PhD in USA for Indian students
Study Abroad Expert November 22, 2023

PhD in USA for Indian Students – 2024

The United States has long been a popular choice for academic excellence, attracting the brightest minds from around the world to pursue doctoral studies. Doctor of philosophy or PhD in the USA for Indian students is particularly strong, offering a gateway to world-class research facilities, renowned faculty, and a vibrant network of scholars. 

In recent years, the number of Indian students seeking doctoral education in the USA has witnessed a remarkable surge. 

If you are too considering pursuing a PhD in USA, you have come to the right place. Here we will provide you with the process of pursuing a PhD in the USA, top universities, and associated fees in 2024, curriculum, and much more to make the most of your doctoral experience. 

Why Pursue a PhD in the USA?

The United States has long been a top destination for Indian students pursuing higher education, and for good reason. American universities offer a world-class education, with top-ranked programs in a wide range of fields.  

Additionally, the US has a strong record of accomplishment of innovation and research, making it an ideal place to conduct doctoral studies. 

Here are some of the compelling reasons for choosing PhD in America for Indian students  

1. World-class universities

The US is home to many of the world’s top universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. These universities offer rigorous coursework and access to innovative research facilities. 

2. Strong research opportunities

The US is a global leader in research and development. PhD students in the US can work with leading researchers and make significant contributions to their fields. 

3. Diverse academic community

The US has a large and diverse student population, which can provide a rich and stimulating learning environment. Indian students will have the opportunity to interact with students from all over the world and learn about diverse cultures. 

4. Financial support

There are many scholarships and fellowships available to PhD in USA for international students. This can help to make the cost of education more affordable. 

5. Strong job prospects and career advancement

A PhD from a reputable US university is highly valued in the global job market. Indian students who successfully complete their doctoral studies in the USA open doors to promising career opportunities in academia, research, and industry. 

PhD in the USA – Course & Curriculum

A PhD in the United States is a doctoral degree that is awarded to students who have completed a rigorous program of study and research in their chosen field. The coursework and curriculum for a PhD program in the USA will vary depending on the specific field of study and the university offering the program. 


The coursework for a PhD program typically consists of a combination of required and elective courses. The required courses are designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of their chosen field. The elective courses allow students to explore specific areas of interest and develop their research expertise. 

In addition to coursework, PhD students are also expected to conduct original research. The research component of the PhD program typically culminates in a dissertation, which is a major written work that presents the student’s original research findings. 


The duration of a PhD program in the USA typically takes 4-6 years to complete. However, the actual time may vary depending on the student’s research progress and the specific requirements of the program. 


Research is a major component of a PhD program in the USA. Students are expected to conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Research may involve: 

  • Collecting data 
  • Analysing data 
  • Authoring research papers 
  • Presenting research findings at conferences

Popular PhD programs in USA for International Students

Indian students are drawn to a wide range of PhD specializations in the USA. While the specific specializations with the highest concentration of Indian students vary from year to year, some consistently popular choices include: 

  • PhD in Engineering 
  • PhD in Computer Science and Information Technology 
  • PhD in Business and Management 
  • PhD in Astronomy 
  • PhD in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education 
  • PhD in Psychology
  • PhD in Arts and Humanities 
  • PhD in Microbiology 
  • PhD in Computer Science

As India continues to emerge as a global leader in education and research, the demand for Indian talent in PhD programs across various disciplines is likely to remain strong.

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Top 10 Universities for PhD in USA for Indian Students

S.No  University Estimated Fees (2024) * PhD Specialization Location
1.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) $55,000 Wide range of fields, including engineering, science, computer science, management, and humanities Cambridge, MA
2. Stanford University $58,000 Wide range of fields, including engineering, science, computer science, business, law, and medicine Stanford, CA
3. Harvard University $52,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, engineering, business, law, and medicine Cambridge, MA
4. Columbia University $57,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, engineering, business, law, and medicine New York, NY
5. University of California, Berkeley $42,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, engineering, business, law, and medicine Berkeley, CA
6. Princeton University $55,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities Princeton, NJ
7. University of Chicago $54,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, business, law, and medicine Chicago, IL
8. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) $58,000 Science, engineering, and mathematics Pasadena, CA
9. Cornell University $53,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, engineering, business, law, and medicine Ithaca, NY
10. University of Pennsylvania $56,000 Wide range of fields, including arts and sciences, engineering, business, law, and medicine Philadelphia, PA

*Please note that the estimated fees are subject to change, and it is essential to verify the most up-to-date information directly from the universities’ official websites. Additionally, specific program costs may vary based on factors such as residency status and program duration. 

Or you can simply contact the study abroad expert to get the updated information and assistance in the admission process. Shuraa Education is among the popular choices for Indian student for expert consultation while planning studying abroad. 

Application Process for PhD in the USA for Indian Students

Applying to a PhD program in the USA as an Indian student can be a complex and competitive process. It requires careful planning, preparation, and attention to detail.  

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process: 

Step 1: Start Planning Early

Begin researching and exploring potential doctoral programs at least a year in advance of your intended start date. This will give you ample time to gather information, prepare your application materials, and take any necessary standardized tests. 

Step 2: Identify Your Area of Interest

Narrow down your research interests to a specific field or subfield within a broader discipline. This will help you focus your search for suitable programs and tailor your application materials accordingly. 

Step 3: Research Universities and Programs

Conduct thorough research on universities and programs that align with your academic interests and career goals. Consider factors such as faculty expertise, research facilities, financial aid opportunities, and program reputation. 

Step 4: Meet Admission Requirements

Each university and program have its own set of eligibility requirements for PhD applicants. Here are the common PhD requirements for international students in USA: 

  • Ensure you meet the academic and language proficiency requirements. 
  • Some programs may require a master’s degree or equivalent. 
  • Take required tests such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and TOEFL/IELTS (English proficiency).

Ensure you meet all the minimum requirements before proceeding. 

Step 5: Prepare Application Materials

Begin gathering the necessary application materials well in advance of the application deadlines. This typically includes: 

  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all undergraduate and postgraduate institutions you have attended. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: Obtain strong letters from professors or professionals who know your academic/work capabilities. 
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP): Clearly articulate your research interests, goals, and why you are a suitable candidate. 
  • GRE/GMAT Scores: If required by the program, take, and submit your GRE or GMAT scores. 
  • CV or Resume: Create a comprehensive CV highlighting academic achievements, research experience, and publications.

Step 6: Application Submission

Complete the online application form on the university’s admissions portal. Submit all required documents, including SOP, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores. Also, pay the application fee, which varies by university. 

Adhere to the application deadlines for each program you are applying to. 

Step 7: Financial Aid Considerations

Explore various financial aid options available to PhD in USA for international students, including scholarships, grants, assistantships, and fellowships. 

Step 8: Prepare for Interviews

If invited for interviews, thoroughly prepare for it. Practice answering common interview questions and articulate your research interests and career goals effectively. 

If accepted into multiple programs, carefully compare offers. 

Step 9: Secure a Student Visa

Upon acceptance, the university will provide the I-20 form necessary for the US student visa application. Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. 

Also, ensure to make necessary pre-departure arrangements, such as travel bookings, accommodation, and health insurance.

visa process for PhD in USA.jpg

Remember, applying to PhD programs can be a competitive and time-consuming process. Start early, prepare well, and stay organized to increase your chances of success. 

We recommend getting assistance from overseas education experts like Shuraa Education to ensure your application process goes smoothly.

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Cost of Studying PhD in America for Indian Students

The cost of pursuing a PhD in the USA for Indian students can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the university, the program, the field of study, and the location.  

However, in general, Indian students can expect to pay an average of $28,000 to $40,000 per year for tuition fees. This range encompasses both public and private universities. 

Besides, there are other costs involved that may add up to the overall cost. This may include –

Expense Average Cost
Living expenses $12,000 – $18,000 per year
Health insurance $1,000 – $2,000 per year
Textbooks and supplies $1,000 – $2,000 per year
Travel and miscellaneous expenses $1,000 – $2,000 per year

Please note that these are just average estimates, and the actual costs may vary depending on your individual circumstances. For instance, living expenses in larger cities like New York or San Francisco will be higher than in smaller towns or rural areas. 

Here are some tips for Indian students to reduce the cost of studying for a PhD in the USA: 

  • Explore financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, assistantships, and fellowships. 
  • Consider public universities as they have lower tuition and fees compared to private universities. 
  • Consider living in smaller towns or more affordable areas to reduce your living costs. 
  • If your program allows, consider working part-time to supplement your income and reduce your reliance on loans or financial aid. 
  • Practice mindful budgeting and avoid unnecessary expenses to manage your finances effectively.

Jobs After Completing a PhD in the USA

Indian students who have completed a PhD in the USA have a wide range of job opportunities available to them in a variety of fields. This includes: 

  • Professor 
  • Research Associate 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow 
  • Research Scientist 
  • Research Engineer 
  • Consultant 
  • Policy Analyst 
  • Economist 
  • Research Scientist 
  • Project Manager

Salary Expectations After PhD in USA

The salary range for Indian PhD graduates in the USA varies depending on their field of study, experience, and employer. However, in general, PhD graduates can expect to earn significantly higher salaries than those with master’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees. 

The median starting salary for PhD graduates in the USA is $120,000. Salaries for experienced PhD graduates can reach well over $200,000 per year, depending on their expertise and career trajectory.

Shuraa Education’s Expertise at Your Service

Pursuing a PhD in the USA can open doors to a world of opportunities for Indian students. Without a doubt, study in USA offers an unparalleled environment for pursuing advanced academic training and conducting groundbreaking research. 

However, the path to a PhD in the USA can be complex and competitive, and Indian students may face unique challenges during the admission process. This is where expert assistance and consultation from Shuraa Education can make a significant difference. 

Shuraa Education’s team of experienced counsellors and mentors provides expert guidance to Indian students throughout their PhD journey. From profile evaluation, exploring suitable university to assisting with visa & accommodation, we are here for every step of the way. 

So, do not hesitate to reach out at or through call/WhatsApp at +91 931 999 8924 for expert advice and assistance. 

Your study abroad dreams in now within reach with Shura Education. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it typically take to complete a PhD program in the USA?

The duration of a PhD program in the USA can vary depending on the field of study and individual circumstances. On average, it takes about 4-6 years to complete a PhD program. 

2. Is it necessary to have a master’s degree before applying for a PhD in the USA?

Having a master’s degree is not always a mandatory requirement for applying to a PhD program in the USA. Many universities offer direct entry into their PhD programs for students who have completed their bachelor’s degree with exceptional academic performance and research potential. 

3. Are there any language proficiency requirements for Indian students applying for a PhD in the USA?

Most universities in the USA require international students, including Indian students, to demonstrate English language proficiency. This can usually be done by taking standardized tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS. 

4. What is the admission process for a PhD in the USA for Indian students?

The admission process for a PhD in the USA for Indian students involves applying, which includes academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and standardized test scores such as the GRE. 

5. Which are the top universities in the USA for PhD programs?

Some of the top universities in the USA for PhD programs include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Princeton University. However, rankings can vary depending on the field of study, so it is important to research specific programs and departments.

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