Should I do a PhD?

November 21, 2017, by Carla Froggatt

Should I Do a PhD? The Pros and Cons

By Jennifer Balloch, Employability Officer: Faculty of Science

“Should I do a PhD?” “What potential career paths could it lead to?” These are big questions if you want to stay in the field of science-based research and development.

The impact and outcome this has on the different STEM subjects is vast. For some sectors  you will realistically need a PhD for entry-level research, while for other areas you may not need a PhD to get your foot through the door, but industry experience could be essential. There are also other roles available in research and development after completing just an undergraduate qualification. Whatever the requirements and the routes for progression, there are commonalities and differences between industries and even between individual companies.

Doing research now is key

Dr Peter Clarke, Associate Director, Head of Global Analytical Sciences at Mondelez, states that

“It (a PhD) can help get you the interview, however you’ll tend to need more than this to secure the role.”

While Michael Miller, HR Adviser at Sygnature Discovery says the following,

“PhDs can be narrow in scope, giving candidates good independent working skills but a lack of broader practical abilities.  In contrast industry trained candidates often have broader practical abilities but need more support on the independent working front.  Opportunities are there at either end of the spectrum, but people must be realistic about their individual development needs and try and compensate as best they can by making the most of opportunities to fill in any gaps.”

Is a PhD is the right choice for you?

This is something you need to think carefully about. Questions to consider include workload and work-life balance, your reasons for doing a PhD, having the right mind-set, enthusiasm, and resilience for your research subject. Read more on this topic here.

Deciding whether having a PhD will benefit your career in the field is a big question with lots of possible answers. Because it is such a complex topic, we are hosting an event on Monday 27 November to provide you with a more rounded view from a panel of experts. The event is called Spotlight On: Careers in Scientific Research and Development – with and without a PhD. You will hear a range of opinions from professionals working in the field of science-based research and development.

If you wondering “should I do a PhD?”, please book an appointment with a member of our team.

Posted in Choosing Your CareerPhD Students