Cut-Throat PhDs

Further education is often very attractive to students at college as the social image and opportunity to live and learn independently far outstrips the desire to go out into the “real world” and work. This is largely a good thing, as university life and a degree certainly get you used to working pretty hard – at least if you do it properly.

But 3 years on, as graduation rears its ugly head people start to get nervous (if my group of mates are anything to go by), and the “what’s next?” questions are back stronger than ever.

For many students continuing on to masters or PhD level is a natural progression, in fact so many people apply to further education after graduation it is starting to look unusual not to, at least to me.  But are the reasons for doing this always so well thought out? I know for me, part of the appeal of continuing onto a PhD is the chance to remain a student, at least in part for next 4 years, and yes I’m aware this is a stupid reason.

Whatever your reasons for starting a PhD (travel, intellectual stimulation, among others) it’s worth noting that postgraduate research and academic careers in later life are extremely competitive, only around 12% of people entering postgraduate study go on to acquire tenure positions and on average 1 in 3 of every principal investigator knows a fellow researcher made redundant – so yes, go for it, but maybe do your homework first…..


About jbsheppard

Hello, if you've taken the time to read a little bit about me, you probably already know that my name’s Joe. Like my co-conspirators here, I share a passion for modern bio-sciences, which is hopefully why you’re here as well, and if it’s not then surprise yourself and have a quick read. Recent developments into cognitive neuroscience and neurology (which are awesome) will play a large part in my section of this blog as these are rapidly changing fields that blur the lines between physics, philosophy, biology and psychiatry. People say that science takes the mystery out of discovery, that the reductionist approach to life causes people to lose sight of the initial curiosity. But this couldn't be more wrong, there is so much yet that science has figured out and for me the unknown is just as exciting as the known. I hope to be able to make you feel the same. J
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One Response to Cut-Throat PhDs

  1. vanarm says:

    I completely agree and think this blog has a novel angle and interesting voice. The writing up of a PhDs I personally found the most ‘character building’ thing I have ever done, even before embarking on a PhDs I think it’s worth asking why am I doing it and where may I go afterwards? It is an education in itself and t seems that jobs/ professions that you only needed an ugh degree for are now asking for further qualifications. Sorry I’m going off on a rant now, but thought provoking blog.

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