Is a PhD Worth it?

If you’re passionate about a certain subject and eager to learn more about it and gain expertise in the subject, then yes, a PhD is definitely worth it. A PhD involves delving deep into a subject  and researching aspects of it for yourself and arriving at new areas of study or answering questions hitherto unanswered. It teaches you valuable questioning and analytical skills and is a good addition to your qualifications. 

However, many people argue that despite the many positive attributes of PhD holders, a PhD is not entirely a very important degree to consider acquiring. In the present day and age, there are various other opportunities and fields with which you can build up your resume and portfolio without having to waste a precious few years on another degree. 

While both sides may have a valid point, at the end of the day it narrows down to what you want for yourself, and what sort of career you are prepared for. Here are some reasons why a PhD is and is not a good idea. 

Why you shouldn’t do a PhD:

  1. PhDs don’t usually help you make money. They are expensive and time consuming degrees that do not guarantee a well-paid career. A graduate with a PhD could make just as much money as a master’s graduate. There are no higher salaries offered to people just because they have a PhD. Infact, some places may offer PhD graduates even less than master’s graduates.
  2. It is a lot of hard work. Doctoral programs involve intensive focus on research into the subject and dedicated work on your thesis projects. Many times, you may have to publish more than one research paper in order to boost your credentials, but the results don’t always turn out the way you want them to. Not all your research projects necessarily end up being successful and popular.
  3. It doesn’t give you the higher level of experience that industry work does. PhD holders may happen to be more qualified and knowledgeable in their particular field of study, but when it comes to work experience, they often lag behind. No matter how long your PhD takes to complete, it can often be lesser in value compared to on-field industrial experience. Therefore, a PhD might not necessarily give you any advantage in the job market. Employers typically look for employees who know how to work in an organization and not usually someone with in-depth subject knowledge.
  4. It doesn’t really teach you anything new. Although a PhD is the highest degree level you can get to, and graduates usually hold extensive and in-depth knowledge, the syllabus and material in a PhD may not cover anything totally new that you wouldn’t have already heard of in a master’s or bachelor’s program. Since it is a more research-oriented degree, you would be expected to do your own reading, research, and figure out a lot of things by yourself.

Why you should consider a PhD:

  1. The research and learning process is rather exciting. That is, if you really love the subject, of course. PhD students often have the freedom and liberty to choose their own topics and research methods under the guidance of a mentor. There is more room to explore and delve deeper into the subject, ask more questions and draw your own research- and study-based conclusions.
  2. It teaches you valuable analytical and research skills. Doctoral programs are great to learn how to question things and find answers. They teach you how to follow a scientific questioning method and extract facts and findings. This is a valuable skill that could come in handy in your work life.
  3. It is true that a doctoral degree would open extra job opportunities for you. Whether a PhD attracts better pay or not can vary from place to place, but it is certain that a PhD does get you a wider career choice range. It helps you get into several good academic positions that allow you to share your knowledge with others and promote more intellectual discussions on the topics you love.
  4. It gives you expertise in the subject. There is no doubt that PhD graduates tend to be more well-versed and knowledgeable about the subject matter of their research. Doctoral degrees help you understand concepts thoroughly enough to be able to explain and even teach them, form your own theories and opinions on topics, and then defend your views with proper evidence and facts.   

It is important to remember that although a PhD may not be essential for the professional field, it is a valuable degree nonetheless because of the knowledge, skill sets, and exposure it gives students. So if you’re ready for a lot of hard work and dedicated research because you want to follow your passion, then a doctoral degree may be the next step for you.

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