12 Replies Latest reply on Sep 6, 2017 11:06 AM by Lusia Mahoney

    Getting Ph.D near 40s

    Syed Muhammad Iqbal Azimuddin

      My question is How many of us working for their Ph.D degree at the twilight of their career. Quit the job and go for Ph.D at the middle age of 40 years or after..... Infact I just want to know that I am the only example or some one at other part of world is/are doing so. They are also engage to take care of their family wife and school going kids.....

        • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
          David Bateman

          I went back to school to get my Ph.D. in my thirties, with a wife and three kids. It was not easy, and it honestly limits your employability to an extent. But, it was a great experience that led me to a career I really love. I started grad school with someone in his early forties who graduated the year after I did. He seems very happy with his choice, and very proud of his accomplishment as well.

          • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
            Joseph Sparenberg

            I am currently 35 and going part time for my undergraduate degree in biochemistry. By the time I get to start graduate school, I will be almost 38. I am single with no kids, but I do have a mortgage and other bills, which is why it has taken me 8 years to finally be a college senior.

            • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
              Steven Cooke

              Dear Syed,

              I returned to school while working to complete my Master's degree and the coursework for a doctorate. Work/family changes prevented my completion of the thesis for my doctorate.  As a "continuous learner" and Adult college educator (in addition to my industrial career) I encourage any and everyone to continue learning knew things and acquiring new skills throughout life. (I'm 59 now)

              Whether it is a Ph.D. or a technical certification, or just a non-credit course for personal enrichment, only you can decide if the goal is realistic and worth the effort.  That said, pursuing a Ph.D. for personal fulfillment or the satisfaction of working at a different level in the discipline are really the only reasons that I would recommend someone to exert that effort.  If you are thinking that it will greatly change your job prospects or income potential I think that you may be mistaken.

              I recommend to all of my students and acquaintances that they really should pursue whatever they have a real passion for.  If that path is towards a Ph.D., then go for it!  But, if you think that somehow a Ph.D. will get you to another goal (lifestyle, prestige, wealth) than knowledge, then you might want to reconsider the "trajectory path" of your career plan.

              I have many students in their 50's and 60's "coming back" to complete a bachelor's degree.  So, there's nothing wrong with pursuing any level of education at any age.  In fact, I commend you for it highly.  Just make sure that your expectations of both the journey and the milestones are both in line with your own desires and realistic to our current world.

               

              Best regards,

              Steven Cooke

              Process Systems Consulting

                • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
                  Dhrubajyoti Gupta

                  Dear Syed,

                   

                  You are not the only one. There are many who pursue degrees at an old age as already mentioned above. It also calls for sacrifices like not being able to devote time to family and kids, and more. But if one's drive is a real passion for the research he/she intends to pursue, I think that more often than not he/she can succeed in completing the degree. However, I completely agree with what Steven said above. One should think about his/her priorities in life if he/she has multiple choices. If his/her drive is money, luxury, etc. he/she should think of other options. A doctorate degree doesn't guarantee that.

                  If I may also add: it may be so that your PhD guide is very efficient and will spoon feed you to the degree, but that again doesn't guarantee that one will be a good researcher in future. My experience tells me that people who perform their research independently (with minimum guidance/developing their own thinking skills) are more likely to be good researchers, even if they take longer in earning the degree.

                   

                  Best Regards,

                  Dhrubajyoti Gupta

                • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
                  Kelly Janssen

                  Syed,

                   

                  I went back to school in my late thirties, and it took me until this year to finish my B.S. in Chemistry. I went slowly, one or two classes at a time, with some time off here and there. It was difficult because I worked full time and had a family. My sone was 10 when I started. He is 24 now, and we spent this last year at the same school. I am 52, and feel that it would not be worth it for me to get a Ph.D because I would be so close to retirement by the time I finished. My company paid me money for school, and they are developing me, so that has been good.

                   

                  Regards,

                  Kelly

                  • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
                    Michael Johnson

                    Hi, I am also in this same situation. I am 33 finishing up my associates, then moving on to my graduate with time. I plan on it taking another 6 years to get to graduate level, with puts me at around 39 starting my graduate program. I also have a family to help support, though it is my wife, her mom, and myself at this time. I have also been worried, so it is good for me as well to see that others are doing this.

                    • Re: Getting Ph.D near 40s
                      Lusia Mahoney

                      Hi,

                      I am also a "lifelong learner". I am 41 and always love to learn new things, and have a deep interest in science and technology since I was small. I'd say studying is my hobby. I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Masters in Business and experience in chemical industries (R&D and Management department). I also co-founded a school and have been teaching Math, Science, Chemistry, TOEFL. Last year I moved to the USA. For my career in the US, I took analytical chemistry courses (11 credits, lectures+lab) because ChemEng/ Chemistry are what I'm passionate about. It's nice to know all people who wrote here are like me.