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April 29, 2010

The PhD extra year

Whoever tells you that doing a PhD is not stressful, please kick his/her a@$% for me. I am now in the third year of my PhD studies and I can tell you how stressful it is. 

The only period in this entire course that I was ever happy was in the first year - the honeymoon period. I wanted to do ground breaking research (done), publish a few articles in top raking journals (on the way) before I complete my studies and other grandiose dreams. Now I just want to complete my degrees within the stipulated period with minimum fuss. 

Officially the duration for a Full-time PhD in the Warwick business school is 3 years but as far as I know, the average is between 3 and a 1/2 and 4 years. I know of several who were in their 5th year. It doesn't mean that these guys (in extra years) were bad students or researchers but they went into the extra year because of a number of problems that can crop up in research - due to the fact that research is so unpredictable. And you need to come up with something new - contribution to methodology or theory. You can't just come up with findings that say that "all my hypothesis were rejected because they were not statistically significant". 

I have no idea why but all PhD scholarships end after 3 years, even though as I mentioned earlier, hardly anyone completes it in that time. In fact I don't know anyone who got a PhD in just 3 years. So in the extra year most full-time students have no job, no money and lot of stress. More so if you are a family man and a foreigner. 

According to the new Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS) a foreign student who had been here in the Uk for more than 2 years will require £533 for the spouse and a further £533 for each child, in addition to £800 required for his/her own support. In total our family will require evidence that we hold  £2399. Really squeezing the b$@£s of students who are legally here in the UK. 

My wife is also a PhD student in her extra (4th) year. I definitely do not want to go into the extra year and hope I can go against all odds and complete my studies before September this year.


Dilip Mutum

This blog records some of the thoughts and experiences of Dilip Mutum at the University of Warwick. He has been blogging since 2003 and this is but one of his many blogs.

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