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PhD without scholarship...Is it possible?

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    (Original post by *Corinna*)
    Good luck. A person I know from Oxford did the same thing. Didn't work out for them.
    There is absolutely no guarantee that it will work of course, as the top 10 is always a long shot, but extensive graduate coursework and some sort of significant research effort such as a master's thesis generally goes a long way in standing out from the hordes of undergraduate applicants. But of course, it is not a substitute for a very strong undergraduate background. Regardless, there are tons of six figure jobs out there for numerate graduates with a couple of years of experience, so I have a back up plan ready if I fail to make it to the top 10.
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    Thank you everyone for your advice. I am still thinking about it, but I think that eventually I will continue with my (funded) PhD in US and maybe defer the offer in London, so that I can look for more scholarships and funds and consider enrollment next year.
    I know it looks like a waste of time, but one of the reason most people (including me) want to do a PhD is something beyond money (and time too somehow). The main reason is the love for research, for educating oneself, and above all for a passion for a topic that you want to study more than it has been done so far. You are so passionate about it that you want to read and write about it everyday
    I realized that my topics and my interests do not match as much as it should with the faculty in the school where I am now (this is what I meant with: academically dissatisfaction). Sometimes I have the impression that I know more about what I want to write than my professors/adviser... So much that I often thought to just quit! I don't want to go into more details, but the school in UK instead has a perfect match (I defined the research proposal with the future supervisor before applying!).
    Having said that, as you see and as someone already wrote, it is not so easy, like "go where you are funded" or something... Plus I am from EU and I miss Europe and so on....
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    Look, I don't give two ****s about reputation. And if I thought it mattered, I would have opened a second profile with a brand new reputation.
    Although I disagree with you on some of the things you've mentioned here on this post, this I'll definitely and absolutely agree; nitpicking pointless arguments like that really show how weak their arguments are and it has weaken their whole arguments by giving unnecessary nitpicking point. It's like saying; "you are this; that and those, and by the way, you're fat." :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Ghost6)

    My point has always been the same: do not pay universities for something they should be paying you. By doing a PhD in some meaningful subject, you are doing society a favor and you should be rewarded accordingly. I would never, ever, do an unfunded PhD and nobody else should. Ironically, those that object seem to be fully-funded at top universities. Do as I say, not as I do :rolleyes:
    In an ideal world I would agree. However, in reality it simply means that you will pass on wonderful opportunities in order to make a point, and that would be stupid. A simple cost-benefit analysis is much better way to think of this problem.

    As for the other point - even if it is true and they are fully funded, they do not suggest you should not apply for funding, and most certainly not that you should decline funding, in fact you may even choose the program on the basis of funding. But the problem is - sometimes you have no choice and you get zero funding everywhere, or you only get funding in third tier schools and the question is - top 10 school with no funding or "top 600" school with funding? In that case after cost-benefit you may select to choose the top 10.
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    OP you should listen to Ghost6 and ignore most other posters because there is some seriously delusional stuff being posted in this thread (I'm looking at you janjanmmm, with your "academics work 6-8 hours a week and get $120k/year on average").

    Most of what Ghost6 says is basically right; doing an unfunded PhD is likely to be a bad decision - if you are paying both tuition fees and living costs then youre looking at something like £40k+ debt to get a degree which has very low earning potential outside of a few subjects, and few career options unless you are at a top place. The average academic certainly does not earn $120k/year; below professor level in the UK a salary in the £40-55k range will be typical, although some fields will let you supplement that with consultancy. In the US its around $70-120k in most fields; econ tends to be higher but still unlikely to be over $200k unless youre in finance. In any case, you really dont want to be servicing a £40k+ debt on that kind of income. You can argue all you like about whether unfunded people are 'worthy' of the PhD, but it doesnt make financial sense unless you are indepenently wealthy.

    I guess there are some exceptions like if youre in an area that has high earning private sector options (eg econ/compsci/statistics) and your unfunded offer is from a top place (which in this context basically just means Oxbridge and 1-2 others), but even then I would make sure you have seriously considered what you're getting into.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    OP you should listen to Ghost6 and ignore everyone else because there is some seriously delusional stuff being posted in this thread (I'm looking at you janjanmmm)

    Most of what Ghost6 says is basically right; doing an unfunded PhD is likely to be a bad decision - you will amass around £60k+ debt to get a degree which has very low earning potential outside of a few subjects, and few career options unless you are at a top place. The average academic certainly does not earn $120k/year; below professor level in the UK a salary in the £40-55k range will be typical, although some fields will let you supplement that with consultancy. In the US its around $70-120k in most fields; econ tends to be higher but still unlikely to be over $200k, even at top places. In any case, you really dont want to be servicing a £60k+ debt on that kind of income. You can argue all you like about whether unfunded people are 'worthy' of the PhD, but it doesnt make financial sense unless you are indepenently wealthy.

    The idea that academics work 6-8 hours a week is probably the most clueless thing I've ever read on this forum, especially if youre talking about the US.
    Where I take issue with Ghost and allies is the simplistic definition of a 'top place'. World leading researchers are dotted all over the place, whereas many on TSR seem to assume that the university world, in the UK at least, is Oxbridge, Imperial, maybe UCL and nowhere else matters. The world leader in your topic could well be at an institution with negligible reputation for most things. If they said 'top supervisor' I'd have more sympathy.
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    (Original post by Cora Lindsay)
    Where I take issue with Ghost and allies is the simplistic definition of a 'top place'. World leading researchers are dotted all over the place, whereas many on TSR seem to assume that the university world, in the UK at least, is Oxbridge, Imperial, maybe UCL and nowhere else matters. The world leader in your topic could well be at an institution with negligible reputation for most things. If they said 'top supervisor' I'd have more sympathy.
    People generally filter downwards; you do a postdoc at a lower tier university than you done your PhD at, and you will usually get a lectureship at a lower tier university still. Yes, you can easily find top academics at universities ranked around #30-40 but if you look at their CVs the majority of them will have done their PhDs at top 5-10 universities. Not always, but usually. I agree there are exceptions like if you are working with the world leader in your field at a low tier university, but having a brand name university on your CV is likely to increase your private sector options.

    Typically, there will be only be around 5-20 lectureships recruiting a year across the whole UK, per subject. Oxbridge/Imperial/UCL/LSE/etc alone will often produce more than that number of PhD students per subject every year between them. Competition is fierce, especially if you are in a subject with bad private sector options where almost every single PhD student is after an academic position. If you are a superstar then you'll be fine wherever you end up, but its safer to work on the assumption that you arent.

    If your PhD was funded then not getting a job afterwards might be heartbreaking, but its not the end of the world; youve done something you wanted to do, hopefully had fun, and you'll always have that with you. But if your PhD was unfunded and you've racked up £30k+ debt for no job, that may have pretty big consequences.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    The average academic certainly does not earn $120k/year; below professor level in the UK a salary in the £40-55k range will be typical, although some fields will let you supplement that with consultancy. In the US its around $70-120k in most fields; econ tends to be higher but still unlikely to be over $200k unless youre in finance.
    Jesus, you are calling me "delusional" and then repeating exactly what I said!

    Read one more time:
    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    starting salary of a full professor is around 5000 US dollars a month, or 60 000 annual.
    First, notice that I was talking about FULL professor, not below professor.

    Then, notice that 55k in pounds is close to 100 000 dollars or more, depending on the exchange rate (couple of years ago exchange was 1:2 and it was 110 000 dollars, now it is slightly less than 100 000) but, again , for BELOW professor level, not for a FULL professor. And - of course it depends on the field and on the university. I can give you a link to a website that lists salaries of all the professors in our university, practically ALL of them make more than 100 000 a year (it is a public university, so the salaries have to be disclosed).

    Even if average is slightly less than 120 000 dollars in the UK it is still hardly poverty and hardly makes my comment "delusional". Just read the statistics I provided in the next comment, or do you think statistics is also "delusional"?

    Here is the statistics:

    UK 4,077 (to begin) 5,943 (average) 8,369 (top)
    US 4,950 (to begin) 6,054 (average) 7,358 (top)

    That methodology is based on the "purchasing power parity index" (PPP), in which salaries reflect what it takes to purchase similar goods and services in different countries

    Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...#ixzz1w0ijkCyh
    Inside Higher Ed
    PS- I can not believe some morons actually neged me for providing STATISTICS!
    Well, sorry to disappoint you that the real world does not correspond to your expectations
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    "Starting salary of a full professor" doesnt even make sense as a concept; a full professorship is a terminal position that academics might get in their 40s or 50s (if ever). Its like talking about the "starting salary of a CEO".

    A typical US professor (= lecturer in the UK) starting salary is about £40k/$70k, so your starting salary is roughly correct. It was your $120k average which was ridiculous.

    There is no chance that all professors in your university are getting over $100k. Most in the law/medicine faculties will be on this, as will those in econ if youre in the US, but not in any other discipline.

    The figures in the link you provided ($48k starting, $72k average) is around half what you claimed in your original post.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    Its like talking about the "starting salary of a CEO".

    Believe it or not, people ARE talking about "starting salary of a CEO":

    http://plantostart.com/startup-ceo-salary/

    $120 K average for an established professor is slightly exaggerated, but hardly "ridiculous" as you yourself has pointed out, by quoting the range from 70 to 120 K dollars. So your point that is not really an average, but more of a top end, with average being around 100K. Oh my God, what a difference! Now being a professor totally seem like a waste of time to me!
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    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    Believe it or not, people ARE talking about "starting salary of a CEO":

    http://plantostart.com/startup-ceo-salary/
    Thats a CEO of a startup company, not a 'starting CEO'.

    It was more your "6-8 hours a week of a work" thing that I was calling ridiculous; your salary figures were too high (especially in the UK) but it was the hours which were out by several orders of magnitude.

    Most academics in the UK will never make $120k/year at any point in their career unless they are in law/medicine or can do a lot of private sector consulting. The average is probably closer to $80k.
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    (Original post by poohat)

    There is no chance that all professors in your university are getting over $100k. Most in the law/medicine faculties will be on this, as will those in econ if youre in the US, but not in any other discipline.
    Eat your words, UNLV professor salaries listed in the end, 100K is, actually, a lot of an unlucky few, most make waaaay more. This is also a PUBLIC university, State funded, most private unis pay more

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/19817224.html
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    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    Eat your words, UNLV professor salaries listed in the end, 100K is, actually, a lot of an unlucky few, most make waaaay more. This is also a PUBLIC university, State funded, most private unis pay more

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/19817224.html
    This is a list of the people at UNLV who make over $100k, not a list of all professors at the school.

    Go down that list, pick anyone who has 'assistant professor' next to their name, paste it into google, and note that every single one is in either the business school, or the law/medicine faculties. The same applies to 90% of associate professors there too. Academics in other disciplines rarely break $100k until they hit full professor in their late 40s or early 50s (if ever).

    Here are actual UK salary statistics, across all disiplines: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...emic_staff.pdf. Note since you're in America that the staff classed there as 'not-professors' actually have professor level jobs in US terminology (professor in the UK means something different).
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    (Original post by poohat)
    People generally filter downwards; you do a postdoc at a lower tier university than you done your PhD at, and you will usually get a lectureship at a lower tier university still. Yes, you can easily find top academics at universities ranked around #30-40 but if you look at their CVs the majority of them will have done their PhDs at top 5-10 universities. Not always, but usually. I agree there are exceptions like if you are working with the world leader in your field at a low tier university, but having a brand name university on your CV is likely to increase your private sector options.

    Typically, there will be only be around 5-20 lectureships recruiting a year across the whole UK, per subject. Oxbridge/Imperial/UCL/LSE/etc alone will often produce more than that number of PhD students per subject every year between them. Competition is fierce, especially if you are in a subject with bad private sector options where almost every single PhD student is after an academic position. If you are a superstar then you'll be fine wherever you end up, but its safer to work on the assumption that you arent.

    If your PhD was funded then not getting a job afterwards might be heartbreaking, but its not the end of the world; youve done something you wanted to do, hopefully had fun, and you'll always have that with you. But if your PhD was unfunded and you've racked up £30k+ debt for no job, that may have pretty big consequences.
    I accept almost all of this, notably the huge oversupply of PhD graduates compared with the number of academic positions available. So almost any PhD student, funded by any means, needs to accept that the odds are (heavily) against them ending up in an academic position. I also agree that few disciplines are likely to lead to careers which pay sufficiently well to justify the cost of self-funding a PhD.

    However, if I look at my colleagues (I am a physical scientist in a large, northern redbrick institution), I don't see loads of Oxbridge/Imperial PhDs and postdocs. They are from all sorts of different institutions, so some have trickled up, and some have trickled down. Moreover, in some areas, where we happen to have the subject leaders, we see Oxbridge, Imperial and the like recruiting academic staff from us. That's fine, but if you want to do your PhD with the leaders in the field, you don't go to Oxbridge/Imperial; you come to us. So my point is simply that you should aim to do a PhD under the supervision of the leaders in the field, regardless of postcode.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    Academics in other disciplines rarely break $100k until they hit full professor in their late 40s or early 50s (if ever).
    Median salary of full professor: $145,278, minimum: $94,430
    Associate professor (median) : $103,024

    Maximum for assistant professor (first job) - $117,829

    This is only state funded salary, they make more from non-state sources.

    http://hr.unlv.edu/new/pdf/12MonthFacultySchedule.pdf

    Happy now?
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    (Original post by Cora Lindsay)
    So my point is simply that you should aim to do a PhD under the supervision of the leaders in the field, regardless of postcode.
    You see the tension here. There is no guarantee that the world leading academics have control of the PhD funding pot. Plenty of PhD students study elsewhere because that is where the funding happens to be.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    Here are actual UK salary statistics, across all disiplines: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...emic_staff.pdf. Note since you're in America that the staff classed there as 'not-professors' actually have professor level jobs in US terminology (professor in the UK means something different).
    (Original post by poohat)

    Most academics in the UK will never make $120k/year at any point in their career unless they are in law/medicine or can do a lot of private sector consulting. The average is probably closer to $80k.
    According to YOUR table average salary of a full professor in UK is 75,795 pounds, or 118,864.85 USD by today's exchange rate.

    I was speaking of full professor. I never said this is the average you get right out of PhD. Case closed.
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    as a fellow social scientist, can i just say dont respond to those meaningless posts. its just dull. if i want to know how much a college professor earns pa, i would google it. i am sure you would do the same.

    seems like we disagree. i think of college education as an investment with irr, exit strategies and everything. its really like venture capital or some alternative investment. alternative investment professionals enjoy their jobs. they dont just do it for money, but they wouldnt do it if it wasnt for money. the job market is quite harsh, for arts graduates without any work experience, becoming a college professor is the only option to earn the middleclass salary. at the end of the day, we all have to make living.

    outside academia some can argue that the public sector has became the graveyard for the arts graduates that somehow manage to integrate themselves into the mainstream society.

    marriage is another big subject for economists if i remember correctly.

    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    According to YOUR table average salary of a full professor in UK is 75,795 pounds, or 118,864.85 USD by today's exchange rate.

    I was speaking of full professor. I never said this is the average you get right out of PhD. Case closed.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    You see the tension here. There is no guarantee that the world leading academics have control of the PhD funding pot. Plenty of PhD students study elsewhere because that is where the funding happens to be.
    Yes- so the 'top ten institution or don't bother' view is excessively simplistic
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    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    I was speaking of full professor. I never said this is the average you get right out of PhD. Case closed.
    Why are you always speaking of full professors, though? I mean, surely the issue here is that many PhDs will never get into academia, and of those who do, only a lucky minority will make it to that sort of post and consequently earn that sort of money?:confused: It's completely unrepresentative.

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