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Programs Theoretically , how long would it take to get 5 PHD's

  1. Jul 1, 2012 #1
    i know it would be a big waste of time, and money... but theoretically say i got my bachelor's, my masters, and i got a ph'd... and then i decided to go for more phd's in a wide range of subject.... just to learn knew knowledge

    how many years would it take to obtain 5 phd's...

    would it be even possible for someone to do it...

    do you think YOU, if you took the time to study, had the money, could YOU personally get 5 phd's if you wanted to
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2012 #2
    You can do it if you have the time. But why? Do you really need 5 PhD's? Most likely not, and if you do get that many you will likely be overqualified for every position you apply for.

    A PhD Does not represent a mastery of the knowledge of the subject. It represents the ability to do research on your own, and find significant meaningful results. Once you can do this the idea of getting another PhD seems pointless as you can simply master it on your own.
  4. Jul 1, 2012 #3
    i know... i was just, asking theoretically..

    MathWarrior, do you think if you had the time and money, could you obtain 5 phd's? i mean if you really tried and wanted that
  5. Jul 1, 2012 #4
  6. Jul 1, 2012 #5
    so if you really wanted to... you could, but its a waste of time...

    then why are there people that have like 3,4,5 phd's.. and stuff.. is it just cause they want to feel superior or bragging rights, it just seems like waste
  7. Jul 1, 2012 #6
    I had a professor who was taught by a guy with 3 PhDs. I would think the most obvious answer as to why someone would have this many is because they simply have not much else to do. Plus, many fields are closely related, so its not that hard to consider getting a dual bachelors, masters and PhD. Then going back and doing it again with 2 other subjects.
  8. Jul 1, 2012 #7


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    Hey catdogking and welcome to the forums.

    For most people, one PhD is more than enough due to the intensity, dedication and perseverence needed to expend energy on one particular goal in the midst of all the emotional, psychological, and other issues that need to be dealt with.

    The motivation for getting one PhD is a very rare thing, and I imagine the motivation for getting any more than 1 let alone five, is something even rarer.

    The other aspects besides intellectual motivation relates to motivations that indirectly or directly relate to financial and monetary means.

    Unless you are a Rene Descartes (Rene Descartes used his inherited wealth to fund his endeavors so he didn't have to worry about working or worrying about supporting himself), then you will have to figure out the trade-off for not having an income to allow you to do other things, whether they be start a family, look for a house/apartment, pick up hobbies that require money, travel, and so on.

    I would also hazard a guess that there are lots of professional people out there that probably have the equivalent of a few PhD's with their experience depending on the fields they work in and who they work in.

    Things that come to mind include people like Von Neumann who worked in a lot of areas. It's important to realize that he came into contact with a lot of different people, of which many of them were very well respected experts in a particular area: people like Einstein, Turing, Feynmann, Hilbert, amongst many others.

    When you put people like this together, you get atom bombs and computers: literally.
  9. Jul 1, 2012 #8
    its just...... for instance would someone that has a bachelor, 2 masters, and 4 phd's be one of the smartest men in the world? this is just an example.. i guess im just trying to find out the use of getting a phd's...

    just to make your seem smarter or something idk

    i want to find out why people would stress themselves to get more ph'ds
  10. Jul 1, 2012 #9
    Not necessarily, one could imagine someone getting 2 PhD's finding they dislike their job after say 30 years and going back for a new set of PhD's in a different subject they are more interested in.

    The use of a PhD is to teach you how to do independent research in your field of study and produce results. Beyond that its entirely dependent on the person, would they have a use for another PhD? Maybe, maybe not, what do they intend to do.

    A PhD does not necessarily indicate intelligence either, someone with one PhD can easily produce more significant results then someone with 5.
  11. Jul 1, 2012 #10


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    Smartness doesn't imply intellect or wisdom.

    You need to define what you mean by smart though. Smart doesn't mean knowing a lot of stuff or even having a lot of analytic ability in my opinion.

    Part of being smart to me is knowing how to see something from a viewpoint other than your own as well as to know when to shutup when you clearly have no idea about something, and let someone who does do their job.

    Being really smart means having insight: in other words it means seeing how all the short-term behaviours and interactions contributes to events very long down the road.

    It also means knowing how to use knowledge wisely and not for the sole benefit of any isolated group of people.

    Lots of people are eternal students that are really smart who observe the world, question the world, and are able to relate to all kinds of people in all circumstances, and are always willing to learn and subsequently put themselves in a position to learn throughout their life.

    A lot of this is non-academic and even though it may have a translation to some academic endeavor, it is usually not necessary for this to take place.

    A lot of these people don't have a lot of formal recognized education, but the important characteristic about these kind of people is that they are willing to learn, and they are willing to continue to learn, observe, and teach others for a great majority of their lives.

    Their life is a semi-structured research experience, just like the PhD's with the exception that the recognition is a little different and often un-announced.
  12. Jul 1, 2012 #11
    so in essnece.... someone that would go for 5 phd's.. would just be "degree chasing" or.. wants to appear to be intelligent... for more egotistical reasons
  13. Jul 1, 2012 #12
    You could easily argue that this makes them look stupid. :smile:
  14. Jul 1, 2012 #13
    thanks everyone for there imput

    i guess the only reason people would waste all that money and time on 5 phd's for bragging rights and to make them feel superior...lol
  15. Jul 2, 2012 #14
    I've never even heard of someone having 5 PhDs. I don't think any of my professors have had more than one.
  16. Jul 2, 2012 #15


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    You may want to make sure you're not confusing earned PhDs with honourary PhDs. Universities will often award them in the latter case to people who've not actually completed the requirements for a the PhD, but who have done something significant that the university would like to recognize. For example, Wayne Gretzky was awarded a doctorate of laws from the university of Alberta in 2000. Some people are awarded dozens of such degrees.
  17. Jul 2, 2012 #16
    5 PhDs would be rather impressive if they were in very different fields, e.g., Physics, Philosophy, Politics, Art History and Music Performance......though one would still be tempted to shake their head in wonder :rolleyes:
  18. Jul 2, 2012 #17


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    I don't find having PhDs in the humanities really impressive, the Physics PhD is more impressive than the rest of the subjects you listed.
  19. Jul 2, 2012 #18
    Why not? How different is it to get a PhD in say, art history than in physics?
  20. Jul 2, 2012 #19
    This may seem trivial, but I find people to be impressive, rather than their degree(s). A bright mind is such, regardless of the field they chose to immerse their mind in.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  21. Jul 2, 2012 #20
    I worked with some scientists once and they knew a guy who did 2 PhDs (one at Cambridge then a DPhil at Oxford).

    All of them were underwhelmed and said "it means he couldn't find a job after his doctorate and this was the only way he could get a living in the field".
  22. Jul 2, 2012 #21


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    Different skills set which I value more.
  23. Jul 2, 2012 #22


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    He did his second PhD in the same subject?

    That's a waste of time for him and for Oxford.
  24. Jul 2, 2012 #23


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    No, it's not possible to earn 5 PhDs. Why not? Because no school would let you do that. Almost no schools will even consider admitting you for a second PhD - it means you just spent 4-8 years doing something and you're willing to throw all that work away to work on something else. Why should they waste their time on you, since you'll probably just do it again?
  25. Jul 2, 2012 #24
    Abdul Karim Bangura has 5 phd's

    http://guanin.org/files/Abdul%20Karim%20Bangura.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  26. Jul 2, 2012 #25


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    2 of those are from Columbus University, which is a diploma mill (they are fake).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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