For some, the doctorate is the prelude to a brilliant academic career, for some it is a torment and not a few fail. So, before you decide to invest a significant amount of time in this project, you need to think carefully. This text will give you some introductory questions and basic information.
Promotion – yes or no?
If you are looking for a scientific career, answering the question is easy. For such a professional career – be it at the university or a private research institution – a doctorate is at least beneficial, in some cases even mandatory. So if your professional desires are here, plan the promotion.
Also relatively clear is the situation in the subjects of law or medicine, here is a doctorate is not mandatory, but can bring professional benefits. It is not for nothing that in these fields a relatively high percentage of professionals have a doctorate. Inquire whether this applies to your desired field of activity. If so, think about a dissertation at least once.
For other careers, a promotion is only particularly beneficial in individual cases. The overwhelming majority of DAX executive board members are not Ph.D. graduates, and those with a doctorate are also a minority even in other top positions. In such a situation, it may be useful to consider other measures for career development (eg a longer stay abroad). instead of spending a lot of time and effort on obtaining the doctoral degree.
What you should absolutely avoid is to regard the doctorate as bridging times of occupational disorientation or imminent unemployment. For this she is neither suitable nor thought. Remember that a dissertation is a multi-year demanding task.
Interest in the promotion
What you have to bring along for a doctorate is a strong scientific interest and spirit. The fact that they are interested in your studies and like to deal with the subject matter is not sufficient here. You have to be willing and able to actually contribute to the research. This also means getting stuck in dead ends again and again. Also, you should be aware that you are on uncharted scientific territory, so there may not be anyone whose achievements you can orient yourself to.
The scientific work includes the discussion in the professional world and possibly also a critique of the achievement. So your interest should be so great that they are not only ready to endure the scientific debate, but also to actively seek them, even while you work on the dissertation. Such disputes are a fundamental part of the scientific process of knowledge.
Personal requirements for the promotion
A PhD requires a considerable amount of discipline and perseverance. Also, you should be able to organize your workflow efficiently. A certain persistence in dealing with occurring problems is also required.
Duration and expiration
Here you can hardly make general information, as this varies very much by topic. Of course, it is clear that a doctorate is more of a multi-year project.
The formal procedure is regulated differently depending on the faculty and the university, therefore only a rough overview can be given here. (More details can be found in the respective doctoral regulations.)
- First, a suitable topic to choose. Based on this topic, you should look for a supervisor for this topic (your supervisor). These two steps are not clearly distinguishable, but are often entangled.
- Then the admission to the doctorate is applied for. As part of the examination of this application, not only the formal admission requirements are examined, but also considered your fundamental suitability.
- This is the real work, in this part you will do your research, evaluate and rank the results. In short: you are writing your dissertation.
- If this “big chunk” is done, the opening of the doctoral procedure must be applied for. Under this procedure, the work of two reviewers is examined. On this basis, the examining board then decides on the acceptance of the thesis.
- The last difficult step is the defense of the work. Here you have to face a scientific conversation about the content of your work.
- Your work is subject to the publication requirement, so it must be printed. Some voucher copies must be submitted to the faculty.
- And now the crowning conclusion follows: you will receive your doctoral certificate. From now on you are allowed to sir or
Financing or dear money
Basically, there are four ways to finance a PhD:
The classic way is to get a doctorate from a university that has an employment relationship. In that case, your doctorate is part of your job, but in addition, you take over other tasks, such as teaching, tutoring students or the like. A very significant advantage is that you are involved in the scientific everyday life, you are “close to it” in the research.
- Another way is to finance through a company that has interest in your research results. In the most comfortable case you are simply an employee of the company, here is the promotion part of your job, in many cases you take over in the company but also other activities. Occasionally, companies also award one-off grants, the models for which vary greatly. If and if so what comes into question, can only be clarified in individual cases.
- The certainly elegant method of funding is a scholarship. Here you can – depending on the amount of financial support – dedicate yourself to your research. Scholarships are awarded by a number of different institutions, and your supervisor will probably know more about them. (You can and should approach this question early.)
- The stoniest variant is a doctorate in addition to a regular job. Before deciding on this, you should ask yourself critically if your job gives you the necessary time freedoms (part time is definitely the better option than full time) and also provides you with the necessary planning security. Be aware that a PhD is not a hobby, but a serious, time-consuming and challenging project.
In any case, you must clarify the exact options carefully and on time. A solid and lasting financing is an essential factor for the success of the project promotion. Of course, this text can only offer some initial suggestions. A very good way to keep yourself informed is to exchange with people who are already in the PhD or have recently graduated.