When we talk about a PhD degree, the thing that comes on our mind is: time consuming. This year, two of my friends who graduated in June went for PhDs, in chemistry and BNS respectively. Although they confessed that the length of their programs (6 years) make them somehow hopeless, they still felt that they had made the right choice. Here are three reasons that I conclude from their experiences, as well as the conversations with my professors, about why a PhD degree is worthy in nowadays market.
Imagine that you use 6-7 years of studying and researching on the same topic, you would definitely become an expert in this area. If you are a science major, there are lots of fancy techniques that are only offered in graduate schools' lab; lots of scientific projects are going on, and you can be part of the team to “change the world" too. For social science students, nothing is better than reading the books that you love, and learning new things on a daily basis. In the meantime, specializing on a particular field doesn’t necessarily mean to block yourself from the “outside real world.” As you get an opportunity to explore this world from a wider and deeper perspective, it is much easier for you to connect the theories on your textbooks with how you deal with practical problems.
2. It is interesting.
If you would like to spend 6 more years in school after 4 years’ college, the subject should be what you enjoy or at least what you are good at. Therefore, it is not that easy to get tired of or get bored with the workload. My sociology professor once mentioned that he wrote his dissertation about undocumented immigrants, by living in NYC for two years, observing and collecting data. Although we use “scientific research”, such a rigid word, to define the job that researchers are doing, the work that they do is simply going outside to meet different types of people and interviewing them. For me, I would love to interact with people who have different backgrounds than me, and develop a sense of how cultures have shaped people’s values or attitudes.
3. Job market is competitive.
According to the United States Department of Education, 3,724,110 graduates are reported having a university degree or an associate degree from year 2013 to 2014. Even though there may be only 50% of them who will go for a job directly after college, the number is still huge; the competition among students is fierce. What’s more, student with a college degree is probably only able to find an entry level job without a satisfied salary. In this case, gaining a higher degree (a PhD specifically) may be a good choice for students who want to climb up to the top of the “salary hierarchy.”