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Advice on possible PhD

(10 Posts)
Jilko Fri 28-Sep-12 12:45:37

Hi all, I posted yesterday in Student Parents, but alas no replies as yet...

I am currently a SAHM with DD2 (10m) & DD1 who has just started school.
I would love to do a PhD at some point in the next few years, BUT I'm not sure how realistic this would be?

I have a BSc and a PGDip, but these are from 13yrs ago.
I have 10yrs exp of working in Pharmaceuticals, mainly lab based, though I haven't worked for the past 2 yrs. I know that I would need to get a Masters to stand any chance of getting onto a funded course, but again I'm not sure if I could afford to do this with the childcare I'd need, unless I did OU. I have done a few OU modules in the past and like their approach, though this would take me 3yrs to get an MSc.

Another thing I've read is that, for sciences, the Universities would prefer a research methods MSc? confused

Sorry for the ramble! Any advice on these issues would be appreciated, TIA

NorthernGobshite Fri 28-Sep-12 13:25:26

It is unlikely that you could do a Phd without first an MA/MSc.
I am not sure what advice you want/need as you seem to recognise that it's going to be a legthy process. You could look into paid researcher jobs in local Uni's if that is an option.

creamteas Fri 28-Sep-12 20:03:55

Is your PGDip in a relevant subject to the area of Msc you are looking at? If so you might be able to count some or all of it towards the Masters. The OU is particularly good at this.

It is, as I am sure you know, very competitive to get a funded PhD position and so even if you had the Masters this is no guarantee.

Have a look at both and and see what entry criteria are expected for your discipline

RightsaidFreud Fri 28-Sep-12 20:07:28

Just to put my 2p in, I'm 25 and just finishing my Phd. I didn't do an MSc. Just straight from undergrad. You could always email the head of the course/phd and ask what your chance might be to get on to phd course without a masters. Lab based ex, esp 10 years, would be a defo positive.

Equimum Tue 02-Oct-12 09:05:45

I'd second contacting departments you migh like to study in. Masters are often not required for funded science PhDs and you'll often get the chance to sit in on research training classes as part of your PhD, if you feel you need to.

The biggest thing about getting a place on a funded PhD programme is either finding a project you'd like to work on at a particular department, or coming up with a research idea which a professor is willing to back, support and mentor. It can be difficult getting these places (unless studying without funding is an option) but lots of people do take PhDs while raising families.

Poledra Tue 02-Oct-12 09:14:07

I also did my PhD striaght from undergrad BSc, no Masters. The lab experience will be helpful but it would be best to try and contact the departments you're interested in, as Equimum suggests, and see what they would expect.

Best of luck - I didn't find my PhD easy and I had no children but did drink too much

Jilko Tue 02-Oct-12 13:40:50

Thanks very much for all the advice, lots of valuable things to think about.
Sorry I wasn't more precise in what I was asking, just any advice really smile
I like the suggestions of contacting depts directly and asking - I'll definitely do this once I have a look at their research areas thanks

MagratGarlik Tue 02-Oct-12 16:03:00

Ex-university lecturer here. I supervised several PhD projects so I thought I'd add in my 2p's worth.

If you have a 2i or a 1st in sciences (and are looking for a science PhD) you won't usually need a masters for a funded project. Many supervisors also prefer mature applicants who are generally more self-sufficient than new graduates. Bbsrc and epsrc also give increased funding for additional years spent in industry prior to starting your PhD.

Also in sciences, you would not usually be expected to write your own proposal and get your own funding, the supervisor will usually have certain projects lined up.

Also, be aware that some funders are changing the nature of the PhD projects, making them more non.specific to start with. In these cases you can actually be penalised for knowing exactly what you want to do already.

It is, of course, perfectly possible to do a PhD with DC's. The hardest part really is writing up, which is an all-consuming process. Students do get lots of support and guidance these days though, but do make sure you like you potential supervisor as otherwise it can be miserable!

Good luck.

Poledra Tue 02-Oct-12 16:09:02

Actaully, I have to agree with Magrat - I did enjoy the lab bit of my PhD, it was the writing up which was the slog! And my supervisor was excellent, very interested in my work and very encouraging. DH's supervisor - not so much, and it does make a huge difference.

Copthallresident Tue 02-Oct-12 19:14:41

I would just back up MagratGarliks point about how all consuming the writing up is. I am not a Scientist and went back to do a Masters just to satisfy intellectual curiousity about an environment in which I had worked, having already got an MBA . However the intellectual curiousity is still not satisfied so six years on.....

However I naively thought that going back to study with then near teenagers would be no problem providing I managed my time. However the fact is that once you are in the thick of a line of thinking and research it is all consuming and it is very hard to keep leaving off and picking up. I found it particularly hard during the taught Masters because all deadlines etc were organised around the childless students and research needs of my tutors (to travel during holidays ). Essays due in first day of term, diss 30 September (supervisors not allocated until June)! There was /is precious little understanding of the needs of those with children and that is even more true if you end up in an academic career, very competitive , no prisoners taken. Maybe my institution is particularly bad but you might want to explore that angle, especially if you have younger children.

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