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Education

Is a Ph.D. the right option for you?

Commencing on a Ph.D. is a big decision. In a majority of cases, a Ph.D. will consume three to five years of your life. Even though a Ph.D. is a time-consuming journey, many people do not know exactly what a Ph.D. is and what advantages a Ph.D. has to offer. In fact, most first-year students are thinking of getting a Masters and to start with a non-academic job. Read this article to get more insight about doing a P.h.D!

 

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the most common degree at the highest academic level awarded following a course of study. Because a Ph.D. is an earned research degree, those studying at this academic level are required to perform original research that expands the boundaries of academic knowledge. This is presented in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and Ph.D. candidates defend their work against experts in the field. The specific requirements to earn such a degree vary significantly according to the country, institution, and have also varied over time.

TU Delft Ph.D. Defense committee

The top three skills for an industry position are critical thinking, complex problem solving and correct decision-making. In other words, one has to be able to analyze problems and then find good solutions to those problems. When doing a Ph.D., one becomes well trained in identifying problems and finding answers to them. This is especially true for a Ph.D. candidate who will have spent years finding answers to the world’s toughest unanswered questions. Hence, one will obtain considerable knowledge in a specific subject. As a result of this, one will of course obtain much expertise in that particular field compared to other students.

Furthermore, Ph.D. candidates are comfortable with uncertainty. When doing a Ph.D. degree one will probably spend years of one’s life grappling with uncertainty. The candidates have no idea if the next grant is going to be funded. Moreover, they have no idea whether their paper is going to get past that third reviewer, and of course, get published. Most people in non-academic fields do not suffer from those uncertainties; they want sure surroundings and many will spend their entire lives choosing unhappiness over uncertainty. In fact, to pursue a Ph.D. is to be willing to take risks that other people are not willing to take.

Ph.D. students do have much flexibility, for instance, and can choose to work from 9 to 5, but can also work at midnight. As well as demonstrating one’s ability to write 100,000 word documents, a Ph.D. shows other people that one is able to conduct and analyze research, present ideas to sophisticated audiences, and work independently. Ph.D. candidates’ lives also tend to involve organising conferences, taking classes, and publishing papers.

Thus, doing a Ph.D. is more than writing a thesis or dissertation. It is also a boost for one’s curriculum vitae and one’s knowledge about a specific subject!

Thanks to Ph.D. candidate Daniël Vullings for the interview. Would you like to get more information about a Ph.D. degree? Feel free to e-mail Daniël Vullings at d.vullings@rug.nl.


This article is written by Moesen Tajik

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