Answering this question in a single go is not easy as each situation is different and people who do PhD are from varying backgrounds and are having diverse level of experience. Then how to answer this question? And how would you understand what PhD you should go for?
With the evolution of digitization, now PhD has taken different forms and is being offered in mainly three broad ways – full time, part time and online. But each one of you who would like to do PhD wants to do the PhD for different reasons. Some of you like to have an edge in your career immediately after your MBA or MS.
In the beginning
First of all, let us understand why you should do a PhD which will guide you to find out other answers. The main benefits of doing PhD are to learn few important skills like writing thesis papers, presenting in the conference, collaborating and connecting with industry’s corporate leaders and working on various projects.
But now, the question is if you don’t do a full time PhD, how would you be able to manage all of the above? The answer is simple. You need to understand that PhD, like any other major degrees is a process through which students need to go through and it enables us to be better than we were before we enrolled for PhD. And the process always doesn’t need to be full time. Even when you are not pursuing your PhD full time because you have a job, you can learn and develop abilities from various dimensions.
Every one of us doesn’t have the opportunity to do PhD immediately after completing the master degree. It may be due to financial issue or any other responsibilities we are not able to pursue the dream of doing PhD. But why stop yourself when you can pursue PhD in other means like part time or online? We will answer that in the following section.
When you should go for a full time PhD?
A full time PhD requires 4-5 years of your life. Often students are not ready to put in so many years of effort as they think if they will join a corporate, it will serve them better. But truth is often a full time PhD serves well than any corporate job. Why? Because, the scope of PhD is multidimensional! In a full time PhD, you learn various things and you are free to work on whatever projects you would like to work on.
In a typical corporate job, your growth is limited because you are not allowed to make mistakes. Thus, if you are in dilemma about what to choose PhD or a corporate job, certainly, PhD is the most viable option.
Now when you should go for a full time PhD? The best time is when you just finish your master degree and calculating your options about what’s next. Even if you have few years of experience and you have the bandwidth to quit your job and pursue a full time PhD, you can do that. But when people have more than 10-20 years of experience in the corporate field, it often becomes difficult to quit everything and start a student life full time all over again.
And a full time PhD kick-starts your career like no other career options. So, if you are willing and young, best time is now to start to pursue a full time PhD without much delay. Because later the decision has to be so drastic that you would not be able to make the decision without much pondering.
When should you go for part time PhD?
Part time PhD will not be as valuable as a full time PhD. But the thing is, when you work and do a part time PhD, you are in a much better situation to align the academics and corporate culture.
So, when you are working in a corporate and still want to pursue a PhD, go for part time. If you would like to go for academics in near future, it’s always recommended that you go for being a lecturer and pursue your part time PhD along. It will help you with 4-5 years of valuable experience and at the same time after 4-5 years, you will become a doctorate as well. Students who would like to go for a corporate job after their master degree also can choose part time PhD over full time. The part time option will help them better.
When should you go for an online PhD?
Your last resort is an online PhD. In part time PhD also, you need to invest a lot of time. And moreover, in part time PhD you cannot do from a foreign university by staying put completely in India. What would be the solution then? Definitely, an online PhD from a foreign university!
People who have ten plus years of experience and have no issues with paying the foreign university a lump sum amount for the online PhD, they should go for it if they don’t have any other option. Online PhD is all about creating virtual classes, virtual team work, collaboration and writing thesis and sending across to the guide to the other part of the globe.
If this seems interesting to you, you should go for it. And you will get the benefit of having a PhD degree from the most esteemed foreign university. For students who have passed out from college or professionals who have just few years of experience should not go for online PhD. Because, they still have time, they can still give some effort and if they want they can still quit their jobs and go for a full time PhD.
Choosing a full time, part time or online PhD is often a personal choice. But instead of making it a personal choice, make it a professional choice. Find out reasons for which you should go for a full time, part time or online PhD. And then once you are convinced, then begin your search.
No matter what you choose ask yourself that how your career would be shaped up in ten years down the line, if you choose online, part time or full time PhD? Often when we think short term, one choice seems very prudent, but with long term perspective, the choice loses its value. Be prudent. Think long term. Have a helicopter view. And then go, make your mark.