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A Black man studying hard for his PhD, working on his thesis in the library with his laptop and notepad.

Seven reasons you should study for a PhD

If you’re passionate about academia, dedicated to research, and currently studying for a master’s degree, you’re likely considering your next steps and future career path.

So, prepare for the best lecture of your life as we explore the significance of a PhD and the various reasons you might want to consider applying for one once you’ve aced your master’s course.

What is a PhD?

A PhD — the pinnacle of academic achievement — is an intensive postgraduate programme that entails three to four years of full-time dedication or up to seven years for part-time students.

Typically pursued following a bachelor’s and master’s degree, some institutions may consider applicants with only a master’s qualification — though the majority will require a broader academic foundation.

To complete your PhD, students submit a comprehensive thesis and sit a viva voce examination, where they support and defend their research orally.

What does PhD stand for?

The term “PhD” is derived from the Latin phrase “philosophiae doctor,” which translates to “Doctorate of Philosophy.”

However, it’s important to note that a PhD can be pursued in various subjects, including science, economics, humanities, and art.

The name is a nod to the profound wisdom and knowledge that students amass during their PhD journey, as “philosophiae” signifies a deep “love of wisdom”.

How long is a PhD thesis?

A PhD thesis is typically between 70,000 and 100,000 words.

The upper word limit can vary depending on the university and academic discipline. Generally, dissertations based in the arts, social sciences, and humanities tend to be longer than those in the STEM fields.

It’s crucial to note that what is considered part of your word count and not can be subject to university and department regulations. Thoroughly review these guidelines before embarking on your writing journey.

Throughout the thesis-writing process, you can submit individual chapters to your supervisor for feedback and guidance before presenting the entire thesis for final review before the examination phase.

While this feedback loop ensures your research project stays on course, it’s important to remember that your supervisor’s role isn’t to proofread or edit your work — that responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders.

How to apply for a PhD

Learn more about the PhDs available at the universities in Leeds and how to apply for them:

•            The University of Leeds: PhD information

•            Leeds Beckett University: PhD information

•            Leeds Trinity University: PhD information

Why study for a PhD?

A scientific PhD student working in the lab
A scientific PhD student in the laboratory

So, what are the benefits of studying for a PhD?

Studying for a PhD offers numerous advantages, so let’s dive into them.

1.           Indulge your passion for research

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re considering pursuing a PhD — a step that demands an unwavering devotion to a specific subject.

The path to a doctorate degree is nothing short of intense, requiring an all-encompassing commitment to your research and thesis throughout the programme.

Your love for the field of study must run deep because, should there be any doubt, a PhD might not be the ideal choice.

The allure of a PhD degree lies in the opportunity it affords you to wholeheartedly engage with your passion for research and make substantial contributions to your chosen academic domain.

When your thesis and findings are reliable and relevant, you can anticipate your work being referenced by those who will educate future generations of undergraduates, which is undeniably exciting.

2.           Put theory into practice

No matter your field of expertise, embarking on a PhD journey provides a remarkable opportunity to apply your accumulated knowledge to real-world situations.

The quest for a doctorate degree emphasises self-reliance, requiring you to harness your profound understanding of the subject matter and hone essential skills in time management, communication, and interpersonal interaction.

Throughout your academic experience, you’ll actively engage in research, fostering close collaborations with peers, professionals, and esteemed academic mentors, amplifying your growth and impact in your chosen domain.

3.           Become an expert in your field

A PhD empowers you to expand upon the foundational knowledge you acquired during your master’s degree and delve deeper into a specialised area.

Through rigorous research and refining your theoretical framework, you can make substantial, research-driven contributions to your field, advancing its understanding and knowledge.

The work of PhD students often culminates in publications, establishing your name as an authority in your chosen domain and solidifying your status as an expert in the field.

4.           Elevate your career

A PhD is the highest level of educational achievement, setting you apart from other candidates when you apply for jobs. It signals your unwavering determination, profound commitment, and passion for your chosen subject.

While a PhD can open doors in fields beyond academia, if your heart truly belongs to research, many universities provide opportunities for post-doctoral research fellowships.

These roles allow you to work within the university, continue your research pursuits, and receive compensation for your invaluable contributions.

5.           Learn from your peers

During your PhD journey, you’ll be part of a community, all dedicated to the same goal: expanding knowledge within your chosen field.

This shared commitment facilitates the exchange of experiences and perspectives, fostering valuable insights and intellectual growth through discussions and collaborations.

The environment goes beyond academia, creating a supportive atmosphere where fellow students become allies.

Together, you celebrate victories, provide assistance during challenges, and collectively push the boundaries of knowledge. This network of like-minded individuals will enrich and empower your academic path.

6.           Experience a new place

Pursuing a degree, whether at an undergraduate, master’s, or PhD level, frequently entails relocating to a new city or even a different country.

PhD programmes aren’t offered everywhere — unlike undergraduate and master’s degrees — so signing up for one may necessitate a move from your previous academic location.

This transition enriches your learning experience on campus and allows you to immerse yourself in a new environment outside of study.

7.           Network for success

Pursuing a PhD offers a unique opportunity to grow your professional network and engage with individuals who share your passion —fellow researchers, like-minded scholars, or field experts.

Throughout your doctorate journey, you’ll have the chance to participate in diverse conferences, workshops, and seminars — some of which might take you abroad.

These events present an ideal setting to connect with a broad spectrum of individuals in your field, further expanding your network.

Invaluable PhD networking experiences can be pivotal for your career, opening doors within and beyond the academic realm.

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