I am planning to apply for a PhD program outside of the US but would like to know (I am not going for medical school, and assuming that the programs and universities are accredited in their respective countries) if a PhD from another country would be accepted in the US for jobs/research?

Edit: I am interested in public health, specifically epidemiology. My research interests are cancer epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology and global health.

  • 4
    I suggest you edit your question to add more context. Are you looking to work in industry (which one) or teach academically? Maybe it wouldn't be that much of an issue for a computer programmer looking for an industry position. But I would say it's harder for an Accountant where the US standard is different than International standards.
    – gns100
    Commented Jun 24 at 16:05
  • @gns100 thanks for the suggestion, I added that I would like to become an epidemiologist, I am not sure if the standard in the US is different to international standards.
    – ineedhelp
    Commented Jun 25 at 1:25
  • 1
    One difficulty is that you might have some difficulties attending conferences and meeting people in the US, especially if your PhD program is far away, and in general you want to become known to people who might hire you. So you might want to plan on earning some frequent flier miles.
    – academic
    Commented Jun 27 at 15:05

4 Answers 4


Yes doctorates from accredited universities are acceptable nearly everywhere but the details matter including your dissertation and recommendations.

Getting a job isn’t guaranteed.

  • 24
    "Getting a job isn’t guaranteed." To be clear this also applies when you get a PhD in the USA.
    – TimRias
    Commented Jun 24 at 9:09
  • 8
    It is worth noting that the reputation of the school does have some impact how successful you are likely to be. (Again, also true in the US.) Commented Jun 24 at 14:13
  • thanks everyone for your answers, I am interested in epidemiology and one of my interests is global health.
    – ineedhelp
    Commented Jun 25 at 1:28

Certainly PhDs from non-obscure schools are accepted by US job market. E.g. my maths PhD is from University of Western Australia, and in few job applications I did in US it was never an issue.

It's a bit more hassle at the time you actually need to get an H1-B visa, then your non-US PhD needs an extra certification, called "credential evaluation", done by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (at least it was the case for me). They take your electronic degree transcript (which normally available in Australia), charge you something like US$200, and provide "credential evaluation report" for the prospective employer.

  • It feels like they are robbing you straight out. I hate these kind out re-evaluation thing Commented Jun 28 at 5:09
  • I needed it fast, so I ended up paying for an "express" service. Otherwise it's only half as much, but you'd have to wait, and wait. Anyway, check out whether they have a clear timeline set out, otherwise they sit on it until you pay more for "express". Cheap crookery. Commented Jun 28 at 8:26

There is no explicit reason why a Ph.D. from an accredited university in those countries (or other countries with a high standard of education in general) would not be accepted.

That said, there are some practical limitations.

  1. When you apply somewhere, people will explicitly or implicitly try to rank the quality of your degree, and will often use (some version of) the perceived quality of your instituton as a proxy. This presents all sorts of complications at the best of times, but like it or not, degrees from less well known foreign universities can get devalued through unfamiliarity. Not an issue if you go to a top-tier foreign school, but it may be going to a less well known one.

  2. People want to hear a narrative as to perceived-atypical choices. So be prepared to articulate why you chose to go wherever you go. It can be that you wanted to work in a specific lab or with a specific advisor, or family reasons, but be prepared. This is of course not specific to choosing to attend a non-US institution, but a non-US institution will tend to provoke such a reaction more often.

  3. You've given no indication about any immigration issues, but flagging that formally/bureaucratically non-US-citizens tend to have an easier time getting the appropriate work visas to work in the US if they have their degree from a US school (I'm not up on the details and if it is of relevance, a more focused question would provoke better focused replies on this.)


I'm an epidemiologist, so I can speak to that specifically. A PhD from a foreign university is accepted. A few things to consider: 1 - epidemiologists work in teams and are heavily dependent on NIH funding. If you go to a university that doesn't expose you to grant writing and that model of research, you will probably be at a disadvantage for research jobs in the US - you'll find it harder to articulate a research plan. 2 - if you want to work in global health, having contacts with the area of the world you want to specialize in will be valuable. You may not get the same contacts with people in the US, though, which could be a problem for finding postdocs or faculty positions. 3 - it may raise questions about language and visa issues (you don't say that, and you're looking at English-speaking countries, but it's something to make clear in applications) 4 - the reputation of the school and quality of your publications are likely to come under extra scrutiny

  • Hi Agnes, thank you so much for your insights. You make very valid points that I had not considered. Is there any way we can connect? I am very interested in pursuing a PhD and would like to learn about your experience with a PhD in epidemiology in addition to any suggestions you may have.
    – ineedhelp
    Commented Jun 28 at 19:25

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