Is it advisable to start a self-sponsored PhD?

Prepwise AnswersCategory: General CareerIs it advisable to start a self-sponsored PhD?
Career Dev Staff Staff asked 5 years ago

Is it advisable to start a self-sponsored PhD? What are some cost-effective European universities to do the same?

1 Answers
Kate McKeon Staff answered 5 years ago

If¬†you aren’t funded for your PhD, you aren’t considered a serious contender. It is possible to jump from a masters to a phd and to go from self funded masters program to a sponsored phd – but it is not common.
A few years ago I started a PhD at Berkeley and took coursework in common with the Econ PhD candidates. I was fully funded but discovered that only 1-2 of the Econ PhD kids had any funding. The way they structured the Econ PhD program appeared to be:

  1. Let in 35 +/- kids, offer nominal funding to 1-2.
  2. At the end of the first year, cut half of the class. Offer funding to 1-2 more students, total 2-4 students with funding and approximately 15-20 students still in the program – the other students just disappear or finish a masters.
  3. At the end of year 2, cut to 6. Funding at some level available for all 6. Everyone else is booted out with a Masters.
  4. Funding for the 6 varies as the research and dissertation progress.

If you can get into a seriously prestigious program that offers a terminal masters within the pursuit for the PhD, it may not be a terrible idea to go. But normally, if you have to pay to get any portion of your PhD, the school, the field and or you are not going to be taken seriously academically. It’s a giant no-no among academic elites.