As a mature part-time student, what are the chances of getting a PhD?


The award of a PhD as the result of several years as a doctoral student is seen as the pinnacle of academic competence. For those of you preparing to embark on the intellectually most significant academic journey of tackling a part-time PhD you need to be aware of your chances of success. It is a step into the unknown; a commitment to anything from five to eight years or more.

For many of you this is the ultimate rite of passage to an academic career and acclamation by your peers. Yet, of all programmes of study at a UK university, you may not be aware of the chances of completing that journey at your chosen university or department. You are making this decision in relative ignorance of the possible outcome. This is in stark contrast to the information and data tables available for the well-oiled undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes.

So, as a minimum you need to be clear on the following:-
1. What is the completion rate for mature part-time doctoral students at your chosen institution. Note: the average completion rate across the UK for post 30-year-old students is around 70% compared to over 90% for younger and full-time students.
2. What provision does your graduate school make for the non-traditional research student. For example, time and location of training sessions or academic forums.
3. How many hours of support can you expect to receive from your maim supervisor, do they have a good track record or seeing students through to completion.

For the last two years I have been examining the plight of the mature part-time doctoral student.
If you want to know more about this research and how it may inform your own actions have a look at my three paper on the matter here…
Or, on Academia Edu here…

I did not embark on my doctoral programme of study to complain or challenge the learning environment. I joined the research community with some excitement. What emerged is clear; doctoral schools and supervisors let down the part-time working postgraduate. I am not the only one to reach this conclusion.

I successfully completed my PhD. I now want to ensure those who follow me have a more rewarding experience. I’m happy to hear from anyone who wants to know more.


Congratulations upon completion of your phd.

I am actually curious of the impact of a PhD as a mature person to your career? Does it improve things? Do you get a promotion to a better position with better salary upon completion of the PhD? Of is it just a passion project to satisfy yourself with no impact professionally?