Second Phd vs Postdoc


======= Date Modified 25 Aug 2012 23:27:07 =======


Hi Cmml100,

As far as I know, it is pretty much unheard of to do two PhDs. The point of the PhD isn't really so much about your subject of research, but the fact that you're doing research in itself. It's a mark of being able to do independent, academically sound research. Therefore, even if you went into another, completely different, field, you wouldn't do another PhD. The fact that the area you want to move into is overlapping with your current work is even more reason for you not to entertain this idea. Yes, you'd have to get to grips with the new area - the knowledge, the research methods, and so so - but you wouldn't have to learn how to do research over again.

I'd suggest looking for a postdoc in this...

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

I've seen posts from people on here who know of someone who's done a second PhD in a different subject area, but not back-to-back in an overlapping area. There was a girl years back on Krypton Factor who admitted she was doing a second PhD straight after completing her first. I know this happens in Germany sometimes (the so-called Doctor Doctor people).

For me, you've got your PhD and shouldn't you be looking at doing post-doc if you want to develop your skills in a certain direction. I do admit that post-docs are harder to come by now due to funding issues, however, aren't you stopping someone else getting their chance?

There was similar on here a while back and he was basically told the same.


======= Date Modified 27 Oct 2012 17:09:14 =======


Surely, when you've gone through the post-doc level you could become a lecturer then you would be able to do what you want, on the condition that you could get funding for it.

Some post-docs are more specifically goal directed than others, mine for example has some scope for doing what I want, it also has quite a small budget through, so i'm a bit hamstrung by that.

Furthermore, if you want to do what you want, then why not try getting together your own post-doc grant proposal. I'm sure your current supervisor would happily help out if you have some worthwhile ideas.


I've occasionally heard of people with two PhDs but they have been in totally different fields. Even then it's pretty rare.

To be honest, your reasons seem a bit self indulgent. Basically you're reluctant to take on the structure and responsibilities of a more senior position. But in doing so you would be depriving someone else the opportunity to have that PhD funding who needs it to progress with their career.

You might also wish to consider that doing a second PhD may be detrimental to your career - what do you hope to do when you finish? Do you think your employment prospects will be enhanced by two PhDs? A PhD is an apprenticeship where you learn the ropes of research. A post doc is a position where you demonstrate your maturity and independence as a researcher. Reluctance to transition to the latter might not be looked upon positively.

Yes, some post docs are tied to a specific project, but it's equally possible to write your own proposal and apply for a fellowship. I would suggest that would be your best course of action if you want to direct your own research themes.


======= Date Modified 27 Oct 2012 17:08:59 =======


I've advised against doing this before, because I'd be concerned that doing a second PhD would be viewed extremely negatively by future employers. Very very negatively, and they'd grill you quite extensively about why you'd done it.

I have heard of people doing this, but it is usually because they now work in a completely different field. For example I know someone with a PhD in Russian History who is considering doing a PhD in computer science, which is what they work in now research-wise.

But if your field is close to your last one, and overlapping in anyway, definite no-no IMHO.

Get a post-doc instead. Or think outside the box.


Oh and funding would be a big concern. If you have received funding from a research council before you are very unlikely to receive it a second time. And I'd be very sceptical about your chances of getting any sort of funding, up against people going for a PhD the first time.

If you're considering self-funding it's a different scenario, and an expensive investment for you.


======= Date Modified 27 Oct 2012 17:08:45 =======

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

Quote From cmml100:

so there is no chance of maintaining my current lifestyle or a sideways move?

As others have said, you're unlikely to get funding. If you do, it's up to you, however, you're simply storing up problems for your future career (unless you can conceal one of your PhDs as a Research Assistant post).

I understand the professional student mentality, in that some find the student life a little too comfortable to give up. But at PhD level with the stresses that many face, I'm surprised you find yourself so at ease.

All good things must come to an end and it would be easier to end this now rather than 3 or 4 years hence after a second bite of the cherry. Also think of the place you're denying another potential candidate. Don't you feel just a smidgen selfish?

For me, post-doc was initially a blessed relief once the PhD was out of the way (at my PhD Uni. rather than the second Uni. - problems commented upon elsewhere).


======= Date Modified 25 Aug 2012 23:27:45 =======

Quote From Mackem_Beefy:

But at PhD level with the stresses that many face, I'm surprised you find yourself so at ease.