Deciding to embark upon the next 3-5 years (and possibly more) of a particular topic or issue is a big decision. Not only are you signing up for funding and spending your money on the budget. Yet despite the difficulties, 12 thousand of us still decide to take doctoral programs in the UK and EU every single year.

But is the knowledge, independence and qualification really worth it? Here are a few pros and cons for which you should consider before signing straight up.

It is best to be aware of the facts, so that we have the future of a PhD student:

Going solo

Following your passion through study means that you will be able to do a good job if you are not careful. Whilst your friends may be working in large corporations, focus on dynamic company and bonding culture, you will succeed or fail on your own.

Girl sitting on bed

 Lack of certainty

When beginning a PhD, there is (in most cases) not a set period or time of which you need to be completed. Whilst this can be exciting, you can get as much as possible in the shortest possible time frame, it can also engender a sense of uncertainty and lack of future security.


You are more likely to get funding for the sciences, in all cases, in all cases. obtain financial backing. Even if you are fully funded, you will only have to live with your life and you will be scraping the barrel.

Not all succeed

Whether studying in the UK or elsewhere, PhDs have a notoriously high drop-out rate, and in some UK institutions the percentage of those failing to qualify exceeds 40%. In the United States, only 57% of PhD students achieve success within 10 years of their enrollment. So ask yourself if you have sufficient perseverance and determination if you have a doctorate.institutions the percentage of those failing to obtain the qualification chose to pursue a doctorate.

Whilst these disadvantages may be sufficient, there are a whole host of reasons why you should stick to your guns!

 Follow your passion!

Taking a PhD gives you the opportunity to study what you can do for years in your own bubble. You can focus on yourself and grow your own knowledge, rather than working for someone else.


Choosing when, where and how to be a hugely attractive element of further study, especially if you are not a fan of being managed.


Whilst you may not know how long it's going to be, being secure in the knowledge that you will be hugely reassuring. Once you've obtained funding, you also know that, but you are not a daily accountable to a line manager.

Future prospects

Science PhDs in particular are a long term investment which will boost your employment prospects. Bernard Casey has found that PhDs bring a 26% rise in earning potential . Whilst a master's degree was almost 23%, pursuing a career in scientific research will almost certainly require a particular are


So, consider the facts carefully, do not forget the horror stories of failed PhDs scare you, and if you think you'll enjoy it then go for it! Think about the type or PhD you're doing, and the career prospects it will bring. And most importantly, do not do a PhD simply because you think you are, or because someone else is telling you to. A doctorate is hard work and requires determination and perseverance, so do it for yourself, not for anyone else.

Alexandra Jane  is the writer and editor of  graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a  graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see where  internships and  graduate jobs are currently available, as well as their graduate jobs Manchester page for further opportunities.     

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