Hear hear, I'm with you, Olivia.
There are definite advantages to starting a PhD young, not least of which is energy level and less interruptions from life.
There are also, as you mentioned, great advantages to having some life experience under one's belt before embarking on a task as complex as a doctorate or masters.
i started at age 30 and hope to be finished just before i turn 34.
i find it amazing that some people start a PhD at age 21. i started uni at age 20, that was the normal age to start university, after spending age 16-20 in "high school" or college or whatever you want to call it. starting a PhD at age 21 would have meant starting it just one year into a bachelor's degree. the educational systems from one country to the next are so different that it's near nonsensical to compare. so, to the OP: the ideal age to start a PhD depends not just on your personal circumstances, but also on the educational system of your country.
do you think 25-29, starting a professional career is normal? like i havent worked before, im not ageist and admire people and have lots of friends who've worked and then went on to phd.
However, I haven't really worked, so 25-29, working on a profession i.e. with a phd to become a lecturer. my relatives think, omg, are you still in college, your just lazy and don't want to work? (its really discourging when you know you're working nearly 24-7 studying) I've done supervision in a secondary school for the year, but not teaching.
Started at 30, will be finished at 34 (change of field/2nd BA previously).
"...while for non-science academics a PhD is often the pinacle of one's research work" (previous page) - God help us, I hope not! I think this was more the case 15 years ago or so, but it's certainly not the recommended way to look at it these days. I've always been advised to consider the PhD as a sort of apprenticeship piece rather than as the magnum opus. (In fact I think the analogy to medieval guilds comes from GR Elton, who was kicking around quite a few decades ago now.)
But if OUP wanted to publish it, I wouldn't say no!
Starting at 21 isn't so unusual. I know lots of people who did. I was 18 when I went to university (normal in my part of the UK) and started a PhD immediately after finishing my Bachelors degree. But then I became seriously ill and had to leave. Second time around I was 31 on starting.
I was 26 when I started - somewhere in the middle. Did A-levels, then a one-year foundation course, then a four-year degree (Scottish Master's), then two years working, then a one-year Master's, then straight into a PhD. I am older than the median age in my cohort, but somehow got there without having ever spent very much time outside of education...
I collected my Bachelors degree at 21, nearly 22, and my professional doctorate ( JD) at 24, nearly 25. That was four years for the first degree and three years for the second. That was plenty of education for awhile. Now with the PhD, I do think if I was younger I would not be bringing into it what I am now--but I would of course bring something different...I have a good work ethic and the ability to focus and work hard no matter if I **feel** like it or not, which is a plus. I have some real life experience with issues related to my topic, and I think that is all fine. The PhD I am doing now would look nothing like a PhD I would have done in my twenties. That said, there is no reason its not valid to do at any age. Having worked, I value the education again, and the learning, in a way that I did not when I was younger.
Well I am much older than you lot, but then this is really my third, maybe fourth, career change. I worked for several years in a research position (science)where the qualifications were via the associations own progression scheme, and PhDs didn't come into it, highest qualification was fellowship which I obtained, and a lot of other training in and adapting of cutting edge technology to my particualr field (nowadays that work would have been suitable for writing up for a PhD, but then it was just done and I never even thought of doing that).
Then I changed tack entirely and studied arts and crafts, later I taught adults (IT)whilst also working in a school (back to science), and I'm still there and doing my research part-time. I'm not looking to further my career which is quite busy enough, thank you! However I hope my research will run in parallel and actually be listened to by those who are making changes without thinking about the possible results.
One of the infuriating aspects about starting a PhD later in life (and something you are not told when you start, in case you decide not to do it resulting in a loss of income for the university) is that if you want a job in academia when you finish it you will most likely be disappointed. In the UK there is a definite age bias against employing recent PhDs who are over, say, 36. At least, this is the case with certain humanities subjects, like English.
Perhaps,in certain cases, if you have been lucky enough to have been published in more than 4 high quality journals and presented papers at several conferences, one being an international one,then you may get a job if no one younger is available.
Age discrimination should not be tolerated--whether directed at mature students or students of non-maturity ( not immaturity!). Its wrong. It has nothing to do with the quality of work that a student produces or their academic potential.
As I said, the attitude in the US is so different than that in the UK--I know plenty of people successfully starting academic careers as mature people.
When ( or if, even in a slight way) reference gets made to my age in the future, I am going to call that remark or comment on to the table to be addressed very specifically. I realize that this is not the UK way of doing things--but then again, I am not British! =) so why should I put up with this? I won't.
Until or unless this gets challenged directly the UK's really miserable attitude will continue.
Orian you are scaring me! I'll be 37 when I finish my PhD (Humanities) and I sure hope I'll get a job after 4 grueling years!I started at 33 and am about to embark on my second year (I did the first year part-time) and no-one has ever even suggested that finding a job in academia at 37 would be difficult - then again as you say maybe they were worried they wouldn't get my hard-earned cash!
I'd love to know if you have stats/inside knowledge on this...
My dear researchers,
Its all up 2 the employer whom he/she would like 2 hire. If the employer finds hiring some non-matured 20 something doctorate just 2 save operating cost, no 1 can question that!!I reckon matured, experienced doctorate even though could perform better; it costs much higher than the 20 something lot. Thus, the ball falls in the employer what does he/she expects from his employee and how much does d management willing to spend. 2 b frankly univ should realise that and shd ensure some sort of experience gained by these non-matured 20 something lot! Anyway, who cares, lets complete our research. When d time comes,lets face it with thrill.
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