This is England

I should start with a caveat.

I am Canadian (that’s not the caveat), but I did my PhD in England. As such, my experiences of a PhD are very much shaped by that country and its requirements. Doing a PhD in the UK is very different than in the USA or in Europe. In many ways, I think, it’s simpler, but in others it appears even more stressful.

I was also a full-time student. I worked during my PhD, but not regularly; instead I did short-term projects that took a few weeks to a few months and did not take up much of my time.

If you have specific questions about the requirements of your department, at your university, I am not the one to ask. Ask other students ahead of you, ask your department administrator, or ask your supervisor. These are NOT silly questions. These are important questions that your university will answer. Some departments will give you a handbook when you first start that will answer many pertinent questions. If you are lucky enough to receive one of these, read it well.

If you are not, there will always be students ahead of you in the process. And they will be more than happy to answer your questions, because at one point they asked the same of someone else.

If you would like to know about work/life balance, however, I can comment. I can’t comment on what it’s like to raise a family and do a PhD, or work full-time and do a PhD. But I did work, and there were weeks I worked quite a bit and ignored my thesis. And there were conferences to attend and admin work to sidetrack me. But beyond the work/life balance is a whole host of other issues that come with a PhD that are similar across the board, and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you. There are a few really good blogs in the Blog Links to sites for people who do work full-time and do a PhD, and also one that has a young family, so please do check these out.

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