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About to start a PhD

  1. Oct 21, 2012 #1

    I'm about to start a PhD and I know I want to do it because I really enjoy studying science, plus I'm gonna stay in the school where I did got MSc, so I know the lab and know the people who work there and I know that if I work well I can publish quite bit and I know the research is interesting. So it's basically my ideal PhD program (except maybe for the fact that I might've liked going elsewhere since I've been at my school for 5 years). I don't really know what you can do with a PhD besides going for an academic career. Not that I wouldn't like that, but I'm really not sure and I'd like to have more possibilities. I just chose to get a doctorate because it seems like something I'd enjoy (and I'd like to see how reasearch in science really works), not because of what comes later. Can any of you more experienced science guys tell me about life after a becoming a doctor? Do you think an academic career is the only path I could possibly undertake?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2012 #2


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    First of all, good luck on your choice. Now, with a PhD in a technical domain (engineering, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology) you don't have too many options, that's obvious. You can't apply for a job as a book editor, columnist for a gazette or a legal counsellor.
    One of the options would be industry, where, to a be a well paid specialist, you really needn't be a doctor in science. It helps, but it't not a must. You may very well be a software programmer without having spent 3/4 extra years studying, normally the knowledge you acquire in first phase of university studies (along with your personal dedication to developing software) should suffice, if you're really talented and inventive with programme codes. PhD is definitely a requirement for a researcher/university professor career. It's not mandatory in other fields, AFAIK.
  4. Oct 21, 2012 #3
    I don't expect to do anything that's not technical anyway, that's not really what I meant :D

    Well I'm doing a PhD in chemistry, and as far as I know chemical and pharma industry do take doctors for R&D (and a PhD is a must), if you specialise more in bio/orga/inorganic. However, I'm gonna work on theoretical and computational chemistry and more specifically not in biophysics or biological simulations (which are usually useful in industry), but in quantum chemistry and the development of methods for calculating excited states of molecules and nuclear motion. Way I see it the skills I'm gonna work on are 1- physical chemistry and physics, 2- computer programing (since we implement new methods), 3-math and numerical math. I know that a few people who did what I'm gonna do have gonne into finance, apparently cuz all of the math and computer skills they learned (that kinda surprised me), I also know a few who were basically hired to manage mainframes and supercomputers.
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