A PhD is a great option for anyone who wishes to add another qualification to their CV and focus their studies in the area that most interests them. But is a PhD the right choice for you, and what benefits can even further higher level study bring?
What Qualifications Do I Need?
In order to be accepted onto a PhD at most universities in the UK, you will need to already have a first or upper second class degree in a relevant subject, although some institutions will accept a lower second class degree. Whatever the class of your first degree, if you have a masters qualification, you will almost certainly be accepted onto a PhD course. However, if you do not have these qualifications, it does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to access a research degree, simply that you will need to be considered as a special case. If you have a degree that was issued overseas, you will need to show that your qualification is equal to a British degree, and if you have a professional qualification that is not a degree, you must present a case showing that your practical experience is equivalent to a university qualification.
Where Should I Do A PhD?
Most UK universities offer PhDs in a range of fields, but the main consideration is whether you wish to study close to home or further afield. Staying close to home has many benefits as you can continue to work part time while you study. Most PhDs only require very occasional visits into the university itself, so it is possible to take a course at some distance from home and travel in as and when required. Alternatively, you could move closer to the institution in order to immerse yourself more fully in the social side of the university and to feel more connected to the student community. Your eventual choice may depend on your personal and family circumstances. It is important to choose the right institution for you by talking to other students and professors, learning about the department in which you intend to study, studying university rankings, and finding out about the social scene if that interests you.
Why Should I Do A PhD?
Many people undertake a PhD in order to improve their qualification set and prove their abilities. In some fields, a doctorate is a great advantage. However, the main reasons for completing a research degree is for the love of knowledge and to add a significant achievement as a string to your bow. If you have a natural yearning for knowledge and in depth study of a subject that you are passionate about, a PhD is right for you.
When Should I Take A PhD?
Although some people go straight on to do a PhD after completing a degree or masters qualification, it often makes sense to go out into the workplace for a few years in order to experience the world of working life before returning to study. Completing a PhD can be expensive and it can be difficult to obtain funding, so this period of work can allow enough time to save up some funds to pay for the course. This period outside of education also helps you to focus and decide which PhD is the right one for you. You can hone down your interests and find the subject that you truly love to study.
How Long Does It Take To Get A PhD?
The length of time it takes to complete a PhD depends on whether you are studying full time or part time. The majority of full-time PhDs take three years to complete with a thesis submitted at the end of the first year. There are however some courses that take four years. If you intend to do your PhD part time, you can take between five and six years to complete your study.