Making the decision to do doctoral research

If you haven’t done so already, here are some things that you probably should consider as part of deciding whether to apply for a doctoral programme.

  • Identify the broad (or narrow) subject area that you would want to research. Are you really so interested in this subject that you want to study a specific area within it at great depth?
  • Try to think through how doctoral research would fit into a possible and realistic long-term career plan for you personally, whether that is an academic direction or another potential career path
  • Talk to current and recent researchers to learn more about what it is actually like to undertake a research degree and the different impacts it has on their lives
  • Make sure you are certain that you could fit this into your life. Is it the best time, bearing in mind anyother commitments?
  • Think about the financial aspects. Even if you are a realistic prospect to compete for and secure funding for a doctoral programme, would such funding sustain you (and any dependants) so that you could continue to live reasonably comfortably? 
  • Discuss this with your friends and family - explain what you are thinking and seek some feedback
  • Where in the world do you want to pursue this?

 If you’ve thought about all these things and want to apply for a UK doctorate, see our advice on applications and funding.