Monday, November 15, 2010

Self-assessment: Are you a suitable candidate for PhD?

Ask yourself a question:
Why do you want to do a PhD?
There can be several reasons that you wanted to go for a PhD. May be you were unable to find a good job commensurate to your present educational qualification. You either didn’t get a good profile or the salary was too low. So you decided to do PhD.  Was it your family who wanted you to get a doctorate or some other pressure? The best thing however, is you decided to do a PhD because you were genuinely interested in research. And how would you know if you were genuinely interested in research? Observe yourself. Are you curious about the things happening around you and have you tried to find an explanation behind those things? If you did probably you like research and you decision of doing a PhD is right.
However, sometimes people enroll for PhD because they were unable to find a good job or some other pressure. But eventually they really develop an interest in research. And even after their PhD they stay in academia and research. And of course, sometimes even though they don’t find themselves interested in research still they successfully complete their PhD and thereafter choose some other job which does not require them to do research.
For being successful in a PhD program you don’t have to be one amongst the top in your class. I have heard from many professors, it’s more important to have patience than intelligence for a successful completion of PhD. However that doesn’t mean that intelligent people are not for PhD. Of course, a more intelligent student can get better results by dedicating the same amount of time in studies than a less intelligent student. However a student who has basic knowledge of mathematics and has a critical thinking can be successful in PhD.
As I have been pointing out in more than one of the posts in this blog, motivation is the key thing. A PhD student has to be self-motivated. His supervisor is not going to motivate him every day to do his research work. The student himself has to work and put in the required time to finish the work and get the desired or set goal.  If you have done any research work before and then decided that you want to research or PhD then probably you are making a right decision because you already know what research is and what it takes to do research. Research needs time commitment, motivation, hard work, and independent and critical thinking.
You may also be interested in this post, especially to evaluate yourself for being suitable for Economics PhD.

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