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Stupid decision: too old for PhD?

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    (Original post by Podcaster)
    What I have gathered from this is that you friend thinks hes too old (or past it) to do a PhD. However he has a grand scheme which involves getting into Oxbridge (likely fail number one) then using his Oxbridge degree, assuming that he passed (likely fail number 2) to waltz into a PhD at a "lower ranked" London uni (likely fail number 3). I will explain why I deem these to be likely faliure points. 1) How does he even know he will get into Oxbridge? Most of their courses have around a 20% acceptance rate. 2) How does he know he will even pass? and by pass i mean 2:1 at least. How does he know he is Oxbridge material? 3) By pointing out the other Golden Triangle research institutions as "lower ranked" it is obvious that he is not taking them seriously. They don't just let any old clown in Oxbridge degree or not. I'm just getting an arrogant vibe from your friend.
    Ok, maybe you misunderstood that. Me and my friend (we are flatmates here in Switzerland) are both in similar positions except the age thing and that he is working in a different field to me. However, he is already holding the offers we are talking about, just like me. He just has to accept it, just like me and that´s the problem.... How to decide what´s the right thing to do...
    There is no arrogance at all. I mean he believes that Cambridge, even if it´s just a Master´s and means to wait one more year to start a PhD, will open more doors. And sad but true my supervisor at Cambridge seems to support this point of view without reservation....
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    (Original post by to_ni)
    Ok, maybe you misunderstood that. Me and my friend (we are flatmates here in Switzerland) are both in similar positions except the age thing and that he is working in a different field to me. However, he is already holding the offers we are talking about, just like me. He just has to accept it, just like me and that´s the problem.... How to decide what´s the right thing to do...
    There is no arrogance at all. I mean he believes that Cambridge, even if it´s just a Master´s and means to wait one more year to start a PhD, will open more doors. And sad but true my supervisor at Cambridge seems to support this point of view without reservation....
    Oh he already got in? And lol of course the Cambridge professor would say that! Hes probs right though it is Cambridge.
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    (Original post by to_ni)
    Hey guys,

    I was talking with a friend of mine, who is also going to study in the UK, about the situation of starting a PhD at the age of 26-27. Do you think it´s too old for starting a PhD?

    He was considering to start a MPhil at a prestigious UNI (Oxbridge) and to decline a fully funded PhD at another, ´lower ranked´, Golden Triangle University in London.
    Do you think that´s intelligible. Beside the fact that he will have obtained a degree from Oxbridge, he will then start his PhD at the age of 26-27. He says that the Oxbridge degree will polish his CV because of the commercial name (brand) that Oxbridge has and that the additional year will pay off, wherever he might end up as a PhD student then... He wanted to know whether I think that his decision and argumentation is right or not, also considering his age. I am in a very similar situation (except the age thing) so it´s hard for me to judge.

    To be honest I am not quite sure what to tell him because I am truly not quite sure what to think of this! I am already struggling with my own situation so how am I able to give good advise at all.

    What do you think?

    Regards toni


    My dad did his 3rd degree at age 45 a couple of years ago! It's never too late
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    I don't think 27 is too old to start a phd at all - people used to go BACK to university to do a masters after working for a few years.
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    (Original post by Podcaster)
    Oh he already got in? And lol of course the Cambridge professor would say that! Hes probs right though it is Cambridge.
    So you think it´s intelligible to accept the Cambridge Mphil before and not the PhD straight away?

    I am just wondering if it will be worth waiting an additional year until one can start his PhD...
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    (Original post by _becca)
    My dad did his 3rd degree at age 45 a couple of years ago! It's never too late
    That´s impressive. My dad (52) is considering to do another one in music (saxophone) too... hehehe
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    (Original post by _becca)
    My dad did his 3rd degree at age 45 a couple of years ago! It's never too late
    Your dad's awesome!

    How he's holding up with the degree if you don't mind me asking?
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    Not too late no, but if you intend to go for an academic career then you must take into account that there is a "right" to get tenure. But this is an issue only if you begin your PhD after, say, 35. IIRC the average age people start PhDs at Princeton is precisely 27.
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    (Original post by to_ni)
    So you think it´s intelligible to accept the Cambridge Mphil before and not the PhD straight away?

    I am just wondering if it will be worth waiting an additional year until one can start his PhD...
    If research yes, if taught no unless the material covered is essential for his PhD and he doesn't already know it. However the practice from a preliminary research masters is always useful.
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    (Original post by Podcaster)
    If research yes, if taught no unless the material covered is essential for his PhD and he doesn't already know it. However the practice from a preliminary research masters is always useful.
    I am afraid it´s a taught one (1 years programme) with a small research dissertation (3-4 month)
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    (Original post by to_ni)
    That´s impressive. My dad (52) is considering to do another one in music (saxophone) too... hehehe
    Good luck to him!

    (Original post by kka25)
    Your dad's awesome!

    How he's holding up with the degree if you don't mind me asking?
    He got the highest in the year for his final thesis! which is awesome considering he dropped out of school with a couple of C grade O Levels haha. Makes me realise that school isn't the bee all and end all of success!
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    There are plenty of people who would say it's too young!

    Having done most of a PhD alongside some much older (retired) people, I can say that they have done brilliant projects and often been able to present and explain them with a maturity, panache and perspective that us youngsters often lack.
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    (Original post by VENIVIDIVICI)
    No, its not too old.

    A professor at ICL told me during an interview recently that they had a mature student over 46yrs of age who did a Masters with them last year and is now doing a PhD at Nottingham University (fully funded).
    This is good to hear!

    I'm an undergrad in my early thirties and definitely want to believe that it could be an option!
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    (Original post by Mister Dead)
    This is good to hear!

    I'm an undergrad in my early thirties and definitely want to believe that it could be an option!
    . That was good news for me too. I'm well into my 30's and am starting an MRes this autumn and am hopeful to get a chance to do a PhD afterwards.

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