Post graduate research Watch

Badges: 3
Report Thread starter 5 months ago
Do I take a PhD offer?

I will be graduating this year and I'm unsure of what I want to do in the future. I've done an internship in teaching and an internship in research and I thoroughly enjoyed both. My grades aren't the best, so I applied for teacher training because it's something I have experienced, enjoyed and I know I can achieve the grades to get there.
On the other hand, one of my lecturers recommended me for a PhD programme at a very prestigious university. The project is pre-determined, but it sounded very interesting and so at the push of my lecturer, I applied. I was invited to an interview which I personally felt went awful. My degree transcript was scrutinised and I was totally put off the idea of doing the PhD on the grounds of I didn't believe I would get it.
This week, I've been given an offer for the PhD studentship. It's fully funded for 4 years, stipend included and seems like an amazing opportunity, but I have to decide by this Friday whether I want the position.
I feel like that isn't enough time to decide. While I am honoured to have been given the offer, I do have to decide whether moving down south would be for me. The stipend is generous, but having looked into housing options, it only just covers rent. I have no option of getting financial support from my family and so my ability to live down south rides on being able to get a part time job around full time research.
Obviously the offer comes with some conditions but what if I don't meet them? If I reject my PGCE offers, what will I do if it gets to my graduation and I don't make the requirements for the PhD?
Is it appropriate to accept both a PGCE offer and the PhD and see where my grades take me?
I don't have the option to turn to advice at my university. All careers meetings that specialise in my subject are fully booked, my tutor is overseas until next week and the other lecturers I could speak to would either be biased to the PhD or biased to doing a PGCE. My parents don't want me to move away so they don't want me to take the PhD, but I also don't think I'd receive an offer like this one else where (I don't think I could be described as academically brilliant).

I just feel like I'd be stupid to turn the PhD down. I haven't found any graduate schemes suitable for me and so it is pretty much a toss up between the PhD or doing a PGCE.

Any advice please?
Badges: 21
Report 5 months ago
(Original post by Smez_Rose)
First off take pride in the fact that you have offers and options. You have done very well to get this far.

What are the PhD requirements you're worried about not meeting? Fully funded offers are very difficult to come by but if you really want a PhD even at a later date there's nothing to stop you from trying again. It is a risk you will have to take though.It doesn't sound like you really want the PhD. Do you?
Badges: 14
Report 5 months ago
In simple terms, you need to decide what you want to do after your PhD and this should contribute to your overall decision . Generally, if you want to stay in academia, PhD is an obvious pathway. On other hand...I'm not saying that getting a job in industry with PhD is impossible, but a common question employers will ask "Why did you spend 4 years on this programme instead of getting working experience?". It's all about how you answer it, so if you know how to leverage your PhD effectively it's also possible to get a job in industry (also depends on the field and how well you can sell it to potential employers, but this is off topic).

It seems to me that much of your uncertainty stems from your low confidence in your own academic skills. Confidence is a huge thing in all aspects of our life and academia isn't exception. But let me tell you something, vast majority of PhD students are not geniuses and some of them don't have brilliant academic record, they are just very hard working and responsible people. Basically, you need a responsibility, take PhD and work for it. If you fail, at least you failed trying.

Finally, depends on the discipline, some people work years in order to get a scholarship. So I agree with you on this one, you might not get an opportunity like that in near future.

I would say weight all pros and cons.
Badges: 18
Report 5 months ago
I will say you will not be able to work alongside a PhD. I know lots of people who've done them and it's a lot of work, more than 40 hrs a week at busy times and if you're not doing well you may get booted out in a year or two. Stipend are normally 14-15k tax free, are you sure you can't live on that? It's the equivalent of ~17k salary. Do you know what you'd do after the PhD? Academia can be competitive, although you could still teach and depending on subject might get a nice golden handshake with a PhD.

I think you just need to think what you want. Give yourself credit, you're obviously a great candidate for many things. You've done internships in both so decide what you want overall for a career.

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