Why did you do your PhD?


Following on from other threads, I think it would be interesting to know why people are doing or did a PhD. Please answer by picking the response you most agree with and expand with comments, if you wish.


I ticked "Because I want to be a researcher/academic" but it was only about 70% that - 30% was passion for the topic. (I would have said 60/40 but the extra 10% is just loving doing research, so I suppose that's part of the researcher/academic thing...)


After I finished my masters my supervisor offered me the chance to do a funded PhD so I took it. With hindsight, I should have looked more into what this would entail and how I would not have any life for the next four/five years!


I picked "Mainly because it was funded and I was unemployed". I had hoped it would see me through the recession but three years on it doesn't look like it!

Avatar for sneaks

well, I was unemployed, and the offer of funding was great. In my field, where you can be an academic or a practioner in the 'real world' the academic community holds a lot of sway and there are tight networks - if you're in on that then finding a job in the practioner field is easier, as you know the right people. So at the time it was the best offer I had in terms of developing a network of people I could work with (although I did actually turn down a better paid practitioner job to do it). BUT, overall I love research, I've never thought 'I want to be an academic' until recently though. I didn't think I could cut it tbh, but now I can see why I was drawn to it.

I also love working at home ;-)


I can tolerate most research if I'm allowed to do it on my own terms (work where and when I want).

I love research when I'm allowed to study my own research interests.

I love working from home and dread ever having to go back to 9 to 5 but hate the thought of short term research contracts and moving around every year or so. :-(


I wanted to change field within engineering and when you apply they say "do you have experience in this field" and I used to have to say "no, because you won't give me a job in it", whereas I will be able to say "yes, I have PhD in it..."


Well I only started it because I had (and still have a passion for my topic).
I am working FT and I really love my job, I am paying for my PhD (so no university funding) and because my job* gives me an allowance for my studies, I have to work with them for the next 10 years (so, no change in my career).

So, as eveyone can understand, the only reason I am in this is my passion......

*I am a teacher in Greece, employed by the Ministry of education and religuous affaires


I started my first go at a PhD (full-time, science) because I wanted to become a university lecturer. I had to leave that one after progressive neurological disease struck.

Nearly a decade later I started my second go at a PhD (part-time, humanities) because I loved my subject, and wanted to research it. I was very scared to try another PhD though. I'd grieved very painfully for my lost one and was scared of failing to succeed again. But I got through.

I can't work due to the illness, but am doing independent research as I can, and enjoying turning my research into more journal papers and outputs. Having a completed PhD gives me confidence to carry on as an independent academic research, albeit a bit free-wheeling from institutions.


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Quote From BilboBaggins:
I'd grieved very painfully for my lost one and was scared of failing to succeed again.

Stop right there! Very unfortunately for you seriously poor health kicked in and made it very difficult, if not impossible, for you to carry on at that time. I greatly admire you for picking up the reigns of a different beast at a later date and going the distance under such circumstances. I was very pleased to read your post in another thread about your recent publications and love your get up and go attitude. I groan and moan about not getting to study my research interests but I've got good health, am funded and quite honestly am very fortunate. Not quite as fortunate as those who got funding to research their interests ;-)

You get a thumbs up from me(up)


My reasons:

- I can work from home when not in the laboratory
- I can work when it suits me
- I enjoy being my own boss
- Factoring in taxes and NI contributions, my stipend allows me a higher standard of living than my friends in graduate level jobs

Mostly it comes down the the money though. My PhD is in Chemical Engineering (in the UK).


I ummed and ahhed about doing clinical psychology or a PhD. I did an MSc (put me off research!) worked as an assistant psychologis (put me off clinical!) worked as a teaching assisstant (made me think being an academic would be yay!) so I applied for a PhD.


A PhD is research :-) but are you just using it as a means to end? The way to an academic career?


I chose the first answer (researcher/academic) because that's why I did it in the first place. As soon as I realised that an academic career really wasn't for me (somewhere during my first year) I did it because I had a passion and thought it would be useful for a career.

Saying that, it hadn't proved all that useful. It's only my current job that I'm actually finally using my skills...


Hi DanB, It's good to know your PhD proved to be useful...eventually!(up)