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To be considering a doctorate?

(145 Posts)
FitbitAddict Sun 19-Jun-16 16:54:15

It's not as if I need one (does anyone?) but I am thinking about it. I already hold an MEd and I'm just finishing an MA in Special and Inclusive Education. With the OU an EdD would take 3.5 years from next May with a 50,000 word thesis (which will make the 20,000 word dissertation I'm ploughing through now seem like a short story). We are planning to emigrate in two years' time and I work full time as a primary teacher. Am I deluded?!

HarrietVane99 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:12:20

Doing a doctorate is tremendously rewarding and the sense of achievement at the end is fantastic, so I'd never advise anyone not to do one.

The main concerns are whether you'd be able to combine it with full time teaching - would you be able to drop to three or four days a week?

Also, if you emigrate, how would you access your research material, supervision, conferences etc? I think it might be very difficult to have such a major upheaval. Would you be able to wait and start the Ph.D. after you've relocated? But then there's still the question of accessing research material.

memememe94 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:17:11


memememe94 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:21:00

So you're looking at a part-time PhD, which is a minimum of 6 years. Will emigrating have an impact on accessing research material? Are you planning on doing it with the OU? Why do you want to do a PhD? Will it be to further your career?

It will be exceptionally hard to do a part-time PhD without a good library and supervision close by, while teaching full time. Not impossible--but you would need to be absolutely determined and bloody minded to get through it.

percythepenguin Sun 19-Jun-16 17:28:39

DH is teaching full time and doing a part time EdD, it's hard! He started his thesis this uear and has been told he needs to be doing 10 hours a week as a minimum on it! if you have children is strongly suggest having a serious discuss with your partner about how you would manage your time while studying, the EdD has had a massive impact on are family in terms of both time and money!

FitbitAddict Sun 19-Jun-16 17:31:10

It's an EdD which, as I have already stated, is 3.5 years with the OU. The OU are very clear that the student's physical location is not a problem, although they must attend certain events at their own expense (1 day in 2nd year and 1-3 consecutive days in 3rd year, plus viva).

My present school are likely to be very accommodating if I ask for reduced hours. The first year of the EdD would be completed here, and the remainder while living abroad. When we emigrate, I plan to work in a leadership role so will not be teaching full time. Depending on my research topic, I would need to have access to pupils in a school setting, which I will have whether here or abroad.

Even if I apply, competition is high and I may not be accepted. Applications are accepted between August and November, with the outcome known in April 2017 for study to start in May 2017. It will cost about £15k at today's prices.

Why do I want to do it? Because I get an enormous buzz out of learning.

icanteven Sun 19-Jun-16 17:32:07

A part time PhD is possible in less than 6 years. My Dh will submit his in 3.5 years, but he was not working full time during this time - he was co-parenting and working part time. I don't know how he would have coped if he had been teaching full time too.

Can you stop working for 2 years to just blitz it?

FitbitAddict Sun 19-Jun-16 17:32:47

Thanks Percy DD is almost 17 so that's not an issue. It's been very quiet round here on the weekends when she has been revising for GCSEs and I've been working on my dissertation!

AlexandraEiffel Sun 19-Jun-16 17:34:07

If you're planning on still working full time as a teacher and doing it on the side you're totally nuts!

A PhD thesis isn't like an extra long masters thesis. It's a very different experience. I think you have to really really want to do one to finish. All those bits that weren't written so well, or a bit unfinished or a bit holey in any other dissertation can't exist in a PhD thesis. That last stage is very very challenging. It can break people who've done very well academically previously.

But if it's your thing it's a great experience. Will change your thinking forever. Only you know if it's enough of your thing to be worth it.

FitbitAddict Sun 19-Jun-16 17:35:15

icanteven it has to be done in the OU timescale, no negotiation allowed! First year May 17 to April 18, second year Sept 18 to August 19, third year Sept 19 to August 20 plus viva at some point Nov 2020 - Feb 2021. I will be 52 by then!!

allegretto Sun 19-Jun-16 17:37:08

I'm a month off submitting my PhD thesis and many, many times I have almost given up. I am teaching part-time and had twins after having started and have found it so hard - that's not to say that you shouldn't do it but it is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done, mostly because I feel guilty almost all the time!

memememe94 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:41:56

Sorry, I missed that bit of your OP

Only 50 000 word thesis? That's 0.5 of a PhD thesis in the Humanities. Is there some other component <<ignorance in this area>>?

The rule I was always told us that if someone isn't willing to pay for you to do a doctorate, don't do it. However, the expectation in my field is that you will go into academia, whereas it seems that you don't have any particular career-goals in mind with regard to this. Do you have £15k to spend on a hobby? If so and you want to do it, there's nothing to lose in trying.

percythepenguin Sun 19-Jun-16 17:47:50

Actually just checked with DH it's 20 hours a week minimum!

Elllicam Sun 19-Jun-16 17:48:35

I don't think you are being unreasonable to consider it. I'm currently doing a taught doctorate in applied social research with 6 modules and a 45,000 word thesis. I work part time and have 2 small children. It is actually not too bad so far, I'm going on to my 5th module and dreading the thesis a bit though. I try to study an hour a day.

FoggyBottom Sun 19-Jun-16 17:50:29

A PhD thesis isn't like an extra long masters thesis. It's a very different experience

That's true for a standard PhD, but for the "professional doctorates" like an EdD, that's not the case. They are more like rather longer Masters' dissertations, and there are shorter bits of assessed coursework.

IMO, they're not really the preparation for full on post-doctoral independent research, in the same way that the standard PhD is, but I suppose they meet the need for practitioners not looking to enter a full-time research (or research & teaching) career in HE.

memememe94 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:51:26

Really? A taught doctorate? confused That's a contradiction in terms. Clearly, I need to get out and see the rest of academia. I've never heard of such a thing.

worriedmum100 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:52:20

I wrote up most of mine while working full-time (actual field research was done while a full-time student) and it was VERY hard. As someone said upthread it is nothing like an MA thesis. My experience was that it didn't really all "come together" (in terms of the analysis and conclusions) until near the end of the writing up process so you're always thinking and re-thinking and changing and developing it. For me that meant you couldn't take your brain off the gas even a little after data collection and initial analysis was done whereas my MA thesis whilst hard didnt involve nearly as much complex analysis and deep thinking. Having said all that I'm very glad I did it and it's one of things I'm proudest of in my life so if you think you can dedicate the time and head space go for it!

Elllicam Sun 19-Jun-16 17:52:54

Really meme? How odd smile

Elllicam Sun 19-Jun-16 17:54:29

It's taught in that there are taught modules as well as a thesis.

worriedmum100 Sun 19-Jun-16 17:58:15

I've never heard of a taught PhD either! A course with taught modules and a thesis sounds more like Masters but I've been out of academia a long time so am probably v behind the curvesmile

AlexandraEiffel Sun 19-Jun-16 17:59:35

I've not heard of a taught one either. Although I'm not familiar with professional ones either (but have heard of them). Do they not require an original contribution to knowledge then?

Elllicam Sun 19-Jun-16 18:00:37

It is equivalent to a PhD and still results in a doctorate but admittedly it's certainly easier to fit around family life smile

memememe94 Sun 19-Jun-16 18:03:58

Sorry. It's not the equivalent of a PhD. Maybe closer to an MLitt.

pinkandpurplesparkle Sun 19-Jun-16 18:09:49

If you love your potential research area, do it. I'm coming towards the end of mine now - part time while working full time in teaching - planning to have a full draft by the end of the summer. It's been an amazing journey - so much new stuff to consider and (at the risk of sounding a bit barfy) it's given me a whole new enthusiasm and direction. I have loved every day of it. So far it's taken just over three years (although I had a period of about six months planning before actually registering).

Also, so much research material is now available online - and I'd imagine the OU has quite exceptional facilities in that regard - so I wouldn't worry too much about that side of things.

If you feel inspired and committed, then go for it ... if you don't, you'll always wonder if you could have done it... smile

Elllicam Sun 19-Jun-16 18:15:41

Oh right meme smile Anyway.... OP if you really enjoy studying go for it.

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