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    I'm 55. Am I too old for a phD? Just finishing a masters in Education and felt QUITE OLD relative to other students....to say the least. Will I get to feel completely weird?
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    There's always older students on the same course, so you wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. You're all there to learn the same things and earn the same qualifications so I don't see why you get hung up on age.
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    What does that mean, though: "too old"? Too old for a career in research - yes, probably. Too old to study a Ph.D. for the intellectual challenge - certainly not! What subject and area of study, if you don't mind my asking?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    What does that mean, though: "too old"? Too old for a career in research - yes, probably.
    On what basis? Complete a PhD in 4 years and you still could work another 10+ years....

    Do what you want. You shouldn't be basing your life on what people are saying on the internet!
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    On what basis? Complete a PhD in 4 years and you still could work another 10+ years....

    Do what you want. You shouldn't be basing your life on what people are saying on the internet!
    With respect, that's a little bit simplistic isn't it: 'do what you want'. What if the OP wanted to be a fighter pilot aged 55? Or an investment banker? Or a ballet dancer? Would you still advise him to 'do what you want?' Wouldn't be the most helpful, well-thought out advice, would it?

    Sometimes ships sail..
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    With respect, that's a little bit simplistic isn't it: 'do what you want'. What if the OP wanted to be a fighter pilot aged 55? Or an investment banker? Or a ballet dancer? Would you still advise him to 'do what you want?'

    Sometimes ships sail..
    lol. You'll go far in life.

    I think a PhD at 55 is absolutely fine, Academic staff would likely appreciate more mature people. If your good enough to get offered a place, then age is irrelevant. Grab it!

    Its basically a job for 4 years, every single job I have had I've worked with people from 18-65, it makes no difference. Go get a PhD if you want one!
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    (Original post by mandyreddin)
    I'm 55. Am I too old for a phD? Just finishing a masters in Education and felt QUITE OLD relative to other students....to say the least. Will I get to feel completely weird?
    No. If that's what you want to do, go ahead. Take a look at this. If he can do it, so can you
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    (Original post by mandyreddin)
    I'm 55. Am I too old for a phD? Just finishing a masters in Education and felt QUITE OLD relative to other students....to say the least. Will I get to feel completely weird?
    I'm 56 and two years into a PhD. Obviously things vary between institutions and research areas but I'd make a few general comments. PhD research is very different to taught undergrad or post grad courses in that you are not attending lectures or seminars but working independently. In that sense you are not part of a student cohort so age is less of an issue. The downside of this is that can become a very solitary, lonely pursuit. My uni run a number of research training workshops and social events which can alleviate this feeling of isolation and, to be honest, the age range is so wide that I've never felt 'completely weird'.

    Age may become an issue in terms of securing funding - but it may not, certainly not overtly in any case. If you choose, or have to self fund consider doing it part time - you only pay part time fees but can work full time on it and complete within 3 and a half years. Part time registration also allows a certain elasticity in how long you can take to complete - I think it's up to about 7 years - so you can be free to take on ad hoc or part time teaching opportunities if they arise or you want to chase them.

    I also think that with PhD research it's not that you're totally 'out of the loop', career wise, for the time that you're doing it. As you get a year or so into it you'll be considering submitting papers to conferences, attending them, considering post-doc funding applications to pursue further research, looking at research jobs in unis etc. I've found that I now exist in a sort of limbo land - half way between being a student at the University and half way between being part of the academic community there.

    You will also quite possibly, if you're anything like me, wake up many mornings saying 'why the **** am I putting myself through this?' But that's the joy of a PhD.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    With respect, that's a little bit simplistic isn't it: 'do what you want'. What if the OP wanted to be a fighter pilot aged 55? Or an investment banker? Or a ballet dancer? Would you still advise him to 'do what you want?' Wouldn't be the most helpful, well-thought out advice, would it?

    Sometimes ships sail..
    Yes in your various hypothetical scenarios that WOULD be somewhat simplistic, but back to the actual question at hand, it really isn't asking for the moon to say 'do what you want' in terms of pursuing a PHD.
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    (Original post by Livvyxo)
    Yes in your various hypothetical scenarios that WOULD be somewhat simplistic, but back to the actual question at hand, it really isn't asking for the moon to say 'do what you want' in terms of pursuing a PHD.
    I think you've got a fair point here and I was a little harsh on your post
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    I wanted to become an archaeologist when I was 43. I'm 52 and am now a professional archaeologist. Also a university researcher.

    I expect I sound far too old to be an archaeologist. Or a researcher apparently. Or that I was too old to completely swap careers from IT. Sometimes the boat just *looks* like it's sailed, so get on a bloody jet ski and get after that thing. Sometimes you'll be able to catch it up.
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    Just to echo what Klix88 posted.

    i am 50, and just started Year 2 of a Phd in Archaeology ( by coincidence), having done a Masters last year, and 3 years BA immediately before that.

    So - a first year undergrad at 46. Did I feel old... yes, at times.... but then, I am !

    Happily, Archaeology is a fairly broad discipline, i wasn't alone in being north of 40 - and it was all fine.

    A Masters at 49.... Hard work, tbh and fewer of us greybeards in the cohort. Still OK though.

    After 12 months doing my PhD full time, I have changed mode to part time - in part because I simply could not see myself finishing in 2 more years, and it is quite tiring reading so much, so often - not exactly working down a mine, but tiring nonetheless.

    Do I feel old - YES! But so what ?!? I go to as many seminars as I want to - and am happy to talk/socialise with pretty much anyone - also, I have the added advantage (I think) of not feeling the need to 'compete' with the other students - academically, socially or in any other way.

    Feeling old as a mature student is almost inevitable, given I am surrounded by bright eyed, energetic and ambitious researchers around 20 years younger... and that includes some of the teaching staff, particularly when i was an undergrad... but there are a few similar aged people here, and lots in the wider university cohort - and quite a few that are even older.

    However, it is rewarding, interesting and worthwhile. If you can do it, you should.

    I have a lovely family, and a paid-for house... so what have i got to be unhappy about... nothing! The one thing no one can alter is the march of time, so if you are lucky enough to carry on living, then why not carry on learning too?
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    I expect I sound far too old to be an archaeologist.
    That would be ironic.
    (Original post by Klix88)
    Or that I was too old to completely swap careers from IT. Sometimes the boat just *looks* like it's sailed, so get on a bloody jet ski and get after that thing. Sometimes you'll be able to catch it up.
    I don't think that you're ever too old to follow your dreams. The changes of success (e.g extreme sports), or your studies paying you back, may not be good, but, if you enjoy it, that's your choice.
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    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    The changes of success (e.g extreme sports), or your studies paying you back, may not be good, but, if you enjoy it, that's your choice.
    Depends what you mean by "success" and "paying you back".

    The IT job was extremely well paid. I spent 10 years on 24x7 callout, rarely had an uninterrupted weekend, frequently had sleep disturbed, had the occasional (much needed) holiday cancelled at short notice and routinely worked 7:15am-6pm in the office without breaks. Had loads of money and no opportunity to spend it.

    With my current career, I work on insecure, low-paid, short-term contracts. Financially, I live hand-to-mouth. I do what I love and get paid for the pleasure. I've never been happier and my life is amazing. I wouldn't go back to my old way of life unless I had absolutely no alternative.

    Never underestimate quality of life. As far as I'm concerned, my current life is far more successful than my IT-based life ever was.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Depends what you mean by "success" and "paying you back".
    That's really for each individual to judge, as you have.
    (Original post by Klix88)
    The IT job was extremely well paid. I spent 10 years on 24x7 callout, rarely had an uninterrupted weekend, frequently had sleep disturbed, had the occasional (much needed) holiday cancelled at short notice and routinely worked 7:15am-6pm in the office without breaks. Had loads of money and no opportunity to spend it.

    With my current career, I work on insecure, low-paid, short-term contracts. Financially, I live hand-to-mouth. I do what I love and get paid for the pleasure. I've never been happier and my life is amazing. I wouldn't go back to my old way of life unless I had absolutely no alternative.

    Never underestimate quality of life. As far as I'm concerned, my current life is far more successful than my IT-based life ever was.
    It was obviously a good move for you. Many people feel the same, but it can be difficult, and daunting, to do.
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    for what it is worth, I am 27 this month and I appreciate the older students. They take it more seriously in my experience.

    Go for it. People say "it's never too late"

    But someday it will be, all the more reason to get it done
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    I think it depends on what you want to do, and if it would boost your earnings for the remainder of your working life. I think funding is available until your sixty years old. While having the title DR before my name sounds very nice. In my case I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile as I've just left University aged 51.

    I intend to get QTS and an MA before I turn 55 so that I can work at an international school in Thailand as well as teaching in Saudi but the clocks ticking age wise, I don't think I could study for a Phd at my age knowing that every year in the UK was a year less in Thailand, though there may be options for me to do one overseas..

    My University lecturer looked about sixty years old when he started his Phd a year ago. But in your case only you will know if its worthwhile or not, depending on what your going to do with it versus the time invested, and work involed.
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    I am 57 and have just completed my first year of a PhD so I certainly hope not! So far it has been a really good experience. I would also add that I am not the oldest person studying a PhD in the department. Good luck!
 
 
 
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