you can pursue to what the application process entails, on universities, how to prepare resumes, financing your studies and even how it is like to live and study in the US, all are welcome.

Q. When do admissions for Bachelor’s programs take place in the United States and what are the application deadlines?

A. Academic intake and application deadlines for undergraduate (Bachelor’s) programs in the United States vary by university.

Fall and Spring semesters are the two major academic intake periods. Fall semester runs from mid-August to September, at the beginning of the academic year, while the Spring semester starts in January, in the middle of the academic year.

A few universities only offer Fall semester intake while others offer both Fall and Spring semester intake. It is important that students check the university website for admission periods and respective application deadlines before working on their applications.

Bachelor’s program admissions in US universities have different application deadlines: regular decision, early decision, early action, and rolling admission. You can refer to our past columns to understand the difference between these different application timelines.

Q. How can one practice law in the United States?

A. To practice law in the United States, after completing a degree in the field of law from a US institution, the students must pass the bar examination and other requirements in the State where they wish to work.

Juris doctor (JD), Master of Law (LLM), and other Master’s degrees (MJ, MCL, MCJ, etc.) are some degree considerations in the field of law for international students. The eligibility requirements to take the bar exam vary by State and students should check the State-specific requirements before applying for the exam. You may find more information about bar exams on the website of the American Bar Association

Q. What are the different types of doctoral programs in the United States?

A. At the doctoral level, the Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) is the most common degree awarded in academic disciplines. To Ph.D. degree is designed to train research scholars and, in many cases, future college and university faculty members. Receipt of a Ph.D. degree certifies that the student has demonstrated capacity as a trained research scholar in a specific discipline.

The Ph.D. degree is awarded to those students who complete an original piece of significant research, write a dissertation describing that research, and successfully defend their work before a panel of faculty members who specialize in the discipline.

This may take an additional two to three years. To earn a doctoral degree, it may take anywhere from five to eight years beyond the Bachelor’s degree, depending on the field of study.

Doctoral programs may also be professional that lead to licensure in specialized fields, such as law (juris doctorate) and medicine (MD). Other doctoral degrees in professional fields include Ed.D. or Doctor of Education (education), DrPh (public health), and DBA or Doctor of Business Administration (Business Administration).

Q. How should one prepare transcripts for undergraduate applications to US universities?

A. Academic records are generally referred to as transcripts in the US higher education system. For an undergraduate applicant, the admissions offices at US institutions review the academic record of a student for the last four years, ie records from 9th through 12th standard.

If the student is currently in 12th, then the records up to 11th standard are to be submitted at the time of the application along with possible mid-year grades or the predicted scores for 12th standard.

US universities require the academic documents or transcripts in a particular fashion. Very importantly, the transcript has to be officially issued by the school or the board of education under which the student pursued his/her schooling. Photocopies of mark sheets or report cards are not acceptable. Additionally, the transcript should list all subjects/courses that the student has taken in each year of their education, with corresponding marks/grades received on each subject.

All academic records have to be in the English language and should carry the seal or stamp of the school/education board to be considered official.

Generally, getting one set of these transcripts (one for each level of class, ie 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th) should suffice. At the time of application, school counselors scan/photocopy marksheets and upload them on the application portal. For the final admission, original marksheets are verified against transcripts by the admitting US institution.

Q. What are Fulbright fellowships?

A. Fulbright-Nehru and other Fulbright awards, supported by US and Indian governments, enable the most outstanding students, academics, and professionals in India and the United States to study, research, and teach in the host country. Grantees of the program are selected through a rigorous application and interview process for these awards. These fellowships provide J-1 visa support, a monthly stipend, Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges per US Government guidelines, economy class air travel, applicable allowances, and modest affiliation fees, if any.

There are different types of Fulbright awards for students. For further information about these fellowships, students may visit

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