Should I do a PhD?

So, not only do you have a bachelor’s degree under your belt, you also have a shiny master’s degree to hand. So what next? It’s either get yourself out into the world of work or continue to stay on in education and do a PhD. You reckon you’re up to the challenge, but what should you be taking into account?

Enjoyment, Employability & Earnings

The three magic E’s are vital when deciding whether to do a PhD. Firstly, you’ve definitely got to enjoy academia and research. We really can’t stress enough the importance of you NOT choosing to do a PhD because you can’t think of anything better to do and you’re intimidated by the job market. Therefore, you must enjoy it! PhD’s allow you conduct original, sometimes ground-breaking, research and if you’re not fully committed, don’t even bother.

Also, you want to make sure that the PhD increases your employability and prospects of earning more money throughout your career. A PhD is not a golden ticket to strolling into a job but the skills employers look for you’ll be using throughout the course of your PhD.

We did our research on how a PhD can affect your earnings and future income, and read on The Guardian that a chap called Bernard Casey published a study on the economic contribution of PhD’s. He found that males with PhD’s earn 26% more than those who didn’t go to university, but crucially they only earn 3% more than those who have a master’s degree. Is it really worth it? We’ll let you decide for yourself, but do your research on how a PhD will affect your future career.

Choose the Right Supervisor

The non-completion rate for PhD’s is pretty daunting and stands at 40% in some UK institutions. Therefore you’ve got to make sure that you choose a supervisor who has an impressive completion rate to their name. To do this, talk to individual academics and don’t just settle for whoever your university ‘matches’ you with. Choose a respected name in the field, but make sure they don’t have a reputation for jetting off to attend conferences to advance their own career at the sacrifice of your thesis.

More Than 9-to-5

A PhD is a huge commitment to undertake and you’ll be thinking about your thesis 24/7 for the duration of the three, four or five years you spend on it. Early mornings, late nights and working weekends will become a regular occurrence. But of course, you shouldn’t be discouraged by this because you have a real passion for what you’re researching and studying!

There’s a lot to consider when deciding to embark upon a PhD, but taking the above three factors into account and really exploring your options will allow you to arrive at the right decision.

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