Study Options - PhD
A . is an in depth research program lasting three years in length. It is normally undertaken upon completion of a . The work produced for the PhD. must fundamentally be original, in other words written by only you, containing your thoughts and findings. Once all the research is complete, it is presented in a . Currently in the U.K roughly 10% of students completing a degree go onto post-graduate study.
Why do a PhD.?
Students who tend to go onto study tend to do so for one of four reasons, namely:
- Employment prospects
- Personal challenge
- An academic interest
- To avoid working
- To work abroad
The following section discusses each of these reasons:
- Employment prospects - Students may choose to do a PhD. as it can lead to a better job or even act as a stepping stone to the career that you have longed for. Having a a PhD. in your subject area shows that you have studied something you are interested and enthusiastic about. You may find that some jobs at academic institutions and Medicine in particular, may require study to such a level.
- Personal challenge - Some postgraduates take on this form of study to prove to themselves that they are capable to completing it. Doing a PhD. is by no means an easy task and is probably very different from the study you have experienced before. To complete a PhD. successfully you will need to be highly motivated and exceptionally enthusiastic.
- An academic interest - To undertake a PhD. you will undoubtedly be interested in your and will be striving to discover new ideas and concepts. Doing a PhD. to nurture an academic interest can be fulfilling in so many ways. For some students this may be the opportunity they have longed for to research an area that has either been of personal interest or one that lies undiscovered.
- To avoid working - There are many of you out there who will go to great lengths to avoid becoming a fully-fledged member of the workforce. Taking on a PhD. will put off that inevitable day for another three years which itself can be an attractive option.
- To work abroad - There are some students who undertake a pHD to have an opportunity to travel overseas. Rather than completing your PhD. in the U.K you could take it as a chance to broaden your horizons as well as your mind. If this is of interest to you, do take the time to research all the possibilities and options available to you in another country. You may find that there are several countries that would welcome you.
To gain direct entry on to a PhD. you will need to have a first or upper second-degree qualification. You can also gain entry having completed a master's degree either a or an MA either taught or by research. diplomas or may be suitable for vocational research.
Things to consider
Are you motivated enough to take on three years of extra study, which will largely be done independently? Each student will be allocated a supervisor who will provide frequent personal supervision and monitor the progress of your research. Some will offer in addition, two members of the faculty who are responsible for you providing specialised techniques. Many students are noted as saying having a good can make all the difference.
You will find that different institutions will offer/expect different teaching loads and will accordingly offer different rates of pay.
Where to do your PhD.
Students, who undertake a PhD. after their first , quite often remain at the same university where surroundings are familiar. You may however, choose to go elsewhere to experience different surroundings, meet new staff and discover new research techniques. If you do decide to go somewhere new for your PhD., you should think carefully about the location, the institution and the supervisors available. Try and find out if the institutions have other post-graduates around that you could exchange thoughts and ideas with. This can also be a good indication of whether the is highly regarded in its postgraduate programs.
When to study
This will need particular consideration. Factors that may influence your decision include having the relevant experience to start a PhD., will you start as soon as you have graduated, or take a break from studying and embark on the PhD. after some time out. It is worth remembering that you can do a PhD. part-time, as some find the workload too difficult combined with full time work. If you do choose to undertake your PhD. on a part-time basis, as this is a more popular option you will need to ensure that your institution has a place for you. If you take on post-graduate study part-time, check if your will support you, and it may be worthwhile finding out if others in the organization have done this in the past. Whether to take up a PhD. after a break or on a part-time basis, you must take steps to ensure you have a place to go on to.
When to apply
When applying for a PhD., there is no system to do searching and admissions for you. You will find that each and institution will impose their own deadlines. It is up to you to write to each institution and put forward your research proposal, when writing find out which ones specialise in your chosen subject area, to save precious time. To start your PhD. next year you will need to apply by Christmas.
The funding for your PhD. may be provided by the institution, although often funding cannot be applied for until you have the post. I.e. if applying for Psychology the Economic and along with the Medical Research council is the most common. If completing your PhD. part time you may receive help from your employer.
If you choose to do your PhD. abroad you will need to seek a suitable post, check that the will accept your . You may also have a language barrier to cross although this can also be seen as an opportunity to learn something new. The prospect of living in a different country and to experience different cultures as well as the possibility of establishing yourself in a new place can also be attractive. With studying abroad, as with studying the PhD. in general, you will need to think carefully about funding if not more so than when studying at home.
More information on PhD's is readily available in careers libraries, newspapers and periodicals. The CSU provide a Prospects Postgraduate Funding Guide as can provide a Postgraduate Study and Research guide.