Top 10 Hardest PhD Degrees in Africa

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Gaining any kind of degree is never an easy task. It might seem easy from the outset, but as you progress and understand the intricacies, you might realize that there is no shortcut to any distance in life.

All the same, when it comes to the easiest and hardest PhD degrees, there are some courses that do not cost an arm and you do not need to sweat it out for long to get your certificate. However, there are some that require both. In terms of cost and rigorous process, they are king. But then, when you acquire them, you have earned yourself a respectable position in society. 

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I’ve once heard someone say that the hardest PhD to acquire is in the field we least consider. And I agree with him more. It takes strong internal motivation, commitment, and dedication to complete a dissertation. All scientific researches are difficult because you must meet a standard and explore an enormous amount of literature. Some people who studied PhD thought it was going to be easy for them and they were just going to hit the ground running. Alas,it was not so.

A PhD is a blind jump into the unknown, though yours could turn out to be less twisted. In everything, it pays to have your PhD degree. It is one of the greatest achievements in life.

Here are some of the hardest PhD degrees you can get in Africa.

  1. Boarded Medical Doctor: After spending about eight years to earn your first degree, you are faced with between three and six years of residency. This is the most competitive field in education which means you must have passed through a very rigorous process to earn this certificate.
  2. PhD in Mathematics: You can’t imagine the equations that were solved to gain a higher education degree in mathematics, not to talk of a PhD. Solving equations and finding the missing x and y is not what everyone is proud to do. Mathematicians deserve the greatest respect.
  3. Doctor of Optometry: If you ever studied physics, you will understand how difficult it is to master light, lenses, rays, and others. But optometrists did more than just that! They are an incredible set. Optometry is not just to look at someone’s eyes and discover the kind of glasses fit for them. You’ve got to be an optometrist to feel what they feel.
  4. Doctor of  Pharmacy: These guys are not some guys you see behind the counter counting drugs for sale. You find them in the hospitals; they are legit medical practitioners who can prescribe the right drugs for you by merely looking at your medical history.
  5. Doctor of  Veterinary Medicine: Someone once said, “Is it not to treat animals!” No, it isn’t. Whatever it takes to treat various animals that are not going to tell you what their problem is has got some magic in it.
  6. PhD in Sociology: It might sound so easy to obtain a PhD in Sociology, but wait until you gain admission to study the course. You will have to deal with elusive subjectivity, difficult phenomena, abductive reasoning, and so many of them.
  7. PhD in Theoretical Physics: For you to emerge a doctor of Theoretical Physics, you must have background knowledge of Mathematics and Physics. A qualitative amount of focus is also required of you so as to be able to imagine the warping of gravitational waves and space-time due to the gravitational field.
  8. PhD in Foreign Languages: It takes a lot to become a master in a foreign language, especially if you were not bred and brought up in that country. But foreign language professors do just that. Some of them have up to five different foreign languages they have mastered. I would not even try an undergraduate degree in a foreign language, not to talk of an advanced degree.
  9. PhD in Computer Science: Here comes another course that could be seen as a branch of Mathematics. It still baffles me as to how an individual could find his way through the operating system, programming language, databases, and software engineering. The person must be a genius.
  10. Doctor of Education: Some people think it is very easy to study education, probably based on the fact that the employability rates of educational doctoral students is high. However, what they did not know is that it could also take up to ten years for one to become a Doctor of Education.

Want to Study PhD in Africa? Here’s what you need to know

A PhD, which is also known as Doctor of  Philosophy, is the highest academic qualification. It requires a lot from anyone who is on a course to acquire it. You will have to substantially invest your time, energy, finance, supervision, equipment, and many more.

Africa is one of the continents experiencing an influx of students in schools running the proogramme. The acquisition of the certificate helps in future career prospects. However, it is usually difficult trying to work on their PhDs. Most of the time, master’s programmes do not fully equip the students with enough skills, critical thinking, and analysis ahead of a PhD programme. This affects the student’s performance.

The PhD consists of mainly pure research which will involve your spending most of your time working to obtain an independent PhD thesis. This will require a lot of reading, writing a literature review, evaluating some related research topics and even summarising your work. You will also be required to analyze sources of materials, produce experimental results and also collect data for the survey.

Your supervisor’s office is one of the most frequent places you might be seen. Most likely that you will have more than one supervisor who works together for your success.

The length of time expected to complete a PhD is 2 – 3 years for a full-time student and a minimum of 4 years if you are a part-time student. The length of the course actually varies, which might depend on your funding arrangement and registration time.

At the end of the programme, you are required to submit a written thesis that is usually on the range between 80 thousand to 100 thousand words. You must give written notice to your faculty, probably, two months ahead of submitting your thesis for examination. As soon as this notice is given, three examiners who are experts in your field are assigned to oversee your thesis. A written report is submitted at the end, which outlines the conclusion of your examiner.

The fees for PhD varies based on countries, institutions and courses involved. The programme fees can also vary depending on whether the student opted for thesis only programme or coursework and thesis programme. There is no definite amount one is expected to pay, except the above criteria are met. However, the internal service fee and a registration fee could cost about $800. The programme fee could cost between $1000 and $2,500. International students also pay a higher amount of money for the programme.

There are schools that offer different funding and scholarship programmes to their students (both citizens and international students). The funding and scholarship programmes could be offered by the university itself or from other external bodies. Student loans are also offered to various students. However, everything is dependent on the country and school involved.

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Admission Requirements for a PhD Programme in Africa

To apply for a PhD, a Bachelor and Masters degree in related courses are required. There are special cases where a student without a Masters qualification is accepted. Note that individual universities have varying standards for admission application. Generally, here’s what is required of you:

  1. CV and proof of your previous qualification.
  2. Personal statement letter
  3. References (about 2)
  4. A research proposal

After your application is reviewed, you may be required to come up for an interview. This is proof that you have great potential. You need to use every available skill to prove yourself worthy. International students could get their own interviews via videoconferencing.

Challenges Faced by PhD Students

Knowing the challenges faced by other students will help you to maneuver your own challenges.

  • It takes time to get started. The process involved in creating a proposal and getting the approval of your supervisor takes time. This can be frustrating sometimes. That is why you need to know that every process involved is normal. Instead of becoming intense, you can relax back and enjoy the flow.
  • It involves going back and forth. Your supervisor is not someone who is not going to allow you to make mistakes. Therefore, while submitting your written dissertation, expect feedback from your supervisor quite often. And each feedback means that you have a correction to make on the work. But this will certainly strengthen your work.
  • You will set your own time. Doctoral programmes are quite different from a bachelor’s. As an undergraduate, you are required to attend your lectures at a set time. But it is not so with doctoral programmes. Here, you are required to manage your own time as you set your deadlines. You will need to develop discipline and strategies to maintain this structure.

Earning a PhD degree can be stressful, but the right university and course of study could help you overcome the challenges. Therefore, choose a course that you may not find very straining. Actually, there is no course that is easy to study, but when you are in the right place, you will be able to study effortlessly. If at all you do not have time for the flexibility in your programme, you can enroll in an online class, where you can study from anywhere and at any time. Your success is guaranteed.