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Finding out what studying for a doctoral degree is likely to involve.

Welcome to Is a PhD Right for me?, a short course designed to provide advice and guidance for tackling the momentous decision whether to apply for and commit to doctoral study at a UK university.

Deciding to undertake a PhD – or any kind of doctoral study – means committing to a minimum of three years of advanced study and will have an impact on your time, family, finances and future career goals.

Through this course, you will discover what a PhD is likely to involve, how people fund their study, how to start to prepare an application, and finally, what life might look like in practice during your studies.

Approach to doctoral study, and particularly the application process, is very different in other parts of the world. This course is specifically about study at universities in the UK.

What you’ll encounter

Over the next three weeks, you will be introduced to a wide range of students, supervisors and other professionals involved in doctoral studies at UK universities, through video interviews. Their experiences and advice will give you guidance and insight into the processes, issues, highs and lows of undertaking a “terminal” degree in your chosen field.

You will watch short videos and discuss dilemmas, decisions, good and bad practice played out by Paula, Rafi, Annie and Oli, a group of fictional potential PhD students.

You will also read information, consider your own and your fellow students’ views and work through a variety of practical and reflective activities, leading you towards an informed decision and foundation for application.

Although this course has no direct Educator taught content there will be encouragement and interaction in the step comments. There are no assessments (tests or quizzes).

The Workbook

Throughout the course, you can record your thoughts, comments, notes and activities in this workbook:

We recommend that you take the time to engage with all the tasks and exercises, but you are free to choose which ones get more of your attention. We’ve given you the opportunity to think – and write – in depth about many ideas and different aspects of your decision-making and preparation to apply and get started on your studies, but you can give as much time and effort to these activities as you feel is appropriate for you.

Our goal is to encourage you to make the right decision.

Let’s get started!

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Is a PhD Right for Me?

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