T Nation

Question Regarding Phd and Work


#1

After I get my masters in about 1.5 years, I was considering going for a phd after. It's approximately 90 credit hours, and dissertation at the end. I'm just curious from anyone here if you have experienced working full time 7:30am-4:30pm m-f while still managing to take phd classes?

I don't know if it's better to maybe spend 4 years working full time and taking 1 class every semester even summer time, then the last 2 years taking off from work just to focus solely on the phd. I don't know exactly how hard the classes are in comparison to masters classes, so just asking if anyone has done it, and if so how. Thanks.


#2

I would be very supprised if the school let you get a phd that way… typically you need to be doing a lot of research to earn a phd (Advance the state of the art)… I dont think it would be feasible to do this way…

Unless you want to do research or be a college professor there is no reason to get a phd as it over-qualifies you for most jobs… what are your goals in life? what field? these things would help answer the question.


#3

elementary education. i want to teach at the college level.


#4

It seems a bit of an oxymoron - a PhD in elementary education!


#5

[quote]tribunaldude wrote:
It seems a bit of an oxymoron - a PhD in elementary education![/quote]

You do not need a PhD to teach at the college level per say, but without one you will never get a tenure track position (there are a handful of exceptions, it depends on the field). For a PhD in this field you could certainly achieve this on a part-time basis. If you were interested in a PhD in the sciences I would advise against anything but full-time. I would consult with PhD’s in your area of interest and see what they recommend.

Just my 2.


#6

I’m an electrical engineer and started taking classes for my masters full time after work. My coworker is working on his PHD. He was working full time and just took one class a quarter/semester, and he recently quit that.

He moved down to half time at work and now works half time at work and full time on his PHD. He is done w/ coursework and onto research, but he is definitely a freak of nature. He just had a kid, his wife is pregnant again, and he keeps getting it done. It helps that the only TV he owns is 13", stored in the closet, and only pulled out for one college football game a week. He has a one track mind for the material and is able to stay focused to get it all done w/ the grace he does.

One thing I would recommend is looking for scholarship/stipend opportunities in your area. My coworker got a big scholarship w/ stipend, plus the company pays for some classes, that help offset the financial hit from not working as much. I would do some research to determine what is available in your area.

He did chip away at at it for awhile, then switched over, so I think getting coursework and other stuff other the way while you work, then switch over at the end to work on your dissertation sounds like a decent plan, if you don’t mind doing it for 6 years.


#7

[quote]lifter85 wrote:
After I get my masters in about 1.5 years, I was considering going for a phd after. It’s approximately 90 credit hours, and dissertation at the end. I’m just curious from anyone here if you have experienced working full time 7:30am-4:30pm m-f while still managing to take phd classes?
[/quote]

I worked full time in the evening while I got my doctorate (Mathematics). It was seriously brutal and took almost 7 years. On the plus side, by the time it was all over I had no new debt and had mostly paid off my undergrad loans. That was worth it. Seriously worth it.

[quote]
I don’t know if it’s better to maybe spend 4 years working full time and taking 1 class every semester even summer time, then the last 2 years taking off from work just to focus solely on the phd. I don’t know exactly how hard the classes are in comparison to masters classes, so just asking if anyone has done it, and if so how. Thanks.[/quote]

Depends on the degree. You state elsewhere that your field is elementary education, so it probably isn’t that taxing. :o) Seriously though, you should take a long, hard look at what benefits you will get from having such a degree. In the US, it is unlikely you will be able to do anything but work at a university and if there is a glut in your field you might well be screwed. A fair number of my buddies who went through school with me ended up in exactly that some boat – overqualified for the private sector and only able to get semester or yearly employment teaching shit courses. A lot of them eventually dropped out of the field all together. Nothing like getting a Ph. D. in some abstruse branch of Math. then after 4 years of 9 month appointments (so you coincidentally never quite have full health care) you say “fuck it” and start as an entry level database programmer. This happened to one of my best buddies and I was sure of all of them he’d get a tenure track position, but nope, his speciality in Algebra had zero openings for years and, well, he’d accumulated a wife and kids, so…

Guess I’m saying, being on the other side of it, that a doctorate is overly hyped and not especially useful. Now, if your advisor has hinted at some positions and a career field that is open – say you have some unique spin on something and can parlay that into a real career, consider it. If this is mostly an emotional issue (a lot of people I ran into during graduate school really just wanted to be able to tell people they were working on a doctorate) then it might be a bad career move and huge waste of time.

FWIW I give this advice to aspiring doctoral candidates all the time… I think the US educational system does a disservice to its charges in this way. Universities stay in business by having students and grad students are very useful assistants. I also think most universities ought to can their football teams and just hire them rather than pretend they are part of an academic tradition, but now I’m turning into a curmudgeon.

– jj