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As a mature part-time student, what are the chances of getting a PhD?

The award of a PhD as the result of several years as a doctoral student is seen as the pinnacle of academic competence. For those of you preparing to embark on the intellectually most significant academic journey of tackling a part-time PhD you need to be aware of your chances of success. It is a step into the unknown; a commitment to anything from five to eight years or more.

For many of you this is the ultimate rite of passage to an academic career and acclamation by your peers. Yet, of all programmes of study at a UK university, you may not be aware of the chances of completing that journey at your chosen university or department. You are making this decision in relative ignorance of the possible outcome. This is in stark contrast to the information and data tables available for the well-oiled undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes.

So, as a minimum you need to be clear on the following:-
1. What is the completion rate for mature part-time doctoral students at your chosen institution. Note: the average completion rate across the UK for post 30-year-old students is around 70% compared to over 90% for younger and full-time students.
2. What provision does your graduate school make for the non-traditional research student. For example, time and location of training sessions or academic forums.
3. How many hours of support can you expect to receive from your maim supervisor, do they have a good track record or seeing students through to completion.

For the last two years I have been examining the plight of the mature part-time doctoral student.
If you want to know more about this research and how it may inform your own actions have a look at my three paper on the matter here… https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter-Block/research
Or, on Academia Edu here… https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.35513.75368/1

I did not embark on my doctoral programme of study to complain or challenge the learning environment. I joined the research community with some excitement. What emerged is clear; doctoral schools and supervisors let down the part-time working postgraduate. I am not the only one to reach this conclusion.

I successfully completed my PhD. I now want to ensure those who follow me have a more rewarding experience. I’m happy to hear from anyone who wants to know more.

Question for those who have done independent research

Any research that involves human subjects requires ethical sign off if your want to publish in a peer reviewed journal . Even if you have informed consent from adults.

However, if they agree to be interviewed and you follow ethical guidelines you ca post to open access platforms with a clear conscious.


PhD Supervisor Problems with 2 months to go

Hello all,

It may be of small comfort but some of us are trying to change this often toxic environment.

I am conducting a pilot study into the lived experience of the doctoral student. It is based on an earlier study from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). I'm happy to share the paper.

This is a call to all on this thread to please look at my questionnaire https://forms.gle/y2D6oTYFchuqZTha9 and do complete it!

All answers are in confidence - my work is compliant with the ethical standard of academic research in the UK.

I will be crafting a position paper over the next two months, with an expectation for it to be be published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

More funds are needed for this work but we need to get the attention of the Department of Education.
They are aware of this issue.

Waffle - I have spent some time guiding early career researchers - even though I only got my doctorate in 2020 - it was towards the end of my working career. If I can assist with a One2one session happy to do so.

I abhor my PhD environment

Hello Qas,

I do sympathise with you situation. It does need managing and you need time to step back and reflect on the matter. Right now I am conducing some research into the disenfranchised. I have been in the academic world for some time. It wont help you right now but if you would be willing to complete my research questionnaire https://forms.gle/y2D6oTYFchuqZTha9

I would be happy to have a one2one session with you.

All in complete confidence as my work complies with the required ethical standards of academic research.