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How much does PhD cost?

  1. Dec 8, 2013 #1
    I'm not planning on doing what I'm about to ask, just curious.

    If you submit a PhD application to a university, and they reject you, do you still have the chance to do it unfunded? If so, on average, how much would that cost? Again I am just curious, I know it is not wise to pay for a PhD...
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    It costs as much as you are willing to pay - depends on the field for instance, and the college, and where it is in the World.

    ... one way to do a PhD unfunded is to work in the field for a while and then submit a body of work for consideration. Most colleges have a schedules of standard fees. I suspect the main issue would be convincing someone to supervise you.
  4. Dec 8, 2013 #3


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    For example, the University of Texas:


    Scroll down to the section Graduate Student Costs.

    However, universities can and do offer admission without funding to some applicants, if they think you're on the borderline as far as your academic qualifications are concerned, or if they have space but not enough funding for everybody to fill those spaces. Way back when I applied to grad schools, one of them offered me admission without funding.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  5. Dec 8, 2013 #4


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    It's important to note here that an "unfunded" PhD is not a guarantee if you're willing to pay for it. This is an option that may be offered if the student is otherwise qualified an well-suited for the position, the department has the resources to take him or her on, but that a guarantee of funding cannot be given.

    Taking on a PhD student is a major undertaking. Supervisors and committee members devote time. The student uses department resources.

    For an order of magnitude estimate, that costs and fees aren't usually all that different from undergrad.
  6. Dec 8, 2013 #5
    If you have to pay for a PhD at a certain school it is absolutely not worth the debt. A PhD in science or engineering should always be free. Look elsewhere if you don't get paid to go to school. You're really going to take on crushing debt for a degree that should be free?
  7. Dec 8, 2013 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    Yah - if they won't pay you something to take the doctoral program then they probably don't think you are worth the risk. They have to think "what's in it for us?" But it could just be that the competition was very tough that year and they only have so many places (but if that's the case, you probably cannot get in at any price).

    It's usually best, if you disagree with them, to continue research privately rather than pay a college to let you join one of their teams. You can pay for access to academic resources, and you can usually attend lectures and so on, if you want to - pay for those.

    If you went to a good college but did not make the cut for their doctoral program, you can take your Masters or Bachelor-hons degree to a lesser college who may fall over themselves to get you ;)
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