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Getting a PhD while working? Is it doable?

  1. Mar 24, 2009 #1
    Hi I want to get a PhD eventually. My plan is to finish my undergrad and then start working to gather money and then get a Phd. Is getting a PhD a full time thing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2009 #2


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    Are you doing a science PhD because for science PhD you will usually get a stipend to live on.
  4. Mar 25, 2009 #3


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    Basically - yes. It's a full time job. I worked part-time while doing my Ph.D. (on top of TA assignments) and while that was possible, it set me back. I graduated well after others who started at the same time as I did and who did not have part-time jobs.

    Working full time is possible, but it will take even longer for you to finish.
  5. Mar 25, 2009 #4
    Which country are you from?

    In the UK a full-time PhD takes around 3-4 years, and in science are generally funded for around £13k though if students in other circumstances or e.g. with exceptional grades can apply for extra funding in the form of scholarships from other sources. On top of this, you get a small amount of money for tutoring and attending lab sessions etc.

    It's also possible to do a part-time PhD where one may have a 'job' for 3 days a week and PhD for the other 2 (then weekend for 2!) however this will mean completion can take up to 6+ years and it should also be noted that part-time PhD's generally require self-funding so you'd have to pay fees from the money you earn with your day job.
  6. Mar 25, 2009 #5
    Or if you work for a company that reimburses tuition + course fees, you'll essentially be attending for free. It will just be a major time investment.
  7. Mar 25, 2009 #6
    I have two data points.

    Way back when I was a CS grad student, one of the other students worked for a company that was paying his way through the Ph.D. program. However, he was a full-time student, and I think he only worked for them during the summers. He also pretty much set the land speed record for graduating.

    Secondly, my brother-in-law is currently getting an engineering Ph.D. while working for the government. He is still expected to work about half-time while he completes his studies. Time for qualifiers and the like come from his PTO.

    So, it's possible, but it seems to me that the pressures are considerably greater and you have much less personal time than you would otherwise.
  8. Mar 31, 2009 #7
    So basically If I want to get a PhD, I may as well start ASAP after I finish undergrad right?

    Mmm, don´t know if I will be able to afford it anyways. Time to do some more scolarship hunting
  9. Apr 1, 2009 #8
    That's the usual path. Others are possible, but I think it's easiest if you just follow the crowd.

    As for affording it... as j93 mentioned, most Ph.D. programs in the sciences provide a stipend in exchange for some research or teaching duties... money shouldn't really be an issue other than it is typically a *small* stipend...
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