Apply for 2nd PhD?(11 Posts)
Honest opinions please.
I am thinking tentatively at this stage about submitting an application/research proposal to start another PhD. I was awarded my original doctorate about 12 years ago and am wondering whether it's crazy to consider starting a second PhD...in a different subject area?
Has anyone ever done this? Any advantages or disadvantages? Does it help with establishing an academic career? Or is it simply blooming crazy??
I think it very much depends on the discipline and what you are intending to do with it afterwards. I don't think a generic answer will help. The problem with academic career pathways is not getting the PhD, it's getting a permanent job afterwards and not getting stuck in contracts. I can't see what academic careers you could have without one if you are changing discipline, so it's a pre-requisite but that doesn't make it a good idea.
I feel a bit discouraging. I just think as a career move it's quite risky. If you are in sciences and had a break for children, there are schemes to help you (Daphne Jackson fellowship). If you are intending to move into humanities, jobs are exceptionally scarce. I do know people who have had some type of career from a later in life PhD, one does a very nice pick and choose consultancy work, but being many years behind everyone else can be problematic as it's a very cumulative pathway,
I don't think there's one right answer, you could make it work or it could be an expensive and wasteful time if you don't have a really clear idea of how the career goal will be delivered.
I don't have a lot of knowledge of people doing this, but I know someone who recently did a second PhD, probably about 15 years after the first. He'd got into an admin-heavy role and was trying to get back into research (he was publishing very little). It may be unfair, but I've only heard negative comments about this, and there's a strong sense that it's the mark of a poor scholar that he felt the need to 'go back'. That said, the subject is only very slightly different from his original PhD, so not quite your situation.
I also know someone (she's a MNer) who's changed fields dramatically - think medicine to social sciences/humanities - and she is shit hot. She didn't re-do her PhD and as far as I've seen no one has cared that her PhD was originally in something that isn't the same subject as most of her current colleagues/collaborators, because she's proved herself able to work in the field through her publications and projects.
Is there no way you could just do that?
A researcher I know in Germany has written a bit on his experiences: www.agricolab.de/tale-of-two-titles/
Having just finished my first I can only conclude you're slightly unhinged for even considering this!
Why is it that you want to do this? What is it that you want to achieve? There is highly likely to be a less arduous way of achieving this.
If you had RCUK funding for your first PhD, you will not be allowed RCUK funding (even from a different council) for a second PhD.
Agree with the others that you would need a definite career plan before embarking on this.
Have you forgotten how fucking awful it was the first time?!?
Seriously, though, if you have a PhD, you already have research skills. Don't make yourself back into an apprentice, sitting at the feet of the master. I worked and then did a PhD and the feeling of returning to the bottom of the pile was grim. You won't be treated any differently from a first timer.
A more positive note - this post on Thesis Whisperer from a double doctor - said he did his second one much faster. I'm still doing my first but already considering doing another in the future "when I retire" I tell myself. Also a high flying academic who taught me at the start of my PhD was just completing his 2nd doctorate - when he finished it he stepped straight into a very desirable post doc.
I know at least 3 people applying for next year for a second PhD and one of my tutors has two. 2 are retired and just looking for a hobby, more or less, having worked in the field of their first PhD. They were both Masters students with me in the new field so really went back to basics. The third is a good friend who already works in the new field. My tutor's two were related. I don't know of anyone who's attempted it for career progression and I can't really see how it would help, except insofar as you wanted a career for which a PhD in the new field would be required, in which case it would clearly be necessary.
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