Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ran_Chen

Should I go for a PhD degree?

Recommended Posts

Hi guys. I will start to work on my master degree in counseling this fall, but I just can't decide if I really want continue to a PhD degree.

I have passion about research, and also have several potential research ideas. But I'm not sure if I can handle the pressure and spend 6-8 years on this. 

A PhD degree will absolutely be helpful for my future career, but the cost can be high: not only the financial things, but also homesick and family issues (I'm an international student).

I am wondering what I should know before I make the decision, and what personal characteristics I should have if I choose this way. Also, do you have any suggestion about my situation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would the PhD be in counselling?
I'm not very familiar with the clinical/counselling field, but one thing that keeps coming up is whether you need the PhD to do what you want to do in the future. You allude to the idea that a PhD would be helpful for your future career. Is it a necessity to do the job you want to do? Or is it more of a plus? For many people in applied fields, having a PhD is not necessary to do their job well and succeed financially. While a PhD will teach you many things for the 5 years you trade, those 5 years can also be seen as an opportunity cost in which you are losing potential time/earnings. You'll need to ask yourself, should your end goal be in a highly applied field, whether that opportunity cost is worth the degree.
However, if you have any interest in pursuing research as your goal career (especially academically), then the PhD would make much more sense and may even be essential for certain jobs (academically and industry wise).

As for personal characteristics, I don't know if I would say there are personal characteristics that you need to have to pursue a PhD. Of course it always helps to be tenacious and hard-working, but these are things you can work on (in my opinion), and you likely already possess anyway if you're in a graduate program right now. 

As for what you can do now, more than anything, make sure you have first hand exposure to research. Have you had any research experience? Did you enjoy it? It would be extremely difficult to get into, and finish, a PhD if you don't like research. And in which case, I don't think it would make sense to do one anyway. You mention that you're passionate about research, but it's important that you've done it before to know more definitively how you feel. It would be great if it was an independent project too (vs. helping with a project as an RA), as you'll see a more realistic picture of what you might be doing in a PhD.

Wanting to do research, needing to learn research as a vital tool for your future goals (e.g. your dream job is to be an industry or academic researcher), or having a set of questions you'd like to answer via research are probably the most important "characteristics" that determine whether or not a PhD is right for you.

Edited by taacc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/26/2020 at 2:11 PM, Ran_Chen said:

Hi guys. I will start to work on my master degree in counseling this fall, but I just can't decide if I really want continue to a PhD degree.

I have passion about research, and also have several potential research ideas. But I'm not sure if I can handle the pressure and spend 6-8 years on this. 

A PhD degree will absolutely be helpful for my future career, but the cost can be high: not only the financial things, but also homesick and family issues (I'm an international student).

I am wondering what I should know before I make the decision, and what personal characteristics I should have if I choose this way. Also, do you have any suggestion about my situation?

Do you have to decide now? You said you're just starting your Masters degree. Why not wait until you get through that program and then reassess how you feel. No point borrowing worry that may be unwarranted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, PsychPhdBound said:

Do you have to decide now? You said you're just starting your Masters degree. Why not wait until you get through that program and then reassess how you feel. No point borrowing worry that may be unwarranted.

Was going to say this exact same thing. 

The master's program may help you in the process of assessing whether you would like to move forward into a PhD program or not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.