The value of a PhD

November 28, 2018

What's the value of a PhD?

For some, the value is clear. You want to do pharmaceutical research? Get a PhD and it'll open up the possibility of a well-paid career.

For others, the value of a PhD comes from the way it's perceived by others. It's perhaps less quantifiable, but in some circles the status of having a PhD can be more valuable than the skills you developed on the way.

And there are those who just love their subject and can't imagine doing anything else.

But then there are some for whom doing a PhD carries no obvious economic, social, personal or practical benefit. It's expensive, time-consuming and stressful, so why do it if there's no tangible gain?

The value of a PhD, here, is whatever you believe it is. It comes from the story you tell yourself about what it means. This is as good a reason as any to do it (and certainly more interesting than a cost-benefit analysis). Remember, it's about your story, not anyone else's; other people might not understand, but that's OK.

See also:

Sometimes we can get stuck in these stories. "I need to prove myself". "If I quit I'm a failure". Stories such as these are more likely to add to your distress than to help motivate you. See the blog post below for more on this!

The "good" PhD student
If you found this post useful, click below to share!

For more detailed guidance and support...

The PhD Academy

Weekly calls with James

You don't have to do it all alone! Get the All Access Pass for weekly group calls and Q&A sessions with James

Online courses

Build your skills and confidence with our detailed video courses. Go at your own pace and get advice and support when you need it

Writing groups

Meet other students online for company and accountability

Support community

Post questions, share resources and connect with other members

Get the book!
PhD: an uncommon guide to research, writing & PhD life

order now on amazon