Are you thinking about applying to a PhD program? Are you already a doctoral student? PhD is a huge investment of time and money. So make sure you spend 15 minutes of your time reading this blog devoted to PhD program success and survival tips. I'm confident that these tips can save up to 10 years of your life, up to $1,000,000 of your money, and, most importantly, your physical and emotional health.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wrong Reasons for Getting a PhD

From Deaniel Lemier's blog:
  • I’m building a business as a consultant and a Ph.D. sounds cool. Do not even think about a Ph.D. for this reason. Consultants with a Ph.D. do not, in my experience, earn more money.
  • I already have a job and my current project would make a great Ph.D. thesis. You think so? Very few industrial projects make a good Ph.D. thesis. In fact, it is extremely hard to reconcile industrial interests with Ph.D. work.
  • I would earn more money if I had a Ph.D.: this is false. Earning a Ph.D. means you are using up a lot of your time to make an entry into the academic world. Financially, it might not be a complete disaster, but it is hardly wise.
  • I want to impress my friends. A Ph.D. might impress your friends, but so would earning 1 million dollars by the time you are thirty, or becoming a top lawyer or saving lives in a hospital. Consider that many people who go for the Ph.D. have to go live in cities they wouldn’t have otherwise chosen. There are many ways to impress your friends, but a Ph.D. is probably the worst option.
  • I’m so smart, it is my destiny. Actually, really smart people choose easier paths. If you are down to the Ph.D. path, well, something is a bit wrong with you to begin with. But that’s ok, there are many of us.


  1. Dear Blogger manager,

    Your blog is really a good one i would say.

    I need your advice on my matter.

    I have been academically excellent and due to this reason, I can easily got scholarship.

    I am now on scholarship but I am not interested in this field plus bad supervisor plus bad environment.

    Should I stay because of money? I am not interested in this laboratory.

    Please help me.


  2. Irfan, you have to decide for yourself.

  3. Dear Irfan
    I think a bad supervisor is really pain the a..
    believe me I had a worst on in Canada (in University of Manitoba), I droped my PhD only becuase he was an a..hole
    so I think forget about the whole thing, because a stupid prof. can ruin your whole life, believe in me.

  4. I completely agree with that. I had to change the department because of a very bad supervisor in my 3rd year! and I dont even know if I am doing the right thing by continuing the PhD now.

  5. Maybe the reason for all of your PhD. difficulties are not due to bad advisers and supervisors, but rather a lack of grammatical skill.

  6. my problem is same as of Irfan. I was a good student, actually intelligent till my masters. But now i m the dumbest among all and i am not able to figure out the reason...

  7. "I would earn more money if I had a Ph.D.: this is false. Earning a Ph.D. means you are using up a lot of your time to make an entry into the academic world. Financially, it might not be a complete disaster, but it is hardly wise."

    I find this comment a little off base. A public school teacher in a district close to me could earn substantialy more over the course of a career with a Ph.D.

  8. OMG, I just cannot stop reading this blog :D I am so happy!!

    I am going to finish my PhD only because people keep telling me I shouldn't quit when it's only 10 months to finish. I will "sacrifice" for my family, boyfriend and colleagues, although I don't care about quitting when something doesn't make me happy... But they have a point: "what if I regret in 5 years' time?" Just in case, I am finishing :)

    But I am soooo happy thinking this nightmare will end and I will never again have nothing to do with Academia!!! :D :D Good luck guys, for all of us! Life is only once, and we need to fight to be happy :) Greetings from Spain

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Dear Alexander
    I have this passion of becoming a prof, and i want to complete a phd so That I can become a good one and Basically I want to become better at what I do and learn and understand new things. That is the reason I opted for PhD. But my thought it, you need to be really intelligent to accomplish a Phd? I mean, really smart. Am not really super smart. Am an average person, who just likes to learn. Am I ready for a PhD?

    Thank you.

  11. Hi Alexander,

    I also consider myself to be of average intelligence, but I love to learn and have a passion for learning economics. I also have a sleep disorder that effects cognitive abilities (thinking, memory, writing). I have worked very hard to not let my grades be a reflection. Presently, my disorder is at its worst and it affected my performance last semester. I am seeing sleep doctors and they are confident in a new medicine to help, but I expect to be dealing with this the rest of my life. Even if passion and persistence gets me into grad school, will it be enough to get me through the stress of a PhD. in economics?

  12. I am very happy that you share this aricle with us. Good job!