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Outside work while pursuing PhD?


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Hi there. Anyone know anything (or have any thoughts) about pursuing outside work while pursuing a PoliSci PhD? Is this something that one could consider feasible in terms of workload and capacity? Is this something that tends to be allowed by the department if one is granted a fellowship? I ask because, while I am thrilled to have received an offer of five years of full funding, I'm not sure I can actually make it work living off the stipend alone.

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Whether or not it is allowed depends on the specific terms of the contract you sign with that program. Some programs don't allow any outside work without permission. Others have a blanket prohibition on outside work. There's also questions about time and dedication as you may find it difficult to balance your graduate school responsibilities, research program, and an outside job. 

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One of my programs has a little caveat in the offer saying I'm not allowed to work more than x amount of hours a week (which is about 2 more hours than required through TA/RA work). So, if I go there I'm allowed a ~2hr/wk outside job haha.

I understand it's a financial need some people have based on stipends, etc. but I think if push came to shove I would rather take out a loan. Grad school is a one time thing for most people, I wouldn't want to risk not giving it my all because of an outside job. That's just my personal preference though.

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I was under the impression most programs wouldn't let you work it you were doing courses +TA/RA. I wouldn't say it's feasible if you are doing it full-time. I'm worried about living on the stipend alone as well, but I'll have to make it work somehow. 

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If you are allowed an outside job, make sure that you get the blessings of one or more of your POIs. A job that seems great to you today could be a stone around your neck down the line but you have no way to know because of your limited experience relative to professors who have the inside dope.

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Several people here do outside work on occasion. They rarely tell faculty they are doing the outside work since it can earn you a reputation for not being "committed to academia" among some (but certainly not all) professors. I don't know if it violates the fine print of our TA or RA contracts. If it does, nobody has ever enforced that.

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I had several classmates who worked during grad school. I imagine I've had several students who have done so too, though they didn't necessarily tell me. You do what you have to do to pay your bills, but the truth is that a serious PhD program is a very serious time commitment. At times I struggled to fulfill my TA obligations and complete coursework, let alone make progress on a dissertation. Adding an outside job to that mix would have sunk me.

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If you don't get a job, is anyone planning on taking out loans? I've been looking at the cost of attendance, and things like school fees and books are something I might need help paying for. I'm not sure if I can incur those initial costs with my stipend alone. 

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