Why You Should Apply for Your PhD Abroad as an African Student

by | Sep 27, 2022 | Admissions, Jobs

Obtaining a PhD is one of the highest academic goals you can aspire to.  If it’s one of your goals, you might be wondering why you should apply for your PhD abroad as an African student.

While you can undertake your PhD anywhere in the world, obtaining a PhD is not always the same in different parts of the world. PhD programs in different regions of the world may have varying durations, funding structures, and prerequisites. These considerations may have an impact on where you choose to study, depending on your long-term goals.

Depending on what you want to accomplish with your PhD and how much time you want to devote to it, you may decide that pursuing your PhD abroad is the best option.

We’ll go over some of the reasons why you should apply for your PhD abroad as an African student in the sections below.

#1- You’ll Have More Opportunities for Doctoral Study

As you narrow down your research interests, you may discover that your home nation only has a few universities with PhD programs in your subject or faculty who work in your study area. That will make studying for your PhD abroad your only option.

You will have more possibilities in terms of programs and prospective supervisors if you apply internationally. Furthermore, if your research necessitates access to specific libraries, archives, museums, places, or equipment, studying your PhD abroad may make this easier.

#2- You’ll Have Access to Better Funding

Studying for a PhD abroad might be cheaper than doing so in your country. While you might be required to pay expensive tuition in your home country, PhD students in some countries such as Germany and Sweden are not required to pay tuition fees. In the US and many European countries, PhD candidates are considered part of the university faculty and paid a monthly salary.

Additionally, you can apply for PhD scholarships to cover your expenses while studying abroad. Finding a scholarship to study for a PhD might be much more difficult. Overall, studying for your PhD abroad might be less expensive and even financially lucrative.

#3- You’ll Have Better Research and Publication Opportunities

International universities carry out substantially more research than most African universities. They have significantly higher research budgets, translating to more research opportunities for doctoral students. It also increases your chances of finding a professor whose research interests match yours.

Additionally, universities in the US and Europe emphasize publishing primary research papers and review articles in reputable journals. By graduation, it’s expected for PhD students to have at least one publication in a high-impact journal. Having your work published in such journals opens the door to better jobs in prestigious organizations or post-doctoral positions in research labs. 

Although you might also be required to publish papers before graduation in your home country, the probability of your papers being accepted in reputable international journals are much lower. If you’re aiming to build an impressive publication record, studying your PhD abroad is a great choice.

#4- You’ll Take a Shorter Time to Graduate

Its common for students to take as long as 5 to 7 years to complete a PhD in African universities. International universities are more particular about students finishing their PhD within a defined timeframe. For instance, universities in the UK require you to submit your PhD thesis within 3 to 4 years.

In European countries, while universities don’t impose hard deadlines, they do expect students to complete their PhD in 4 to 5 years. In the US, most students complete their doctoral studies in approximately five years. 

Global universities have systems and support to ensure timely completion of doctoral research. If you study for your PhD abroad, chances are that you’ll take a shorter time to graduate.

#5- You’ll Make Valuable Connections with a PhD Abroad

When studying for a PhD abroad, you also get a chance to meet and interact with other international PhD students, professors, technicians, and other support staff. At this level, many of the people you interact with will be highly motivated and have brilliant minds that you can learn from.

In addition, you will get opportunities to present your work at international conferences. That will expand your opportunity to network with people working in your field. Such networks will come in handy when you’re looking for a job or post-doctoral fellowship.

#6- You’ll Enhance Your Career Opportunities

Having a PhD from an international university makes you highly attractive to prestigious companies all over the world. Organizations are looking for staff who can understand global issues and interact smoothly with global colleagues.

In Europe, universities have close cooperation with companies and the government. For instance, France has initiatives such as the “Doctoriales” that encourage students to spend time with local companies which often results in longer-term employment opportunities.


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