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PhD stipends are a rip off!


I guess I am writing from two positions

1) That it is possible to say all the right things, hang in there and see your thesis to the bitter end, and do the million and one "extras" requested of you and still end up worse off than when I first graduated.

2) The stipends we get, while being better than nothing granted, are still ridiculously underappreciative of the work we do (either for our supervisors, or for our universities) considering the responsibilities and demands placed on us. While I accept we do this out of "choice" you have to concede its often a forced "choice". And often not informed choice. Sometimes I feel I gave my participants for my project much more information on the ethics form about their role in the study, than my supervisor gave me.

PhD stipends are a rip off!

Throughout this whole thread, my intention was to point out that most of us roll over and accept SO MUCH without questioning it, while we are studying for our PhD. If I had heard a similar comment a few months ago, I would have replied in the same way as many of you had (being ungrateful, being paid to study, its an apprenticeship, buck up etc).

I would have probably felt threatened, and I would have had a vested interest in believing the academic line, and rhetoric about it being passionate about my subject and it being necessary to suffer. Its only after I finished I questioned it.

my supervisor drives me insane

My supervisor was the master of being able to subtly compare you with another PhD student, in a way that would imply that you were lacking. He was also fluent in euphamisms about time so when he said "I will see you tommorow to explain something", he meant tommorow as in next Thursday (if he remembered).

PhD stipends are a rip off!


I feel especially sad because the whole time I was writing up I kept convincing myself to keep going because "It would be worth it at the end". My supervisor told me about the fellowships and lecturer jobs I would be eligible for and I believed him.

But then he was deep sixed a few months ago in a departmental takeover (which I realise is par for the course), and his replacement has done a fantatistic job discrediting him (and thus consigning my reference to Hades). At the time I reasoned I would sit my viva, do my corrections and I would be okay. How stupid was I?

PhD stipends are a rip off!

Believe me XJR working at a supermarket looks likely.

My original point about "being ripped off" was about PhDs being compared to other doctorates, which I still think unfair.

I have tried applying for jobs outside academia. NHS jobs doing research are something I have tried before, but will keep trying for.

As for being ungrateful, I secured funding competing against others, and I went through a hell of a lot more than some of the people on graduate trainee schemes that graduated with me. At the time I justified it with the dream of working in a subject I loved (and still love), learning about it, teaching and researching it.

I honestly thought that working hard, and just getting along with others would be okay. I should have spent more time kissing up to my head of department and stepping over the back of the postdoc in the next room.

I guess this is the last part of my academic training.

PhD stipends are a rip off!

But I have (And please feel free to jump in and tell me where I am going wrong here)

I have:

- A first class degree in Psychology from UCL.
- Took 4 years from starting to finishing my PhD viva
- Published 7 journal publications (high to moderate impact factors being 1st Author on 3 of them, second on rest)
- Won scholarships to attend 3 conferences/symposia in Europe and the USA, and met most of the influential people (their response: "We have our own people already with us, sorry".)
- Peer reviewed for two journals (in my name, about 4 if you count on behalf of my supervisor).
- Supervised 5 MSc Forensic psychology projects (for which I got no thanks).

I mean, am I am being lazy, or not doing something that I should be. I havent earned any money since my stipend ran out,and am surviving sponging off my gf (which makes me feel great)

I went to a temp agency today to find some work, any work, and they told me I could work at a hospital laundry for £5.95 an hour.


I would agree with those above that say "Do you LOVE your subject enough to stick with it for over 3 years"

but I would also add.

"Do you reckon you can handle inter departmental backbiting and politics?"
"Of having no social life and increased threat of divorce/being single because of your antisocial working hours?" (3rd divorce in our team this year. Whoo Hoo!)
"Being paid barely more than graduate entry wage when you are in your thirties"
"Being forced onto the "publish or perish" treadmill, regardless of whether you think your study is finished?"
"Spending life on a series of short term contracts, with your professional career being dictated to by what is favourable in your field at the time?"

Other than that, Go for it!

PhD stipends are a rip off!

My PhD is in psychology in a fairly related area to my gfs, but whereas its fairly easy for her to find work, its considerably harder for me. Couple that with the postdoc hoop jumping and life on short term contracts, with no guarantee of a stable lectureship job its looking increasingly like a bad deal for me.

I am not going to start with the whole academic political power plays and stuff.

Sorry to be on a downer, and I realise that people have it worse off than me, its just that I am one of the ones that is starting to question the whole concept of working towards "academia" with such a bad pay off.

PhD stipends are a rip off!

Hello everyone, sorry to be ranting on my first post....

Has anyone else wondered why PhD stipends (£12,000 per year)are so low compared to other doctoral-level salaries? My girlfriend is doing the clinical psychology doctorate (DClinPsy) and I was amazed to discover that the salary is double that, for far better conditions (9-5 hours, plenty of support, and she gets a much less burdensome research project) and STILL get the perks of no council tax, student discounts etc. And this isnt an isolated phenomenon. My best mate who is doing an Engineering doctorate (EngD) is on £20 k a year and does far less work than I did for my PhD.

I started to question why hasn't anyone made a fuss about this sooner? We PhD students get paid far less than either of the above two groups or other professional doctorate holders, and this disparity gets worse after we graduate.

Surely if we are all doing doctorates, then we should all be getting similar money? Or am I missing something?