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    I was just wondering if there are any other PhD parents on the boards?

    I'm currently doing an MSc via distance learning and have successfully (so far!) juggled the last 18 months with having a toddler. It took some time to get the balance right, but we're just about there.

    Now an opportunity has arisen at a local university to apply for a funded PhD in an area which interests me. I'd like to apply but am concerned about the hours plus being a parent and juggling parental responsibilities, as well as the practicalities of doing a PhD.

    For the first 10 months of the PhD my child would be in nursery, then going to school for the remainder of the time.

    How do you juggle school holidays as a PhD parent? Are the hours / requirements to be on site of a PhD flexible enough to let you work from home, or in the evenings and weekends, to juggle childcare? Would, for example, working school hours and making up time in the evenings and weekends be acceptable? Or should I only apply if I can commit Monday-Friday, 9-6 for the duration?

    I'm really interested in this, but the practicalities are making my head spin.

    Thanks so much

    Do it.

    I am in my 2nd year of a PhD and have a 12 year old. Most of my study I can do at home or during 9-3pm in libraries or archives. and I arrange any Uni meetings etc mid-morning so that means I can still be home by 4pm. A PhD is much more flexible than doing a taught Masters - you organise your own timetable.

    Yes, school holidays are a juggling act with holiday-care etc but we manage somehow. If I dont get much done during holidays then I just have to speed up when she's back at school. Its actually much easier than trying to hold down a full-time job - for instance, if she is sick I just take a day off and dont have to explain it to anyone. If I'm up against a deadline I arrange for her to do a sleepover so I can plough on into the early hours. So long as the next chunk of writing gets handed in on time for the next supervisors meeting, that's all that matters.

    Make sure you get a Daycare offering decent hours and then a Primary School with an onsite After School provision and you can work M-F and cram in as much as you can, without having to feel guilty about not studying at weekends etc.

    Yes, its very do-able. So dont hold back - apply.

    I can't speak with much authority on the subject or offer much detailed advice, but I did watch my dad do a PhD as a mature student when I was a kid. He coped (and I coped, too). In some ways I think having a family and a little bit more life experience made him a much more efficient and effective researcher than most.

    As returnmigrant says, it's more flexible than a job. No one's desperately bothered about where I am or what I'm doing provided I turn in the agreed amount of work and turn up to supervisions. That is assuming we're not talking one of those lab-based PhDs where you have to go to the lab and work -- I'm no scientist, but from what friends have said it sounds like those may require many more hours on-site. And there are research projects which require travel or fieldwork. I have to travel about once or twice a month to visit libraries in other bits of the country, but that's just down to what I'm working on.

    Do it!
    I'm a third year and one of the only PhDs in my cohort on track to finish without a 4th year, and I had my child the summer of my first year.

    Doing a PhD is never going to be easy but you work with what you have - I can only afford to have my kid in nursery for 2 1/2 days a week and so I get a lot of work done then - likewise when she is napping or I get some time out.

    And, I haven't just done the thesis - I teach, have presented, published, organised a conference. It's possible, but I think you really have to want it.

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