Hi all, I was just wondering if any of you is starting a PhD without funding and how you plan to cover expenses. I do not know about the results of all scholarships i applied for, and if they are unsuccessful I don't know what I should do.
Do you think it's worth to ask a loan or spend so much from your own pocket? Is it possible to combine part time work with PhD studies...? Thanks you so much!
It depends on the academic field. I've never met anyone self-fund a science PhD as the time commitments are not amenable/flexible enough for part time work on top and the cost of equipment/reagents means that it's just not possible to pay your own way.
The other question you should ask yourself is 'Is it wise to do a PhD without a scholarship?' You need to have a very honest understanding of the job prospects in your field and whether it is worth the financial and time sacrifices to pursue a qualification which might not enhance your job prospects. Get some good advice on this that is relevant to your field. Be very clear about where you hope to be in a few years time and whether or not the PhD will genuinely help you get there.
If you do self fund, then doing the PhD part time while working would probably be the best way to go. There are some people on here who do this and would be able to give you an insight into the challenges of that.
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Self-funded part-time PhDs are incredibly common in the humanities in the UK, where there is very little funding. Often people fit these in alongside full-time or nearly full-time jobs. But they are not generally aiming for academic careers, but more doing the PhD for self reward. Some will go on to tutor part-time, for example evening classes or the OU. But few would go on to be full-time salaried academics. So the equation of whether it's worth it financially is a bit different.
I was originally a science student, full-time and funded by EPSRC. I had to leave that due to falling seriously ill. Years later, after two humanities degrees, I started a part-time humanities PhD. Initially I was self-funded, and expected to self-fund for the duration. But in my first year I applied for AHRC funding and won it, so I was funded for the remainder. AHRC are an unusual funding council because they will fund part-time students, which is still relatively rare in the sciences.
Science perspective here but a former boss of mine reckoned that 'funding begets funding'. This comment came about when I was applying for funding for an MSc and expressed the view that I could self fund if need be, but he was adamant that as well as being financially helpful, the MSc funding would look good on my CV and increase my chances for subsequent applications.
I do of course recognise that funding availability is hugely variable between fields and in some fields obtaining it may feel like 'luck of the draw'. I have no idea whether, in a field where self funding is common, there is any distinction made at latter stages as to whether people have self funded their PhDs or not. But in practical terms, one has to think very very carefully before embarking on a 3-4 year unpaid apprenticeship for a rare job. In the current economic climate it is hard to justify that decision as being a good career move. By all means do an unfunded PhD if you have the money and enthusiasm, but don't assume that you will ever recoup the financial losses or that it will necessarily lead to an academic career (latter point applies to funded PhDs too).
Hi Strawberrygirl, my comments were based on what I have observed in many many other self funding part time humanities student, I don't think that self funding makes anyone less employable in academia. However my experience is that part time self funded students are much less likely to aim to work in academia, full-time. Each case is different, but for mature self funding students who may already have a secure full time job the goals are different from new starters. This isn't because they can't get the jobs, but more because they don't seek them, alongside their existing life situations.
Hi all, I have been offered a self-funding PhD place at a UK uni and have until end of this month to decide whether or not to accept. I currently work full-time and think I will have to continue to work full-time if I do the PhD (it's English Lit related). Is it possible to do a PhD and work full-time?
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I am self funding - because I know there would have been no funding form my subject, and I work full time, but in a school so it is full time during the term (plus 5 extra weeks), but I can plan my major stuff for the 'holidays' which works well, and do other things during term time, but I have taken the part time PhD route. I think it would be hard/ almost impossible for me to do both full time as I do want a bit of a life outside study even if it is only trying to keep the garden under control.
I have to agree with Screamingaddabs - there is no way on Earth I would consider doing a PhD full time AND a full-time job! There just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. Also, when would you ever be able to attend conferences/seminars/meetings with supervisors? I'm sure the odd person has done it, but I imagine they are very few and far between and would have chosen to do it differently if they could!
For me, the only option would be to work part-time and do the PhD part-time, as I don't see how else you would manage. My PhD hours were basically the same as a full-time job, so approx 35-40 hours a week. If you add in a full-time job that's 70-80 hours a week every week, and there is no way I could have coped with that for 4 years.
The only other possibility would be to work full-time and do the PhD part-time, but to be honest even this would be a struggle, and probably still mean working around 60 hours a week. Definitely less pressured than a full-time PhD though, and a very motivated person might manage better than I would!
Getting a loan to pay for the PhD is a risky strategy - this assumes you will earn enough in the future to pay it back. For me, this would add too much pressure. Also - is this even possible? It would be a massive amount of money - for example my PhD was fully funded and I got approx £16500 each year to live on. You could probably cope with less though, say £12000 (this is what I got during my masters), so that's still £36,000 for 3 years. Then there are uni fees - for me this was approx £3500 a year (but in the UK these will soon be up to £9000 a year). So even at the very lowest of my estimates, a 3 year PhD (and lots of people take 4!) would cost £46,500!! Can't imagine many banks would have lent me that when I was a student, they probably wouldn't now and I'm working full-time!
So in summary, the options for me would be (in order of preference!):
1) PhD full-time with funding
2) Part-time job, part-time PhD (and really cutting back on lifestyle to afford this - move back in with parents?)
3) Full-time job and forget the PhD
4) Full-time job and part-time PhD
Smoobles you are very lucky,
I am self funded and work full time and have a toddler at home. It is possible and it is worth it. Some areas of research come with no money, so you buckle down and get on with it or walk away. It is the true test to the validity or hard work
Wow, I knew someone would come along and prove me wrong Giblet ;-) You must be amazingly motivated to juggle all of that!!
Yes, I was lucky to get a fully funded PhD, but I am in the sciences where I believe it is more common as you simply couldn't manage to buy all the equipment, lab space etc that is necessary if you were self-funded.
For me, the sacrifices involved in working and doing a PhD full-time would be too great as I have an active and busy life outside of uni/work that I wouldn't have wanted to give up, possibly because I just didn't love my topic enough - I liked it, but was happy to step away from it in the evenings and at weekends and forget about it for a while. Obviously it is possible to do everything at once, but you have to be sure of your dedication before starting as that is the only thing that will get you through. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for those who do manage it all, but for me personally I would have to question whether the effort was worth it, and on balance I would probably have said no.
OP - if unsuccessful I'd get as much feedback as you can, and if the feedback is about things you could improve eg not your past academic record but your proposal or something, then I'd be inclined to take a year out and reapply.
One thing I don't think anyone's mentioned yet but that really messed up a couple of friends who self-funded p/t PhDs was the inability to get a job that pays well enough to cover surviving and the tuition fees. Particularly with the economy how it is, it's not a given if you're not already in a decent job. NMW jobs are survivable of course but fees and any fieldwork costs on top were the downfall for them.
I was going to say that even full-time work alongside part-time PhD would be very very difficult to sustain over the 5 or 6 years needed. I was a history PhD student the second time around, and knew a lot of people, like me, studying part-time. Generally they had to reduce their full-time hours, for example taking a day out for the part-time PhD every single week. It is extremely difficult to put the work in week after week otherwise. It can be done in evenings and at weekends, but it is very tiring and takes its toll.
Of course it may be different for an English literature student. History PhD students generally have to spend time physically in an archive or working through archival material via some other means, perhaps via digital copies consulted at home. That amount of research time is very time consuming. An English literature student may have different time requirements.
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