B Tech to PhD in USA

How to prepare yourself for PhD in USA ? Eligibility, Credit Transfer

In Study in USA by KumarUpdated : 349 Comments

One of our ardent contributors Swapnoneel, has volunteered to help the prospective PhD Students by writing a series of articles sharing his experiences. Thanks to him for such a kind act. If you have any questions for Swapnoneel, please leave a comment.

Background Info

This is my first article on this topic. Here I aim to tell prospective PhD applicants about how to prepare oneself towards the target of getting a full funding for PhD in the U.S. I’m from an engineering background, but while this article may be engineering oriented, it would help students of any field. OK so here’s what you should have in mind.

Eligibility for PhD after B.tech ? B.A, B.Com, B.Sc?

If you are an engineering student (B.E/B.Tech) you are eligible to apply directly for a PhD after you graduate. In case you are a general science or arts student, you need to complete your post graduation (M.Sc/M.A/M.Com) before you apply. For engineering students, if PhD is really your goal, I’d still recommend you get a post graduate degree (M.E/M.S/M.Tech) preferably from a good institute (IIT/IISc/NIT/IIIT etc). For IIT B.Techs, this is absolutely not required, but I’m targeting a wider audience. The reason for this suggestion is very simple:

How does Credit Transfer work in PhD ?

1. You would have some postgraduate courses done which you might transfer into your PhD degree (I transferred 12 credits from my IIT courses).

2. This means, the university won’t have to pay for those credits, and that will act as a positive ground for your application over other applicants without a postgraduate degree.

3. You are likely to have more research exposure which will be helpful and be a positive point on your application.

4. If you manage to get a postgraduate from a better institute than your undergraduate, you get better recommendations (from better known people).

So my first advice to the engineering students aiming for a PhD in the US is to get a postgraduate degree from a good institute before you apply.


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Comments ( 349 )

  1. Ganesh J

    I have done my Post Graduation in Mechanical Engineering from Pune university. My patent regarding PG’S work is in process. and i want to do PhD in USA. So which exam required for admission with scholarship.

    1. administrator

      Ganesh, Every school is different. Usually you would take GRE and TOEFL. some schools ask you take subject GRE as well. I would suggest you check some schools websites that you are interested in and then apply for the same. You should highlight your Patent and research work in that for getting admission and funding for PhD.

  2. Aparna

    Hi Kumar,
    I have done my MBA.I would like to peruse Phd program in US. What would be required from my end to do to get enrolled in a phd in management.
    Please give me insights of processes involved.

    1. administrator

      Aparna, Typically you would be asked to take GMAT/ GRE and TOEFL. Again, it varies by school and I suggest you check schools website. Check out the admission requirements for PhD in the US schools that you plan to apply, it will have the entire requirements.

  3. vijendra

    Dear Kumar,
    I have nearly 10 years of research and analytical development experience. One of mentor in my present company guiding and suggesting me to do PhD in US. I did my masters in general chemistry and don’t have any research papers to back my industrial experience. what can I do to get PhD chance in US universities??

    1. administrator

      Vijendra, Well, though you do not have any published papers, you have been in the research domain for some time, so you need to highlight that experience in your Statement of purpose and articulate your passion for research. Also, couple of things that you can help are very good recommendations from your mentors or managers in your company and GRE/TOEF scores. There is no hard fast rule, the admissions committee always looks at your passion for PhD in your overall application…if you can highlight that, it would help a lot.

  4. ashwin

    Hope u are doing good.
    your answers are exact and appropriate.
    Please guide me for the phd in physics in US, I am M.Sc.(physics)
    Waiting for your replay


    Hi kumar right now i’m pursuing my masters in vlsi stream ,not from a renowned college next i want to do phd in united states what all things i need to do to get admits.

    1. administrator

      Well, there are few things you can do to strengthen your application. You can try to participate in national level technical symposiums, work with your faculty and see if there are any options to go to conferences. You can work on getting good GRE and TOEFL scores so that your chances for admission into PhD program look better. Look at some US schools on some of the PhD requirements and then start to prepare accordingly.


    Hii…kumar I did my b.e from state government college in mechanical (2012) and just completed M.E in thermal engineering( 2014).currently I m working as assistant professor and I am looking for pH.d in USA. So will you guide me what to do for pH.d in USA???

    1. Shraddha

      Initially you have to take GRE ( 325+) and TOEFL (100+). The documents required for applying are
      1.Application form
      2.Transcript of all colleges attended
      5.TOEFL & GRE Score.
      For PhD you will receive stipends+tuition wavier.

  7. Anmol

    hi.. i have completed my b.tech and m.tech (civil and structures) but it was an integrated course which offers a dual degree in 5 years with both b.tech and m.tech. My college is not so renowned like IIT. i want to pursue a phd degree from US. what should be the right path! please guide.

  8. Akshay

    Hello sir,
    I have completed my BE in biotechnology and willing to do PhD from USA! So is it possible to pursue? If yes than what are all the requirments ?
    Thank uou sir

    1. Shraddha

      Definitely it is possible to do PhD directly after BE. All you have to do is take GRE and TOEFL. Try scoring GRE ( 325+) and TOEFL (100+). The documents required for applying are
      1.Application form
      2.Transcript of all colleges attended
      5.TOEFL & GRE Score.
      For PhD you will receive stipends+tuition wavier.

    1. Alwynn

      Kumar: The post on credit transfer is one of the best posts I have read in a long time. If there is such a thing as Karma, you should get tons of that for this post!!
      Satya: I see that you are wondering if you can get an engineering degree after MSc in Chemistry. First, congratulations, you never give up! If you mean after a Masters , then here is my answer:
      You can get an Engineering degree.

      You will definitely be spending time and effort. I will train you in how you can minimize effort and maximize the effect.
      I will post the rest of the Answer in my blog. Please google BLOGSTATS OR #iblogstats. My twitter handle is @johnny20201.

  9. Sathish Kumar

    Hello Kumar,I have just started my MS by research in power engineering(electrical) in IIT kanpur.I want to pursue my Phd in western universities. I want to know in what way i have to prepare myself to ensure a phd admission in a top university. Whether CPI or CGPA matters?? what they expect from us, publications??,quality of research?? kindly clarify.

    1. administrator

      Sathish, One of the things that PhD admissions panel looks at is your expertise in that area of research, if anything. If you have any conference papers, journal publications, they will add a lot of value and make it a strong case. Try to participate in as many conferences and work with your professors, they will help a lot. As you just started, you have a long way to go and you can easily make it…CGPA does matter, but research publications and quality of the same matters. Recommendations from your professors will be of great value. Your IIT brand will help a lot.

  10. Prashanth Rao


    I am currently pursuing Masters in Commerce from Christ University and I plan to do P.H.D in United States. While after reading your article I have only understood that you need to have a Post Graduate course from a reputed University.

    Few of them have told me that one must appear for GRE
    Also, 3 recommendation letters, Personal Interest letter, Funding

    As I am from Commerce Background, could you please assist me what all necessary procedures to apply for P.H.D


    Prashanth RAO

  11. sharath

    Hi Kumar,

    I have done Mtech in Computer Networks in Banglore and 2 yrs of work experience. I have been trying to get the Ph.D admission in U S on Network security. But not getting proper guidance. Can you please help me out in this regard?. Please share your email Id offline which helps me to keep in touch. It wil be a great help .
    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator

      Sharath,The process is pretty straightforward, you need to find schools that are good for your research topic and apply. You can check few schools on the admission requirements and apply. It is not rocket science, you just need to spend some time on the internet and do some research on the process. Typically, you would need to take GRE, TOEFL for admissions.

  12. Priyanka

    Hi Kumar,
    I have recently completed my M.Tech from IIT Bombay. I would like to pursue PhD. Is it necessary to have publications during M.Tech for applications? How better are the universities in US in terms of funding stay, hospitality and future prospects etc than european universities?
    Thanks in advance

    1. administrator

      Priyanka, Not necessarily, they definitely help the admissions though. IITB has quite a bit of brand value in US schools, you should be able to get funding and PhD admission easily…apply to top schools, where IIT Bombay degree is valued, check your alumni groups and take their advise. Usually PhD programs are fully funded with TA, GA or RA, so that you can cover your living expenses as well. I know a friend of mine did PhD from UK, he did get full funding to cover everything. I cannot compare both Europe and US, but I can tell you that US has good options for funding and research for PhD.

      1. Alwynn

        Kumar, that was a very helpful reply!
        Priyanka, you have an MTech from IIT. I asked around. seems like the equivalent of MIT here.
        Do you have blog?
        Are you on Linkedin? Like Kumar says, you dont Need publications but they will help with getting an RA and funding in summer when a mere I-20 (?) will not get you beyond two semesters/ 9 months.

        The good news: You can do a Credit transfer like Kumar here! Please follow me on twitter @johnny20201 I answer questions like Kumar on my blog #iblogstats. Thank you Kumar!

  13. C. Prabha

    Hi Kumar,
    I did my BSc (nursing) in 2010 from Army institute and after that did my MBA in hospital & healthcare management from IIHMR Jaipur.I have 4 years of work experience in my field. Now i am thinking of doing Phd from USA. Can you suggest me what to prepare and how? what it takes to get full sponsorship ?
    Please do the needful.

    1. administrator

      First you need to identify what area you would like to get PhD in ? Once you identify that then you need to find schools that offer that program. Then look at such schools PhD admission requirements and apply for the same. Most of them require you to take GRE, TOEFL and in some cases they would ask Subject GRE as well, it all depends on school. Having good scores and compelling Statement of purpose, coupled with good academics would help you get scholarship. Read How to get scholarship for MS in US

  14. lavanya

    Iam completed my b.tech in india and new iam dng m.tech also in india then i want to do my phd in us.plss can u tell me about process and all the information.

  15. Hetalkumar Shah

    Interested for PhD in Engineering or Management, I am postgraduate in mechanical from Gujarat and 18 years of experience in power industry and currently working with Reliance Power.

    What is the eligibility criteria, scholarship etc for PhD

    1. administrator

      Hetalkumar, The eligibility criteria is pretty standard for PhD. Take standardized tests and apply to universities. I suggest you check few Universities websites to get some idea on the requirements specific to the program. One of the thing they look for is your reason for PhD and you need to articulate your vision well in Statement of Purpose.

  16. Abdulkadir

    Hi, Sir/Madam,
    I’m Abdulkadir, studying M.S Engineering and willing to complete on June/2016.I would like to know more information about how can i keep going on to PhD and at the same time be updated or kept in touch as soon as new information arise. I hope that your help will let my dreams become true.
    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    1. administrator

      If you are already in US and pursuing MS, I suggest you check with your professors at the same school on the PhD options. if you like to go to different school, you will need to apply to those schools, check their website and start applying. it is pretty straight forward.

  17. Kingstan

    Hello Greetings,
    I did my BE in Instrumentation first class 2012 & ME in Power electronics Distinction 2015. Could you please suggest me the procedure of Phd? Fee structure, Scholorship details? Strifen details?

  18. shobha

    Hello Sir,
    I am shobha and i have completed my M.sc Biotech in 2013.
    I want to pursue Phd abroad so please can you provide me with further details.

  19. gurleen kaur

    i have done my graduation B.a(3yrs) in maths and economics and msc( 2yrs) in agricultural economics, should i eligible for phd in agri economics in usa? or should i eligible to take GRE TEST?

  20. Rajesh

    I did B.E ( E.E.E); M.E (Power Electronics). 8 years teaching experience in Engineering colleges.. I want to do PhD in USA. What is eligibility? Plz provide Complete information about PhD in USA

  21. Elakiaraj

    Hi Sir,
    Im have completed my ME in PSG tech Tamilnadu,
    Im interested in doing Phd in USA,Can u tell me procedure and process for admission


    1. administrator

      Let me write an article on this. But, in general the process is similar to applying for MS in US, but with few more considerations in choosing school and requirements may vary.

  22. Vasavi

    I did mtech in india from state university.I want to do phd in usa.do I need to MS in US again to pursue phd.please reply me.also I want to know what tests are required and how much amount needed to complete.??

  23. Chai

    Hi sir, I have done polytechnic in ece , btech in ece and mtech in ece .but now I want to do phd in mathematics. Is it possible to do phd in mathematics. Please give me suggestions. Thank you

  24. Prasad d

    i am prasad from hyderabad. Recently i had completed my PG(M.tech) in cse. Can you tell informed me to how to proceed for phd in us with stifund. It my life ambition to do phd.


  25. mohd ahmed pasha

    Hello sir I’m mohd Ahmed pasha completed my m-tech from India know I’m interested for PhD in good university in USA. So plz suggest me.and procedure how to approach for this.thank u

  26. R.vinod sobhan

    Hello Sir,
    My self This is vinod sobhan . I am from A.p , I have done MY MBA in the year of 2013 Stream of HR @ Marketing . I would like to Apply for PHD in USA .So how can i Apply.I have 1 year experience in Recuriting . please suggest me how to Apply.

    1. sherley

      Hello Sir,
      Hope you are doing great,
      My self Sherley As the same doubt im having like Vinod even i i have almost 3 1/2 yr of experience in to Recruiting can you please tell me what i have to do what is the procedure to apply for PHD and what are all the documents required for applying PHD my specialization MBA (hr) and what would be the best topic to be taken to do research in PHD kindly suggest me the best .

      1. administrator

        Sherley, Are you interested in teaching or research ? I suggest you take up PhD only if you want to get into teaching or research. The process is pretty standard, you can check any school website to get idea. it is just like applying for MS. If you know of a certain topic that you are interested in, you can specify that in your Statement of Purpose (SOP). If you are not sure, you need to at least think about what interests you most and what is your passion, so that it will help you craft a better SOP and make sure you pick the schools that are good. Take some time to think about these aspects.

  27. Annie

    I completed ug BSc in computer science from a college associated with madras university in regular by the year 2009(70%). Then as per my aspiration to hold a masters degree I joined Anna university to pursue Masters (MCA) through distance. Only weekend classes, and it’s a three year degree. I had no backlogs and cleared in first class (70%) by the year 2012. Then worked for a international bpo 1.5 years and currently put up in Cognizant for nearly 5 years. Very lately today I got to know about Ms and PHD in USA. Will I qualify for PhD or MS?

  28. bharat

    iam a student of btech , i want to study m.s ;also have aim to do phd in usa (as iam a mechanical student ) ; could you suggest better universities and specifications for m.s that would helpfull for me to phd . (also im econimicaly avg one) .
    plese suggest me sir .

  29. Moumita bhattacherjee

    Hi I am moumita from kolkata. …I complete my MBA now I want to apply for PHD plz inform me how can I apply for abroad ….I am interested in USA plz inform me

  30. Archana

    Hi Sir,
    I have completed my M.Sc(Computer Science) in India and I want to do Phd in USA so please give me the details what document I will required it.

  31. Shikha

    I have done M.com from st Mira’s college from Pune. now iam doing M.phil in BMCC and after this i want to do phd from USA. so, please can you tell about the procedure that how to apply in colleges or university for phd in USA.

  32. Puneet Kumar

    I did my B.Tech(ECE) with 80% and M.Tech (ECE) with 74% from well reputed Institutes. I further want to proceed my study with Ph.D in USA. So please suggest me the proper path to achieve my ambition.
    Puneet Kumar

  33. Dr.Ramu Gokarapu

    I completed my post-graduation M.D (Ayurveda) from university of Kerala and M.Sc (Psychology). I have 10 yrs of academic and clinical experience . I want to pursue Ph.d in USA please tell me how to follow

  34. kirtika

    I m kirtika frm lko i hav completed my M.A eng hons frm delhi university… i want to persue phd frm us plz inform about d further requirements or procedure…
    Wid regards

  35. vinaykanth

    I have finished my M.tech in CSE. I want to do Ph.D in USA. Please tell me how to prepare & get admission.. Please someone help me in this regard.

    thanking you…

  36. basheer

    i completed my post graduation in pharmacy and im looking for phd in us
    can you tell me the list of documents needed and the last date to apply for phd in us.

  37. Avis Tresa babu

    Hello Sir,

    I completed Msc,Mphil in chemistry and cleared UGC -NET.I would like to do Phd in US. I would like to know about the scholarship programms available…How to find a phd programm in usa

  38. gayatri govula

    Dear Sir/Madam, I have done M.Sc.(zoology) in 2007 &I have considerable professional experience of around seven years in Teaching. Now I want to do Ph.D. from U.S.. So what is the exact path to proceed to fulfill my ambition further. I am married & having one child 1 year , wil they get dependent visa at a time when i fly to US
    Please do the needful. Thanks.

  39. Mayuri

    That was really valuable information…I have done my Mtech from SRM University….with a CGPA of 7.89….and have 1 IET conference publication…What are my chances?? Thanx in advance for any suggestions..

  40. sagar ahir

    Hello Sir,
    I am sagar ahir and i have completed my M.Tech from DAIICT with 6.95 CPI.
    I want to pursue Phd abroad so please can you provide me with further details.


  41. Harish

    Dear sir,

    Ive done my MBA and have work experience of 2 years and being an entrepreneur for last 1 year, I would like to peruse Phd program in US. What would be required from my end to do to get enrolled in a phd in management. How eligible I’ll be?. Please give me insights of processes involved.

  42. Rajesh Bhukal

    I am Rajesh Kumar from Haryana, India. I am a student of B.Tech (6th sem)in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineerig Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra. I want to know the procedure of PH.D program after B.Tech in India or abroad. So tel me that how can i apply for that.
    Thank You.

  43. Sree

    I did my B Tech ( 2010 Pass out- 56%) and did my MBA ( 2012- Pass out-5.26/8). I am now presently working for UBS as research associate.Am i eligible to take up my PHD programme in USA. My MBA college does’nt have AICTE approval. Will there be any problem that i will be facing when applying for the Universities? Please revert back for our issues.


  44. Dipak Sheth

    Dear Sir/Madam, I have done M.Sc.(Agriculture) in 2003 and MBA(Mkt) in 2010 besides this I have considerable professional experience of around seven years in agricultural field too. Now I want to do Ph.D. from U.S.. So what is the exact path to proceed to fulfill my ambition further.
    Please do the needful. Thanks.
    Dipak Sheth

  45. Gandhi


    I am doing my Phd in physics at AnnaUniversity, chennai. I would complete by Jan-2013. Do i required to get an employer(Universities/Research centers in US/companies) to Sponsor H1B. If I get H1B, how long will it take to get citizenship in US( for Phd holder).


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