Should I do this self-funded PhD in Mathematics?

Watch
Premez
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 5 months ago
#1
I am nearing the end of my Masters in Mathematics at Durham University. It's looking like I shall end up getting a Merit (possibly distinction, but unlikely).

I did my undergraduate degree in Maths & Physics at Durham, and due to various reason I ended up getting a 2:2. A particular Associate Professor (Reader) has shown interest in me since 3rd year and we have a very good relationship, he's my current supervisor, he wants me to do a PhD under him (at Durham), however because of my undergraduate grades, funding is virtually impossible from what I understand (certainly through the university or research councils).

He thinks I should do the self-funded option (i.e. via taking out the SFE loan of £25k and also via working by tutoring undergrads etc).

My PhD would be in pure maths (differential geometry) in an area would I would very much enjoy; however I have the goal of becoming a quant afterwards. I have a very little amount of stats in my background and so I would have to learn the relevant stats and compsci/coding during my PhD in order to be able to apply for quant positions after I graduate.

I would really like to do a PhD, however the self-funding part scares me a little and makes me question if it's the right decision. As well as enjoying the PhD, having this additional qualification would offset the 2:2 at undergrad I imagine?

Thanks in advance...
Last edited by Premez; 5 months ago
0
reply
threeportdrift
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 5 months ago
#2
(Original post by Premez)
I am nearing the end of my Masters in Mathematics at Durham University. It's looking like I shall end up getting a Merit (possibly distinction, but unlikely).

I did my undergraduate degree in Maths & Physics at Durham, and due to various reason I ended up getting a 2:2. A particular professor has shown interest in me since 3rd year and we have a very good relationship, he's my current supervisor, he wants me to do a PhD under him (at Durham), however because of my undergraduate grades, funding is virtually impossible from what I understand (certainly through the university or research councils).

He thinks I should do the self-funded option (i.e. via taking out the SFE loan of £25k and also via working by tutoring undergrads etc).

My PhD would be in pure maths (differential geometry) in an area would I would very much enjoy; however I have the goal of becoming a quant afterwards. I have a very little amount of stats in my background and so I would have to learn the relevant stats and compsci/coding during my PhD in order to be able to apply for quant positions after I graduate.

I would really like to do a PhD, however the self-funding part scares me a little and makes me question if it's the right decision. As well as enjoying the PhD, having this additional qualification would offset the 2:2 at undergrad I imagine?

Thanks in advance...
You shouldn't totally write off funding just because you got a 2.2 at undergrad if you've got a merit at Masters and you've got a Supervisor rooting for you.

Self-funding, if you can manage it, isn't an issue if you aren't staying in academia (and it's not a massive problem if you are).

What you do need to settle is why you want to do a PhD when it will be in something that doesn't help your career aims. Why are you stalling starting a career by doing 3 years of something that will just strip you to penniless?
0
reply
Premez
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 5 months ago
#3
(Original post by threeportdrift)
What you do need to settle is why you want to do a PhD when it will be in something that doesn't help your career aims. Why are you stalling starting a career by doing 3 years of something that will just strip you to penniless?
Mostly because I will enjoy it, I enjoy this area, and I would appreciate an extra 3.5/4 years of study in this area (I think it would be a shame to stop my mathematical career early). Furthermore PhD's are (almost) requirements for many quant roles, particularly if you don't have a strong undergrad.
0
reply
Quick-use
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 5 months ago
#4
I'm really not sure if this is relevant but I remember being told at Edinburgh (my undergrad) that we should try to avoid doing our undergrad+master's degree+ PhD at the same institution. We were told that if we really wanted to do a PhD at Edinburgh, we should do a Master's elsewhere, or if we did a Master's at Edinburgh to do a PhD elsewhere. The 2 lecturers that mentioned this kept talking about the fear of becoming too 'institutionalised' which could potentially affect our academic career post PhD.

Again, probably not relevant and I'm not even sure if it's something that affects your field (as opposed to mine). Just something to consider if you did want to think about working in academic after a PhD.
0
reply
threeportdrift
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#5
Report 5 months ago
#5
(Original post by Premez)
Mostly because I will enjoy it, I enjoy this area, and I would appreciate an extra 3.5/4 years of study in this area (I think it would be a shame to stop my mathematical career early). Furthermore PhD's are (almost) requirements for many quant roles, particularly if you don't have a strong undergrad.
Well then you just need to work out if you can stay happy and focussed while funding it. I'd still apply for funding wherever you can. You are right that RC funding might be a long shot, but talk to your Supervisor, and keep searching.

The note above about staying in the same place for 3 years is a consideration, but not necessarily a problem. If you are working with a Supervisor that you get on with, and that works well with you, then that's the prime consideration.
0
reply
Helloworld_95
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#6
Report 5 months ago
#6
(Original post by Premez)
Mostly because I will enjoy it, I enjoy this area, and I would appreciate an extra 3.5/4 years of study in this area (I think it would be a shame to stop my mathematical career early). Furthermore PhD's are (almost) requirements for many quant roles, particularly if you don't have a strong undergrad.
Would the PhD be on an applied topic? I know a few maths PhDs who were interested in pure maths but job opportunities for PhDs on pure maths topics are pretty negligible so they would end up doing applied topics or if they were lucky they could find a compromise topic.
0
reply
Premez
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 5 months ago
#7
(Original post by Helloworld_95)
Would the PhD be on an applied topic? I know a few maths PhDs who were interested in pure maths but job opportunities for PhDs on pure maths topics are pretty negligible so they would end up doing applied topics or if they were lucky they could find a compromise topic.
No it would be in Differential Geometry (so pure maths really). Although quant roles would value a PhD in experimental physics, or applied mathematics more so pure maths, a PhD in pure maths is still valuable - particularly if I show I have developed the skills necessary (i.e. the programming, stats and model building) to do the job. From what I've read, the thing most valued about a PhD is that it implies you have worked hard and independently on difficult problems with little help, i.e. it's the independent research skills they value (and of course the analytical/numerical skills).
0
reply
Helloworld_95
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#8
Report 5 months ago
#8
(Original post by Premez)
No it would be in Differential Geometry (so pure maths really). Although quant roles would value a PhD in experimental physics, or applied mathematics more so pure maths, a PhD in pure maths is still valuable - particularly if I show I have developed the skills necessary (i.e. the programming, stats and model building) to do the job. From what I've read, the thing most valued about a PhD is that it implies you have worked hard and independently on difficult problems with little help, i.e. it's the independent research skills they value (and of course the analytical/numerical skills).
I would triple check that because as far as I know the topic does make a huge difference. The people I know who were in this situation have extremely good results (85-95%) and CVs which would set them up for top jobs at top firms (summer internships and placement years at similar tier firms), they would prefer to do a pure maths topic but do something more applied because of the employment prospect contrast.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

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

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Do you have the space and resources you need to succeed in home learning?

Yes I have everything I need (412)
56.36%
I don't have everything I need (319)
43.64%

Watched Threads

View All