Is a PhD worth it

Watch this thread
abc:)
Badges: 22
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
I've been considering doing a PhD for a little while... my area is politics / IR.

The thing is, I do not want a career in academia, I just really enjoy studying, researching, going deep into topics, all of that. Ultimately though, it's not a field I want to be in for the rest of my life.

I'm wondering what the benefits are of a PhD for somebody ultimately looking for a career outside of academia? Does anyone have experience of this who can help please
0
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#2
Report 5 years ago
#2
I think a PhD is the better choice for almost all graduates, regardless of their career ambitions (within reason). It seems quite probable that a PhD will at some point in the future be commonplace; it's simply the way academia has to evolve in order to keep up with rising intelligence and education levels. I'm sure many in the past thought it a ludicrous idea that undergraduate degrees would be commonplace and further education compulsory, yet here we are. There's no denying the fact that education sharpens the intellect and a PhD develops a foundation of advanced critical analysis, research skills, and rationality that can be used effectively in almost all graduate careers.

Fortunately for you, IR is also one of the few fields in which research skills are heavily preferred (as well as foreign languages). Many of the sought after graduate positions require a masters as a minimum so you will have some realistic exit opportunities outside of academia, which makes your decision now a little easier.
0
reply
Smack
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#3
Report 5 years ago
#3
(Original post by macromicro)
I think a PhD is the better choice for almost all graduates, regardless of their career ambitions (within reason). It seems quite probable that a PhD will at some point in the future be commonplace; it's simply the way academia has to evolve in order to keep up with rising intelligence and education levels. I'm sure many in the past thought it a ludicrous idea that undergraduate degrees would be commonplace and further education compulsory, yet here we are. There's no denying the fact that education sharpens the intellect and a PhD develops a foundation of advanced critical analysis, research skills, and rationality that can be used effectively in almost all graduate careers.
I'm not sure if you can extrapolate from what has happened regarding bachelors degrees to PhDs in the future. It was seen as socially useful and necessary for keeping up with the advancing economy to have more of the populace educated to undergraduate level, but can the same really be said of a PhD? It's a massive commitment and I can't see it being advisable to undertake one unless one has ambitions for academia, or a career path that either requires it or prefers it. IR might be an example of such a field (it's not my field, and I trust that you know more about it than me), but I don't think that most of them are.
4
reply
Ritu_4_21
Badges: 0
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#4
Report 5 years ago
#4
If academia is not your first choice in life, then a Ph.D. can certainly wait. Its certainly not worth the pain, and you can certainly be better read and more financially independent even without a Ph.D.

I am doing a Ph.D. (almost towards the end), and I have serious doubts if I even want an academic career after this. My advise to everyone who is keen to begin is to really think, if it is necessary for your chosen field to pursue a Ph.D. right now, if not than do it only when it is necessary; or when you have enough peace of mind in general (so that loosing some to a Ph.D. won't have drastic overall implications)

If you want to stay in a Uni. Because you are not ready to take a real life plunge, than well Ph.D. won't help you mature either!
0
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#5
Report 5 years ago
#5
(Original post by Smack)
I'm not sure if you can extrapolate from what has happened regarding bachelors degrees to PhDs in the future. It was seen as socially useful and necessary for keeping up with the advancing economy to have more of the populace educated to undergraduate level, but can the same really be said of a PhD?
Yes, it can; we have already been experiencing a PhD boom in the UK, China and the US. It's the same skills only more advanced, which is in line with the continual advancement of humans (and therefore the economy) on average. Jobs with lower research and analytical skills will be continually transferred to machinery as education and intelligence levels rise. We've always seen this trend - just look at the automation of farming today. Masters now have government loans in the UK and PhDs will too in 2018 if May sticks with Osborne's plans. It's a constant progression that has never ceased - I see no reason why we wouldn't continue to extrapolate into the future.

(Original post by Smack)
It's a massive commitment and I can't see it being advisable to undertake one unless one has ambitions for academia, or a career path that either requires it or prefers it. IR might be an example of such a field (it's not my field, and I trust that you know more about it than me), but I don't think that most of them are.
I think it's a little short-sighted to think only of entry requirements. To determine the value of education we have to look at one's career as a whole, not simply the entry to that career. What's three years of experience relative to, say, a 40-year career? It seems unlikely it will make any significant impact to the effectiveness of one's competency in a job relative to completing a PhD for those three years which directly sharpens all the tools most (and increasingly) valued in employees today, i.e. analysis, research, problem-solving, subject knowledge, etc.
1
reply
Smack
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#6
Report 5 years ago
#6
(Original post by macromicro)
Yes, it can; we have already been experiencing a PhD boom in the UK, China and the US. It's the same skills only more advanced, which is in line with the continual advancement of humans (and therefore the economy) on average. Jobs with lower research and analytical skills will be continually transferred to machinery as education and intelligence levels rise. We've always seen this trend - just look at the automation of farming today. Masters now have government loans in the UK and PhDs will too in 2018 if May sticks with Osborne's plans. It's a constant progression that has never ceased - I see no reason why we wouldn't continue to extrapolate into the future.

I think it's a little short-sighted to think only of entry requirements. To determine the value of education we have to look at one's career as a whole, not simply the entry to that career. What's three years of experience relative to, say, a 40-year career? It seems unlikely it will make any significant impact to the effectiveness of one's competency in a job relative to completing a PhD for those three years which directly sharpens all the tools most (and increasingly) valued in employees today, i.e. analysis, research, problem-solving, subject knowledge, etc.
I think what is key is: how many of these newly qualified PhDs get to utilise their PhDs? Academia can produce more PhDs (in fact one might even be cynical and suggest that academia benefits from increasing numbers of PhD students as it means more people to perform research at a lower cost), students can enrol on and complete PhDs because they love their subject, because they want to try for careers in academia, but none of that creates more PhD requiring jobs in the economy.

I'm not suggesting it's a waste to complete a qualification that does not lead to economic benefit, but at the same time I think it's irresponsible to suggest that it is the better choice for "almost all" graduates to complete such a qualification, rather than something that has to be carefully considered. Especially when such qualification is likely to be undertaken immediately or soon after undergraduate education, and hence will delay entry into the workforce until one's mid, or even late, twenties. A lot of people are in education to further their prospects, and would be far better equipped with an equivalent numbers of years of work experience (and would enjoy an equivalent number of years of income) than a PhD to achieve this.

It's also worth pointing out that universities do not have a monopoly on providing the skills you list, and further qualifications may not be the best bang for your buck in terms of demonstrating them. If anything, I am seeing a trend where non-academic routes, such as apprenticeships, are being increasingly taken up by employers as a means of recruiting new talent. I think there is a quite widespread view that the pendulum has swung too far in the way of increasing educational requirements, that this has led to many taking qualifications that function more as a tick in the box than a useful provider of knowledge and skills, and that it is clearly beneficial to (re)open other pathways.
1
reply
Barraco Barner
Badges: 1
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#7
Report 5 years ago
#7
No. Only get phd if you want a job in research or academia.
0
reply
im_back_kutta
Badges: 0
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#8
Report 5 years ago
#8
PhD doesn't always equal academia, like a poster pointed out, we are having education inflation. Where the degree is not worth the piece of paper it is written on. Bachelors degrees have become the norm now, people are shocked if you say you aren't going to university.

I think a higher qualfication is always worth having, it separates you from the 2:1 BSc guy that has become so common. You don't need to go into academia with a PhD, there are many consultancy roles or roles in banks that want a PhD. Plus you can always have academia as a backup, there would be post doc places you can consider.

I completed a first year PhD at a university in economics, before transferring to another PhD in finance (because I could get funding for this new one).
0
reply
im_back_kutta
Badges: 0
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#9
Report 5 years ago
#9
(Original post by Barraco Barner)
No. Only get phd if you want a job in research or academia.
Not true, many banks and consultancies specifically ask for PhDs.
1
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#10
Report 5 years ago
#10
(Original post by Smack)
I think what is key is: how many of these newly qualified PhDs get to utilise their PhDs? Academia can produce more PhDs (in fact one might even be cynical and suggest that academia benefits from increasing numbers of PhD students as it means more people to perform research at a lower cost), students can enrol on and complete PhDs because they love their subject, because they want to try for careers in academia, but none of that creates more PhD requiring jobs in the economy.
They utilise their PhDs in any situation in which they utilise their intelligence. These situations are increasingly frequent as average education levels and automation both rise. More PhD graduates do not necessarily create more PhD-requiring jobs presently, I agree (but they will eventually, no different to undergraduate degrees). The ever-increasing progression towards research/analytical jobs in lieu of jobs replaced by machinery increases the need for more intelligent humans. Entry requirements are a small factor relative to the whole of one's career. It's not about whether a job requires a PhD for entry, it's about whether that employee will be more effective in society with the skills education develops. The only thing that can stop this pattern is advanced AI, which would in effect replace us.

(Original post by Smack)
I'm not suggesting it's a waste to complete a qualification that does not lead to economic benefit, but at the same time I think it's irresponsible to suggest that it is the better choice for "almost all" graduates to complete such a qualification, rather than something that has to be carefully considered. Especially when such qualification is likely to be undertaken immediately or soon after undergraduate education, and hence will delay entry into the workforce until one's mid, or even late, twenties. A lot of people are in education to further their prospects, and would be far better equipped with an equivalent numbers of years of work experience (and would enjoy an equivalent number of years of income) than a PhD to achieve this.
Time of entry is unimportant. Your position assumes that one without a PhD will be, ceteris paribus, as capable as one with. This is highly unlikely considering the purpose of education and the (increasing) demand from graduate employers for the skills that PhDs (and all education) directly develop. Imagine two alternative lives of the same aspiring lawyer. One has a 40-year career; the other a 37-year career and a PhD. The question becomes: does that three year opportunity cost of experience have a larger adverse effect than the positive effect of the PhD? Again, this is highly unlikely considering the effect of education on one's intelligence, no different to an undergraduate degree. The latter is only a pre-requisite today as a result of raising intelligence and education levels. And the same will eventually occur for masters (as it mostly has for IR) and PhDs. Eventually every lawyer will have a PhD and they will be more effective lawyers as a result.

(Original post by Smack)
IIt's also worth pointing out that universities do not have a monopoly on providing the skills you list, and further qualifications may not be the best bang for your buck in terms of demonstrating them. If anything, I am seeing a trend where non-academic routes, such as apprenticeships, are being increasingly taken up by employers as a means of recruiting new talent. I think there is a quite widespread view that the pendulum has swung too far in the way of increasing educational requirements, that this has led to many taking qualifications that function more as a tick in the box than a useful provider of knowledge and skills, and that it is clearly beneficial to (re)open other pathways.
That view is nothing more than contrarian reflex, and has been mostly propounded by unambitious ultra-liberals who fail to see the bigger picture in which intelligence and education over the course of one's life is more effective than forgoing that education and intelligence for premature experience. If you look at the statistics on apprenticeships, the numbers started and those completed have both decreased slightly in the past five years, not to mention they are mostly in low-intelligence jobs like administration (which includes law that is misleadingly listed separately), caring, construction, leisure, retail, etc. That is, jobs that will all be replaced by automation. Encouraging apprenticeships is more irresponsible than anything for it is to encourage lower intelligence and fewer exit opportunities in the future.
0
reply
Reality Check
Badges: 22
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#11
Report 5 years ago
#11
(Original post by Smack)
I think what is key is: how many of these newly qualified PhDs get to utilise their PhDs? Academia can produce more PhDs (in fact one might even be cynical and suggest that academia benefits from increasing numbers of PhD students as it means more people to perform research at a lower cost), students can enrol on and complete PhDs because they love their subject, because they want to try for careers in academia, but none of that creates more PhD requiring jobs in the economy.

I'm not suggesting it's a waste to complete a qualification that does not lead to economic benefit, but at the same time I think it's irresponsible to suggest that it is the better choice for "almost all" graduates to complete such a qualification, rather than something that has to be carefully considered. Especially when such qualification is likely to be undertaken immediately or soon after undergraduate education, and hence will delay entry into the workforce until one's mid, or even late, twenties. A lot of people are in education to further their prospects, and would be far better equipped with an equivalent numbers of years of work experience (and would enjoy an equivalent number of years of income) than a PhD to achieve this.

It's also worth pointing out that universities do not have a monopoly on providing the skills you list, and further qualifications may not be the best bang for your buck in terms of demonstrating them. If anything, I am seeing a trend where non-academic routes, such as apprenticeships, are being increasingly taken up by employers as a means of recruiting new talent. I think there is a quite widespread view that the pendulum has swung too far in the way of increasing educational requirements, that this has led to many taking qualifications that function more as a tick in the box than a useful provider of knowledge and skills, and that it is clearly beneficial to (re)open other pathways.
I entirely agree with this. I've seen a large number of people who were doing well in their undergrad and not sure of their next move be 'encouraged' into applying for a Ph.D only to get to their first year report and think 'what the hell am I doing?'. A Ph.D. is not necessary in a lot of fields, and I would suggest often doesn't help where practical experience could be more use than more bits of paper to collect.

Horses for courses.
2
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#12
Report 5 years ago
#12
(Original post by Reality Check)
I entirely agree with this. I've seen a large number of people who were doing well in their undergrad and not sure of their next move be 'encouraged' into applying for a Ph.D only to get to their first year report and think 'what the hell am I doing?'. A Ph.D. is not necessary in a lot of fields, and I would suggest often doesn't help where practical experience could be more use than more bits of paper to collect.
Again, you have only considered entry requirements and haven't acknowledged that jobs are becoming increasingly less practical and more theoretical. The more practical a job is, the more prone to automation it is; the more theoretical a job is, the higher the intelligence and education it requires. This is a constant trend. Clearly education is not "bits of paper", an argument often used in lieu of any position of substance. We can reduce anything to absurdity and make it sound pointless: money is also just bits of paper; humans are just bits of atoms.
0
reply
Reality Check
Badges: 22
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#13
Report 5 years ago
#13
(Original post by macromicro)
Again, you have only considered entry requirements and haven't acknowledged that jobs are becoming increasingly less practical and more theoretical. The more practical a job is, the more prone to automation it is; the more theoretical a job is, the higher the intelligence and education it requires. This is a constant trend. Clearly education is not "bits of paper", an argument often used in lieu of any position of substance. We can reduce anything to absurdity and make it sound pointless: money is also just bits of paper; humans are just bits of atoms.
Au contraire, the education system in this country very much consists of 'collecting bits of paper' for too many students. We all know what 'collecting bits of paper' means - it means being on a treadmill of qualifications without stopping to think whether these qualifications are personally worthwhile.

Your point about automation is rather weak. For instance, accountancy, very much a 'theoretical' job which most people would consider needs 'higher intelligence and education' is one the most likely to be automated. Your nice dichotomy belies the truth.

Ph.Ds aren't for everyone, and in my opinion it would be frankly farcical for everyone with a 'theoretical' job to need one. Quite unnecessary. It's also quite unnecessary to be so quick of the mark in declaring an argument no 'position of substance' before you've heard or understood the argument - you should know that as a Ph.D. student!
0
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#14
Report 5 years ago
#14
(Original post by Reality Check.)
PhD's were designed for Academia.
So were Bachelor's. Education and intelligence evolves.
0
reply
Reality Check
Badges: 22
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#15
Report 5 years ago
#15
(Original post by macromicro)
So were Bachelor's. Education and intelligence evolves.
Look at the gems - this is a hijacked account by a troll using my identity.
0
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#16
Report 5 years ago
#16
(Original post by Reality Check)
Au contraire, the education system in this country very much consists of 'collecting bits of paper' for too many students. We all know what 'collecting bits of paper' means - it means being on a treadmill of qualifications without stopping to think whether these qualifications are personally worthwhile.
Nothing more than cynical unfounded speculation. The majority of students understand the importance of education today and want a degree to that end. More to the point, whether they are doing it to get hold of the certificate as a pre-requisite is beside the point; what is important is that they must achieve that certificate and thus develop their intelligence necessarily.

(Original post by Reality Check)
Your point about automation is rather weak. For instance, accountancy, very much a 'theoretical' job which most people would consider needs 'higher intelligence and education' is one the most likely to be automated. Your nice dichotomy belies the truth.
No, "accountancy" is incredibly broad. The areas susceptible to automation are those focused on administration and input, i.e. not graduate roles.

(Original post by Reality Check)
Ph.Ds aren't for everyone, and in my opinion it would be frankly farcical for everyone with a 'theoretical' job to need one. Quite unnecessary. It's also quite unnecessary to be so quick of the mark in declaring an argument no 'position of substance' before you've heard or understood the argument - you should know that as a Ph.D. student!
You didn't give the argument - so I was no quicker off the mark than you were slow to deliver. I can only analyse what you write, surprisingly enough. Again, you haven't given an argument, you have only given an opposite opinion. Saying it is "farcical" with no reasons for justification is as good as offering nothing at all.
0
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#17
Report 5 years ago
#17
(Original post by im_back_kutta)
PhD doesn't always equal academia, like a poster pointed out, we are having education inflation. Where the degree is not worth the piece of paper it is written on. Bachelors degrees have become the norm now, people are shocked if you say you aren't going to university.

I think a higher qualfication is always worth having, it separates you from the 2:1 BSc guy that has become so common. You don't need to go into academia with a PhD, there are many consultancy roles or roles in banks that want a PhD. Plus you can always have academia as a backup, there would be post doc places you can consider.

I completed a first year PhD at a university in economics, before transferring to another PhD in finance (because I could get funding for this new one).
Very true; mathematical PhDs are increasingly sought after in the finance industry, e.g. quant analysts, which have more and more vacancies each year due to the rising complexity of our understanding (as for all industries).
0
reply
Reality Check
Badges: 22
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#18
Report 5 years ago
#18
(Original post by macromicro)
Nothing more than cynical unfounded speculation. The majority of students understand the importance of education today and want a degree to that end. More to the point, whether they are doing it to get hold of the certificate as a pre-requisite is beside the point; what is important is that they must achieve that certificate and thus develop their intelligence necessarily.



No, "accountancy" is incredibly broad. The areas susceptible to automation are those focused on administration and input, i.e. not graduate roles.



You didn't give the argument - so I was no quicker off the mark than you were slow to deliver. I can only analyse what you write, surprisingly enough. Again, you haven't given an argument, you have only given an opposite opinion. Saying it is "farcical" with no reasons for justification is as good as offering nothing at all.
Most of your posts seem obsessed with equating intelligence with Ph.Ds, and that everyone must do a Ph.D if they're capable of so doing. Most of these posts seem to end with you taking someone else's post apart line by line and repeating your argument only for them not to post any further. Presumably because they see little point in so doing.
1
reply
Trevish
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#19
Report 5 years ago
#19
If you got money go for it

Posted from TSR Mobile
0
reply
macromicro
Badges: 17
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#20
Report 5 years ago
#20
(Original post by Reality Check)
Most of your posts seem obsessed with equating intelligence with Ph.Ds, and that everyone must do a Ph.D if their capable of so doing. Most of these posts seem to end with you taking someone else's post apart line by line and repeating your argument only for them not to post any further. Presumably because they see little point in so doing.
Ad hominem.

Still no rebuttal.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest

Y13s: How will you be receiving your A-level results?

In person (79)
67.52%
In the post (5)
4.27%
Text (15)
12.82%
Something else (tell us in the thread) (18)
15.38%

Watched Threads

View All