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If you're considering a PhD/ThD, how will you fund it?


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Personally, I wouldn't even consider doing a PhD (or ThD) without full funding and at least some sort of small stipend.  For PhD programs in the US, this seems pretty standard for every accepted student (although the size of the stipend can vary widely, as can other coverage like health insurance).  I have no idea how ThD programs work, but I'd hope it would be the same?  Since we're in the humanities and not the sciences, the stipends still probably won't even cover living expenses unless you strike it big at an Ivy League school or something, and even then you're probably looking at $20,000 - $25,000 tops.  Along with that, the program takes up enough time on its own that it is certainly preferable to not have any other job while completing it.  So, I honestly can't imagine doing the 5+ years while also having to pay for it!  Part-time would be another story, I suppose, but I don't know anything about what that process looks like either (and most funding I've seen generally only lasts five years).  It would definitely take a while to finish a PhD (or ThD?) part-time...

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I did earlier degrees with student loans, then realized that those loans added up to a number well over the US annual median income, so I went to work and took care of those before going back to school. I'm completing my MA now, which I've done intermittently part-time and full-time, semester by semester, as course availability and my workload permit. I've paid every penny out of pocket. I have also picked up more than my share of coffee or lunch with classmates, but I don't sweat it. Yes, it's sometimes been difficult juggling work and school, but I hear about classmates waking up at 3am panicking about loans, debt, or not getting a job. From what I've seen, that stress takes at least as much a toll on them as my work does on me. I also have incredible insurance that I'd like to keep if I can.

I'm waiting to hear on PhD programs, and don't anticipate much funding. Depending on where (and whether!) I get in, I may continue to work part-time, at least for awhile. I have enough saved that I could take time off if I need to do it, but will use that option judiciously. 

It's not a perfect solution, but nothing is right now, not with this economy and with the challenges in academia, especially in the humanities. I'm open to various options, but leaning toward keeping a toehold in something that will keep me fed and housed.  

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