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PHD ?!

Hi all - hope you are all keeping safe.

I am coming to the end of my Level 7 (part-time) and I am considering a PHD. I have done a lot of online research surrounding a PHD but I'm looking for some real advice from some fellow professionals that have completed their research or are currently undergoing their research. 

Is it a case of narrowing down what I am passionate about and would like to research and then choosing a relevant university? 

Are you able to work full time as well or is that slightly naive? 

What do you wish you would have known before starting your PHD? 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

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  • Hi Bryanna, In response to your questions first, yes, you can apply for PhD research work however; the first thing is your interest. If you have passion and interest with necessary resources you can go for it. Secondly, you have to think of a particular topic and particular area of HR that you like to explore. Third, you will look for a supervisor at any of the universities offering the course. You can combine your work with the PhD but it is either you do part time job or you are in full time job and do part-time PhD. I hope this help. If you have further questions I will be happy to try my best in answering them to my best ability. Kind regards
  • Hello Bryanna, I completed my PhD three years ago, and I studied at Leicester Uni. I completed my studies whilst working full-time in our coaching and development business, and managing to have a life too! My research was in how leaders can foster empowerment in the workplace, which was (and is) a topic I am passionate about. At times in the years of study I had huge frustrations and what kept me going? Before I started I write down why I was doing it, what the study meant to me and how I hoped I and others would benefit. I also had clear agreements with my partner about domestics, time and how he could support me. Plus my tutor was great. I also gave myself little rewards for hitting milestones, and some weekends off. If you want to know more please do get in touch. Best wishes, Helen Askey
  • Helen, I hope you are well. I enjoyed your response to Bryanna's message just to let you know if there is what we can do together professionally. I have PhD in Management where I specializes on HR. Thank you
  • Hi Bryanna,

    Firstly, congratulations! By the sound of it you thoroughly enjoyed yourself.

    I have done an MBA (which is a level 7) and a level 7 certificate in strategic management and had the most fantastic time doing them. Both were part-time whilst working full-time.

    My husband completed his doctorate four years ago; it took about four years because he was working full-time. It wasn’t easy and an awful lot of life was put on hold - no holidays, few evenings out, lack of socialising, etc - not to mention a shed-load of money. But if you are willing to make the sacrifice it can be done.

    With a first degree you are dabbling in a wide spectrum of learning, then with a Master’s you are refining the range but going much deeper into it. With a doctorate your area of study is extremely narrow and you are digging down as deeply as possible - then going a bit further. After all, you are at the cutting-edge of learning. Whilst we both thoroughly enjoyed our respective MBA’s, doing the doctorate completely sucked all the joy out of learning for him; it really did become just a slog.

    Why do you want to do it? If you are looking for a future in academia then it’s a must, and in some other areas having the title ‘Dr’ can be useful, but if it’s for the love of learning perhaps consider another level 7 in a different (but complimentary) area. Whatever you decide, good luck!
  • In reply to Helen Louise Askey:

    Hi Helen
    That is really helpful thank you. It is encouraging that you were able to work and have a life too! I'll certainly get in touch soon - thanks again!
  • In reply to Teresa:

    Hi Teresa
    Thank you very much for your insight, it is interesting to hear that the doctorate sucked the joy out of learning for your partner- I will definitely take everything into account before making a decision. I actually hadn't thought about another Level 7 so thank you for that suggestion too.
  • In reply to Bryanna:

    Hi Bryanna, reading Teresa's really excellent post I think her husband's experience hits the nail on the head - if learning is your main objective then a PhD is probably not the route to take or at least not at this stage in your career. Not saying you shouldn't do it, perhaps keep on the back burner for another time and focus your energies on something else for now?
  • This is something that I have been very interested in doing. I was wondering how people were able to do it with a full time job. Not so much the research time, but the time at Uni for meetings etc.
  • In reply to Bryanna:

    thank you - my one big reflection is get used to asking for help, and then receiving that help.
  • In reply to Stephanie :

    Hi Stephanie, I selected a Uni where the majority of the input was via distance learning, and the very occasional weekend, as that was the only way I could manage my business and work with client etc.
  • Hi Bryanna!

    I understand your mind-set completely. I had considered doing a PHD since completing my bachelors in 2013. Since then I have gone on to complete a Masters in HRM and currently finishing a postgraduate certificate in Employment Law. I do spend a lot of time wishing I had just gone ahead and done the PHD. I love learning and enjoy writing. On reflection I am glad I haven’t at this stage of my career and life. I don’t think a PHD would help my career, as I do not want to teach or be a researcher. Instead I have decided to do courses that augment my previous learning and work experiences. What I am seriously considering doing is turning my current course in employment law into another masters. Hopefully this will satisfy the urge to do a PHD! I would suggest, as Teresa has, to seriously consider this option.
  • In reply to Katie:

    Just to say that I’d concur entirely with Katie in that a PhD usually involves not just learning but innovative research that actually / significantly advances the very frontiers of all existing academic knowledge of the chosen topic. So, for career purposes other than researching or teaching, a PhD isn’t really appropriate or necessary compared with eg a Masters.
  • In reply to Stephanie :

    Dear Stephanie. I can't talk about PHDs but I did my first degree part-time whilst working full-time (in a job I knew inside/out). First year intake was 25, 8 of us finished 4 years later and a lot of marriages, relationships etc. broke down along the way (or would have broken down, had the person not dropped). I think it's fair to say it's not for everyone. I did it because I was passionate about the subject, single and in a job I could do standing on my head. I followed this up with my professional qualification for which I did get an afternoon off work to attend lectures and seminars. I needed that as my professional qualifications was not nearly as interesting and enjoyable as my degree. So 6 years in total of no holiday, constant deadlines and pressure. Even if I wanted to go back to that, I couldn't because my current job is so much more challenging. The lessons I personally drew: LOVE the subject, try to keep the rest of your life, particularly work, on an even keel and be prepared to give up a fair amount of your quality of life. For a PHD, you could probably double/quadruple the pressure.
  • In reply to Katie:

    This is definitely an interesting alternative route - thank you for sharing! My concern is the same, I'm not sure if it will benefit my career as I too have no interest in becoming a teacher or researcher (at the moment anyway).