Pros and cons of doing a PhD?


I want to do a PhD and before jumping in, I wanted to check with fellow men and women who are already doing a PhD. What do you like and dislike about pursuing a PhD? Would love to hear about your experiences.


I love: being able to really delve into a subject I am passionate about, spending my days doing something I feel is worthwhile. I also really enjoy the 'perks' such as being able to work from home a lot of the time (this obviously depends on subject) and traveling to conferences etc.

Dislikes: Departmental politics, impostor syndrome (seems to be getting worse as time goes on!), working with people who have never been out of academia (a lot of my peers have gone school - BSc, MSc, PhD). The focus on funding/publications/REF and a lot of the time it seems like the academics are rushed off their feet doing work they only half believe in because it will look good on the REF.

Overall I am actually pretty happy, but there are downsides like there are with any job.


Off the top of my head, some pros and cons (just my opinion of course)...

+ ideally - you are free to do what you want to do and pursue what you want, how you want, while also learning new skills and acquiring more knowledge - with appropriate level of guidance from more experienced person (supervisor)
+ ideally - flexible, free, working from home etc - accountable to yourself
+ get to attend conferences, write papers etc - very rewarding

- can be tough financially
- can be an isolating experience, and things like imposters' syndrome can happen especially when things go wrong as they do from time to time in research
- a lot of the pros depend on your supervisors and/or the quality of your relationship with them; things can be very tricky if you don't get on well with your supervisors for whatever reason - I imagine that supervisory issues is the biggest reason for drop out, so pick your supervisors well and you are more than half way there already


Congratulations on your decision to do a Ph.D. Like every other thing, Ph.D. studies also comes with numerous challenges. The challenges may vary depending on the type of research field. But the overall pros and cons remain the same. Long hours of work, along with no or nonexistent social life, is a part of the Ph.D. program. The prerequisites of a Ph.D. is patience; It is a virtue which is required in every step of your work, from enrolling into the program to getting your research paper published.

Positive virtues of the Ph.D. program can research your passion and find answers to questions, and it also helps to produce something fruitful to the community. It is really a feeling of a sense of achievement to see your name printed in research articles along with other stalwarts in your field.

Negative virtues include extended timelines for all your work. Sometimes things just don’t work out as you expect them to be, financially it is a huge burden: personally as well as professionally. There is an increased pressure to publish ‘n’ number of papers to establish yourself. Delay in establishing yourself with a well-paying job as your peers would be already earning and settled.

Having a great supervisor certainly helps to make your life as a Ph.D. student easier. If your supervisor is not great support, then even mundane tasks can seem overwhelming, but if he is excellent support, then the hardest of the issues can be solved without any hassle.
All the best! Choose your supervisor wisely.