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PhD Inspiration - Doctor David Bainbridge, University of Cambridge
Posted on 29 Mar '18

PhD Inspiration - Sir David Spiegelhalter, University of Cambridge


Considering a PhD, but wondering what you'll actually get out of it? We've sat down with some of the UK's top academics to hear their experiences and thoughts on postgraduate study. Sir David Spiegelhalter is the Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge. Here he shares some advice for new students.



Video Transcript

What did you get out of doing a PhD?

I got a lot out of doing a PhD. For starters, I felt when I entered the academic community, I turned from being a student who just sort of absorbed things, to someone who’s trying to create stuff. I found that exciting, very difficult, but exciting. Also, I developed some independence and realised I just had to get on with it. I had some supervision from a good supervisor, but it was still up to me to get on and get it done. So, I think in that sense I learnt some very good lessons that I could use then in the future.

Why should people do a PhD?

I think it's a really good thing to do, to do a PhD. I think that it does train you into the academic way of thinking, which you may not want to use. It’s not necessarily that you would want to become an academic, I’m not saying that’s the greatest thing ever. I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s not for everybody. But the opportunity to have some two or three years to focus on a single topic and do it properly in some depth is very exciting. It’s a huge privilege. You'll never get this again, you'll never get it again.

What is your top PhD tip?

Choose very carefully. Choose the supervisor and choose the topic. Don’t feel like just because someone will have you as a PhD student think "ohh, great, thank you very much, I'll be your PhD student!" No, really consider yourself as a customer and checking up on what it is going to be like. What are your supervisors going to be like, are they going to be there, are they going to be off the whole time doing other stuff and hardly give you any time? You can check that.




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