A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a professional academic degree. In America, it is recognized as the highest degree one can earn in a field of study. Earning just one PhD can take 10 years of college and field work. Earning more than one PhD will take even longer. However, it is not impossible to attain multiple PhDs. If this is something that interests you, consider your options and be prepared for several years of hard work.
Assess your academic resume. Before you start considering doctorate programs, get an idea of how much education you need to get accepted into a program. Most doctorate programs have entrance requirements you must meet before you are accepted into the program. At the very minimum, you need an undergraduate degree -- sometimes even a Master's Degree.
Contact the schools you are interested in attending. Ask to speak with someone from the admissions office. Inquire about the prerequisites for application, such as work experience, education experience, writing samples and test scores. Be sure to tell the admissions office about your goal to earn to multiple PhDs. Some PhD programs have different acceptance requirements. Know the prerequisites for both programs.
Contact an academic advisor at the schools you are interested in attending. Speak to an advisor from each of the departments you are interested in studying. Unless PhDs are offered from the same program, you will likely have to speak to more than just one advisor. When speaking to the academic advisor, get some in-depth information about the PhD program, such as concentrations of study, length of the program, class enrollment size, opportunities for field work and internships, retention rates and distance education opportunities.
Decide which PhD you want to earn first. Most accredited colleges will not allow you to enroll in two programs at the same time. Consider which program is best suited for your immediate needs and schedule. Apply for the PhD program you want to enroll in first.
Make a checklist of the required classes you must take to earn you degree. Plan a schedule for when you will take each class. Pay attention to classes only offered in the spring or fall semester. Also, ask your advisor about grade point average requirements. Some PhD programs require that you earn at least a B in your core curriculum classes and maintain a cumulative grade point average higher than a 3.0.
Complete the graduation requirements for your first PhD program. This usually includes completing your core curriculum and elective classes, performing a certain number of research hours and writing a final dissertation. You may have to publish your dissertation or present it to a doctorate committee.
Begin the application process for your second PhD program. Several years may have passed since you researched the admission requirements, so make sure you still meet the qualifications. Take any necessary standardized test and submit your admission application.
Complete the graduation requirements for your second PhD program. Again, this usually includes completing the degree coursework classes and performing research hours. You may also need to publish a second dissertation related to your new PhD.
- The Princeton Review: Choosing a Grad School
- The Princeton Review: Master's vs. PhD Programs
- Tufts University Faculty; How to Get Admitted to a PhD Program; Norman Ramsey
- University of Wisconsin: Ph.D. Degree Requirements
- Perdue University Faculty: Notes on the PhD Degree
- Stanford University: Doctor of Philosophy
Baptist Johnson was first published in 2000 when a poem he wrote won first prize in a local writing contest. He also writes and edits for Etched Press Society, a micro-publishing company based in Wilmington, N.C. Johnson has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from East Carolina University.