Although a full-time PhD can be completed in less than 3 years, this is a remarkable achievement that is not often heard of. When these achievements are achieved, the doctoral student already has deep knowledge and experience in his field prior to his doctorate.
Whether it is possible to do a part-time doctorate in less than 6 years depends a lot on your extra-curricular commitments. For example, if you have a part-time job alongside your PhD, you probably won’t be able to find the extra hours you need for your PhD a year in advance.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- It’s a long road.
- If you already have a masters, you might get a 2-3 year PhD at some universities (eg in the UK), but almost never in the US. Allow at least 5 years, rather than 6-8 years, depending on the field of study.
- Ideally, your program will cover your tuition and living expenses, and you won’t graduate in debt. You can calculate the monetary value of your winnings and it is likely to be significant. Many people are comfortable with this decision (I am), but they make a conscious choice.
- Know yourself and recognize your possibilities.
- Remember that your PhD counterpart is to invest 5-6 years in something else: your current job, a new career, skills outside of the PhD, etc. Some of these opportunities could actually be paid for. They will give you experience, respect and great opportunities. The opportunity cost of a PhD is high in terms of salary and other work. Of course, this applies to all ages. However, your opportunity cost as a more experienced person is likely to be higher.
- Make sure you understand your career opportunities after your PhD. In some disciplines, such as economics, PhDs are in high demand, and almost all get a well-paying professional or academic job. Political science too, I think. Academic and even professional positions in your field are becoming increasingly rare in the social sciences and some humanities. I once heard that less than a third of the graduates of the best history programs in the world get a university job.
- If you are not thinking about becoming a professor, think twice about a PhD. Yes, it could promote you in your field. But most jobs I know would require six years worth of intensive experience in many fields, not just a PhD. I don’t know if the promotion is more rewarding. You have to ask it for yourself.
- Many people complain about the terrible opportunities for many graduate students and the poor treatment of associate professors. This tells me that many people are doing PhDs with the wrong expectations.
- Older people will bring many good things to the table.
- PhD students are not known to be good with people, projects or money. You’ve probably learned a few things about being a professional no matter what you do. It will serve you well and offset some of the inconveniences of old age. Maybe even more than in return. My experience as a management consultant has certainly helped me manage large research projects better and earlier.
- When you graduate, faculty hiring committees will probably focus more on what you can do compared to your cohort than how old you are under 35 or 40. You can’t even look at your age or past experience. If you are over 40, then yes, I think you will see discrimination in the job market because of any major career change, regardless of career.
- But there are some disadvantages.
- You may or may not like being around a lot of 25-year-old classmates and your teachers will do the same.
- If you have no savings or are in debt, you may end up living a much worse lifestyle than you are used to.
- You’re more likely to have family or financial obligations in retirement, so after you graduate you’ll have less freedom to make high-yield investments that are distant or unpaid. Some jobs, postdocs or fellowships are not suitable for a more complex personal situation. You may be unable or unwilling to work 12 days for the same reasons.
- Of course, this applies to all career changes later in life, especially in the non-profit or public sector.
- Once you are in, remember that promotion is not easy for anyone. It’s a constant source of existential anxiety when you’re in the middle of it. Know that everyone thinks the same way and it’s not a special product of your age or what you brought with you.
- As one commenter said, “I am tempted to fight, when you are too young?” Good point. Here is another person expressing the same view. A topic for another day.
The length of a doctoral or master’s degree varies. Not surprisingly, doctorates take much longer, usually between 3 and 7 years. Master’s programs usually last only 1-2 years.
Masters usually last 2 years, although there are also one-year masters, mainly in the UK.
When he decides to continue his studies, it is important that the student considers the significant investment of money and time. Today’s graduate student can expect to study and research for almost a decade to become an expert in the field. This very demanding process can also be very rewarding at the end of the process when you finally get a doctorate.
A financial analyst usually works for a large company. There are also opportunities in the non-profit and government sectors.