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    Hi

    I have currently been working in the NHS for 3 years as a physicist and now looking to do a PhD with a significant modelling and simulation component ( something that has interested me for the past year) with a long term aim of moving into industry. I just wanted some general advice from people who are currently doing PhDs or have already finished, about your experience as I am trying to decide whether this is the right choice ( since 3-4 years is a long time !) . Its been a long time since I finished uni so some of the questions below might seem trivial but any feedback would be greatly appreciated ( even if it is for some of the questions).



    1) With regard to projects that are already pre-determined by the supervisor ( and advertised as 'jobs' online) and those that are drawn up by the student, I was wondering if there is any flexibility in altering the research aims/ methodologies in the former compared to the latter ? Is it difficult to get funding for the student driven ones (initially) ? Is there always the danger of getting no results if the hypothesis turns out to be flawed ( i guess for pre-determined topics, the supervisor would already have a definitive target in mind and be able to give more guidance) ?

    2) Is anyone doing the 4 year doctoral programmes rather than the 3 year PhDs, and how are they finding the difference ins structure and does the additional year help ? I am leaning towards the 4 year one because I would like some taught component to supplement my PhD. Also, I presume in a 4 year programme, there would be more time to search for a good supervisor ( something I am concerned about in point 3) ?


    3) This is probably what concerns me the most - the supervisor, especially since I have had bad experiences previously with people leaving me high and dry when working on projects. How did you guys go about investigating what your PhD supervisor is like i.e. whether he/she is nasty person or is too busy etc. Did you arrange to meet him/her informally before you started ? I find it hard to believe that a one off meeting would give much insight into someone's personality and what type of supervisor he/she s likely to behave like in 2-3 years time. Is there usually any support system in place if the supervisor is horrible or is the student pretty much at the mercy of the supervisor (especially for 3 year projects where the supervisor has more control over the funding etc). What happens if the supervisor retires, changes jobs or has a row with the student ? Can this result in termination of funding and hence the PhD. Is it true that it is sometimes beneficial to work with a somewhat- established but still rising star than a very experienced person who doesn't have much time for supervision ?


    4) Would you say that the reputation of the department and the staff are more important than the university ? E.g. Imperial, Oxford etc may not necessarily have the best department for a particular research area, in such a case should the reputation of the university matter ? I am looking at Southampton because its quite well known in the area I want to pursue and has an established research institute. Would you say the research group is more important that the overall uni rating ?


    5) Is there a risk of being overqualified when applying for jobs in industry after PhDs ? I have heard that t this could be an issue as some employers think that too many people are getting doctorates. Is anyone who is nearing the end of their PhD or finished their PhD, having an issue with this ( Note : I am looking at PhD programmes with substantial secondments in industry/NHS) ? Is anyone doing a PhD with some involvement with a company and if so, would you say its more disruptive compared to just spending all your time in an academic department ?


    6) This is a more general question about the thesis content and structure etc What is the typical length of the thesis ( I have noticed that this varies a lot between institutions ?) and do students normally write up as they go along or just do it say 4 months towards the end ? Should a significant content be published by the student ? Have there been cases where students have struggled to get results and required extra time to submit and if so, is there a leeway towards the end of the 3 year funding period where you can submit ?



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    (Original post by rk1103)
    .
    Blimey- a lot here. So you knw where I am coming from, I am a physical sciences academic

    1) With regard to projects that are already pre-determined by the supervisor ( and advertised as 'jobs' online) and those that are drawn up by the student, I was wondering if there is any flexibility in altering the research aims/ methodologies in the former compared to the latter ? Is it difficult to get funding for the student driven ones (initially) ? Is there always the danger of getting no results if the hypothesis turns out to be flawed ( i guess for pre-determined topics, the supervisor would already have a definitive target in mind and be able to give more guidance) ?

    Most PhDs in my game are predetermined by the supervisors. Apart from one or two rather unusual schemes, I don't think student-driven PhDs are very common in the physical sciences. However, there is generally significant flexibility in a supervisor-defined PhD (It is a poor supervisor who treats you just as a lab monkey)


    2) Is anyone doing the 4 year doctoral programmes rather than the 3 year PhDs, and how are they finding the difference ins structure and does the additional year help ? I am leaning towards the 4 year one because I would like some taught component to supplement my PhD. Also, I presume in a 4 year programme, there would be more time to search for a good supervisor ( something I am concerned about in point 3) ?

    I think the 4 year programmes (DTCs, Industrial doctorate centres and the like) are a vast improvement on the 3 year PhD (which is often 3.5 or even 4 years now in any case). Structured training and a cohort experience are all big pluses of the DTC approach in my view.


    3) This is probably what concerns me the most - the supervisor, especially since I have had bad experiences previously with people leaving me high and dry when working on projects. How did you guys go about investigating what your PhD supervisor is like i.e. whether he/she is nasty person or is too busy etc. Did you arrange to meet him/her informally before you started ?

    You should arrange to meet the supervisor- on a DTC or similar you'll probably ncounter them in year 1; in a standalone PhD, I'd have thought you'd have to meet them at an interview anyway

    I find it hard to believe that a one off meeting would give much insight into someone's personality and what type of supervisor he/she s likely to behave like in 2-3 years time. Well, that's the way it is. Don't forget they are taking a punt on you as much as you are on them- as a supervisor, a crap student drains your life away for years


    Is there usually any support system in place if the supervisor is horrible or is the student pretty much at the mercy of the supervisor (especially for 3 year projects where the supervisor has more control over the funding etc).

    Most sensible institutions have a mentor or similar who is meant to be a safety valve, and many projects have more than one suprvisor too. So you are unlikely to be at the sole mercy of a psycho-supervisor

    What happens if the supervisor retires, changes jobs or has a row with the student ? Can this result in termination of funding and hence the PhD.

    Retirement or resignation should be manageable- either the student moves with the supervisor, or the institution needs to arrange alternative supervision. Not really an issue in my experience

    A row- well, people have rows all the time. You're going to have to work closely witht he supervisor, so it is as well if neither partner in the relationship lets a difference of opinion get out of hand. It's not that common to have a breakdown int he student-supervisor relationship. If it happens, there are safet valves as I said earlier and you should alos have other students and postdocs around to give support.

    Is it true that it is sometimes beneficial to work with a somewhat- established but still rising star than a very experienced person who doesn't have much time for supervision ?

    Yes. A good 'busy experienced' supervisor may well be bringing on younger academics who will do a lot of the actual supervision. so don't necessarily be put off by a big name. A busy supervisor is always a risk but being busy is often a sign of being a good scientist and if they are good, they will make time for you

    4) Would you say that the reputation of the department and the staff are more important than the university ? E.g. Imperial, Oxford etc may not necessarily have the best department for a particular research area, in such a case should the reputation of the university matter ? I am looking at Southampton because its quite well known in the area I want to pursue and has an established research institute. Would you say the research group is more important that the overall uni rating ?

    Reputation of the individual matters most; departmental or institutional reputation, much less. Southampton has very good medical physics if that's the way you're inclining.

    5) Is there a risk of being overqualified when applying for jobs in industry after PhDs ? I have heard that t this could be an issue as some employers think that too many people are getting doctorates. Is anyone who is nearing the end of their PhD or finished their PhD, having an issue with this ( Note : I am looking at PhD programmes with substantial secondments in industry/NHS) ? Is anyone doing a PhD with some involvement with a company and if so, would you say its more disruptive compared to just spending all your time in an academic department ?

    Depends entirely on the PhD project and the student. Some benefit, some don't. When industry collaborations are good, they are very useful though. It should be possible to find out what the PhD-level job market is like (are there lots of suitable vacancies advertised so you think- 'I could do that in 4 years time'?). There are areas where there is a vast oversupply of PhDs for the jobs available, but other areas where almost all Phs walk into jobs.

    6) This is a more general question about the thesis content and structure etc What is the typical length of the thesis ( I have noticed that this varies a lot between institutions ?) and do students normally write up as they go along or just do it say 4 months towards the end ? Should a significant content be published by the student ? Have there been cases where students have struggled to get results and required extra time to submit and if so, is there a leeway towards the end of the 3 year funding period where you can submit ?

    No such thing as a typical thesis. Most students don't write up as they go, but leave it until about the last 6 months. However, the PhD is quite structured these days so transfer reports often contain useful material that can be used in the thesis with a bit of updating. Publication- it can happen but needn't. Very discipline and project dependent. Extra time- There is a 4 year deadline imposed by HEFCE which universities are getting very strict about. Extra time is unusual without a good reason (eg significant illness). A 4 year programme like a DTC is often structured so that the PhD clock doesn't start until one year in, so you'd have 3 years of funing to do the PhD component, plus a further, unfunded year to tidy up and write the thesis. My view, however, is that students should be done and dusted without that extra year's grace.

    Hope this helps
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    Dear Cora

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to all my questions in so much detail ( apologies for the long post with so many questions). I feel more confident now, having understood the PhD process in more detail.

    Regards
    Ryan
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    (Original post by rk1103)
    2) Is anyone doing the 4 year doctoral programmes rather than the 3 year PhDs, and how are they finding the difference ins structure and does the additional year help ? I am leaning towards the 4 year one because I would like some taught component to supplement my PhD. Also, I presume in a 4 year programme, there would be more time to search for a good supervisor ( something I am concerned about in point 3) ?



    Hi there,

    I am currently on my 1st year of a 4 year doctoral training programme and I know a number of people currently on or who will be embarking on one. If you have the chance, and can find a DTP related to your field of study, I would strongly recommend it.

    Most DTPs differ slightly in their structure. For instance, the first year in the Oxford CDTs basically count for nothing whilst those at UCL contain an MRes section you have to pass. But the overall aim of the first year is the same.

    In any case, I'm finding the first year extremely enjoyable and it really does feel like it will make a difference in the long run. I will have an extra years experience working roughly on my PhD topic. Secondly, the taught modules I have taken this year have been tailored specifically to my needs. Consequently, I feel I have a good understanding of the mathematical techniques out there and other related fields of work, which will most probably help me in the long run.
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    Have you looked at EngD or similar programmes? They sound like they might be something that you would be interested in given your overall aims as they will give you direct exposure to an industrial partner.
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    (Original post by kikkoman)
    Hi there,

    I am currently on my 1st year of a 4 year doctoral training programme and I know a number of people currently on or who will be embarking on one. If you have the chance, and can find a DTP related to your field of study, I would strongly recommend it.

    Most DTPs differ slightly in their structure. For instance, the first year in the Oxford CDTs basically count for nothing whilst those at UCL contain an MRes section you have to pass. But the overall aim of the first year is the same.

    In any case, I'm finding the first year extremely enjoyable and it really does feel like it will make a difference in the long run. I will have an extra years experience working roughly on my PhD topic. Secondly, the taught modules I have taken this year have been tailored specifically to my needs. Consequently, I feel I have a good understanding of the mathematical techniques out there and other related fields of work, which will most probably help me in the long run.

    Thanks for your response. Yes I have found a DTP that I am really interested in but was wondering whether the extra year is worth it. I feel I would need the extra year to give me the technical knowledge and additional skills like programming/ simulation and other soft skills to complement my research project and the taught modules tick my boxes. From your experience it seems that its worth it. Is the first year quite intensive (i.e. 9 to 5) and does it have a major practical element complementing the taught modules ( e.g. mainly labs , coursework rather than exams) and do you get time to do other things as well e.g.take other courses to work on improving transferable skills etc. I presume there is funding to go for conferences/ external courses etc ?
    How much time do you get to search around for a good supervisor in your first year and has this been difficult or do you get a lot of advice/ support from other students and supervisors regarding the good supervisors and ones t avoid etc. Do you have to stick with the same project you did during the first year for your Phd or is there flexibility in that respect.
    Did you start your DTP straight from uni or did you have some experience working ? Are there any older PhD students in your cohort and how are they finding the 'ride' and transition from work to being a student again ?
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    Have you looked at EngD or similar programmes? They sound like they might be something that you would be interested in given your overall aims as they will give you direct exposure to an industrial partner.

    I was considering EngDs but there aren't as many vacancies and nothing similar to what i have been looking for. Also, EngDs seem to have more of an engineering rather than scientific focus. The DTP programme I am looking at has a lot of collaboration with industrial partners and potential for spending long secondments at industry so it seems ideal for me (i suppose it would also open the door for post doc positions in academia if I decide to go down that route in the future). However, I am not sure whether employers in industry give more value to EngDs rather than PhDs ? Surely, having a PhD can't be a bad thing especially with some industrial experience ? Unfortunately, its hard to predict what employers would find more valuable so many years down the line ( things seem to change a lot).

    Just out of curiousity why don't many people pursue EngDs ? I only realised a few months ago that these programmes existed, by a random google search !
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    (Original post by rk1103)
    Thanks for your response. Yes I have found a DTP that I am really interested in but was wondering whether the extra year is worth it. I feel I would need the extra year to give me the technical knowledge and additional skills like programming/ simulation and other soft skills to complement my research project and the taught modules tick my boxes. From your experience it seems that its worth it. Is the first year quite intensive (i.e. 9 to 5) and does it have a major practical element complementing the taught modules ( e.g. mainly labs , coursework rather than exams) and do you get time to do other things as well e.g.take other courses to work on improving transferable skills etc. I presume there is funding to go for conferences/ external courses etc ?
    How much time do you get to search around for a good supervisor in your first year and has this been difficult or do you get a lot of advice/ support from other students and supervisors regarding the good supervisors and ones t avoid etc. Do you have to stick with the same project you did during the first year for your Phd or is there flexibility in that respect.
    Did you start your DTP straight from uni or did you have some experience working ? Are there any older PhD students in your cohort and how are they finding the 'ride' and transition from work to being a student again ?
    In terms of the structure of my DTP, we pick three courses out of any at the university, which will best compliment our field of research. These three courses are examinable and count for our yearly mark. We also have a compulsory Journal Club every week, which has helped me to gain a wide knowledge of the field. Apart from that, we have our own research project but depending on the courses you take, you can end up actually working mainly on those, if there is a lot of coursework. In any case, we are also free to turn up to any other lectures we may find useful.

    I can't really give you an answer regarding conferences/external courses as this will depend on the DTP but my guess would be that in most cases, you are given a yearly budget ? Maybe somebody more advanced in their studies can answer this. I am quite lucky with that respect, since our DTP is funded by various massive grants and other sources, so these types of costs are not a problem.

    I kinda chose my research topic when applying so I haven't really been fishing for supervisors so I can't really answer that question.

    I started the DTP after an MSc. There are a couple older students on the programme. One worked for about 2years after his undergrad, whist another worked in software development for 5-6 years. Don't think they have struggled at all. One mentioned he found it weird to be in lectures again. Otherwise, they are enjoying it and you wouldn't have thought they'd taken a gap from studying.
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    (Original post by rk1103)

    Just out of curiousity why don't many people pursue EngDs ? I only realised a few months ago that these programmes existed, by a random google search !

    They are pretty new, so it will take time for them to establish themselves.
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    Just so you are aware, all (I think) of the EPSRC funded Centres for Doctoral Training (DTCs and EngD Centres) are currently up for renewal. They were funded for 5 years and are now recruiting their final intakes which will start in September 2013.

    The deadline for outline proposals for the successor Centres has just passed and EPSRC will now identify those which it wants to see developed into full proposals with a deadline of July 2013. They expect about 50% of full proposals to be successful and the decisions will be made before Christmas this year, so that successful Centres can recruit for a 2014 start.

    What this really means for someone looking to start postgraduate study in autumn 2014 is that it is not yet clear what opportunities will exist for you. Some exisiting Centres will be looking to carry on more or less unchanged, while some will be looking to make substantial changes in the way they work. Some rebids for existing Centres will fail and those Centres will go, and will be replaced by new ones, which may be in a different university and in a totally different scientific area.

    However, EPSRC has said it is looking for balanced coverage of its research scope so big and important areas will not just disappear overnight (for example, last time, there were no successful bids in Mathematics in the main call, so they held a supplementary call just for Maths and funded two Centres through that). However, just because there is currently a Centre focused on a particular topic in University X does not mean that there will be one in 18 months time. The Centre I am involved in has competition from three other bids so we will have to fight hard to keep ours.
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    (Original post by Cora Lindsay)
    Just so you are aware, all (I think) of the EPSRC funded Centres for Doctoral Training (DTCs and EngD Centres) are currently up for renewal. They were funded for 5 years and are now recruiting their final intakes which will start in September 2013.

    The deadline for outline proposals for the successor Centres has just passed and EPSRC will now identify those which it wants to see developed into full proposals with a deadline of July 2013. They expect about 50% of full proposals to be successful and the decisions will be made before Christmas this year, so that successful Centres can recruit for a 2014 start.

    What this really means for someone looking to start postgraduate study in autumn 2014 is that it is not yet clear what opportunities will exist for you. Some exisiting Centres will be looking to carry on more or less unchanged, while some will be looking to make substantial changes in the way they work. Some rebids for existing Centres will fail and those Centres will go, and will be replaced by new ones, which may be in a different university and in a totally different scientific area.

    However, EPSRC has said it is looking for balanced coverage of its research scope so big and important areas will not just disappear overnight (for example, last time, there were no successful bids in Mathematics in the main call, so they held a supplementary call just for Maths and funded two Centres through that). However, just because there is currently a Centre focused on a particular topic in University X does not mean that there will be one in 18 months time. The Centre I am involved in has competition from three other bids so we will have to fight hard to keep ours.
    So what will happen to centres past the final intake of existing DTCs if their funding is not renewed? Will students on the final intake still be supported, in which case the centres will dissolve after 2017? I'm starting at one EPSRC DTC this September, will I have anything to worry about?
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    (Original post by Nichrome)
    So what will happen to centres past the final intake of existing DTCs if their funding is not renewed? Will students on the final intake still be supported, in which case the centres will dissolve after 2017? I'm starting at one EPSRC DTC this September, will I have anything to worry about?
    No. The existing Centres are funded through to the end of their fifth student cohort, which means funding will run down over four years from Sept 2013 as the final cohort goes through.
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    (Original post by Cora Lindsay)
    Just so you are aware, all (I think) of the EPSRC funded Centres for Doctoral Training (DTCs and EngD Centres) are currently up for renewal. They were funded for 5 years and are now recruiting their final intakes which will start in September 2013.

    The deadline for outline proposals for the successor Centres has just passed and EPSRC will now identify those which it wants to see developed into full proposals with a deadline of July 2013. They expect about 50% of full proposals to be successful and the decisions will be made before Christmas this year, so that successful Centres can recruit for a 2014 start.

    What this really means for someone looking to start postgraduate study in autumn 2014 is that it is not yet clear what opportunities will exist for you. Some exisiting Centres will be looking to carry on more or less unchanged, while some will be looking to make substantial changes in the way they work. Some rebids for existing Centres will fail and those Centres will go, and will be replaced by new ones, which may be in a different university and in a totally different scientific area.

    However, EPSRC has said it is looking for balanced coverage of its research scope so big and important areas will not just disappear overnight (for example, last time, there were no successful bids in Mathematics in the main call, so they held a supplementary call just for Maths and funded two Centres through that). However, just because there is currently a Centre focused on a particular topic in University X does not mean that there will be one in 18 months time. The Centre I am involved in has competition from three other bids so we will have to fight hard to keep ours.
    Thanks for this info. Yes I was told by the director of one of the DTCs that Sep 2013 would be the last cohort. Just to make sure I understand you correctly, does this mean that there may be new DTCs in the same or different subject area (currently there are three universities which have established DTCs in the programme I am interested in, so are you saying there may be none next year). What is the criteria for a successful proposal ? I would have thought DTCs which have been running for the past 5 years should have a good case for getting more funding for the next 5 years especially for something in the sciences with substantial Mathematics content. If a centre does not continue to get funding for 2014 intake , does it mean that the centre isn't all that great and may not be recognised by employers in the future ( and is this something I have to be aware of ?).
    Just out of interest, was it only 5 years ago that DTCs were developed and funded ( I thought they were around for a lot longer) ?
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    (Original post by kikkoman)
    In terms of the structure of my DTP, we pick three courses out of any at the university, which will best compliment our field of research. These three courses are examinable and count for our yearly mark. We also have a compulsory Journal Club every week, which has helped me to gain a wide knowledge of the field. Apart from that, we have our own research project but depending on the courses you take, you can end up actually working mainly on those, if there is a lot of coursework. In any case, we are also free to turn up to any other lectures we may find useful.

    I can't really give you an answer regarding conferences/external courses as this will depend on the DTP but my guess would be that in most cases, you are given a yearly budget ? Maybe somebody more advanced in their studies can answer this. I am quite lucky with that respect, since our DTP is funded by various massive grants and other sources, so these types of costs are not a problem.

    I kinda chose my research topic when applying so I haven't really been fishing for supervisors so I can't really answer that question.

    I started the DTP after an MSc. There are a couple older students on the programme. One worked for about 2years after his undergrad, whist another worked in software development for 5-6 years. Don't think they have struggled at all. One mentioned he found it weird to be in lectures again. Otherwise, they are enjoying it and you wouldn't have thought they'd taken a gap from studying.

    Thanks for this. This may not be relevant to you at this early stage of your DTP, but have you ever been affected by the fact that friends and other people are working and earning more money and wondering what you may do so many years down the line ? Does your DTP have a support system in place for students ? I have read articles of PhD students on 3 year PhDs that have felt this way so was just wondering.
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    (Original post by rk1103)
    Thanks for this info. Yes I was told by the director of one of the DTCs that Sep 2013 would be the last cohort. Just to make sure I understand you correctly, does this mean that there may be new DTCs in the same or different subject area (currently there are three universities which have established DTCs in the programme I am interested in, so are you saying there may be none next year). What is the criteria for a successful proposal ? I would have thought DTCs which have been running for the past 5 years should have a good case for getting more funding for the next 5 years especially for something in the sciences with substantial Mathematics content. If a centre does not continue to get funding for 2014 intake , does it mean that the centre isn't all that great and may not be recognised by employers in the future ( and is this something I have to be aware of ?).
    Just out of interest, was it only 5 years ago that DTCs were developed and funded ( I thought they were around for a lot longer) ?
    I said important areas will not disappear overnight. If your topic is currently covered by three centres, then I suspect it is important enough to EPSRC that it will be covered in the next generation of CDTs. What is not yet known is how many of those Centres there will be, or where they will be. It is possible that there will be none, but only if all prospective host institutions make a mess of their applications. This looks pretty unlikely to me, and if EPSRC really feels it is a gap, they can always do a targeted call, as I described for Mathematics in the last round.

    Criteria etc are on the EPSRC website- http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/studen...ages/2013.aspx

    Existing Centres should have a head start, if they have delivered the goods so far. Given that we are talking about EPSRC, pretty much all bids will be in the area of "something in the sciences with substantial Mathematics content".

    If a Centre doesn't get funding for continuation, it simply means that someone else answered the EPSRC exam question better. If it no longer exists, then it's irrelevant to your future. EPSRC is very keen that the next generation of CDTs is very closely linked to industry so, if a CDT exists beyond 2014, then it will be well connected to prospective employers. I don't think you need to worry about this

    CDTs were first developed by BBSRC (though theirs are a bit different), and by EPSRC in the Life Science Interface area, but EPSRC really went for them in a big way about 5 years ago
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    (Original post by rk1103)
    Thanks for this. This may not be relevant to you at this early stage of your DTP, but have you ever been affected by the fact that friends and other people are working and earning more money and wondering what you may do so many years down the line ? Does your DTP have a support system in place for students ? I have read articles of PhD students on 3 year PhDs that have felt this way so was just wondering.
    I would be lying if I said I didn't think about the fact that my friends are on high-paying jobs and are progressing more rapidly with their respective careers. I do re-evaluate my decisions from time to time when I'm looking back at progress I've made (or when I can't sleep). It will probably affect me more in the future when I hit a low point with my PhD work. But then again, I've started the PhD programme knowing exactly what is in store and I have a clear view/idea of what I want to achieve with it. Everybody has their own journey...

    My university does have an impressive list of support systems in place for all types of problems. So if I do feel depressed in the future, I am confident of having the support I need.
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    Perspective can be helpful. I spent 20+ years working in what ended up as a well-paid and successful IT career. Even in my darkest PhD days thus far, I'd still far rather be doing the PhD than return to that soul-corroding toil. There's more to life than money and career progress - which are OK in principal, but what you have to do to get them can sometimes be numbingly unfulfilling and infinitely more stressful.

    My PhD supervisor doesn't phone to swear at me at 3am, or force me to work through Christmas Day, both of which were frequent and apparently acceptable occurrences in the preceding ten years of my working life.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Perspective can be helpful. I spent 20+ years working in what ended up as a well-paid and successful IT career. Even in my darkest PhD days thus far, I'd still far rather be doing the PhD than return to that soul-corroding toil. There's more to life than money and career progress - which are OK in principal, but what you have to do to get them can sometimes be numbingly unfulfilling and infinitely more stressful.

    My PhD supervisor doesn't phone to swear at me at 3am, or force me to work through Christmas Day, both of which were frequent and apparently acceptable occurrences in the preceding ten years of my working life.
    I think the situation may be a bit different for you though. If you have worked 20+ years , then you already have all that experience and probably saved up a lot of money. Hence the risk of doing a PhD is a lot less. I am 27 and have worked for 2 and a half years or so in a very junior post where I get treated like thrash and noone really appreciates what I do or give me any respect ( not to mention the massive divide between junior and senior staff and how some of them can be so rude etc). The danger for me is that if I do choose to do a PhD and if for some reason that decision backfires ( e.g. if I don't manage to complete if for some reason, not that I aim to be in this position but sometimes circumstances arise and you can't do anything about it) then Im pretty much screwed for the rest of my life. If I don't do it , then the fact that i missed a once in lifetime opportunity will also bother me so much.
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    (Original post by rk1103)
    I think the situation may be a bit different for you though. If you have worked 20+ years , then you already have all that experience and probably saved up a lot of money.
    That's true, but I'm spending pretty much every penny of my savings on my PhD. In reality, my savings run out next summer before I complete and my chances of further funding are slim. So I won't complete and I won't have any money. No advantage there.

    Hence the risk of doing a PhD is a lot less.
    Not really.

    I am 27 and have worked for 2 and a half years or so in a very junior post where I get treated like thrash and noone really appreciates what I do or give me any respect ( not to mention the massive divide between junior and senior staff and how some of them can be so rude etc).
    Whilst a PhD will be good for your self-esteem, it doesn't really confer automatic respect from others. In my working life, anyone with a level of qualification which threatened their manager was usually a target for shabby treatment until they left. No matter where you work and the letters before/after your name, unless you're the Managing Director, there will always be some grey-suit-full-of-bugger-all above you, weeing on your head. The trick is that when you become one of them, you don't slip into that behaviour yourself. It's difficult to resist. Nothing to do with a PhD either way.

    The danger for me is that if I do choose to do a PhD and if for some reason that decision backfires ( e.g. if I don't manage to complete if for some reason, not that I aim to be in this position but sometimes circumstances arise and you can't do anything about it) then Im pretty much screwed for the rest of my life.
    No more than I am. I don't really see an uncompleted PhD as the end of the world for anyone at any age. If I don't get it (which is 99% certain unless I win the lottery), I'll just go and do something else - as will you. And yes, that probably does mean it's back to the abusive phone calls in the small hours and cancelled festivities. No different than you really.

    If I don't do it , then the fact that i missed a once in lifetime opportunity will also bother me so much.
    Now that's more like it. Yes. Do it for yourself, for your own fulfilment and follow your passion.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    That's true, but I'm spending pretty much every penny of my savings on my PhD. In reality, my savings run out next summer before I complete and my chances of further funding are slim. So I won't complete and I won't have any money. No advantage there.

    No more than I am. I don't really see an uncompleted PhD as the end of the world for anyone at any age. If I don't get it (which is 99% certain unless I win the lottery), I'll just go and do something else - as will you. And yes, that probably does mean it's back to the abusive phone calls in the small hours and cancelled festivities. No different than you really.
    So you didn't get funding for your PhD ? Assuming you are in your final year, I would have thought they would try and find some money for you to complete your PhD ? Really sorry about that , hope it gets sorted out somehow.
 
 
 
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