PhD age limit?

posted
25-May-15, 17:25
edited about 27 seconds later
by lude
Avatar for lude
posted about 4 years ago
Just a quick question...is this a new, emerging trend for phd positions:

The advertisement says "Age Limit: 26"

Looks like such options are off limits for people like me who were unable to land a place within 1 or 2 years of graduating Masters. Anyone else noticed something like this popping up in other places?
posted
25-May-15, 17:37
Avatar for AislingB
posted about 4 years ago
I don't think they are allowed to do that in the UK. You can't discriminate against people on the basis of age. I'm surprised they are allowed to do it in France.
posted
25-May-15, 17:40
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 4 years ago
They are allowed to do in the UK. The recent proposed MSc and PhD loans have cut offs of 30. And I've seen that when applying for funding from charities as well.
posted
25-May-15, 17:44
edited about 26 seconds later
by lude
Avatar for lude
posted about 4 years ago
Well, that...sucks...
posted
25-May-15, 19:30
edited about 37 seconds later
by RinaL
Avatar for RinaL
posted about 4 years ago
Common in Austria for the phD programs (28-30 years depending on university). They only allow older applicants if you have a good explanation for studying at "that old age". Kids and caring for sick people count, I doubt that my "studied the wrong thing and worked for 10 years" would be sufficient ;).

Its really sad - the programs are looking for the streamlined students. Those, who didn't derail from the given path. Honestly, I doubt that its the best thing that they are doing, but I understand it at least. Its easier to measure and compare students when they are more or less equal at their current state of life.

If you would find true excellence by doing that - well I leave that open to discussion.

But, to be honest - age discrimination doesn't end with phD programs. Looking at my life (female, probably 38 when finishing the phD with 1-2 kids) I am absolutly sure that a career in academia is nothing that I ever could achieve. I was well aware of that in the beginning and it won't change anything - but I am truly sad because I think I could bring a lot of life experience and fresh ideas to the table. But thats not what the universities are looking for..
posted
25-May-15, 23:38
edited about 25 minutes later
Avatar for KeaneFan
posted about 4 years ago
I am a lawyer by training and, whilst I haven't the time to research this, their right to do this depends on circumstances. If it is advertised as a 'job' - it would not be legal in UK in 'most circumstances'. A loan is a bit different perhaps. They would have to have good legal grounds for discriminating. It's not an automatic right to do so. Many of our discrimination laws come from the EU, so France would be similar. True they might have grounds to so ...

Even so, dubious waters. Issue is - like any one is going to pay good money to take them to court, even if their right to do this could be dubious and challenged. Too much expense for a private party to sue someone on the off chance it's not legal.

Treeoflife is probably right about certain 'funding schemes' but if it was employment such as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or something of that nature, definitely not OK (someone above 26 just as capable of paid teaching and entitled to earn income from it). If someone has put money in trust for funding for the benefit of 'those under 26' OK to discriminate. Depends on circumstances

A woman in her early 40s got funding when I was doing my masters - it can be done. Shame she abandoned PhD.

RinaL. I know a man who started his BA in criminology aged 32 and has just finished PhD aged 42. He has got a lecturership at former poly after self-funding. A colleague went off sick when he was doing a few hours work. He filled in and took over her job. He was in prison in 20s and went to university on release.
posted
26-May-15, 11:17
by Mark_B
« Moderator »
Avatar for Mark_B
posted about 4 years ago
Re. the under-30 limit for the UK loans - the Government is justifying the cap on the basis that under 30s apparently face the greatest financial barriers when considering further study. They've released evidence and rationale for this, which may be of interest:
posted
26-May-15, 13:15
Avatar for Moonblue
posted about 4 years ago
Quote
But, to be honest - age discrimination doesn't end with phD programs. Looking at my life (female, probably 38 when finishing the phD with 1-2 kids) I am absolutly sure that a career in academia is nothing that I ever could achieve. I was well aware of that in the beginning and it won't change anything - but I am truly sad because I think I could bring a lot of life experience and fresh ideas to the table. But thats not what the universities are looking for..


Don't write off a career in academia just yet, Rina. I was 40 when I started my PhD (fully funded) and I never expected to actually go on to work in academia. I have now finished the PhD and am working at the same university and thoroughly enjoying it. It is possible but probably harder when you're older - which, as you say, is a shame because you've got so much life experience to offer at that age. A lot probably depends on the field you're working in. It doesn't seem that unusual in my field, most of the academics in my Department/Faculty seem to be middle-aged women!
posted
26-May-15, 20:50
Avatar for KimWipes
posted about 4 years ago
I was reading a book on MBA programs and it was said that that average age for MBA students has gone from mid 35+ in 1990s to around 27 in recent years. Can you imagine how much of business experience a 27 year old would bring to the table? The higher educational institutes would like to hire younger student because it is easier and more cost-effective for them to shape the student the way they want. They younger they are the less challenge the university faces and they can make more money out of the younger one. This is sad that the experience you bring to the table has no value any more to the universities.
posted
29-May-15, 13:19
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Mark_B:
Re. the under-30 limit for the UK loans - the Government is justifying the cap on the basis that under 30s apparently face the greatest financial barriers when considering further study. They've released evidence and rationale for this, which may be of interest:


To be cynical, they also have most of their working lives ahead of them when they complete their PhDs (worst case, finish at 35), meaning the government is going to recover more money from the student later on before they approach retirement age.

Ian

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