2 weeks from PhD thesis hand in…

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  • 2 weeks from PhD thesis hand in…
  • poah
    Member

    but I always thought of 60k as being MPhil length and 80k to 100k as being PhD. Have standards changed in the last 10 years

    actual length is not what makes a PhD thesis although at Glasgow you are limited to 250k words not that mine was near that ha ha ha ha. also depends on the subject too I would imagine.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    actual length is not what makes a PhD thesis

    I know, but to treat an original question seriously in anything under 80k I would have thought very difficult.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to hijack the laudatory purpose of this revived discussion, so ignore me…

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    I’ve seen some pretty short thesis but these were just the published papers from the PhD together with a short intro. You see these more in Europe than in the UK in my area.

    chewkw
    Member

    Op,

    Does that mean you going to be unemployed now?
    Or
    Are you going earn tonnes of cash now?

    What’s your PhD on anyway?

    Most of me mates are getting paid peanuts with pressure up to their head just trying to publish some “shite research” in social sciences … well their words not mine. Some of them keep hopping from Uni to another every 3 to 4 years citing better pay or getting away from pressure …

    Once one of them tried to explain his PhD title(passed without correction), research into public sector, to me … I just burst out laughing coz he was researching ZM bureaucrats using some fancy words … FFS! What a load of shite. We ZM bureaucrats know exactly well those research means F all to us because we are better pen pushers.

    😀

    Rocket Tom
    Member

    I know, but to treat an original question seriously in anything under 80k I would have thought very difficult.

    Which, presumably, is where the pictures help – what with them painting a thousand words and all.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    pictures help – what with them painting a thousand words and all.

    Brilliant! 😀

    Duffer
    Member

    To clarify; is there anyone on STW who isn’t a doctor? There was me getting all excited about starting my lowly BSc…

    Hope the whole process goes smoothly enough OP!

    Premier Icon I_did_dab
    Subscriber

    Make sure you have multiple cloud-based backups. Now’s the time for a catastrophic HD failure. Finishing off can be hard, as others have said, take a short break, make a list of small tasks that need doing, and cross them off one by one.
    You’ll be reet!

    Premier Icon ebennett
    Subscriber

    Well done! Was a complete anti-climax for me too, I couldn’t even be bothered getting a copy bound for myself. I found the harder part was actually having to read the damn thing again 4 months later to get back up to speed for my viva! Now that I’m actually working in a scientific writing field I look back at it and think it’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever written.

    asdfhjkl
    Member

    poah – Member
    actual length is not what makes a PhD thesis although at Glasgow you are limited to 250k words

    That’s generous. I submitted my PhD thesis at Glasgow a couple of months ago. Word limit for us (in comp sci) was 100k, although I think Sci+Eng have now lowered that to around 85k.

    IA
    Member

    I found the harder part was actually having to read the damn thing again 4 months later to get back up to speed for my viva

    Best tip I had was take a couple of pages of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle. Number each line, each side of the vertical line (so you’ve got twice as many numbered lines on a page).

    Now go through each page of the thesis and write the two or three words that describe the content of that page.

    Once you do that, you’ve re-read it thinking about what’s in it, and you know have a handy index card for the viva. So when someone says “what about ….” you have a quick look and say “ah, I discuss that on page 77…”

    thecaptain
    Member

    I stretched mine out to about 100 pages (double spaced) with a lengthy intro…had started work before the viva so that was a bit of an anticlimax too. Turn up, quick chat, examiner made it clear that it was basically ok with a few corrections.

    I have heard tales of excruciating vivas and even a failure though, just to keep the OP on their toes…

    Premier Icon welshfarmer
    Subscriber

    Just checked mine. 224 pages, including a couple of appendices based on some extra questions placed during the viva. Remember, it is not over until it is over.

    Who needs cloud based storage as back-up when the whole thing fits on a 3.5″ floppy 🙂

    finbar
    Member

    Quite a few people told me PhD length is inversely proportional to scientific signficance – I think one of the most successful academic’s I know was 35,000.

    (Mine was more like 65,000, and I work in the Civil Servivce now 😆 . I loved doing it though and enjoyed a few years postdoc-ing and lecturing afterwards)

    poah
    Member

    That’s generous. I submitted my PhD thesis at Glasgow a couple of months ago. Word limit for us (in comp sci) was 100k, although I think Sci+Eng have now lowered that to around 85k.

    you’re right 100k, don’t know where I got 250k from. This is the bit from the documention for the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences

    “The thesis shall be a minimum of 70,000 and a maximum of 100,000 words including references, bibliography and appendices in each case. A candidate who wishes to submit a thesis of greater or lesser length must seek prior permission of the appropriate College Higher Degrees Committee or equivalent.”

    mine was only 34.5K lol

    ianpv
    Member

    Finished mine 16 years ago, my most recent PhD student submitted last week, and I seem to examine about 4 a year now – which can be a brilliant part of the job but can also be awful if the student is weak or has made fundamental errors. I once examined a thesis in which every single number was wrong due to misuse of some matlab toolbox. And the candidate had just had laser eye surgery, so there were plenty of tears in that viva…

    (Prof!) IPV

    jambalaya
    Member

    OP good luck but …. isn’t the initial version just a draft, 1 year at least of rewrites and resubmissions 😈

    Chapeau and respect to all those PhD posters here!

    Premier Icon nickb
    Subscriber

    It’s about 20 years since I finished mine. I recall that point on a Friday afternoon when I realised I’d finished writing it all – just a bit of tidying and editing to do. I went out for a quick pint… and got completely wasted!

    Fun times – my suggestion is to knuckle down and get it done asap!

    Nick

    chewkw
    Member

    Doing a PhD is just like having demonstrating your logical mindset … nothing more.

    You seldom get a breakthrough other than merely rewording others work especially in social sciences.

    You don’t have to be a high flyer to do in fact on the contrary you only find certain people do them because …

    … me mate did it because he tried to proof that he is beyond normal people. He has been earning part-time income since he graduated now he is 60s … no full time job. I think most of them are in the same position.

    Me mate in Singapore has a different story he is the head of the entire operation and in charge of the entire region there… jammy git but then he is some sort of Prof or something silly …

    edit: a quick survey how much do you earn with PhD? Give me a range say 50k – 60k something like that.

    Seriously my nephew wants to do one in future …

    IA
    Member

    Not sure and answer would help. The subject matter will be more important than the PhD.

    Some jobs it’ll be table stakes to even get the job, some it’ll (maybe) give more earning power.

    I’d suggest doing one for the money is a very bad idea in nearly every case. You do it cos it’s interesting, and in the best(?) case because it allows you to do interesting work.

    I’d discourage most people from doing a PhD. IMO you have to really want it. And there’s no good logical reason to do one unless it’s a requirement of your chosen field – and even then planning to go into academia say is a loosing game, far more fail than succeed.

    A sobering stat: 1/4 never submit. Not fail, never get that far.

    Even with my PhD and the areas I could work in, there’s a massive range. I could be teaching, or I could be working in algorithmic trading….vast salary range and “nothing” to do with the PhD.

    Having said all the above, 60k would be nice!

    I did my viva almost exactly a year ago. The most anticlimatic moment was this June when I handed the completed, corrected, hardbound version. One of the strangest days of my life.

    I didn’t even have a copy of it printed for myself, I never want to see it again.

    I’m still working in research – same department, but not sure for how long.

    After passing my viva I bought myself the first new bike I’ve ever bought.

    Instead of putting on a hood and gown and going to shake some twonk’s hand, I took the day off work and took aforementioned bike up Helvellyn and round Ullswater.

    For the purposes of the survey: ~30k

    poah
    Member

    7k I get a year working part time. it sucks to have this knowledge and not be able to use it

    Premier Icon ebennett
    Subscriber

    As IA said, you don’t do it for the money. I did mine because I figured it would be the only way to get myself into a career I could actually get some satisfaction out of and be interested in (most days). Worked for me, I wouldn’t have my current job without it.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Well done OP.

    I need to check if Mrs North has a copy of hers at home. For some reason I’ve always wanted to see a copy of it in the bookcase even if I’ll never open it (what’s the point – it’s complete gibberish to me!).

    I remember taking the day off to take her to her viva – she was convinced she was going to fail. I basically had to force her into the building. I’d barely started my second pint in the pub when I had a phonecall: “I’ve finihsed”. “And..?” “Oh, I passed with a few minor corrections.”

    Anticlimax. Well, until her fellow candidates, her supervisor and the post-docs from her lab came out for a drink. Turned out her external examiner had failed the last two candidates he’d viva’d…. So he had extra to drink..!

    dragon
    Member

    40,000 word limit here. It is actually harder to be concise and succinct than write a load of old waffle.

    And there’s no good logical reason to do one unless it’s a requirement of your chosen field

    I don’t think that’s true, i did mine because it was interesting and I got to have a great life for 4 years. I don’t regret it for a minute, and there are plenty of transferable skills that you learn; technical writing and perseverance for starters.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    @chewkw:

    One should NOT DO A PHD FOR MONEY.

    I guess I was too influenced by the philosophical notion of a liberal eduction, but I did my PPhD because I wanted to go deeper and deeper into my subject.

    That said, I do pretty well, and that is at least in part because of the PhD, insofar as it gave me the basis for a certain recognition in my area.

    Good luck!

    Mine was a while ago now but I still use the skills. Not so much the specific knowledge itself, but knowing how to research stuff, be critical, analyse problems before trying to solve them etc. It’s a great confidence boost too. You look back at what you’ve learned during your PhD and think ‘blow me, I didn’t know any of that a few years back’. It can make you get less scared of difficult tasks in future.

    PS, don’t worry about your viva. It’s stressful alright, but not that bad and you really cannot mess it up. Firstly, it’s to satisfy the examiners that you actually wrote the thesis. Secondly, if they don’t think the thesis itself is up to scratch as written, it’s to make it better. They grill you a bit to pull out the stuff you know but didn’t explain properly, find out what you’re missing and then tell you exactly what you need to do to make the grade. Easy-peasy.

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    Yep the PhD failure rate is a scandal really. For instance one really bright guy who works for us stopped 4yrs in (five years US PhD). A real waste of talent.

    The other thing to remember is that if you want to stay in your area and progress beyond a certain level you often need a PhD. Certainly in most academic sciences. My job now I couldn’t do without the qualification.

    Salary range with a PhD? Completely variable and probably more variable than any similar level qualification.

    nerd
    Member

    I failed mine! I’ve got to resubmit the 2nd week of January, I’ve got lots to do and I can’t be bothered.
    The least satisfying thing I’ve ever done, with an uninterested supervisor and an unsupportive department.
    Where? Oxford!

    TiRed
    Member

    Struggled to get mine into three figures. No tables and three pictures. It did however boast a couple of equations that are longer than a page, some incomplete gamma functions and an episode of star trek TNG was based on it 8)

    Had to finish to take up an academic post. What I do now, aside from the maths, is rather a long way away. A fellow PhD student became a barrister. The rest went into “financial” engineering and retired.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    nerd – Member

    I failed mine! I’ve got to resubmit the 2nd week of January, I’ve got lots to do and I can’t be bothered.
    The least satisfying thing I’ve ever done, with an uninterested supervisor and an unsupportive department.
    Where? Oxford! What do you call a person with a shite thesis, from an uninterested supervisor, and an unsupportive department?

    Doctor.

    In other words, the thesis must be completely irretrievable if you’re considering letting it go at this stage. Sorry to hear if that’s the case.

    chewkw
    Member

    SaxonRider – Member

    @chewkw:

    One should NOT DO A PHD FOR MONEY.

    I guess I was too influenced by the philosophical notion of a liberal eduction, but I did my PPhD because I wanted to go deeper and deeper into my subject.

    That said, I do pretty well, and that is at least in part because of the PhD, insofar as it gave me the basis for a certain recognition in my area.

    Oh ya for the money for me. I want loads of money if I have a PhD or if I were to do one as I cannot survive on eating air only you know.

    SaxonRider how much do you earn approximately? Just want to know like because me mates, most with PhD I think, earn only around £19k to £25 with short term contract … nearly 60 yr old most of them … think they are social sciences …

    For me nephew, studying Chemistry now at Uni, I guess he has to do a PhD in future if he is to enter that field …

    I guess having an interest in the topic is an added advantage according to all my PhD mates and Professors … I cannot believe they are professors! Really! Head of this and that, “experts” in this and that … bloody hell. I know one of them is an expert in ZM bureaucrats and we have a good laugh whenever we talked about public institutions …

    Oh ya wait … he just told me we, as a society, will be having some rough rides in future as the ZM bureaucrats are evolving again into something even more zombie like. It’s happening already but not obvious to the naked eyes. Ya, he agrees with me … there, even an expert agrees with my views.

    IA
    Member

    For me nephew, studying Chemistry now at Uni, I guess he has to do a PhD in future if he is to enter that field …

    Chemistry is one of the areas where for a lot of work the PhD is table stakes. Though mostly it’s for lab experience I think.

    However, the one thing I’ve always thought about chemists, is no-one wants to be a chemist. Don’t know anyone that started a chemist and still is, just takes some longer than others to realise…

    dragon
    Member

    The least satisfying thing I’ve ever done, with an uninterested supervisor and an unsupportive department.
    Where? Oxford!

    Which department

    TBH I’m surprised you were even allowed to submit, or at least warned, if it was likely to fail.

    thecaptain
    Member

    The only failure I know of was someone who submitted against supervisor’s recommendation, following a bit of a breakdown of their relationship.

    Premier Icon ebennett
    Subscriber

    However, the one thing I’ve always thought about chemists, is no-one wants to be a chemist

    Yep, did it as an undergrad and had zero interest in a future career slopping toxic chemicals about and wondering how bad the fumes were for my health!

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    SaxonRider how much do you earn approximately? Just want to know like because me mates, most with PhD I think, earn only around £19k to £25 with short term contract … nearly 60 yr old most of them … think they are social sciences …

    My PhD is in the humanities, and it would appear I earn more than your mates.

    asdfhjkl
    Member

    chewkw – Member
    Oh ya for the money for me. I want loads of money if I have a PhD or if I were to do one as I cannot survive on eating air only you know.

    There can be good money in having a PhD, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll get you a well paid job that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get. But you probably know this given the experience of yer pals.

    In my field, a PhD can start you off around 30-35k, which is similar to what an undergraduate would earn; but having the PhD opens doors which allow you to earn more as your career progresses (but those jobs are very competitive).

    But there’s no certainty that you’d be better off with a PhD than with an undergraduate degree, so money alone shouldn’t be the main motivator.

    Premier Icon wonny j
    Subscriber

    If nothing else a PhD is a test of endurance.

    Mine was 405 pages including 27 pages of references and was submitted in 2011. Sometimes I use what I learnt in my everyday working life.

    Sorting the references at the end was definitely the lowest point – would recommend Endnote or similar to mitigate the stress at the end.

    As this thread shows, one thing doing a PhD does, if you’ll pardon the (sort of) pun, is make you philosophical about the whole experience. Which is perhaps not surprising.

    You might pick up a few things about your chosen topic along the way, but mainly it teaches you about yourself, how you think and how you like to work.

    It taught me that it probably wasn’t the right thing to do in the end but I don’t regret it.

    I did it for the money. I don’t want to boast as I realise how lucky I was, but I got a stipend from a research council of approx. £13k pa for 3 years. Doesn’t sound a lot now, and I realise I could have earnt more, but to a student it’s a lot and I got to stay a student for another 3 years.

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