Why Get A PhD? 5 Reasons + 3 To Pursue A PhD

Ever wonder why people undertake a PhD? From exploring new ideas to making a real difference in the world, there are many reasons to start this adventure.

In this article, we’ll look at why people choose to pursue a Ph.D. and how it can shape their future. Perhaps some may inspire you too.

8 Reasons To Do A PhD Degree

Passion For Research– Quest for new knowledge
– Ability to conduct independent research
To Become A Professor– Shape young minds
– Secure professorial position
– Gain research skills and expertise
Intellectual Development– Engage with complex questions
– Develop new knowledge.
Career Opportunities & Advancement– Competitive edge in job market
– Essential and valued for academia and industry
Curiosity & Knowledge– To Understand the world by answering groundbreaking questions
– Contribute to human knowledge
Personal Challenge– Develop Intellectual resilience
– Challenge Personal boundaries
– Significant life achievement
To Gain Influence & Impact– Make a difference
– Drive innovation
– Influence policy and standards
Gain Transferable Skills– Develop versatile skills for various settings
– Develop critical thinking, resilience and adaptability

Passion For Research

The passion for research is a common reason that guides many to pursue a PhD degree. This drive is not just about acquiring a title; it’s about embarking on a quest for new knowledge, a journey that often starts with a simple question that piques your curiosity.

For a PhD student, the research-based nature of the program allows you to work independently, delving into specific research areas that intrigue you.

Imagine spending years on environmental engineering projects that could redefine sustainable practices or exploring the depths of social sciences to understand societal shifts. This depth of study is what sets a PhD apart from a master’s degree.

The process of completing your dissertation is more than an academic requirement; it’s a personal journey of discovery. You’re not just learning; you’re creating knowledge by researching.

To Become A Professor

Becoming a professor is a compelling reason many embark on a PhD program. Many people imagine that as a professor, they get to:

  • Shape young minds,
  • Advance a field of study, 
  • Enjoy the vibrancy of campus life, and 
  • Lead cutting-edge research projects.

In academia, a PhD is often the gateway to securing a professorial position. It’s not just about holding a doctoral degree; it’s about proving your ability to contribute valuable new knowledge through your dissertation.

This rigorous process equips you with unparalleled research skills, critical thinking abilities, and the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of your discipline.

Intellectual Development

The quest for intellectual development is a powerful motivator for those who choose to pursue a PhD degree.

This desire goes beyond the conventional academic journey, pushing PhD students to explore the frontiers of knowledge in their chosen field of study. 

It’s not just about earning a higher degree; it’s about embracing a lifestyle of continuous learning and inquiry.

Graduate school programs such as a PhD are designed to challenge you, stretching your critical thinking skills to new limits. They provide a platform where you can engage with complex questions that have no easy answers. 

For instance, delving into the intricacies of environmental engineering to address climate change or exploring the depths of social sciences to understand human behavior presents a unique intellectual challenge that many find irresistible.

Completing a dissertation, the centerpiece of any PhD program, is an exercise in developing new knowledge. This process is not just about answering a question but about asking the right questions in the first place.

It’s here that PhD students learn to navigate the vast seas of existing research while charting their course toward unexplored territories.

For many, the decision to get a PhD is not driven by the prospect of career advancement alone but by a genuine passion for discovery and learning. 

The journey may be arduous, marked by moments of doubt and challenge, but the opportunity to contribute something new to the world makes it a path worth considering for those driven by intellectual curiosity.

Career Opportunities & Advancement

The allure of career advancement is a significant factor driving many to embark on the demanding journey of obtaining a PhD degree.

In a world where the job market is increasingly competitive, a doctoral degree can set you apart, opening doors to specialised roles that are often out of reach for those with only an undergraduate or master’s degree.

For those eyeing an academic career, a PhD is virtually indispensable. It’s your ticket to becoming a professor, where you not only get to delve into research but also shape the minds of future generations.

But the influence of a PhD extends well beyond the ivy-covered walls of universities. In industries ranging from biotechnology to finance, PhD holders are sought after for their advanced:

  • research skills,
  • critical thinking, and
  • ability to tackle complex problems.

The journey through a PhD program is also where you hone transferable skills highly valued in any career path. Time management, communication, and project management skills are just the tip of the iceberg.

These are the skills that can propel you to leadership roles, whether in a research lab, a governmental think tank, or a corporate boardroom.

Moreover, the pursuit of a PhD allows for a level of specialization that can make you an expert in niche areas of your field. This expertise can be your unique selling point, offering contributions to your industry that few others can.

Whether it’s:

  • developing new environmental engineering solutions
  • advancing knowledge in the social sciences, or
  • leading a team of research experts

The work you do can lead to job security and a fulfilling career path that aligns with your personal and professional aspirations.

In essence, the decision to pursue a PhD is often rooted in the desire to achieve career milestones that would otherwise remain unreachable.

Curiosity & Knowledge

At the heart of every PhD program is an insatiable curiosity for knowledge. This drive to understand the world in greater depth pushes many to undertake the rigorous journey of a doctoral degree.

It’s about asking questions that no one has asked before and seeking answers that push the boundaries of current understanding.

Imagine a PhD student in environmental engineering, tirelessly working to develop sustainable solutions that could one day revolutionize how we interact with our planet.

Or consider someone in the social sciences, piecing together the complex puzzle of human behavior and society. 

These are not just academic exercises; they are quests driven by a deep desire to know more, to understand better.

This thirst for knowledge often begins long before one becomes a PhD candidate. It might start during undergraduate studies, a moment of realization when you understand that the more you learn, the more there is to discover.

The pursuit of a PhD is a natural progression for those who are not content with surface-level understanding. It’s for those who want to dive deep, to contribute something new to their field of study.

The path is not easy. Completing a PhD involves years of:

  • research,
  • experimentation, and,
  • critical thinking.

The dissertation you produce is your contribution to the expanding pool of human knowledge. It’s a testament to your dedication to understanding a slice of the universe in detail that few others will ever achieve.

Personal Challenge

For many PhDs, the decision to pursue a PhD is rooted in the desire for a personal challenge. It’s a test of intellectual mettle, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. 

Delving into a PhD program is not merely about academic interest; it’s about pushing personal boundaries, setting ambitious goals, and achieving something that few dare to attempt.

Consider the PhD candidate who spends years unraveling the complexities of environmental engineering. Each experiment, each failure, and eventually, each breakthrough, is a step in a personal journey of determination and growth.

For those in social sciences, they will sift through volumes of data to shed light on human behavior, challenging their own perceptions and contributing to a broader understanding of society.

The thesis, the centerpiece of the PhD journey, is more than an academic requirement. It’s a symbol of years of dedication, a testament to the candidate’s ability to contribute new knowledge to their field. 

Embarking on a Ph.D. is also a lesson in: 

  • time management,
  • critical thinking, and
  • perseverance.

These challenges made finishing a PhD program a beautiful, sweet success. Completing it is a significant personal achievement, marking the transition from student to scholar.

To Gain Influence & Impact

The pursuit of influence and impact is a compelling reason why many embark on the demanding journey to get a PhD degree. It’s about more than personal achievement; it’s about making a tangible difference in your field, community, or even the world. 

PhD students are not just learners; they are creators of new knowledge, positioned to challenge the status quo and drive innovation.

Take, for example, a doctoral candidate in environmental engineering, whose research could lead to groundbreaking sustainable technologies.

Their work has the potential to:

  • influence policy, 
  • shape industry standards, and
  • contribute to global environmental solutions.

Similarly, a PhD in social sciences can provide deep insights into societal issues, influencing social policies and community programs.

The process of completing a dissertation embodies this drive for impact. It’s an opportunity to delve into uncharted territories, ask critical questions, and seek answers that could lead to significant advancements in your field.

This research journey is supported by the academic training provided in PhD programs, equipping candidates with the skills needed to conduct high-level research and effectively communicate their findings.

PhD holders often find themselves in roles where they eventually have the influence and impact to shape the future of their disciplines, whether in:

  • academia,
  • research institutions, or
  • industry. 

Their work contributes to the collective pool of knowledge, pushing boundaries and setting new directions for future research and application.

Gain Transferable Skills

The quest for transferable skills is a compelling reason why individuals decide to pursue a PhD degree. Beyond the deep dive into a specific research area, the PhD journey equips you with a toolkit of versatile skills applicable in various professional settings, not just academia.

Critical thinking skills are at the core of the PhD experience. You learn to:

  • dissect complex problems,
  • identify key issues, and
  • develop thoughtful, evidence-based solutions.

These skills are invaluable, whether you’re crafting policy, leading a team in a corporate setting, or pioneering research in a lab.

Time management and project management are other critical skills honed during the PhD process. Completing a dissertation requires juggling research, writing, and often teaching responsibilities. This ability to manage and prioritise tasks is a trait highly sought after in any career path.

Communication skills are also sharpened, as you must articulate complex ideas clearly and persuasively, whether in:

  • written dissertations,
  • presentations at conferences, or
  • teaching undergraduates.

These skills are essential for leadership roles across industries, from academia to the private sector.

Moreover, the PhD journey fosters resilience and adaptability—qualities that are crucial in today’s ever-changing job market. The path is fraught with challenges, from navigating the intricacies of research to facing the dreaded imposter syndrome.

Overcoming these hurdles builds a resilience that prepares you for the ups and downs of any career.

Many Reasons To Get A PhD

Getting a Ph.D. is about more than just a diploma. It’s a path that leads to personal growth, expert knowledge, and the chance to make an impact.

Whether it’s through research, teaching, or solving complex problems, a Ph.D. opens doors to many opportunities. Remember, it’s a journey that requires dedication and passion.

If you’re driven by curiosity and the desire to explore the unknown, a Ph.D. might just be the perfect adventure for you.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.