8 rotten reasons to apply for a PhD

I picked up the New Scientist Graduate Careers Special (28 October 2006) at the Careers Service yesterday. There is a gem of an article by Matthew Killeya (PhD statistics). This is his list of eight rotten reasons to apply for a PhD.

  1. I want three more years of life as a student.
  2. I’ve got nothing better to do.
  3. I fancy my lecturer. (!)
  4. I want to pull students (“Don’t even go there – much, much worse than pulling your lecturer.”)
  5. I want “Doctor” on my credit card (“In fact, most people with a PhD are reluctant to flaunt their title. Imagine somebody introducing themselves as “doctor” in a pub – you’d probably think they were a prat.”
  6. They offered me a place.
  7. I’ll be raking the cash afterwards.
  8. I want to know all the answers. (“…expect your PhD to throw up more questions than answers.”)


  1. vera says:


    Well I guess I won’t apply for one then.

    (You know Joel’s only doing it so he can make us call him doctor joel.)

  2. vera says:

    Oh, it would have been “I fancy my lecturer”.

    Joel, if you were my lecturer, then it’d all work out well for both of us!

  3. joanium says:

    Hi 3088 silver. No, not thinking of doing a PhD any time soon. I seriously doubt my self-discipline and interest. In fact, of the eight rotten reasons that could have tempted me to do a PhD, I would have put up 5, 7, 8. Maybe even 3, if the right lecturer came along 😉

    Reason 8, actually, has reared its ugly head of late. Problems seem to be getting more and more huge and complicated and simple at the same time. I might have done a PhD in the mistaken belief that it could provide clarity. Better to be ignorant and stubborn, eh.

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