Why undertake a PhD?

Thinking about why I undertook a PhD? The biggest driver I think was intellectual curiosity, although I’ve always wanted to “teach”, so that was also a factor…

The proportion of doctoral students who find academic jobs is greater than the proportion with a definite aspiration to do so – except in the arts and humanities.

This is the surprising finding of a major survey of PhD students’ career aspirations carried out by Vitae, the research careers organisation.

The online survey, carried out in 2010, attracted more than 4,500 responses from doctoral researchers across 130 UK universities and research institutes.

An overwhelming majority of respondents had entered doctoral study for reasons of intellectual curiosity, and only about a third had formed definite career plans, even by the latter years of their doctorates.

Read full story, where Vitae indicate that a surprising number of students aren’t studying in order to enter academia!