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Hello, everyone.

I got an acceptance yesterday for a PhD in English. I'm a bit nervous about something though. 

I am a high school English teacher, and I do love my job very much. Still, I've always wanted a PhD in English, as it has always been a personal goal of mine. Someday, I also hope to teach at the college-level. 

I have until April 15th to accept this offer of admission. It is partially funded, and when I talked about this with my school (where I work), they said they will pay for the rest of the tuition.

I want to take it, but I'm scared because I want to pursue this degree part-time. The PhD program does offer the opportunity to pursue the degree part-time, but I'm just worried if the classes won't fit into my work schedule or if it's not a good idea to pursue the degree part-time.

I look forward to hearing your advice. Thanks so much. 

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Firstly, congratulations on your offer. 

Take my opinion with a pinch of salt but I'm still, even in your situation, of the opinion that you should only pursue a PhD if it is fully funded. In terms of your current workplace paying for part of your tuition, I can see that being a potentially messy situation... But of course I don't know your current situation as well as you do ( or if you would be willing/able to pursue a programme full-time), nor do I know the ins and outs of the programme (is it local? would it be online? is there any required residency? based on their stats is a tenure track position after graduating feasible?). Also, this is definitely subjective but I personally couldn't imagine pursuing such an intense degree around a full time job.

Others are probably more qualified to comment than me, but I would definitely consider this very carefully. 

Edited by queenofcarrotflowers
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Two cents from an older applicant:

I went back to school around age 30 to earn my degree. I was debt-averse and planned to work a full-time job to pay for things. Not a great idea; physical breakdown ensued. Something had to change, so I put it to myself this way: I went back to school because having a BA on my resume might mean I don't have to work menial jobs anymore; I didn't go back to work another menial job, go nuts, and tank my classes. 

Obviously this doesn't track your situation perfectly. Your job isn't menial,  you quite like it, and you still have dreams, which is nice. My point is this: what's the real life goal here? Is your current situation rough enough that you can grit your way out of it via another education program? Can the dream be deferred? You have a job you like; a PhD will not get you that, not anymore, and frankly, from all I've heard and what I've been told by faculty, it's a fool's errand to enter a program expecting to teach at the university level. In other words, it sounds like you're in the great position that others can only hope to find, and in any case will have to enter a PhD program, wait five years, face reality, change tack, and find meaning in whatever they can, to do so. 

The point about funding is sharp too.

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36 minutes ago, MaoistTowelette said:

You have a job you like; a PhD will not get you that, not anymore, and frankly, from all I've heard and what I've been told by faculty, it's a fool's errand to enter a program expecting to teach at the university level.

Echoing this sentiment-- even with a top-ranked programme university-level teaching is a crapshoot

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As long as it's fully funded through your workplace and the university itself, I say go for it. You have little to lose here, as someone who already has a job and doesn't have to give up that job in order to go to grad school. 

You'll want to make sure, though, that you won't be "on the hook" for tuition and funding if you're unable to finish. To be honest, I think it would be very, very difficult to get through a PhD program while working full-time. It's definitely possible, though. But you just want to carefully hash out the details: will your workplace fund you only if you complete the degree? Or are they okay funding you if you only get through coursework? How many years does the program give you to get through if you're only going part time? (Most people take 5-7 years to get through when going full-time.) How much time do you have to complete a dissertation once you pass exams? Many schools only give you a certain number of years, after which you have to retake your exams to defend your dissertation.

But honestly, I think you're in a much better position to pursue graduate work than a lot of other people, granted this offer will be funded and you get to keep your job. 

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