Are You A Good PhD Candidate? Check Out These Characteristics


February 21, 2020

Many PhD aspirants say that they never considered pursuing a career in research because they thought they didn’t possess the characteristics or skills to qualify for a doctoral program. What are these characteristics which make you a good PhD candidate? Are you good at research? Can you be persistent despite multiple failures? Do you have an innate sense of curiosity? This article brings you the ten most essential qualities of an ideal PhD candidate.

Academic Ability

Ability to understand new information and ideas is the fundamental skill needed to pursue a PhD. This quality shows your academic competence which is considered one of the most common characteristics of a good PhD candidate.


The ability to take ownership with minimal supervision can take you a long way as a PhD candidate.


One of the most critical skills required for PhD is the commitment towards successful research degree completion. The ‘P’ in PhD means persistence to get the most out of your research degree. Perseverance and commitment are the essential skills required for pursuing a PhD.

Good Communication Skills

Other vital skills required for PhD include excellent communication (writing and language) skills and the ability to express and organize ideas in a meaningful way.

Time Management

The ideal research degree student knows how to manage time efficiently. Organizational efficiency is another skill needed for a PhD which involves work planning, meeting deadlines, being attentive and giving regular updates to supervisors.

Open-mindedness and Curiosity to Learn Something New

The most important characteristic of a good PhD candidate is his/her willingness to learn something new. A good PhD scholar has an inquiring mind, who is willing to ask questions, challenge the findings of his/her project and take some valuable inputs to learn new things.


A successful PhD student is enthusiastic, passionate and has a deep interest in the subject of research. The most important characteristics of a good PhD candidate are dedication and enthusiasm. Problem-solving and finding logical solutions to problems come with a strong passion and commitment.

Ability to Think

The ability to work and think logically and independently is one of the necessary skills required for a PhD. The student should be able to analyze both objectively and subjectively.

Hard Work

Research requires hard work and diligence. Other than hard work, strong work ethics, discipline, focus, efficiency, attentiveness and professionalism are all necessary skills needed for conducting successful research.


One of the most important characteristics of a good PhD candidate is that they are highly ambitious and self-motivated. Self-motivation is an essential skill required for pursuing a PhD that will help make aspirants successful.

We hope that this article can help you assess yourself objectively and see whether you make a suitable PhD aspirant or not.

PhD in Management from an IIM in India

An IIM in India is an excellent place to pursue a PhD in management. Graduates with a doctoral degree from an IIM in India are well-equipped for a calling in academia and research. IIM PhD program by IIM Udaipur is designed for students with strong academic credentials who aspire to undertake demanding original research.