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PhD Discussion Forum

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Part time phd

User: andrewrfaulds - 07 January 2016 20:38

Hi All,

I have recently got a new job which, next year will provide me with support for a part time PhD (1 day per week off). My PhD will be in computer science and i am wondering how long i should realistically expect this to take, working on it 1 full day per week and a few extra hours at nights and weekends only.

Could anyone who has done this give me some advice and info?


User: TreeofLife - 08 January 2016 09:49

Haven't done a parttime PhD myself, but I estimate between 6 and 8 years...

User: Pjlu - 08 January 2016 21:16

Hi Andrew, I am doing my PhD part-time.The conditions are not quite the same as yours.I''m a teacher and a deputy head, so during term time I only work a few hours on my study, but as teachers get extended holidays, for around 6-7 weeks every year, I can put in a mammoth effort. The official time to finish is, as Tree of Life noted above, 6-8 years. However, I think 5 to 6 years is a pretty good estimate if you are motivated and work regularly on your thesis.

My university, and some of the others I have looked at, won't allow a submission before 5 years, so for example, while I have just completed a full draft, I can't submit until Jan 17/2017. So this next year, I have an extended period to really edit and craft the thesis, plus fine tune all the other little bits, before submission. Just for the record, as far as friends and colleagues go, it seems like these last 4 years are forever and they wonder why I can't put in a crazy effort and submit in a couple of months. I think having that extra bit of time to really make sure all the connections, signposts, etc are there, and the thing is cohesive is a good thing.

I have also occasionally taken small amounts of extra leave here and there to finish off a milestone, and just recently took 5 weeks long service leave to write up the final chapters. Hope this helps. (Btw- it has been helpful knowing that I do have the full 8 years if I want it, because over the years when data collection didn't always go to plan and I wanted to chuck it in, knowing that there was plenty of time if I really needed it provided me with a safety net-psychologically speaking. Ultimately though, I haven't needed to use the full amount of time...).

User: TheEngineer - 09 January 2016 17:28

At my university where I'm doing a PhD (full time), I have interacted with colleagues who are doing part-time PhD studies. The regulations at my university is 3 years for full-time and 5-6 years for part-time. I would encourage you to pick up a PhD handbook from your prospective university where such vital information is clearly spelt.

User: mel1805 - 09 January 2016 20:40

It took me 12 years with 12-month re-write and resubmit. I worked 4-days per week (3 hour commute) for the first 5 years. Thereafter, I took the maximum time off for maternity leave and long-term illness. The PhD doesn't end when you hand the thesis in - after the viva you may have to factor in further time commitments for corrections - this may be 3 months to 2 years depending on viva outcome (have a good look at university regulations). Also, life happens over the course of a part-time PhD i.e. children, illness, supervisors leaving etc. Having completed the PhD I now wonder if it was worth it - jobs are scarce if you're not in a position to move!

User: AOE26 - 09 January 2016 22:25

I worked with some one who completed their PhD in 4 years while working. Granted - I do not know their work schedule but they passed with no corrections required.

User: andrewrfaulds - 19 January 2016 20:59

Thanks for the information guys - i appreciate it

User: sisyphus - 19 January 2016 23:01

I'm about half way through mine now. Statistics - with quite a lot of code in R, so probably very similar. Work give me 2 days, though I have to use 1 of them to stay current with actual work. I also devote 1 evening when my wife is at a social club and baby is asleep.

I could do it in 4, but that'd be neglecting life in general. 5-6 sounds reasonable provided I keep working at it (and shouldn't entail too much sacrifice). Although you have less time to work, you do find yourself thinking about it a lot, and things like conference deadlines 3 months before, whilst 3 months of a full time PhD, are only a couple of PhD weeks for you, so it can work to your advantage (less time kicking your heels).

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