Is a PhD worth it financially?

In my opinion: usually not

People waste a lot of their lives on scholarship. To be honest, my financial situation was pretty good in graduate school. I won a big national scholarship, got a lot of extra money in the form of travel grants, and my Canadian province gave me scholarships for students with dependents. But even with a decent income, I was still in a financial vacuum – I wasn’t building a fortune.

PhD students assess challenges and benefits along the path to a PhD

Investing in a PhD is an important decision. This usually means advancing an already long academic career in post-secondary education to at least the 11-year mark. In the words of one professor, it can mean “working for years for little money while you watch your friends get rich.”

Not only that, the promotion itself is also in flux. College jobs can be hard to come by, the stereotypical use of a degree. Universities consistently receive strong, qualified applicants, but many of these job seekers leave disappointed or suspended in part-time jobs with little job security.

2005 salary data compared to 2009 salary data

The value of a doctorate in 2009 is the same as in 2005.

As a control To assess additional stability the value of Ph .D., I also looked at data from the 2005 salary survey. Admittedly, in a different economic environment in 2005 than in 2009, the estimates are remarkably similar. The 2005 regression equation is:

cost of living

In addition to doctoral tuition fees, many external factors contribute to the total expenditure. These mainly include living expenses such as housing, food, insurance and transport.

The cost of these requirements varies by state, where you live, and the number of years required to complete the Ph.D. Therefore, it is important to consider all these factors and Ph.D.

Aside from the financial cost of a PhD, there are hidden costs associated with earning this degree that may affect whether a PhD is worth pursuing. Let’s look at some of the big hidden costs.

Regression analysis

To answer this question, I used a statistical technique called regression analysis. With regression analysis, you can see which combination of variables best predicts an outcome variable, called the dependent variable. We use salary converted to US dollars as the dependent variable. Although many variables can influence salary, few have significant predictive power (this is generally the case with regression analysis).

The salary survey collects several variables: gender, country, job title, techniques used at work and software tools used, to name a few. The variable that has the biggest impact on salary is the number of years of experience. That shouldn’t be too surprising. More experience would expect a higher salary. The next two most important variables with the greatest impact were the manager and having a doctorate. Surprisingly, a master’s degree did not add much to a bachelor’s degree. About 48% have a master’s degree and 37% have a bachelor’s degree.

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