A PhD is both financially draining and incredibly challenging. Lasting for 3 – 4 years (depending upon your subject matter) the percentage of students who start their qualification and either fail or drop out is significantly higher than any other postgraduate course.
While we’re not trying to dissuade you from doing the course (far from it), it is essential that if you decide to study for your PhD, then you do it for the right reasons...
1) Make a contribution towards your chosen field
Many students who pursue a course of PhD study, do so because they are passionate about a specific subject, and want to use their research time to make important discoveries within that field.
One of the great things about your PhD is that you will be able to conduct your own research. If your thesis and your findings are strong and relevant, other experts within your chosen area of academia will reference your work and your discoveries when teaching future students.
2) Long-term career goals
Some students who pursue a PhD do so in order to pursue their long -term degree goals. For those looking to pursue a career in academia, then a PhD is an essential qualification which will allow them to both continue their research, and to teach University students. Those wishing to pursue a career within this field should try and gain teaching practice throughout their PhD by giving lectures and seminars to first year undergraduates.
Many PhD graduates who are lucky enough to be sponsored to do their course go on to find employment with the companies that funded them. Similarly, the analytical and research skills learnt on a PhD course are highly transferable to other industries.
3) Improving and challenging knowledge
Some minds are just curious and for these people, studying for a PhD will feel like a natural next step. Unlike undergraduate and Master’s qualifications, the PhD program will be less structured and so students will be encouraged to research topics that are of specific interest to them.
4) Enjoyment of the subject matter
Of course, before you decide for definite that you want to study on a PhD, it is important that you have a passion for your PhD subject – otherwise, you’ll only be miserable. Although contact hours are minimal, the PhD is a very intense course and you will be living and breathing your research and thesis for at least 3 years.
If you’re not sure whether you will be able to maintain a high level of passion for your chosen subject, then you should either change your specialist topic or reconsider whether a PhD is the right qualification for you.
5) Demonstration of intellectual potential
One thing a PhD course will do is separate the good academics from the fantastic ones. It not only demonstrates an individual’s ability to conduct independent research, but also showcases their in-depth knowledge in a specific subject area. Within the world of academia this is essential.
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