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Age of the PhD Student

  1. Aug 4, 2014 #1
    Hello Everyone :)

    I would like to ask about the age of the normal PhD student.

    Is it too late to begin the PhD at 30 ?

    I would like to apply for a position in nanoscience. Is it difficult to get such position with the age of 30 ?

    What is the more important, the age or the grades of the master study ?

    I have heard that the professors would critically care about the age of the applicants. Applicant's chance of getting such a position with 30 years old is minimized, isn't ?

    I am going to apply in one month but i would like to inform myself about such issue before i have applied, would someone please help and tell my ?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    30 years old is unusually old for a phd. But it is NOT unheard of. I am in grad school (physics) and there's a man in my year who turned 30 his first year in the program.

    This is purely anecdotal, but should serve to show you that it's not so bad as to be impossible.

    Good luck!
  4. Aug 5, 2014 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    The situation may vary from one country to another. In the US, your age by itself should not be a barrier to entering a Ph.D. program. However, if your age means that that it has been a long time since you finished your bachelor's degree and you therefore might have forgotten much of what you studied, then that might be a factor. You should have good letters of recommendation that address your current abilities, and do well on the Graduate Record Examination in physics (which is usually required in the US).
  5. Aug 5, 2014 #4


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    Science Advisor
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    The age itself not the issue. Admissions committees will generally not factor the age of applicants into a decision.

    The concern is a practical one on your part. Most people in their thirties are at the stage of life where they are focused on settling down and starting a family and so the decision to be a graduate student on a very limited income and long, intense hours of study and research, becomes less of a personal choice and more of a family one. If these aren't issues for you, then you shouldn't really have any obstacles.
  6. Aug 5, 2014 #5


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    Education Advisor

    I'm going to be facing this issue in a couple years myself. I started college at 26. I'm turning 28 in about 3 weeks and starting my third year of college in about 2 weeks. I'll be 30 during my first year of grad school.

    I was concerned about my age being a factor, and I did a lot of research into the issue. What I've overwhelmingly found is exactly what has already been stated in this thread. The age itself isn't necessarily a factor that is going to be considered in an application.

    There are some circumstantial concerns though. They want students who are devoting themselves to their PhD. Students who have a settled down family life already may be a bit less desirable because they already have a lot of responsibilities. Personally, this isn't an issue for me. I'm a single guy with no kids, and absolutely no qualms about picking up and moving across the country on a whim.
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