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Do you get paid for doing a PhD in physics?

  1. Mar 14, 2015 #1
    I'm wondering weather it would be a good idea for me do do a PhD in Cosmology after my masters degree I plan to do in Physics. Although one of my friends said there may be a cost of around £3000 per year to do this. However, another friend said PhD's are funded and pay £16,000 per year. Which one is right?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    Most places will pay you while studying towards the PhD. I would avoid any school where you need to cough up some cash to get a degree in science. In the humanities in the US, it is more common for people to get the PhD. This is a problem right now. You have people with huge debt from getting degrees in humanities or arts or social sciences with very poor job prospects in academia.
     
  4. Mar 14, 2015 #3
    Thank you. Also, I'm curious to know why the Universities fund you. What do they get out of funding you and where do they get the money from?
     
  5. Mar 14, 2015 #4

    jtbell

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    In the US, you work as either a teaching assistant (introductory labs or recitations), or as a research assistant for your Ph.D. supervisor or his research group. Usually you start out as a teaching assistant while you're doing your own coursework, then when you line up a supervisor and start your research, you switch to being a research assistant.

    Teaching assistant salaries generally come from the departmental budget; research assistant salaries come from the professor's or group's research grant.
     
  6. Mar 14, 2015 #5

    Quantum Defect

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    The government pays for the education, either directly or indirectly. Post WWII, governments bet that investment in research would return rewards that outweighed the costs. The returns would come in the way of technology that would help industry be competitive as well as a scientific workforce that would continue to produce new knowledge/technology. For the graduate student, the government is betting that long-term, an investment in your education will be worth it to them in the long-run, in the discoveries that you make and the taxes that you pay, as a reasonably well-paid stem worker.
     
  7. Mar 14, 2015 #6
    Thank you jtbell and quantum defect. I understand now.
     
  8. Mar 18, 2015 #7

    f95toli

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    Also, at least in experimental physics much (in some cases most) of the "hands on work" in the lab is done by PhD students (often with the help of one or more post-docs) which is why having PhD students is crucial to get any work done. They are also much cheaper than senior researchers.
    If you think of an experimental physic group as a small company (which it is to some extent) the PhD students would be the "regular" employees, the post-docs would be the foremen and the senior researchers would be the senior engineers who leads and supervises the work; this goes all the way up to the professor who is the head of the group who would be the CEO (if he/she is the head of a big group they hardly ever do any actual work in the lab).
     
  9. Mar 18, 2015 #8

    jtbell

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    I think some people would say that "serfs" is a better analogy. :biggrin:
     
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