Many people imagine getting a doctorate, but only a small fraction ever go through with it. Most leave university after undergrad or their masters course and enter the world of work, never to return. But a small cadre lingers on.
You can take a doctorate or PHD in practically any subject. To complete it, you’ll need to write a 70,000 to 100,000-word thesis, and contribute something new to human knowledge. Once you get stuck into it, you’ll find that it’s not an easy task.
In this post, we’ll take a look at whether you’re someone who should do a doctorate or not.
Research Is Your Favorite Thing In The World
If you’re the type of person who loves just “getting things done” then research probably isn’t for you. As you go through your studies, you’ll find all sorts of roadblocks and obstacles in the way. Doing quality research is surprisingly difficult.
However, if you’re someone who loves to wrestle with challenges and solve complex problems, then getting a doctorate could be right up your street. On many programs, you’ll spend hours in the library, in archives, searching for data or in the lab. Most of the time, you will be trying to work out your method and how to actually bring it to fruition.
Your Goal Aligns With Your Research
Secondly, it helps if you have an overarching life goal that coincides with your research. This could be something as simple as wanting an academic career. But it could also go deeper than that. For instance, you might want your research to form the basis of a new approach to health and medicine. Or you may want to develop an expertise so that you can run a company, start a brand, or help people in some philanthropic manner.
Your Academic Performance Is Good
When you start a doctorate, you can feel like you’ve been thrown in at the deep end. At the top level, there are no textbooks to coddle you, or helpful explainer videos online. Instead, you have to build a picture of how everything works yourself.
Therefore, it helps if your academic performance is good. The best online PHD programs will offer some guidance, but generally, you’re on your own.
You Love Writing
As you might expect, PHDs require a lot of writing. You’ll need to write between three and five chapters in your thesis, plus an introduction and conclusion.
Churning it all out can actually take a long time – several months usually. Your best bet is to work on one paper at a time, draft it so that you complete all the essential details, and then revise it when you’ve completed everything else. Use word processing software to list your references logically. Don’t try to do it by hand: it’ll take up way too much time.
You’re Obsessed With Solving A Problem
Lastly, you’ll want to consider your motivations for getting a PHD. Just having “Dr.” before your name shouldn’t be one of them. Ideally, you want to solve a problem that is highly motivating for you and makes you feel like you’re spending your life in a good way.