Top 21+ Hardest & Easiest PhDs to get (FAQs) | 202316 min read

The Hardest & Easiest PhDs to get in 2023 are the PhD programs that allow you to expand your knowledge and skillset in your chosen sector. It can also assist you in qualifying for a promotion due to the process.

A part-time PhD mixed with full-time work is not impossible with some time management and organization.

Thus, one helpful advice is to do some of your research towards the end of your workday in the workplace, rather than after you get home when you are exhausted.

Is a PhD Worth it?

When you start a PhD program, you’ll delve into your chosen field more deeply than ever.

This advanced degree is wonderful since it opens up new waters for exploration. The point is to learn something new, draw some interesting conclusions, and, ideally, add to the body of knowledge in your subject.

However, if money is an issue, look into graduate assistant employment that covers some school costs.

In exchange for service in the classroom or laboratory, several programs provide financial aid for higher education.

If you are currently employed full-time and are anticipating that earning a PhD will help you grow in your profession, you may want to think about continuing your current employment while also completing your doctorate on a part-time basis.

NB: The job market may not look bright even after you’ve been in the workforce for a while and earned your bachelor’s degree.

There’s no promise that things will get better after a delay, but a graduate assistantship can provide some financial stability as you earn your PhD and build your career credentials.

Are there PhD degrees that are hard?

A PhD work develops as a result of your prior studies, preferences and dislikes, abilities and desires, and other factors.

Doing this task, in the appropriate setting and with the proper counsel will push you to the limits of your ability, far beyond what you imagined was possible.

It should be difficult, but only as difficult as you are capable of enduring while at the same time being something you thoroughly like. Your efforts will be rewarded by your accomplishments as well as the approval of your peers.

A PhD project is not the same as an ultramarathon, where the difficulty is measured in kilometers, but rather in hours. There is no such thing as the most difficult PhD program.

The following list of difficult majors suggests that continuing the study will be difficult and demanding for the student involved.

10+ Hardest PhDs to get in 2023

1. PhD in Chemical Engineering

A PhD in engineering designates a subject matter expert in engineering. International students pursuing a doctorate in engineering are expected to conduct great and innovative research while also introducing new concepts or challenges to the engineering community.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, a PhD in engineering typically takes five to seven years of graduate school, and those with this highly regarded degree have numerous job prospects.

A PhD in chemical engineering is a fantastic choice for people who want to work in the academic side of chemical engineering, or in particularly high-level or complex fields of chemical engineering, and is assured to provide a strong career path for years to come.

2. Juris Doctorate

Law schools in the United States award the Juris Doctor degree (abbreviated J.D.) to graduates who have completed their undergraduate studies.

Similar to how an MD is a Doctor of Medicine and a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy, a Juris Doctor is a Doctor of Jurisprudence in the legal profession.

A Juris Doctor degree can be obtained from a non-accredited law school in most states if the applicant has graduated from an approved law school.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, a PhD is normally completed in five or six years, with the second half of the time spent conducting original research. Compared to a JD, a PhD is a lengthy and difficult undertaking.

When you graduate with a Juris Doctor degree, you’ll be prepared to enter a wide range of legal fields, including corporate law, real estate law, human rights law, and legal counseling.

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The Juris Doctor, on the other hand, is a good postgraduate degree for those looking to advance their careers.

3. PhD in Information Assurance System

The vast volume of data and information kept in computing devices and networks has recently brought information assurance systems to prominence.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, many corporations and government agencies have been unable to keep up with cybersecurity needs as the internet, and linked gadgets have grown in popularity.

The PhD in Information Systems degree is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of all key topics of information systems.

The PhD in information systems can be completed part-time or full-time, depending on the demands of the students.

4. Doctor of Pharmacy:

The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) requires a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (commonly abbreviated as Pharm.D. or PharmD).

The NAPLEX is one of the steps in the process of becoming a licensed pharmacist. A Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) is analogous to a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS).

As a doctorate, it reflects pharmacists’ growing role in healthcare systems and Americans’ high regard for pharmacists.

College of Pharmacy graduates can practice pharmacy anywhere in the country after completing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and passing licensure exams.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, Pharm-D is a five-year program that includes 110 credit hours of coursework.

It is challenging, but if you are eager to study life sciences, chemistry, and other topics, it will be quite simple.

5. Boarded Medical Doctor:

Board certification signifies that you have attained the highest level of accreditation in your chosen field. Each medical board will have its own set of requirements that you must complete to be eligible for certification.

Following medical school, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) requires physicians to complete 3 to 7 years of certified residency or fellowship training.

Following that, you must pass a series of difficult exams to earn an ABMS Board Certification. Becoming a doctor takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and years of study and training.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, you must first graduate from a recognized medical school and then complete a residency program requiring you to work for an extra year.

6. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy:

It is difficult to obtain a doctorate in philosophy, but with dedication and hard work, you can meet the prerequisites and obtain your PhD.

Obtaining a doctorate in philosophy can be a rewarding and realistic step in your career—if you are willing to work hard.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, whether you want to influence academia or become a scholar at a think tank, obtaining a doctorate in philosophy can be a rewarding and realistic step in your career—if you are willing to work hard.

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7. Doctor of Optometry:

Doctors of optometry (O.D.s/optometrists) are the major providers of eye and vision care globally. Doctors of optometry are important healthcare practitioners who are recognized by Medicare as physicians.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, optometry school is a reduced version of medical school and residency (7+ years) that removes much of the non-vision content. It is less difficult because you can become a medical specialist in practically half the time.

8. PhD in Math

In the industry, a PhD in mathematics has some importance. However, you’d have to decide whether the opportunity cost is too large.

A PhD in mathematics would allow you to work in any field that requires analytical thinking. Furthermore, your capacity to do well is dependent on your mathematical abilities.

A math PhD is impossible if this is low. If it is high, it is not difficult; all that is required is a strong work ethic and the ability to devote 5–7 years to graduate school.

As one of the Hardest PhDs to get, no step in your schooling is more difficult than this one.

9. Boarded Doctor of Osteopathy:

It’s not easy to get into an osteopathic school. You must excel in medical school prerequisites and the MCAT and participate in relevant extracurricular activities. And there’s a lot of rivalry for entry.

Although board certification is not necessary to practice medicine, it is useful for identifying a physician’s knowledge and experience in a specific specialty.

Board certification is an additional step a physician can take to reassure patients that they have received the necessary specialist training.

10. Doctor of Philosophy in Religion:

It requires dedication and determination to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy in Religion.

The procedure for earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Religion differs by university and program. Almost all degrees, however, will necessitate coursework, extensive research, and a dissertation.

As one of the hardest PhDs to get, many religion Ph. D. programs are lengthy, ranging from 5 to 10 years with a dissertation.

11. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine:

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is a four-year professional program that starts with three to four years of pre-professional study.

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It’s a challenging degree with a rigorous schedule and plenty of job experience to cram into your ‘holidays,’ so you know what you’re getting into after five years.

As one of the hardest PhDs to get, the most difficult aspect of veterinary care is knowing you can help the animal in front of you but being told you can’t.

The most common reason people refuse to proceed is cost; however, people may also have moral or religious objections to diagnostics or treatments.

12. Doctor of Podiatric Medicine:

A doctor of podiatric medicine is to the foot what a dentist or an ophthalmologist is to the mouth or the eye. This specialist has completed extensive training to become qualified to treat a specific portion of the body.

Basic science classes are identical to those offered in medical school. Each lesson is not difficult in and of itself, but there are so many at once, with no “easy” classes to give you a break.

As one of the hardest PhDs to get, for two years, there are chemistry classes for seven hours a day, five days a week. Then half days of lessons for the next two years, with the other half spent visiting patients at the clinic.

Then there are three or more years of residence, during which you will work approximately 60 hours per week under challenging conditions.

Is it possible to do a PhD in one year?

No, you will not be able to complete a PhD in one year. To obtain a PhD degree, the average student will need between four and eight years.

However, this will rely on a number of things, including the type of doctorate you pick, the design of the program, and the location where you complete your PhD.

With the exception of the United States, most countries consider three to four years to be typical.

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Top 10+ Easiest PhDs to get in 2023

1. Doctor of Recreation:

A Doctor of Recreation degree can lead to jobs as a corporate trainer, recreational director, sports manager, or health club manager, to name a few.

Additionally, you have the option of pursuing a managerial position in parks and recreation, hospitality and tourism, or RV park management.

As one of the Easiest PhD to get, the PhD program in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management is designed for students who want to work in a park, recreation, or tourism organization, either as a researcher or as an administrator.

2. Doctor of Public Administration:

Although working in public administration may be your long-term aim, your doctorate degree can help you choose any career path.

Your curriculum will teach you a variety of research methods as well as data analysis abilities, all of which may be applied to any career.

As one of the easiest PhDs to get, Doctoral programs in public administration typically demand 50 to 54 courses and take two to three years to finish.

3. Doctor of Sociology:

The doctor of sociology (PhD, D.Sc) studies human social organizations and connections.

In addition, the curriculum will assist students in building fundamental strategic skills in areas such as social stratification, family structures, sociological research methodologies, social organization and structure, dynamics of social change, and social deviance and control.

The Sociology program is designed to help experienced sociology graduates and professionals advance their careers by expanding their knowledge and abilities in research and process sociology.

It is one of the easiest PhDs to get.

4. Doctor of Ministry:

The Doctor of Ministry (abbreviated DMin or D. Min.) is a professional doctorate that can be acquired by a minister of religion while still in ministry.

It’s an advanced program for ministerial leadership. A Doctor of Ministry degree will set graduates apart as ministers, missionaries, or theology teachers.

As one of the easiest PhDs to get, a D. Min degree will expand your education, network, and leadership skills as a pastor.

5. Doctor of Physical Education:

The Doctor of Physical Education (D.Sc) program aims to help students better understand the discipline’s knowledge base through education and training, resulting in highly competent graduates who will contribute significantly to the advancement of empirically-based knowledge in Physical Education.

Although the conventional DPT program lasts three years, certain programs compress academic requirements into a shorter time frame, which may help you control the total cost of your education and get into the field sooner.

As one of the Easiest PhDs to get, an EdD, or Doctor of Education, is a professional doctorate that is best suited for experienced educators and mid-to senior-level working professionals who wish to manage and implement change within their organization.

6. Doctor of Social Work:

The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) is a professional doctorate in social work that often provides additional study in a professional area of practice, such as nonprofit organization, leadership development, and social justice, among others.

Typically, the DSW concentrates on clinical practice or nonprofit management. The majority of DSW programs last two to five years.

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Typically, the DSW concentrates on clinical practice or nonprofit management. Rated as one of the easiest PhDs to get, the formal title of ‘doctor’ refers to a bearer of a DSW, as it is with other doctorates.

7. Doctor of Public Policy:

A Doctor of Public Policy is aimed at people who want to improve their policymaking and policy implementation skills at all levels of government.

Students who complete this degree will be prepared to perform policy analysis, advocate for public policies and community-based solutions, and serve in decision-making roles.

Your PhD in Public Policy and Administration will equip you with a working knowledge of public policy theory, research, and practice, preparing you for a career as a researcher, college-level educator, or administrative leader in a variety of settings, including the government, private sector, or nonprofit sector.

A Doctor of Public Policy is rated as one of the easiest PhDs to get.

8. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP):

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a nursing degree.

The DNP program builds on existing master’s programs by giving education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership. It is often more clinically focused than the PhD or DNS programs.

However, depending on your specialty and years of experience, a nurse with an advanced degree can earn six figures per year.

As one of the easiest PhDs to get, one of the main reasons a DNP is worthwhile is that it provides substantial financial benefits. A DNP earns an average of $104,353 per year or 52.63 per hour.

9. Doctor of Counseling:

A doctorate in counseling is the greatest level of education available in the counseling area, meaning it is the highest level of education available.

Counselors who have an advanced degree have more job options available to them.

A doctoral degree may be required for obtaining high-level employment in a university, hospital, school system, or community center if your career aim is more than just having a private practice.

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10. Doctor of Management:

The Doctor of Management (D.M.) is commonly regarded as an applied research degree in the field of management.

The emphasis is on applying management theories and learning how to conduct practical research to identify and solve industry issues.

As one of the easiest PhDs to get, the fundamental goal of the Doctor of Management degree is to learn and comprehend managerial issues and how to design and implement changes and improvements in organizations as a leader, practitioner, and scholar in the relevant business environment.

A PhD in management typically takes 4–5 years to complete. A typical program consists of two years of intensive education (core courses and seminars) followed by a comprehensive test.

The dissertation process usually lasts two to three years.

11. Doctor of Psychology:

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy. D.) is a professional doctoral degree that prepares graduates for jobs involving scientific understanding of psychology to provide empirically-based service to individuals, groups, and organizations.

The Doctor of Psychology degree (PsyD), like a PhD in Psychology, equips students to practice psychology in various therapeutic settings. A PsyD, on the other hand, focuses on therapeutic practice rather than research.

Frequently Asked Questions on Hardest & Easiest PhDs to get:

What PhD is the hardest to get?

Boarded Medical Doctor

Is a PhD harder than a doctorate?

Since a PhD is a type of doctorate, neither is better than the other.

Is having a PhD worth it?

A PhD carries a lower premium than a master’s degree in engineering, architecture, or education does. However, it is only worth it in the fields of medical, other scientific disciplines, and business and financial studies. There is a 3% premium for a PhD over a master’s degree across all fields of study

Can I do PhD while working?

Professionals who are already working have a lot of interest in going back to school. In India, there are a lot of institutions that make it easy for working professionals to get their PhD. 


Making a PhD thesis involves generating new information, discovering novel concepts, and learning new skills.

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious job route for any PhD holder, the degree can also be used to pursue a position in an industry that is focused on research and development.

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