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To PhD or not to Phd? Prospects after just an MS? - (Oct/04/2011 )

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Magic Mouse on Wed Oct 5 20:28:08 2011 said:

Thanks, but did they do PhD in Biomedical Sciences or other fields at that late age? Can u tell me anything else about their career profile, as in what did they do upuntill their PhD? why did they do it so late etc?

one had a masters in chemistry, worked for the navy for 20 years and went back to school for a PhD in biology. afterwards became a professor in another university.

one was a holocaust survivor who went back to school for a PhD in her late 50's or early 60's. I don't know what happened to her after i left the school.

there were a few where i am now who obtained their PhDs later in life and are successful researchers. they were already working in the labs here.

some couldn't afford to go for it after completing undergraduate school, some raised families before going back, some decided later that they wanted more.


age should not be a reason in your decision - know some people who decided to do their PhD later in life who are successful researchers now.

I am not familiar with the US system, but if you did your PhD here in Austria your previous research experience and publications could greatly enhance the time needed for your PhD. In my field (biology) an average PhD takes you 3-4 years - but with some luck (getting publications quickly) and a lot of hard work you can be even faster (know people who did a great PhD in two and a half years time, however we have a mandatory masters degree to be admitted to PhD which also takes approx. 2 years).

As you have been working in the lab for quite some time you will have an advantage - you are used to the (often frustrating) lab work - which in my experience costs a lot of people an awful lot of time: when they lose their motivation and avoid the lab for long times when things do not work as they want them to. Many of these are - in my experience - too proud to talk to their supervisors about their problems as they think they are supposed to solve all problems alone.

As far as I have seen with our students those who decide to do their degrees later are usually much quicker because they know what they want to reach and are much more focussed than the first-hand students.

But: From my experience in Industry you will get the same job with a good qualification and a Masters Degree than you will with a PhD. Only if you want to become the head of a research group you will need a PhD, for most other jobs a good qualification will be enough. But this might get tougher during the next years as we are producing too many PhDs and they take over the jobs which are usually for somebody with a masters degree.....

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