How to determine if you need to pursue a Ph.D.
BY ETHAN DUNWILL
Now that you have your Master’s degree, you have some choices to make. While you have been in college for several years now, you may be wondering if it would be wise to go after your Ph.D. While the thought may sound intriguing, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of the degree and why it might (or might not) be a good choice for you.
What is a Ph.D.?
Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy. This postgraduate degree is generally chosen by students who have completed their master’s degree program and who enjoy research. It is a recognized globally and is awarded by educational institutions to students who submit a thesis or dissertation that is based on research within their chosen field.
Top 5 Reasons to Pursue a Ph.D.
- You enjoy research.
Getting a Ph.D. is all about researching within your particular field of study. Some people thoroughly enjoy researching during their undergraduate studies, and if that is you, then pursuing your Ph.D. will be extremely gratifying to you.
- You will be recognized as an expert in your field.
Unlike others, you will have the knowledge to speak intelligently and rationally about your field. In a day when everyone thinks they are an expert, you will definitely be “the” expert after spending three to four years studying the same subject.
- It shows prestige.
Some people want to be recognized for the work in their fields, and by having a “Dr.” in front of their names, they are more easily noticed. The degree shows the area of talent and proves that you have talent and tenacity.
- You enjoy academia.
If you love working flexible hours, lab and office work, and academic stimulation, you probably will enjoy working on your Ph.D. While it can be difficult at times, you will find challenges and freedom by working in an intellectual environment.
- To improve your life.
You shouldn’t pursue a Ph.D. just for more pay because it may not work out that way. On the other hand, if you have a deep desire to increase confidence, be a better communicator, and gain additional skills (that may help you land that great job), a Ph.D. may be just the thing for you.
Top 5 Reasons to Not Get a Ph.D.
Just as there are many good reasons to pursue your doctorate, there are other reasons not to go in that direction. If you are considering a Ph.D., these reasons of why you shouldn’t pursue the degree are not to discourage you. The fact of the matter is that many people pursue a Ph.D. for the wrong reasons. While getting a Ph.D. is commendable, there are many dropouts from Ph.D. programs because people begin for the wrong reasons. As you read through this list, remember that every situation is different and what applies to some individuals does not apply to all. Here are some of the top reasons you should think twice about pursuing your Ph.D.
- It doesn’t guarantee you a better-paying job (or any job at all).
There is a false perception that if you continue to get more education, you will be able to land a high-paying job. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. While some jobs require a Ph.D. (usually a research job), most of the time, having a Ph.D. will not guarantee a job with substantially higher pay.
- Pressure from friends and family.
You may have friends who have decided to pursue their PhD and it just seems like the right thing to do. Or, you may have family members who are convinced that you need your doctorate. When it’s all said and done, however, the person who has to do all of the work (and pay all of the tuition) is you. No one else can really make this decision for you. If you are feeling lots of pressure from others in your life, you might consider finding an outside person to whom you can talk. Someone who isn’t personally involved in your life can help you talk through your options to make sure you are doing the right thing.
- You can’t pursue your dream job.
If you continue with your education, you won’t be able to start working within your chosen field. Do you want to delay your lifelong ambitions to get more education, or are you ready to move on with your life?
- You will accrue more loans.
Unless you have a full scholarship, you will continue to add to your student loan. Once you graduate from college, you are not be guaranteed a job. Make sure you can handle the increase in loan payments after graduation due to additional tuition costs.
- Some jobs only request an undergraduate degree.
Some firms will not hire someone with a Ph.D. because they know they will be expected to pay more salary. While it may seem a little odd, it is possible for some employers to view job seekers as overqualified for a job.
Pursuing a doctorate is not for everyone. Life offers many twists and turns, and it is impossible to foresee the future. The only thing you can do is weigh your pros and cons and make the best choice for your own life.
Ethan Dunwill is a business consultant and contributing blogger for several websites, who currently works for content writing service.
He believes that education is the most important part of any developed society and always eager to share his experience. You can talk to Ethan via Twitter.