Turn on thread page Beta

Advice needed: PhD- a few questions watch

Announcements
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hey everyone,

    Basically, I'm doing an M.Res/MA by Research in French at the moment and I'm trying to make some decisions about next year. I am currently on track for a distinction in my masters (though I don't want to get my hopes up too much after recent experiences). I love my subject and I know that I would love teaching in universities. My supervisor said he will support my application for doctorat study and would be my supervisor for that too. All sounds great right?...but even my supervisor seems to be really negative about the whole doinga PhD thing, not about me in particular, but just about the general experience.

    Everyone I speak to emphasises how isolated you can feel- I can imagine this as I sometimes feel a little like that with my research masters but I think if I could get some teaching work or get involved with the department and/or university more alongside my PhD, I'd cope. I am not sure how easy it would be to get involved though.

    Obviously there is also the financial issue. I majorly screwed up my Oxford degree and came out with a 2.2. I was gutted. There are a lot of mitigating circumstances and all that jazz but they are irrelevant now and although I still got onto my masters course (in London) and my tutors were all really supportive and said they were really shocked that I hadn't done much better, I still have absolutely no chance of getting funding! Like all students, I already have a lot of debt. I could work and do a PhD part-time but I do want to end up teaching in higher ed and wouldn't be able to get the relevant experience if I were working in some other job.

    The final issue is finding work at the end of a PhD. My supervisor says it is really tough...but how tough? I know he has to be honest with me but it is obviously worrying. I don't want to be jobless AND broke at the end!

    I know that if you want to get rich, academia is not the right path! I want to do it because I think the lifestyle is good, the people you meet tend to be like-minded and as long as I had enough money to get by that would be fine.

    Sorry for such a lengthy post but if anyone who is currently doing a PhD in the arts/humanities could tell me a bit about their experiences and what the process is for getting postdoc work I'd be very grateful.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    also, is anyone else in a similar predicament? I.e not quite sure whether or not to go ahead with a PhD
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Depends on the topic really. I know one of my lecturers said he was extremely lucky to pick up a lecturing post with his Ph.D in Medieval Bishops, but then, very few Universities have big departments with much medieval expertise. Mines on the other hand looks at Foreign Policy in the 20th C, and deals a good bit with industry and economics, and a foreign language. I've only delved into it enough for a 3,500 word proposal, so I've no idea how its going to pan out in practice- but I think if academia doesn't pan out, I'll have some sort of skills which employers should appreciate.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Linguist08)
    but even my supervisor seems to be really negative about the whole doinga PhD thing, not about me in particular, but just about the general experience.

    Everyone I speak to emphasises how isolated you can feel- I can imagine this as I sometimes feel a little like that with my research masters but I think if I could get some teaching work or get involved with the department and/or university more alongside my PhD, I'd cope. I am not sure how easy it would be to get involved though.

    My MA supervisor is exactly the same. I think much of it stems from the fact that she herself hated graduate school (largely because of her supervisors). She does stress that being an academic is fantastic, however, and well worth a potentially difficult 3 years (I'm really hoping she's right on this one!).

    I also think the isolation factor can vary between departments / universities - in some the PhD students seem to form a really close-knit and supportive community, which takes the edge off the hours spent in a corner of a library by yourself.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by yolswell)
    My MA supervisor is exactly the same. I think much of it stems from the fact that she herself hated graduate school (largely because of her supervisors). She does stress that being an academic is fantastic, however, and well worth a potentially difficult 3 years (I'm really hoping she's right on this one!).

    I also think the isolation factor can vary between departments / universities - in some the PhD students seem to form a really close-knit and supportive community, which takes the edge off the hours spent in a corner of a library by yourself.

    I don't know how much help it is but the research I've done has suggested that some of the 'happiness' factor is determined by how happy you are with your supervisor. If you fancy staying at the same uni and are happy with your current MA supervisor then that is, quite possibly, part of your battle done. Likewise, the bad reports I, and possibly you, have heard are quite likely the result of students feeling frustrated with poor supervisors.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks for your input.

    0404343m- My subject would be the literature of a notoriously heavy going French author of the 20th century. I'm not sure how useful it will be to the world! That is a slight concern I have about PhDs in the arts. I can list a hundred reasons why people need to study literature, culture, history etc but when there is just me doing one little bit, I sometimes feel a bit guilty for not doing anything useful or 'getting a real job'.

    Yolswell- thanks for that. It is good to hear that at least your supervisor likes the job at the end. I really want to be a lecturer/tutor so it is always nice hearing that even if the next 3 years are a bit rubbish it doesn't mean I'm mistaken and the job i will pay off.

    S_Dimelow- I hope that is true. I get on really well with my supervisor. Nevertheless, I think I'd perhaps be happier, if I could get more involved with the department in some way so that my supervisor is not the ONLY perosn I see at uni!

    Has anyone done a self-funded arts PhD here?? How have you managed?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi, I'm doing a PhD in English at the moment. I am partially funded and am covering accommodation and food costs by working as a warden in an undergrad hall. This might be worth looking out for -my job basically involves being on call on certain nights each week and, although it restricts my movements somewhat, it doesn't affect work in anyway and my collegues are other postgrads so there is a social bonus! Work-wise, I'm only in my first year, but I'm really enjoying it and it's definitely preferable to getting an office job. I'd prefer not to think about the employment prospects at the ebd at the moment. Definitely stick with your supervisor if you have a good relationship with them, it makes life an awful lot easier. As for getting involved with your department, there will probably be some teaching opportunities at some point, although this may not be in your first year. If you're passionate enough go for it! The arts are important . Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    If money is an issue, I'd strongly recommend thinking about applying to an American program. There are a lot of American universities that fully fund a majority of their Ph.D. students (in exchange for teaching or research assistantships). The downside is that American programs tend to take a few years longer to finish than British one (you usually have to take classes for the first 2-3 years, while British doctorate programs usually make you take a few classes at most). On the other hand, that's 2-3 years you're not being lonely.
 
 
 

University open days

  • University of Lincoln
    Brayford Campus Undergraduate
    Wed, 12 Dec '18
  • Bournemouth University
    Midwifery Open Day at Portsmouth Campus Undergraduate
    Wed, 12 Dec '18
  • Buckinghamshire New University
    All undergraduate Undergraduate
    Wed, 12 Dec '18
Poll
Do you like exams?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.