In some fields, such as the academe, a Master’s Degree is already enough to secure employment. However, even if a Master’s Degree can secure you a job, sometimes, a doctoral degree will give you a greater advantage over other applicants. What sets a Ph.D apart from a Master’s Degree?

For those who are thinking about getting a Master’s Degree, feel free to browse through this article: .

A Ph.D/Doctoral Degree Requires a New Contribution to the Field

Possessing a Master’s Degree shows that you have mastered your discipline, for you have explored it further. A Ph.D or Doctoral Degree, on the other hand, would require that you bring something new to your field. This contribution would be in the form of a dissertation, where you use the research skills you have learned in your years of graduate study to generate original research.

However, some people decide to take a Ph.D not just because they want to bring in something new, but because it facilitates easier hiring or higher salary, since Doctors of Philosophy are hired at a higher rank than Master’s Degree holders. Also, a Ph.D grants the title of Doctor, which is a source of bragging rights. After all, Ph.D holders have earned it by contributing something new.

Advantages of Taking a Ph.D

Being a holder of a Ph.D degree does not only entitle you to wear nice academic robes (complete with hat) during important occasions, but it also has these advantages:

  • Promotions: As I mentioned earlier, a Master’s Degree might get you a teaching position, but a Ph.D will allow you to be promoted, not just in academic ranks, but in University administration as well. This is because administrative positions in Universities, like Department Chair, require a Ph.D. For example, my English Literature Prof headed the English Department as Associate Chair, since he was not a Ph.D holder.
  • Job Security: Possessing a Doctoral Degree makes it easier for an academic to gain tenure, meaning he/she cannot be fired (except for serious reasons).
  • Recognition as a Leading Expert: A Doctor of Philosophy, due to having generated new knowledge for his/her discipline, will indeed be recognized as a leading expert in the field.
  • Direct Doctoral Programs: Some Universities allow Bachelor’s Degree Holders to go straight to a Ph.D program, which cuts the study time short. A Master’s Degree may be granted to mark candidacy (readiness to write the dissertation).

Other than these, the advantages are nearly the same as those a Master’s Degree provides.

Disadvantages of Taking a Ph.D

Other than the sacrifices that were presented in the previous article on taking a Master’s Degree, here are the disadvantages of undergoing Ph.D studies.

  • Ph.D Studies Take Longer: Doctoral studies will indeed take longer than Master’s because a dissertation is way heavier than a thesis, since producing new knowledge in a field is harder than it sounds. In fact a prof of mine only gained his Ph.D after my batch graduated from college, and he was already teaching way before we came in.
  • Work-School-Life Balance is Harder: Since Ph.D scholarships can include teaching positions in your university, it will be harder to balance your work, studies, and other priorities. In fact, one of my other professors had to balance his teaching work, dissertation, and raising his family.
  • No Topic, No Entry: Unlike a Master’s Program, where you can think about your thesis as you go along, when entering a Ph.D program, you must already have a topic and adviser in mind for your dissertation. This can lead to added stress even before you start your doctoral studies.

To Take or Not to Take, That is the Question

It will be worth it in the end

If a Master’s Degree is challenging, then taking a Ph.D would not be for the faint of heart. However, the trials and travails of going through a Ph.D will be worth it in the end, especially if you want an academic or research career. So, if you really dream of becoming a researcher, a faculty member in your university, or simply becoming an expert in a certain field, then go for it!

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