Should I quit funded PhD


======= Date Modified 10 Jul 2012 19:31:51 =======
Hi all,
I am currently doing an AHRC funded collaborative PhD with a university and a museum and I have been thinking about leaving to enter the job market. I never intended to do a PhD, I was hoping for a career in museums and I saw the PhD advertised, applied, and was offered funding. After speaking to a couple of people in the museums sector, they recommended that I take the PhD as a way to 'ride out' the recession. However, I'm now a year in and I've become quite disillusioned with the experience. I think this stems from the fact that although a PhD may help a career in museums it is certainly not necessary and I don't really want to enter the already over-saturated academic sector.

I have been thinking about leaving but I don't want to let the university or the museum down. They worked quite hard to secure funding for this project and I don't want to have leave them 'in the lurch' so to speak or sever any ties.

I've been thinking that perhaps I need to just buckle down and get on with finishing the PhD as quickly as possible, but I don't know whether it is worth missing out on the two years work experience I could be gaining if i quit now.

Has anybody else in this sector quit a PhD? Can anyone offer any advice or tell me about their own experiences and whether or not it affected their chances in the job market afterwards? Likewise I would love to hear from people that have had a positive PhD experience and successfully entered the job market afterwards.

Thanks so much for any advice you all can give I've got myself quite stressed out with deciding.


I never read these posts as my answer is always the same. Unless you have a job lined up don't quit.


I totally agree with Larry David - don't quit unless you have a job to go to.


======= Date Modified 10 Jul 2012 20:11:20 =======
I think that leaving after a year is a good time to go as you've not wasted too long on the PhD. Of course I agree with the other posters that you shouldn't leave until you've got another job. Yes, you may be letting the museum/university down, but they should have also tested your motivation to want to do the PhD in the first place. My impression is that there was not an awful lot of motivation on your part to do a PhD in the first place, but maybe I'm wrong. A PhD is not simply like a normal job, for most people it involves considerable effort and sacrifice and shouldn't be entered into lightly. I know some people find the whole process terribly easy, and that's great for them, but for most of us, it ain't that easy. And frankly, from my experience, you won't find out just how difficult it can be until you start writing up. The first year is easy really be comparison. You've only wasted one year of your life on it so far.... why waste more if it's not what you want to do? Sacrifices of doing a PhD appear to be: greater chance of experiencing ill health; putting life on hold in various ways; poor salary; lack of jobs at the end in most disciplines. I'm not dismissing that it can be a wonderful experience for some people, but the personal sacrifice is certainly greater in continuing the PhD, than the inconvenience to the university in losing its funding.


Agree with LarryDavid and Delta - don't quit until you've got a job to go to. Leaving after a year is better than staying on, losing motivation and leaving after 2 or even 3 years of study.