Friday, August 13, 2010

Road to the PhD - some thoughts

Last week I spoke to a friend of mine who is already pursuing a PhD - said friend is at the dissertation stage if I am not mistaken.  I let her know that I am considering a PhD - having overcome my fear of writing long research-based passages, and having grown accustomed to the Master's level difficulty, I've decided to up my game since I like learning new things.  I also aspire to one day be a professor, so a PhD is generally a must in these cases.

After many professors, in many different fields, have encouraged me to go for it, I've started compiling a spreadsheet of which schools have what I am interested in, what the requirements for entry and exit are, who the movers and shakers are (i.e. potential advisors), and what other important things are nearby (i.e. centers of research that those schools collaborate with).  Another major consideration is cost: where are the stipends and assistantships? You don't go into a PhD program, or the professoriate for that matter, to make crazy amounts of money - so it makes little sense (as far as I am concerned) to take out a large loan to pay for your PhD education.

There is much more to say on the topic of tenure-trackdom given recent discussion on IHE and the Chronicle (see here, here, and here) - but what do you think of PhDs, professional life after the Masters and continuing education?
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