Prompted by a couple of comments on my previous post, I started wondering about different PhD procedures around the world. Thanks in no small part to tez intech00bs, I have scientist friends in many countries, but most of the PhD students I am in touch with regularly are students here in England. In this country alone, procedures for obtaining the degree vary from institution to institution, and from discipline to discipline. (I have one friend who earned her PhD in fine art by submitting a website.)
So, in a biomedical PhD in the UK, the period of study is normally three or four years full time (or six to eight years part time). At the end of the PhD, the student submits a written thesis which is examined by two examiners. The student has an oral assessment (‘the viva’) after which the examiners decide whether or not to award the degree, subject to major, minor or (more rarely) no corrections of the thesis.
Unlike in some other countries, in the UK there is no requirement for the student to have submitted work for publication in peer-reviewed journals in order to be awarded the PhD. And, unlike in Finland and Sweeden, here in the UK the viva is a private and not a public affair.
I am aware, for example, that in the US the period of registration in grad school is typically longer than the three to four year limit here in the UK. In Finland, I understand, a PhD is normally “by publication” – the student must have had sufficient publications accepted in peer-reviewed journals. (I also understand that in some European countries a PhD candidate is employed as staff by their institution, which is not typically the case here in the UK.)
So, how are things where you are? Wikipedia has a partial list but it is somewhat incomplete, focusing mainly on the criteria for admission to a PhD program. I am happy to update my ideas above, wiki-style, if they are not correct. I am particularly interested in what doing a PhD is like in countries outside Europe and the US as I don’t know how things differ there, if at all.