Why Should I Do a PhD?


Hi my name’s James Arvanitakis and I’m
the Dean of Graduate Studies here at Western Sydney University. One of the
questions I’m often asked is why should I do a PhD? So in this short video I want
to give you a number of reasons why you should do a PhD, and then before we
finish probably tell you a bunch of reasons not to do a PhD. So let’s begin.
The first reason to do a PhD is because of your passion for uncovering new
knowledge. The PhD is a journey where you try and discover something new and
that’s actually what a PhD is meant to do, be a new contribution to knowledge. So
if you have passion for uncovering new things, for learning new stuff, for
sharing new stuff, then definitely you should be motivated to do a PhD.
The second reason to do a PhD is if you really want to learn a new set of skills.
High-end research skills. Increasingly the job market demands these skills from
problem definition to actually understanding how to apply different
research methodologies. If you have a passion for learning about new skills
and developing those skills, then definitely a PhD is for you. The
third reason to do a PhD is because you want to make a difference. In the process
of actually doing a PhD you develop new knowledge and that new knowledge can be
used to solve challenges that exist in the world today. You might not solve them
yourself, you might not produce the answer but you’ll stand on the shoulders
of giants and others will stand on your shoulders of new knowledge. The fourth
reason to do a PhD is because you want to be an academic and you enjoy working
in an academic environment. Honestly, being an educator and a researcher is
probably one of the best jobs in the world. You have a chance to work with the
knowledge, to work with colleagues who have similar passions to you. If this is
something that excites you, if it is something that interests you, then
definitely a PhD is something that you can take advantage of. A chance to talk
about ideas, a chance to apply those ideas into real-world situations and
challenges and to hopefully solve some of those challenges. So there are many,
many reasons to do a PhD and I never regretted doing mine.
I loved the journey, it was fantastic. So I really do encourage you. If you’re
passionate, if you want to make a difference, if you want to pursue
an area of knowledge, definitely pursue it. There are actually reasons not to do
a PhD, so let me run through some of those. The first is because you want to
be called a doctor. Sure, being a doctor is a pretty awesome thing, but if that’s
solely your motivating factor, then don’t do a PhD.
The second reason not to do a PhD is because your family or friends want you to
do one. It actually is a long slog, three years, sometimes pretty isolating, can be
pretty tough. So don’t just do a PhD because your family and friends want you
to do it. It’ll be really hard to get through if that’s your main motivating
factor. The third reason not to do a PhD is if you think it’s a fast track to a
high-paying career. Increasingly industry is turning to PhD students with high end
skills and they’ve probably taken advantage of those skills and some
people have been incredibly commercially successful, as well as commercialising
their research. But it’s no fast track. A PhD as I said is a long slog, requires a
lot of commitments and if you’re solely doing it because you think it’s a fast
track to lots of money then you’re going to be disappointed.
So next reason not to do a PhD is if you think it’s a fast track to live in
Australia. The Australian Government is encouraging international students to
come to Australia and undertake a PhD. It’s a fantastic process to learn new
skills but if you simply motivated for the residency factors, then you’re going to
be lonely, you’re going to miss your family and you’re going to really, really struggle.
So if that’s your reason for wanting to do a PhD, then it’s definitely not the
right reason. And the final reason not to do a PhD, is if you have nothing else to
do. The PhD requires commitment, it requires a passion for new knowledge,
it requires a willingness to commit over the next three years of your life. If
you’re simply doing it because you have nothing better to do, someone suggested
it or if you’re marks seem okay, then that’s not going to be enough motivation
to get you through. So there you have it. Reasons to do a PhD and some reasons not
to do a PhD. Undertaking a PhD is an amazing process. You develop new skills, you discover new knowledge, you meet some
amazing people along the way. It’s inspiring. So if you’re motivated for the
right reasons then you will really enjoy the journey. So make sure you take
advantage of that motivation and I’ll hopefully see you soon.

24 Comments

  1. Hello professor,
    How are you doing? As i live in INDIA.and i hav 9.56 CGPA in masters in digital communication. Can you please guide me through phd programme.
    Looking forward for your reply.

  2. Hello Dr James, Its always pleasure to watch your videos. Always encouraging and helpful. I earned Master degree in economics but I realized, I should pursue a carrier in Communication and I love to do PhD in Verbal communication. Please guide me to proceed.
    Thank you

  3. Thank you very much for the tips Professor. This made me realise that I am considering a PhD for the right reasons.

  4. Hello Proffessor James that was excellent video really helpful .But i have 4 things in "why should i do a phd " and also 2 things in "Not to do a phd " advice on the same

  5. REPLIED DIRECTLY TO PROFESSOR JAMES ARVANISTAKIS . THU 28/06/2018. THANK YOU SO MUCH SIR , YOUR 4 : 32' SEC. SEMINAR FROM YOU TUBE. IT IS EXTREMELY WELL KNOWLEDGE TO ME SIR. I AM LIVING IN QLD, BRISBANE AND NOW DOING THE 6 YEARS FULL TIME A PHD RESEARCH . THE DURATION SUBMIT MY THESIS TO THE PROFESSORS IN CHARGE IS : 7/2018 – THE END OF 2024. ONCE AGAIN, MANY THANKS FROM JN : THE CANDIDATE TO A PHD DEGREE IN THE FUTURE. BYE SIR. TIME RECORDED : 05: 30 PM AT THE LOCAL TIME. *****. I LOVE AUSTRALIA. I AM AUSTRALIAN BY LAWS. YES SIR. SEE YOU.

  6. I'm a high school student, and I really want to pursue research in genetic engineering. Too bad, my country isn't that motivated on r&d. But I will do it. I'll be back 10-15 years from now. I hope I will be able to create difference then.

  7. Going to accademia and doing PhD looks like a Valueable and very humanistic view of giving the energy to humankind progress.

    The reality is a different story . as a newbie in this jungle you don't see the structure, how Professors will use for their Personal gain and "pride projects" .. burned out professors (at least 40%) ..who let everything be done by doctoral students and feel like kings in their chairs! without being responsible for anyone. And certainly not anyone to answer for in the case of failure! And anyway do not bother about teaching … poor students ..
    The professors having a circle of other professors where they have a mafia structure and funding each other …most of them have no vision!!!!!
    they r just reproducing science has bee done before. Most of them in 70thies.
    Please don't go to academia professors will see you like a raw meat and manipulate you and see you as a slave doing his own research work and trying to keep you blind..

  8. You should have mentioned how abysmal the academic 'market' is. I know countless of excellent researchers being stuck in the 'permadoc' situation of doing repetitive postdocs and having no success of getting professorships. Academia is a pyramid scheme.

  9. Helo sir I want to pursue PhD as a international student I have done postgraduationa in Mcom can you guide me please.

  10. Sir,
    What are my chances of getting PhD scholarship in Australia or Canada? I have done BSc in Physics, MA sociology and also Master in public Administration? But I have just around 55% marks. I have 12 years of Maths teaching experience. Some say it is mix matched. Also Please guide me in which field I can do PhD.
    Waiting your reply…

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