Thoughts on doing a Phd as a hobby/alternatives

posted
23-Jun-19, 19:30
by Bronin
Avatar for Bronin
posted about 4 months ago
I'm in my 50s and am toying with doing a Phd part-time. I realistically don't so much prospect of turning this into a 'career' - I would be in mid/late 50s by time I complete. Main reason for doing so would be enjoyment of studying. At the same time I don't necessarily have a topic that stands out as wanting to be done.

Interested in any thoughts on those doing PhDs as to whether they think the structure and discipline of doing a Phd with a tangible output/goal is beneficial, or if I should perhaps stick to trying to engage myself in just reading more stuff!
posted
26-Jun-19, 10:25
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for Nesrine87
posted about 4 months ago
Hi there, sorry to see you haven't had any responses yet. Hopefully you find my reply useful. I'm speaking from a Humanities perspectives by the way.

I think it's great that you're interested in learning and reading. I'm not sure whether a PhD is the right path for you to go down, however. One of the core aims of gaining the PhD is to make an original contribution to scholarship and to get to the stage where one understands what this is in a given field requires substantial work and focus.

Also, you need a high level of determination to actually finish a PhD thesis and, if you're more interested in general learning, you might not be motivated to keep going with such a large piece of work (usually 80-100,000 words in my experience).

It might be more interesting for you to do a Master's or even Undergrad degree where the focus is more on learning about new subjects and reading around a topic. Good luck :)
posted
26-Jun-19, 16:22
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for kenziebob
posted about 4 months ago
I agree with Nesrine. Another thing is that a PhD thesis tends to be a detailed exploration of one tiny thing - you might do a PhD in biology (for example) but your actual time will be spent on one specific tiny part of biology. If you're not even a bit passionate about that thing it might become very boring quite quickly! I know someone who shares the same passion for learning as you and they essentially make their own courses for themselves, even writing essays for fun! If you want to share this learning with others you could always find forums, local groups and so on...
posted
26-Jun-19, 18:37
Avatar for timefortea
posted about 4 months ago
I don't see anything wrong in studying for a PhD without wanting to turn it into a career. I know someone who did exactly that - he had already retired and it gave him something tangible to work towards as well as opening up opportunities for giving talks and workshops on a voluntary basis after graduation. Do you have an idea of what you would want to research?
posted
28-Jun-19, 20:45
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 months ago
A masters or undergrad degree will restrict you to exploring a small number of subjects and the enjoyment of that can be ruined or diminished by the necessity to pass exams every few months.

A PhD is a great way to get the intellectual freedom you want providing you can control the pressure to publish. It will also give you the structure and the focus which you appear to want.

You also want to do the PhD for the right reasons IMO.

It seems a perfect match for you and your age is completely irrelevant.
posted
28-Jun-19, 23:24
edited about 20 seconds later
by Bronin
Avatar for Bronin
posted about 4 months ago
Hi, thanks all for the replies! Yes - a main reason for thinking a phd might be a good option is the structure and focus that it brings. But I agree I have to find the right topic. I already have masters degree in two completely different subjects, and can't decide even which subject I would want to focus on... I have 3-4 years to chew things over.. so hopefully it will all become clearer..

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