How to Know if a PhD is the Right Choice for You


As a career coach at a top research university, it's no surprise that I come across master's students interested in pursuing a PhD. Earning a doctorate is an accomplishment to be proud of; it challenges you, satisfies your intellectual curiosity about a specific subject, allows you to study and address the world's most pressing problems, and it certainly brings prestige.

Going after a doctoral degree, however, is also a huge commitment in terms of time and money: According to the Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2017 report, it could take between five and fifteen years to complete the degree, and depending on your area of study, you may graduate with significant debt. Though on average those with PhDs earn higher salaries than those with masters or bachelors degrees, it takes dedication, stamina and patience to get to that point. Considering that 50 percent of students leave before completing their doctoral studies, you may want to ask yourself the following questions to determine if a PhD is the right choice for you.

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