PhD..... Was it worth it?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by bo79, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. bo79

    bo79 New Member

    I am thinking of getting a PhD in the future. However the more I read about the PhD job market the more turned off I get. Don't get me wrong I think doing a PhD would be a really great and enriching experience, however at I don't want to be left with over $50K in student loans and flipping burgers for a living.
  2. scubasteveiu

    scubasteveiu New Member

    You tossed out a pretty open question. Why do you want a PhD, to teach, personal goal ... ?

    What is your area of interest, sciences, cs, business, engineering, history?

    Why would you think you would be flipping burgers? Are you flipping burgers now? What from a PhD would cause you to make less (flip burgers)?

    I want to complete a PhD for me, that's about it. I may want to teach one day at a small school, but it's it more for personal achievement - not money.

    Give the thread a little more info, I am sure the good people here will help all they can.

  3. buckwheat3

    buckwheat3 Master of the Obvious

    Let's face it, ther is a strong allure in many of us too have Ph.D somewhere in a resume, so strong in fact many of us would wade waist deep in alligators just to drain the swamp!
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that you've shown up on a few threads asking about DL PhD programs in History and/or DL MA programs in History. As a BA in History with an MBA in Entreneurship, allow me to give you some advice. Do what you love, the money will follow. Simply put, yes, as an history major back in the 1980s, I remember all those dire warnings that history professorships would be difficult to find as well as more than a few false promises since then to the effect that things would soon be getting better for prospective history profs. If I were you, I'd go for it but have a Plan B. Find some hobby of yours that can be turned into a business and do it. Also, take at least a few entrepreneurship classes, maybe even an entire MBA in Entrepreneurship. That way, you can still have a way to support yourself even if your PhD becomes just nice-looking wallpaper.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2005
  5. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Basically, unless you are required to have a PhD for a particular job you want, then there is no need to do one.

    If you just want one for the heck of it, that's another thing, but realize the time, money, and effort usually doesn't result in a higher paycheck. In fact, you may even have less money overall than you would have if you didn't do a PhD and stayed in the workforce. (I'm referring to a full time on-campus PhD student that takes 4 years to do a PhD.)
  6. salami89

    salami89 New Member

    I wonder whether a certain Mac University will award PhD in Hamburgerology or Flipping Burgers now that could be a profitable enterprise and franchise round the world especially in the Far East where the appetite for burgers are increasing compared to that of local delicacies.
  7. Tireman4

    Tireman4 member

    I agree with Mr Heiks. You gotta love it. I am getting the PhD in history because I want it. It will not bring me millions. In fact, I am on track to graduate from UofH in the spring of 2008 and I will bet you... I will still be working at NASA. I just want to finish the dream. I love history so much that I will go to school right after work and drain myself for three hours discussing anything pertaining to history. The goosebumps still are there when I discuss my dissertation and when they are not, then it is time to go. Even if I never use my PhD, I will be happy that I have it. No one has to call me doctor( I would rather they didnt). It is my research, not anyone else's. The statistics are just downright depressing for PhD's in history. Go to and it will tell you how bad it is . Thank goodness it is still affordable for me to pay off each semester. To sum it up, if I get a full time gig teaching history, that would be great. If it doesn't happen, I still have my health, my research, my PhD and my running. I can die happy.
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I entered my Ph.D. program for personal reasons. I completed the degree for personal reasons. But when I went looking for a job, I more than doubled my UoP salary, largely because of the Ph.D.

    I suspect it is hard for us to see how the degree will alter our professional lives until we earn it. This is particularly true for people who would use the degree to enhance an ongoing career, instead of using it to enter one. For most of us, our successes were driven by our professional job performance, not our degrees.

    As for being called "doctor," I discourage it for my workmates. But they do it once in a while anyway, teasing. But I can tell that there's a sprinkling of respect tucked into that teasing, and not grudging respect, either.
  9. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I agree with all of this. If I took a part-time job and worked only the hours I've spent on academics then I'd almost certainly make more than I would by having a PhD. This is why I continue to look to the South African programs, I can't justify spending all that much money when I know it will probably never come back to me in terms of salary increases.
  10. obecve

    obecve New Member

    First, I think the academic doc has to be about more than employment. It has to be much more personal than that. However, in many cases it will have a pay off. In my own case it has advanced my salary more than $25,000 per year. However, I will also tell you that the salary would not have been nearly enough to arrive at completion of the degree. It is just to hard and takes too much if there is not something internal driving the quest.

    Second it can be done for much less than $50,000. Obviously some of the dissertation only docs cost less. However, it might also be of value to look at local universities to see if part time local options exist. My doc cost just a little over $10,000 and much of that was covered in dean's tuition waivers. However, it meant driving 90 miles one way after work two nights a week. In some semesters it meant weekend college instead fo night class. It meant late nights at the library, late nights at home, and missing some things with my family. It also meant having great family support. Many state colleges and universities will have options that are not advertised, but can be neogtiated internally. Another way to think about it would be to do a Doc in college teaching rather than a doc in history. This would combine subject matter expertise and university education classes. Distance is great, but expensive, but local options (within 100 miles) might also give you some viable choices.
  11. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    True enough. You've got to do it for love. But that doesn't mean one shouldn't do it for money (or at least try to get some sort of financial return therefrom), as money will be required to pay off all those student loans and support onesself (unless, of course, one is wealthy enough not to have to work, in which case one ought to, of course, stay in grad school for the rest of one's life).
  12. bo79

    bo79 New Member

    I am interested in practicing IP law in Canada. I will be writing the Canadian patent and trademark bar exam to become a registered patent and trademark agent.

    I don't really have much interest in teaching so I don't think that's a route I will ever take. But never say never. Once I pass both the patent and trademark bar exam. I would like to practice IP law and work as in house counsel for a major corporations in Canada or join a Bay Street law firm. Also IP consulting is something that I have thought about getting into. So that is why I would like a law related PhD.
  13. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    If you are not interested in practicing law, rather than doing research or working in academia, it sounds as though a J.D. degree, rather than a Ph.D. in law, may best meet your needs. With a J.D., you will have the standard professional degree for practicing law, rather than a research degree that you may not use.

    As for me, since I work as a full-time administrator for one university and as part-time faculty for another, the doctorate has allowed me to meet both personal and professional goals.

    Tony Piña
    Administrator, Northeastern Illinois University
    B.A., Ed.M. Brigham Young University
    Ed.D. La Sierra University
  14. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    Nosborne: Help!
    Can you sit for a Canadian bar exam w/o a J.D.?

    I can say this much, Bo, even were you to be able to do so, it's unlikely that such a theoretical program as the PhD would properly prepare you for the bar. The PhD is pretty much an academic research qualification, you'd learn about research methodologies and stats and the like and you'd learn at least something about the law from a theoretical point-of-view, but it would be so different from a J.D., like two different planets.

    You need the foundations of law, including torts and crim law and con law and remedies and civ pro and the like. Unless unbeknownst to me, Canadian law is more like Euro non-UK and isn't common law based, I don't even know. Even if it is, though and the PhD would enable you to sit for the Bar, you'd still be better served by studying the things that are learned in a Canadian JD program.
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    An education is always "worth it."
  16. bo79

    bo79 New Member

    I never said I want to sit for the Canadian bar exam. I said I want to sit for the Canadian patent and trademark bar exam. Two completely different exams. You can site for the patent or trademark bar exam in Canada if you have a law degree from a common law country or a hard science degree such as in engineering or chemistry. I already hold a UK LLB.

    Also the only Canadian law school that awards the JD to its student is University of Toronto. The rest of Canadian law schools award an LLB.

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