Sunday, May 20, 2012

A useful re-post about doing a PhD after a Masters degree

From the link:

If you manage to go through your master’s degree without any debt, completing your Ph.D. without any debt will be a piece of cake. You can use the same strategy that you followed for your first graduate degree, but it might be smarter to dedicate yourself to the Ph.D. completely. Most universities offer teaching and research assistantships to doctoral students. These programs offer different levels of compensation, but most of them offer doctoral students a full tuition reimbursement (meaning you won’t have to pay any tuition) and a stipend that ranges between $15,000 and $30,000. In exchange, doctoral students have to teach a number of courses or help university researchers with their investigations 20 hours a week. Make sure that when you reach this level you find a competitive offer, and relocate if you need to. This is the moment for you to apply to major flagship universities – UT Austin, UW Madison, UC Berkley / LA, or Purdue would make good choices. These universities offer the best stipends, but they also require the most labor from their doctoral students. Furthermore, they also require students to take several pre-requisite courses before starting to take credit courses. If you’re not inclined to spending 7 to 10 years working on your Ph.D., you might want to apply to emergent research institutions. These universities have solid reputations and are often on the list of Tier 1 institutions. These institutions sometimes will not force you to take pre-requisite courses if you can demonstrate competency on the required skills.

If you are accepted into one of the doctoral programs with competitive stipends you might need to relocate – do not hesitate. Remember that once you start your studies you will need to regard your doctoral studies as your full time work. You will literally be getting paid to work and study for the university. If you do this, you will spend anywhere between 5 to 10 years working on your doctoral degree. When you finish your doctoral degree you will likely be poor and unemployed, but you will also be part of a group of rising authorities in your field. You will be able to find a job in industry, research, or teaching. Furthermore, you will have gone through an amazing experience for networking and personal, as well as professional, growth.

Also, you’ll be able to call yourself “doctor” and have the ability to brag about how you became an authority in your field without having to spend money.

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