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Moving to a completely different part of the country

(100 Posts)
Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 13:55:59

My DH is in the final year of his degree and it has always been his intention to go on to get an MA and a PhD and have a career in teaching at either university or college level. Initially he was going to do the MA and PhD at the Uni he is currently at, but they don't offer a course he wants to do for a taught MA. He has then repeatedly changed his mind about where he wants to go to study (7 different university's in different areas of the country in the past 3 months).

I don't particularly want to move. Practically we would struggle to rent a house as I am disabled and we have pets (we have previously tried to move in the area we are in to a bigger house and have struggled for the above reasons) Other reasons include I have friends and a support network here and i do struggle to make friends, I have MH problems and now have a good relationship with my psychiatrist and CPN. My eldest has just been referred to CAMHS for behavioural issues, and both my youngest and DH are under neurologists for their epilepsy and my DD is still undergoing various tests for hers. Commuting is also an issue as it has to be within a reasonable bus journey because he can't drive due to the epilepsy

My friend has commented to me that it is unreasonable for my DH to expect the rest of us to just up and move to a different part of the country so he can study when he could do a different course (albeit not one he really wants to study but still relevant) at the Uni he is already at. I really don't want to move and I do feel he is being a bit unreasonable to expect us to give up our life here and support network for his study. However I feel I AB a bit U as to stay here would be stopping him from studying the course he would love to do and is the career path he want to go down.

What do all you lovely people think? Sorry for the essay I just wanted to ensure I was clear, it's also my first time so please don't be too hard ;)

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:48:01

backforgood he wants to do the PhD part time in order to work at the same to fund the degree and get some relevant teaching experience. A PGCE wouldn't allow him to teach at degree level which is what he is wanting to do. I will however be asking him to consider this as a compromise.

BubaMarra Sun 03-Feb-13 14:50:48

He does sound like a committed parent and partner.
He was there for his family and it does seem to me that it's time for his familiy to be there for him.
But doing PhD will be a drain on your resources - money, time, energy, parental presence, etc. So if you agree with his PhD it will be a big compromise from your part (and your family's). He can make compromise of finding a suitable PhD closer to your home in return. And as I already said, it wouldn't have to be a sacrifice because supervisor is more important when you do PhD and he might actually find a suitable supervisor at a university that is much closer to the place where you live.
But even then be prepared to have very hard few years especially at the beginning. But it's still doable as long as all of you are on the board.

HeathRobinson Sun 03-Feb-13 14:51:09

Doesn't he want to work in the near future? Is he choosing to 'hide' in the academic world for a few years? confused

What's wrong with a PGCE for a year, get a job, do an MA part-time, evenings, maybe OU?

MarjorieAntrobus Sun 03-Feb-13 14:54:31

Is he aware that you dont have to have an MA before you do a phd?

Just repeating what redexpat said, in case you missed it.

Also, has he considered doing his PhD part-time and combining it with paid work?

Also, has he looked into funding for the PhD? If he is in sciences or engineering he might be ok. If arts or social sciences, then possibly not.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 14:54:58

I think you've both got a lot on your plate, fwiw.

Are your kids at school where you live now? That would be a key factor for me. I think given your health and mh issues, yours and your family's, you are simply not a very portable 'unit'. That is no one's fault at all! but does make things harder for you.

I think it is reasonable for your dp to pursue his academic career in as informed a way as he can - but I don't think he can expect you and the children to move at this point in time. The benefit would all be to him, not you. It is not as if he has been offered a hugely lucrative job somewhere else, where the whole family would benefit, and where some of the problems of moving could be made easier by throwing money at it.

I am a bit cautious about the idea that he is setting his heart on an academic career at undergraduate level, when he has got a lot of studying to get through first, and when it is possible that he might get a few years down the road and then realise it is not going to be a dream job. He's putting a lot of eggs in a long term basket! again, it depends a bit on the subject - some areas of study are easier to 'convert' or use in a non academic context than others.

Obvious point, but is OU an option? If not, how 'present' would be have to be for an MA in his subject? Some subjects are much less hands on/can be done long range than others. If he only needed to commute for a day a week, could he do that?

MarjorieAntrobus Sun 03-Feb-13 14:55:00

X posts, sorry.

chutneypig Sun 03-Feb-13 14:57:33

Academia isn't the most stable career, many posts are fixed term or part time, tenure can be very hard to come by, and I think that's worth considering looking ahead. In my experience people are often in their late thirties when they have their first permanent contract, although that may depend on field. As rainrain said its a career which demands a lot in terms of working hours and the politics and backstabbing can be phenomenal.

Practically, I'd advise looking to see how often and where posts come up he might be interested in and exactly what they're looking for in terms of post -PhD experience. Hopefully things won't be worse than they are at the moment and it may help clarify things for you both.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:11:26

If it was a lucrative job offer then despite my desire not to move I would be supportive and do it no question.

Sorry I did miss the post about not having to do an MA before a PhD. We have spoken about this before and he says its full of bureaucratic red tape and such a shot in the dark and so unlikely to be able to get in without MA. Which is when I begin to get cross as its like he is giving up before even attempting to exhaust the possibility. Thing is, he is really good at what he is doing and his lecturers have been thrilled with his work and really supportive so if anyone was going to be able to do it from his class, he would be the one.

The MA he wants to do is taught, so I kind of in Uni lectures everyday kind of deal. He fat out refuses to do the OU he did some OU stuff previously, hated it and says he needs to be in taught group situation.

I'm getting tired of feeling like I constantly have to prod him along and that he won't even try these things off his own back.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:22:55

How will you be funding this study? Is it through you working? If so, will you be able to get a job elsewhere? Has he applied for funding? Is he predicted a good first? He could do a research MA at his current uni.

You would be mad to move for a one year unfunded MA.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:25:03

And the chances are you will have to move if he ever gets a job too, several times in all likelihood.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 15:30:38

My daughter's studying a taught MA part-time over two years - she has a two hour lesson per week. The other full-time students do double that. There's no reason why she should live in the same town as her university, as long as she was prepared to travel on that day.

Is your husband expecting a First?

For PhDs, you can either study them in the normal way and pay your own way, or you can apply for a Graduate Studentship where you are paid about £15,000 pa to work part-time in the department while you study. You hold seminars for undergraduates for that wage.

The problem is that if he moves for his MA, he will almost certainly have to move for his PhD and then move again for a job. The chances of being awarded a Graduate Studentship and then a full-time job at the university where he studied his MA are very slim and may not be the best thing for him anyway, as he won't have experienced working with different people.

It's very risky, isn't it? I can see it seems a nice lifestyle, being a perpetual student, but really once you leave undergraduate work you have to work hard to fund yourself. My daughter has two part-time jobs - is he prepared to do this?

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 15:31:36

I should have said, the Graduate Studentships are like gold dust.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:32:52

soloman MA funded hopefully through studentship or through a loan, our savings, family help etc and he wants to do a part time PhD so he can work at the same time to fund it and have an income. Yes he is predicted a good first.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:38:06

imperial I think he would be working while doing an MA, I guess it depends on the workload. He isn't at the minute due to being in mon-fri all day.

I do think its risky and I think he has an idea of how it's going to be and it's going to be wonderful sunshine and flowers and I don't think it's going to work that way. I think he is looking at my brother who did a BSc, MSc and now has a studentship for his PhD and thinking it can't be that hard.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:47:15

His best chance of funding is to stay where he is and get the uni' s support for a studentship application. Is he busy applying now? The deadline is probably in a few weeks. He is probably right about it being difficult to go straight onto a PhD.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:51:10

Yes he is applying now.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:55:00

Is he applying only at the place he would need to move to attend? He needs to accept that a family cannot move to support him studying for one year. He can stay a couple of nights a week there if necessary. Lots of academics have to do that sort of thing, as they need to take the job when they come up.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:58:50

He has so far applied to one with a longish commute from where we currently live and is sorting out where else he is going to apply too. Hence our discussion and e asking on here.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 16:04:29

fwiw, I think not only is it not realistic to expect his family to up sticks and move for a years' MA study - but I would be very careful about how much of your savings and money from extended family you use to fund this.

I'm not saying he should use nothing... but it's not like contributing towards a specific qualification or course which will immediately open doors for him workwise (where I'd be tempted to fork out/get into some debt because of a strong likelihood of it being recouped before too long).

Savings and extended family gifting/loaning money is, ime, what you need to tide you over times of crisis, like sudden unemployment or illness. Emptying the kitty and then some for an MA under these circumstances makes me nervous.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 16:29:25

Solomon, you say, "His best chance of funding is to stay where he is and get the uni' s support for a studentship application." but that's not always true - it'll depend how much emphasis his current university puts on research and how much they fund it. There's a massive difference in how much they can spend on research.

OP, what sort of area is he working in? Is he a scientist?

Peevish Sun 03-Feb-13 16:37:25

Just adding another gloomy voice to those who say the outlook for many academic fields is not great - though obviously, we don't know your husband's field. I am an academic, with an Oxbridge DPhil and two MAs, all funded by highly-competitive scholarships, publications with the top academic publishers in my field, and over a decade of experience in a tenured position, and I'm finding it very difficult to move jobs, even to something below my current level.

I think your husband needs to think seriously about his career prospects, preferably by talking frankly to an academic in his field - I can honestly say that, although I love my job and have been successful at it, if I were an undergraduate again, I wouldn't repeat my career path. He needs to research the jobs in his field by looking at the TES, jobs.ac.uk etc

I also think you would be mad to uproot in your circumstances. He needs to look at the hours of classes on any of the taught MAs to which he is applying - and as others have said, whether he can get accepted on a doctoral course without an MA - and see whether he can commute, and perhaps stay over one night a week if necessary. He need not live close to the insitution where he is doing his PhD at all - my partner and I were doing PhDs simultaneously, and he lived in my city and just travelled to his to see his supervisor at intervals and teach classes one day a week.

duffybeatmetoit Sun 03-Feb-13 16:38:17

You've said he is acting like a single student. Does this extend to socialising as well? I would be concerned if that was the case. It's all too easy if he's out with other students and you are looking after dcs and the home to become resentful and it drive a wedge between you. If he was travelling/living away to pursue his studies this could make things worse.

If he's going to be studying for 7 years who knows what the employment situation will be in 2020.

You have my sympathies - it's very difficult to have a rational conversation about it without sounding as if you are trying to stop him from doing what he wants to do.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 16:42:12

Imperial, I had assumed that both universities have an allocation of research council studentships. That might not be the case of course, but assuming it is a student known and respected by the panel is more likely to be supported.

Journey Sun 03-Feb-13 17:05:53

He needs to look into the job market. If career prospects aren't good for his field then there is little point in doing a PhD.

Why is he wanting to do a MA and then a PhD? Why doesn't he just do the PhD?

I think your DH is being very selfish. His studying all seems to be for him. Where does the family's needs fit in?

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 17:32:54

duffy no he doesn't socialise like a student. He has ever been a big one for going out drinking etc. What I meant out student mindset is a little bit selfish, everything revolved around him and Uni at times, his jobs around the house can get left as he is too busy with Uni, he acts a bit sometimes like he would like to be free of responsibilities. He goes out with his Uni friends maybe once a month at most. But he does socialise and have coffee with them while at Uni. I am worried of coming across as like you say sounding like I'm stopping him from doing what he wants. He can be hard to talk to at times as if try to talk to him he can just sit there quiet and become sulky/depressed and saying everything is his fault, which isn't what I would be saying at all.

journey I'm going to ask him to do some more research into the job market as it is a really good point and important to know this before going forward. Unfortunately I think that regardless of what the outcome of the job research is he is going to want to go ahead with it anyway and I would either have to ask him outright not to do it or just go along with it. As for what the family is getting out of it, he says he is doing it so he can get a good, well paid job so he can support us in the future.

It isn't really practical for him to be away in the week as due to my disability I need help with certain things and without him here in the morning and evenings it would be a real struggle.

I don't think all this would bother me quite so much if he was as supportive of my studying and ventures as he expects me to be of his. But his Uni work is most important and must come first as he will be getting a well paid job at the end of it.

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