General Question

Jreemy's avatar

Should I persue a Doctorate?

Asked by Jreemy (168points) September 6th, 2008

I am in my freshman year of college and I am majoring in Applied Physics. After I graduate I am going on to graduate school to earn my masters in Engineering. I have been told by one of my physics professors that those in the field who have a doctorate only make about 3k more than those with a masters and that getting a doctorate should only be for personal satisfaction. He followed the same degree plan as I am planning to take but in the reverse order (he got a bachelors in Electrical Engineering and then got a masters and doctorate in Applied Physics). Any thoughts?

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19 Answers

lefteh's avatar

Focusing on your undergrad degree and setting yourself up for your Masters might be most important for now. Maybe you should wait until you’re in the position where you are closer to being in the position to choose whether or not to pursue the Doctorate before deciding?
Once you have more experience in the field and have a feel for what is important to a fulfilling, well-paying career, you will be in a better position to decide.

augustlan's avatar

I’m with lefteh. Don’t put the cart in front of the horse…you’ve got plenty on your plate right now, and plenty of time to make this decision later.

Jreemy's avatar

Ah, ok. I have heard the horse adage before, and I suppose I am doing just that. I was just curious as to whether or not this would be a good goal to set, but truly, getting the current goals out of they way is a much better option haha.

JackAdams's avatar

Yes, you should definitely pursue a doctorate!

Especially if he is young, good-looking, and has a lot of money.

September 6, 2008, 2:36 PM EDT

Jreemy's avatar

@JackAdams, O_o, umm yeah, I’m a guy who also happens to be into women,and you took this question entirely out of context.

JackAdams's avatar

@Jreemy: Forgive my error, but I wasn’t addressing you, specifically.

Note that your name was not mentioned in my post.

September 6, 2008, 2:01 PM EDT

lefteh's avatar

He asked the question and you answered the question and said you. That is directly addressing him.

Jreemy's avatar

@JackAdams, Oh, I see, my apologies on the mixup.
@Lefteh: touche

JackAdams's avatar

You were right to mention it. Your question, your rules.

My apologies.

September 6, 2008, 2:59 PM EDT

JackAdams's avatar

“You” is collective. I was talking to everyone, or my remark would have been PM’d to one specific person.

September 6, 2008, 3:00 PM EDT

Jreemy's avatar

ANYway, bottom line, get what’s on my plate now out of the way first and marry an attractive and intelligent woman, got two levels of advice on this one

JackAdams's avatar

To be serious, regardless of your details and specifics, one should always strive for self-improvement, to become the best-possible person they can ever hope to be.

September 6, 2008, 3:05 PM EDT

marinelife's avatar

By the time you have your undergrad degree and are in the master’s program, the job market may well have changed. It seems like a reevaluation at that point would make sense.

readtolive's avatar

Maybe you could ask someone’s advice that is actually in the field.. like an HR person…
If you only make 3K more with a Dr., it probably would not be cost-effective to pursue it… since you would spend MORE than 3K to take the courses needed for a doctorate.

skfinkel's avatar

I don’t know about your specific field, but I believe that doctorates are good for a number of things: to teach at a university and if you want to spend time doing research without having to necessarily make money with your research. Also, getting a doctorate gives you lots of time to go into great depth some part of your field that fascinates you. I can’t speak to the amount of extra money you receive in work, but having a doctorate might open up jobs to you that otherwise you couldn’t get.

As far as the cost of a doctorate (other than time), I would guess in your field that you would have your tuition paid if you take a university job (like teaching undergrads or being a research assistant).

I did go back to school for a doctorate—was able to do the in depth research I was excited about, and have found doors open to me with a doctorate that might not have been with a masters.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

@readtolive, I’m assuming the 3K is a yearly salary thing so after a couple years it would pay off.
I’d say wait, your a freshman and your interests may change. I’m going into my 3rd of college and plan on a masters but I’m not sure if I’ll get a doctorate yet. I want to but we’ll see what the job oppurtunities are at the time. good luck.

cwilbur's avatar

Do you want a doctorate? It tends to be a lot of work, and the sort of thing that you won’t succeed at unless you really want it. If you’re just doing it for $3K a year, well, you might as well go directly into the workforce—you’ll never recoup the opportunity cost of the doctorate program.

plethora's avatar

Yes, you should. Right after you learn how to spell “pursue”.

talljasperman's avatar

If it is your passion then go all the way. If not then stop and find out what your passion is.

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