I want to do a Phd, but don't know where to start!


Hi Everyone!

I'm hoping you can give me some advice? I am 28 years old and I am currently studying for my Masters in Music Education, I'm due to finish in December. I have ALWAYS wanted to do a Phd and one of my biggest regrets is leaving University after my degree and not continuing on to do my MA sooner. Instead I have gone into instrumental teaching, I am a recorder and piano player and as such I have positions (though not many) in schools and music services in London. I also teach from home. I am also currently a shelver in my University library to keep myself in academia once I graduate and in case I can't do a Phd straight away.

I am however, massively in debt. I have not started to pay off a student loan, I don't earn very much at all in the grand scheme of things and have a loan and overdraft that I am paying off, and have been since I got my degree in 2004. I adore my MA course, it has strengthened my resolve to do a Phd and get into research. After talking to my MA supervisor yesterday however, I have been told that it is very hard to get into research and that these days it is expected that to apply for a post you have to be on your way to finishing a Phd before you are even considered. I am at a quandry, I am getting married in May and have not a lot of money, and although I want a Phd to be a priority for my career I know I cannot afford it straight away.

What shall I do? Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated. I desperately want to do a Phd but I need a career as well, as I could be in serious trouble financially otherwise. The positive side is that a friend of mine is a part time music librarian and is studying part time for a Phd, and perhaps my work in a library can contribute towards that whilst I try and look into the finances of a Phd. :-(


You should talk this over with your partner. Start now - it took me about 3 years to convince my husband it was a realistic proposition;-)

I know that funding in your area is excrutiatingly hard to get but you should look into that option. Assuming you will be self-funding, it sounds lke part-time study and part-time work is the way to go. You should allow 6-8 years for that option and also think very seriously about if/when you want to have children (I had one in the middle) and the time/money consequences and how you will handle that. A supportive partner is essential - but doesn't sound like he's marrying you for your money anyway!