Signup date: 30 May 2007 at 9:12pm
Last login: 05 Nov 2008 at 12:55am
Post count: 128
I started my PhD at age 38, part time ( I am 'mature' afterall), plus I work FT and have a family. Hopefully I'll finish by next summer. Theres a fair share of PhD comrades of my vintage in my program; the worst part has been having a teacher younger than myself, but typically there's at least one other person my age or older in my classes. Starting at my age gave me the time and experience to really know what I wanted to do, and the determination to do it, even if my energy is lacking. I could not have seen the big picture if I did things younger, and I wouldn't have been as driven either.
As for the age context...we're all going to hit 40, 50, 60 years at some point, may as well hit it doing the profession or reaching the goals we want. My mentor/boss got her PhD at age 40 with 2 kids about the age of mine, and now 13 years later she just got a multi-million dollar grant and is a well respected, nationally reknown researcher, so I wouldn't worry about age as long as you are advancing to your goals; and there's a lot to be said for the benefit of experience before getting into this phase of your career.Oh, did that come across grumpy,us oldies get that way in the morning
Just had to add a note about the usefulness of a PhD, especially in the context of age...as a senior of 40, having been working as a professional for 18 years with both an undergraduate and Masters,in the health field, I can say the difference of a PhD for me (in the U.S.) is the ability to compete for grants as a P.I., the potential to increase my salary by about 40% (I hit my salary ceiling 5 years ago for my field), and being able to work independently on my research interests within the larger scope of the department. It really depends on your goals; if research is your thing, or academics, its needed to go to the next step; if you're going into industry, you can manage an awful lot with a Master's and creativity/experience.
I'm a doctoral student in Florida. I've gone part time to classes over the last 3 years, 2 classes/semester including summers, and am doing qualifying exams now, hope to start dissertation in October (and finish in June)I've worked full time the entire time, and am married with 2 kids, so if your main focus is school, and maybe some grad assisting or PT job, you'll be in fine shape. Some semesters were worse than others, its a matter of finding the time - often at the expense of other activities - to get the reading and papers done, becoming a master of multi-tasking. Couldn't comment about the hook-ups; but you will be with your cohort through classes, group projects and possibly share work for dissertation and career networks, so keep that in the back of your mind...
There is also a focus group kit, volume 1-6 by Krueger and Morgan
I took a field school with Krueger on focus groups, and he is wonderful, his style of writing matches the clear way he speaks. I'm planning on doing them on my work as well. Good luck.
Same goes for papers, I think; depends on what your work experience is before and during coursework, and your field. I've got quite a few research articles as coauthor/co-PI having worked with my boss for so long - and now starting to get some review articles as first author. I think it just depends on the situation. And again for grades; we also base admission on test scores (GRE), and it depends on institution, college, field and demand. I heard that nursing grad schoolit requires a 3.8 GPA to get in because of the shortage of nursing instructors; I'm pretty sure I just had a 3.5.
I think it depends entirely on the field and institution, and your project, ability for funding and placement as needed. I know some who are working on their dissertation/research for extended periods, many years, and some get it done in 2-3 semesters; lots go ABD (All But Dissertation) I 'm doing it as fast as possible because of having to pay the 6 hours/semester for doing the research, and needing to get back to full hours; I'm trying for a good project that is fundable and laying out the ground work for a post-doc project with bigger funding, but not the top dissertation of all time - which would take much longer, I'll wait till I'm full professor (with full prof pay) to do that!
So another question - do you have to continue paying for credits while your are doing dissertation/PhD? We have to register for a minimum of I think 6 hours/semester (halftime) while doing PhD, a real motivation to get it done! I work FT and have a family, so I've had to cut back my work hours to get through classes - at a halftime rate, only 2 classes per semester - and this cut in pay has been awful,maybe just getting me ready for crappy post-doc pay - but this would be so much harder if I had to do my research over an extended period after the classes.
In my discipline, most of us have been working on an idea for dissertation - all course papers leading up to this point have built on this idea and the qualifying exams really should serve to provide the background for dissertation so by the time you defend your quals, dissertation proposal is essentially good to put into place, and not take too long. Some already have prelimary data for their research they have done throughout coursework. I now have a whole new appreciation for this process!
certainly helps me to read these posts in a new light! Yes, entirely different for both biological and social sciences compared to here; we all go through course work post Masters - number of hours depends on college, and then qualifying exams which again varies per college and institution - for mine my committee writes them and I have 9 weeks to complete them, and then I do an oral defense and then I'm ready for dissertation;others do both oral and written as well, but written could be in the institution over a 2day period with no outside materials and questions can be anything under the sun. format can really vary.
I'm based in the U.S.; its fascinating to hear all the experiences from so many places. So I'm sure I'm understanding, when people here say working on their PhD, or 3rd year - do they mean course work towards, or the actual dissertation research, post-course work? I'm a doctoral student, just finished course work and taking qualifying exams this summer, then onto dissertation in the fall which I'm hoping will be done by next Spring to Summer.
Evidently its much different in the U.S. My manager is also one of my externals (we have 3 internals, 2 externals - varies per college) and what she has told me is that by the time you defend dissertation, all the work is done; defense is a time for you to celebrate your work, any major revisions have to be done prior to this point, otherwise the committee really has not done its job. They also are open to the public. One of our profs got his PhD at Oxford and said it was completely different there, you truley did not know going into the defense if you would come out with your PhD in hand. I'm banking on what she's said, but plan to attend quite a few defenses during the next year to get my own idea.
I had the chance to talk with a professor is my department at work who I knew when he was getting his PhD, and has gave me a lot of information. He was like me, a "mature" doctoral student with a house, family, etc., worked FT during school and could not easily just up and move. He chose no post-doc because he could not afford cut in pay, so he weighed his options, and did find a place willing to offer a full faculty with no post doc but it meant moving. Ultimately he was able to get a post as a visiting professor at work which allowed a better salary, a chance to get funding, and as soon as he did he became full faculty. Never knew that was an option, but he suggested to go for all opportunities and talk with everyone out there to have some options. Feel like I was just handed a key!
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