The FINANCIAL — According to the National Centre for Educational Accreditation there are 3,074 students already enrolled for Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) studies for the 2009-10 year. There are 40 universities accredited to be running the programmes and research associated with Ph.D. degrees which includes state as well as private universities in Georgia.
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degree which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, such as philosophy, literature, law or medicine. An example is Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D. At most universities the number of required credits amounts to 180.
The prices for the doctoral degrees start from a minimum of 600 GEL at Sohkumi State University and go up to 18,000 GEL. From 5,000-12,000 GEL at University of Georgia, 18,000 GEL for Caucasus University’s Faculty of Law, and 5,000 GEL for the Business Administration Faculty at GAU.
Pre-requirements for admission for Ph.D.s at Georgian universities differ slightly between private and state ones.
At Free University of Tbilisi doctoral programmes are distinguished by their non-standardized format which allows a scholar/future Ph.D. candidate and the university itself to choose the direction of studies correspondingly.
“Each of our programmes are individualistic, a candidate for a doctorate degree together with a programme coordinator chooses the programme content as well as the duration of study,” said Ana Mgeladze, Ph.D. Coordinator at Freeuni.
“Students who want to take Ph.D. degrees are required, as a pre-condition, to have taken the relevant Master’s/higher degree at their university. The admission procedure is as follows: the Dissertation Council discusses the candidate’s application for a Ph.D. which includes their scientific work and already-completed research, then if the student is chosen for the Ph.D. he/she together with the relevant professor selects the direction he/she will be best studying,” Ana Mgeladze told The FINANCIAL.
“The credits total up to 180 but can also be modified based on individual consultations with the candidates. A Ph.D. at Freeuni comes mainly with humanitarian, social sciences as well as business administration, law, mathematics and computer technologies,” said Mgeladze.
The materials necessary for a Freeuni Ph.D. candidate’s dossier are as follows:
• Brief biography
• Full or associated professors’ approval of scientific work belongings
• Master’s or equivalent higher education’s diploma
• Dissertation essay
• Methodology of research, and review of literature used
The Georgian Institute of Public Affairs has already accepted 17 students for Ph/D/ programmes, mainly in social sciences.
“At GIPA Master’s degree students are required to prepare an abstract of a scientific work in order to be admitted to our Ph.D. programmes. After this selection process we introduce them to the directions of study available after which they choose a direction individually. A high level of English is also very important at GIPA,” Giorgi Margvelashvili told The FINANCIAL.
“At GIPA students focus on research studies and in depth analysis of scientific works which is very important,” said Margvelashvili.
Tbilisi State University is leading with the number of students/faculties applying for Ph.D.s. There are 822 students enrolled at TSU for different scientific programmes and 42 at Tbilisi State Medical University. The directions include biology, education management, business administration, law, physics, linguistic studies, etc.
A Ph.D. of Law at TSU is a combination of academic courses and scientific research which aims at the preparation of academic personnel and ends with awarding the academic degree of Doctor of Law.
A precondition for admission to the programme is the solicitation of a supervisor, which should include an assessment of the relevance and importance of the chosen topic.
To earn a Doctor of Law degree one must acquire 180 credit points. A precondition for the commencement of final procedures are:
• The drawing up of two seminar theses in the field, which a doctoral student writes his/her doctoral work about.
• Completion of a doctoral thesis, which shall reflect the well-founded results of theoretical and/or experimental research, and shall contribute to the development of the science.
• Upholding of a doctoral thesis, i.e. public presentation of the topic followed by scientific disputation.
Once having passed each stage of the university education, the law department of a higher educational institution will grant the respective academic degree to a graduate of Doctor.
Foreign universities offer slightly different procedures and fees for Doctor of Philosophy degrees to the Georgian universities which offer Ph.D. programmes.
Giorgi Kiria is one who has chosen to study abroad at Jena University in central Germany (Thuringia pop. 101,000) for a Ph.D. as well as a Master’s programme.
He has already completed his Business Law Master’s degree at Jena University and is now applying for a Ph.D, the highest degree in academic studies in Germany.
“Here in Germany the law education system is completely different, sort of a one-time degree. No law student graduates in Germany without being appointed a lawyer straight away. The universities here let students prepare for the first and then second state exams which are arranged by the Ministry of Justice. Only after passing these two exams are students considered licensed judges and then keep that status for the whole of their lives,” said Giorgi Kiria.
“Recently, German educational institutions inspired by the bologna process have decided to bring in juridical Master’s degrees, the so-called LLM. LLM isn’t an alternative to passing the two state exams, but is a means of getting higher qualifications and an opportunity for foreign students to move on to the Ph.D. after,” said Kiria.
“I graduated from Tbilisi State University and then passed the LLM in Germany so now I’m moving on to my Ph.D. The procedures for those wanting to get a Ph.D. are similar to those mentioned above – those two exams, either state or LLM, are compulsory. There is no kind of unified exam but the professor should be informed on which field you are interested in then he/she interviews students and agrees on the theme of study. This work (25 pages on which a maximum 18 points are awarded and a minimum 10) should be written as a sort of quiz which all other Ph.D. candidates participate in. Then the student has to make a speech on which he/she is evaluated. Finally the professor has to approve the student’s work and let them start research on a particular subject,” said Kiria.
“The learning is not done by tutoring or having lectures but sitting in the library and doing research. If there is a problem then a meeting is arranged with your professor. Every 3-6 months a student writes quizzes so in total Ph.D. studies take 2-3 years in most cases,” said Kiria.
“In Germany, most of the universities have free tuition but certain ones have a symbolic 500 EUR fee. At Jena University we have a 150-200 EUR social services payment but Ph.D. studies are completely free of charge,” said Kiria.
The research in business law is that of trade law, tax law, labour law, capital market law, personal society law, insurance law, etc.
“My direction deals with limited liability issues where I have to critically evaluate all the presented materials and find my own solution which I come across while reading and analyzing, finding the right argument for a concrete problem set. The final work/research ought to be 200 pages long or more, the references, letter size and other standards should be complied with also. So a student provides 3 copies of work/research because 3 professors are checking the same thing but separately. Then the student should go through an oral exam where the dean and another 2 professors let you take a 30 minute speech and then discuss the issue. Ultimately if you get enough points you will be granted your Ph.D. degree,” Giorgi Kiria, Ph.D. candidate at Jena University, Germany, told The FINANCIAL.