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PhD confusion! Is a career in academia possible? Watch

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    Hi all,

    My dream job is a career in academia, I want to be a lecturer in Law at a University, however, I currently don't hold a PhD and don't know how to go about doing this.

    I am currently studying for my LLM (averaging B+ grades so looking to graduate with a merit) and have just secured a maternity cover role as a law lecturer in a sixth form college.

    I do not have the means to self-fund a PhD full time, if I did this I would have to work full time and study part time, is this plausible? I also do not know any of the extra costs associated with studying for a PhD in a law related subject, will I just have to pay the fees to the University or will there be other disbursements that will be costly?

    I also want to know how likely it would be that I would be able to secure a lecturer role in a University whilst studying?

    Funded PhD's are also an option (should I be lucky enough to get one) but I cannot see myself being able to keep up my current lifestyle on 14k/year. Is it common for funded students to pick up lecturing work at the University they study at? And at that, enough to keep them financially stable?

    Sorry for the long post, but for all my googling I cannot seem to find any answers!

    Thanks.
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    (Original post by LisaB2502)
    Hi all,

    My dream job is a career in academia, I want to be a lecturer in Law at a University, however, I currently don't hold a PhD and don't know how to go about doing this.

    I am currently studying for my LLM (averaging B+ grades so looking to graduate with a merit) and have just secured a maternity cover role as a law lecturer in a sixth form college.

    I do not have the means to self-fund a PhD full time, if I did this I would have to work full time and study part time, is this plausible? I also do not know any of the extra costs associated with studying for a PhD in a law related subject, will I just have to pay the fees to the University or will there be other disbursements that will be costly?

    I also want to know how likely it would be that I would be able to secure a lecturer role in a University whilst studying?

    Funded PhD's are also an option (should I be lucky enough to get one) but I cannot see myself being able to keep up my current lifestyle on 14k/year. Is it common for funded students to pick up lecturing work at the University they study at? And at that, enough to keep them financially stable?

    Sorry for the long post, but for all my googling I cannot seem to find any answers!

    Thanks.
    You may want to check out this forum as well.

    You really should look for a funded PhD as doing a self-funded one can be difficult and doesn't show that you are able to secure funding which may hurt you in the long run in academia. It's a key skill for academics. You can study part time though it will take longer. PhD fees are pretty much the only thing that need to be paid. Some unis will let you teach but it depends on the uni as more students are demanding to be taught by people with PhDs and even teaching qualifications. I did some tutoring while I was a PhD student. £14k/year gives you a reasonable lifestyle and it's for a short amount of time. If you're single and don't have a family to support I don't see what you can't do with that over a 3-4 year period. Finally, academia is a tough place so even with a PhD you won't just walk into a lecturer's post. You may have to do a postdoc or two and will definitely have to show that you are able to secure funding for your own work.
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    Alleycat covered pretty much everything. It was never easy, and it's getting harder as more institutions look to follow the American model in terms of adjuncts and so on. It is possible to self-fund and work full time - I know a couple of people doing it. But it is HARD. They have no lives outside of work in one form or another, and it's not healthy, even if it is only for 4 ish years. Finding funding is really your best shot, and even that is getting much harder. Funding is more likely if you manage to bump up to a distinction rather than a merit. I don't know anybody that secured funding with less than a distinction, and I know plenty of people with distinctions that have not managed to get funding.

    Re teaching, getting lectures without holding PhD is in my experience very rare. Teaching some seminars is more likely, but the money is crap (mostly zero-hour arrangements now) and you can't really hedge anything on it.

    Not to be negative about all this, though! I'm doing it myself and it has been hard but if you're dogged enough and make the right connections (this is really essential: it is unfortunately a case of who you know a lot of the time!) then you can make a go of it. it is also worth talking to your institution about discretionary funding. Some places match research council amounts on the proviso that you teach more seminars etc.
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    My experience is int he sciences (did a PhD, now a university lecturer) but hopefully translatable.

    (Original post by LisaB2502)
    Hi all,

    I do not have the means to self-fund a PhD full time, if I did this I would have to work full time and study part time, is this plausible?
    No. Working part-time and studying part-time should be.

    I also want to know how likely it would be that I would be able to secure a lecturer role in a University whilst studying?
    While studying is unlikely (although I did). More common is for you to have several years' postdoc or industry experience before becoming a lecturer.

    Funded PhD's are also an option (should I be lucky enough to get one) but I cannot see myself being able to keep up my current lifestyle on 14k/year. Is it common for funded students to pick up lecturing work at the University they study at? And at that, enough to keep them financially stable?
    PhD students do quite often do some teaching work e.g. assisting lecturers, marking student work, taking seminars, and doing the odd lecture. However, it will almost certainly not be enough to compensate your income very much.

    The final thing to remember is that only a small fraction of PhD student will every become full time lecturers: single figure percentages from memory.
 
 
 
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