Candidate of Sciences degree is awarded in some post-soviet countries for completing a 3-5 year research program, which has similar scientific requirements as a PhD. Here is a wikipedia article about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candidate_of_Sciences

Does it make sense to go after a PhD in a European or American university after obtaining a Candidate of Sciences degree? Would a university consider enrolling a Candidate of Sciences in a PhD program? Would it be possible to apply for scholarship for it? Would an age make any difference?

Also, if I am switching fields and do not intend to work in the field, in which I did my Candidate of Sciences thesis, would it make sense to get a PhD in the field I plan to work in?

I spent some time trying to find an opportunity to get a PhD on top of my Candidate of Sciences degree, but had no success and gave up. I have plenty of job opportunities as a Candidate of Sciences, but I wonder if I will have more and better jobs available to me if I get a PhD from a western university as well.

I am leaning towards a conclusion that having good publications is much more important than getting a shinier degree. If this is the case, then doing a PhD would only make sense if it resulted in some good research results. But then isn't it better to look for post-doc positions that are solely focused on producing good research results and publications?

Edit: Some specific information about my situation.

My Candidate of Sciences thesis and publications are in agricultural economics. The field in which I would like to apply for either PhD or post-doc is behavioral economics. Behavioral economics has a fair share of psychology and decision sciences in it and its research methods differ so I still have quite a bit of books to read.

I do not have publications in highly ranked journals. I have two publications in agricultural economics: one in AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics and the other one in Studies in Agricultural Economics. I also have a forthcoming publication in behavioral economics in The International Journal of Economic Behavior. These journals are not high ranked at all, but they do appear in some rankings.

I am the only author in all of my publications in ranked journals.

My English is good.

I'm about to hit 30.

  • 1
    I wonder if it's possible to be employed as a postdoc, but to come up with a sandwich thesis at the end of your postdoc and graduate with a PhD? It would be tricky to explain to future employers, but it might make future life easier if the university is required by law or policy to appoint only PhD holders as professors (I seem to remember a previous question on this, but I cannot find it).
    – Moriarty
    Dec 1, 2015 at 8:41
  • What kind of job are you looking for? Academic or in industry? In your home country or in the western world?
    – xLeitix
    Dec 1, 2015 at 9:25
  • @xLeitix I am planning an academic career but I may switch to industry if a good opportunity comes up, definitely in the western world. Dec 1, 2015 at 10:42
  • 1
    Interesting question (+1). I would suggest you first to figure out whether your Candidate of Sciences degree will be formally evaluated as a Ph.D. in countries that you're targeting. If not and you want to join a teaching faculty, then, I am afraid, getting a Ph.D. would be a necessary step. Otherwise, you should be fine. Dec 4, 2015 at 1:58
  • 1
    6 years have passed since I asked this question. I am so glad I didn't do it. Jul 2, 2021 at 12:45

2 Answers 2


Does it make sense to go after a PhD...

To whom?

  • For someone who has published a couple of papers in Science or Nature as the first author during their aspirantura period, the answer is no — they should apply directly for a permanent post or a prestigious named Fellowship, and develop their research.
  • For someone who has published several papers in top international journals, and at least one without their supervisor, the answer is probably no again — they should go for a postdoc or research fellow route.
  • For someone who did not publish much (or did not publish in international journals), who may struggle with English a bit, and/or not quite on top of the methods and hot topics in their research area, the answer may be yes. Having a PhD from a well-known university definitely improves the position on a competitive academic job market. More importantly, it can provide you with a set of soft skills (networking, presentations, etc) which many post-Soviet institutions are not very strong at sometimes.
  • Thank you for the insight! Yet, it seems to me I am on the borderline. I added some specific information about my situation in the question. Given that information, what would be your advise? Dec 2, 2015 at 5:27
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    I do not really know how the things are in Economy. You seem to be on the borderline. You could apply for several postdocs first, and then go for a PhD. But make sure your first position provides you with opportunities to grow and develop yourself. Dec 2, 2015 at 8:31

Try to publish in good journals alone. If it goes through smoothly, then you do not need PhD.

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