by Elena Golovushkina
A strong motivation is a key factor if you want to be a successful PhD student. I guess this is just logical, once you start a three to five years long journey, you might as well have a very good idea why you are doing it.
The path to completing a doctoral degree is not quite a walk in the park, you might encounter several stumbles along the way, an additional reason for you to be really confident about your chosen PhD programme.
So why do people get a PhD?
1. Improve career prospects
The first and perhaps one of the most obvious reasons is improving one's career prospects. Whether you would like to continue working in academia or develop your career in an industry, a PhD can be a beneficial factor that will improve your career prospects. You have to be very careful though, because in some jobs having a PhD can still be a disadvantage.
You can be viewed as “too academic”, especially if you have a poor experience outside the academic world. As a result, if you are driven by this motivation, it is recommendable to check in advance the requirements for the potential jobs you aspire for. That will give you an idea whether a PhD will help you or not.
2. Make a difference in the research world
To make a difference in the research field. Many, if not most PhD students I talk to do their PhD to make a difference in their research field. I think it's great that there are so many altruists among us that are ready to dedicate several years of their lives to contribute to their knowledge field.
3. 100% passion or interest for a research topic
The third option is that maybe you are just genuinely interested in a research topic. Curiosity is an essential characteristic of a good researcher. If your interest is serious, it will be enough for you to overcome all the challenges of a PhD journey and be successful.
In fact, academic specialists state that passion for the subject will not only help you successfully pass any difficulty during your study degree, but it will make you become a perfectionist when it comes to your research project which ultimately, will lead to a very good thesis.
4. Get funding for a research project
The financial factor should not be overlooked when deciding to take a PhD. Many universities provide scholarships for doing research projects, meaning that you will receive a monthly stipend for your research work. It varies depending on country and university, but in most cases, it is sufficient to do full-time research without undertaking any other work activities.
However, in some cases, funded doctoral degrees are only available for predefined research projects. These are PhDs suggested by universities covering a certain theme or topic.
To make it easier in terms of choosing the right topic and covering the costs for a doctoral programme, some prospective PhD students choose exactly these programmes that are funded by universities.
5. It’s the next logical step after a Bachelor's or a Master's programme
Last but not least, some people do their PhD because they simply do not know what else they could do. You may find yourself at the crossroads, and the picture of the future is not clear to you. In this case, the prospects of doing a PhD may seem a bit better compared to other options. Unfortunately, this type of motivation does not make the PhD journey easy, so it is best to think twice before making this decision.
A good suggestion is to take a break between your last graduated school and a PhD degree and undertake an internship and a work opportunity. This situation will provide you a better view on what you should do about your future studies.
Think it over before you choose to pursue a PhD degree
A PhD, like any other learning journey, implies understanding oneself and developing one's potential. Understanding why you would like to do a PhD is the first essential step that may ensure the success of the journey. Invest your time in thinking it over!