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How could you get a Phd in college?

I'm interested in getting a Phd for chemistry or chemical engineering, and i was wondering how do you start to work on getting a Phd, and what college year? can you start on your freshman year or only after getting a master degree's

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Hi Brian! Getting a PhD comes after completing your undergraduate college career, as in graduating college with a bachelors degree in your major field. You wouldn't work on it during your freshman year of college, but you would meet with you college advisor to set you on the right path. You would also discuss with your chemistry and chemical engineering professors about their experiences getting their PhDs. Alea A.

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Pieter’s Answer

Hi Brian -- If you're pretty sure about a PhD, then you may consider applying directly for a PhD program right after undergraduate, and not for a Master's degree. I myself entered straight into a PhD program in engineering, with funding, and picked up my Masters along the way.


As Alea and Benjamin suggested above, in my Junior year of undergrad I set up a series of 15 minute meetings with probably two dozen professors and Deans to learn about graduate school, how to apply. All were very willing to make that amount of time. Which was great since there's a lot to know about how to choose programs, schools, advisors, how to apply, etc. and none of that do they teach in your regular classes. I learned pretty quickly to plan questions specifically for them, as professors can be very busy and were much more receptive the more prepared I was.


One key aha moment was one of them telling me that if you apply directly for the PhD, you can be more likely to get funding earlier, in the form of research assistantships and/or teaching assistantships, as you would be signaling that you are not planning to be a "terminal Masters" student (his words not mine). A second is that you can complete your PhD earlier by going straight for it. A third is that you're not just applying to a college, or even a department, you're also applying to specific labs and professors.


Freshmen year, it's too early to think too much about grad school. Find topics, classes, and projects you're deeply interested in. Keep your GPA high, and develop relationships that lead to recommendation letters later.


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Benjamin’s Answer

I would start talking to your advisors your freshman year. Let them know your overall goal. My PhD program required a master's degree to apply, but there are many that have you earn the masters as you are going for your PhD.

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