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.