Why i left my doctorate program


Having decided that i didn’t want to pursuit a career in academia sometime after (!) i entered the PhD program. My only remaining interest in doing a PhD, is the pursuit of knowledge. Which is not exactly what PhD is about.

PhD is great if its ok for you to spend 4 or more years of your life doing independent research to make a tiny dent in the knowledge frontier. However, like me, if you are just want to consume knowledge in general, you should just read what has already been written. There are plenty out there, and knowledge are dirt cheap now a days. So, I ended up spending about 2/3 of my time, reading things that does not contribute to my thesis. So in 2006, roughly 3 years after entering a PhD program at age 23 in 2003, i decided to discontinue. And that is my story, there are many others.

According to The Economist:

In America only 57% of doctoral students will have a PhD ten years after their first date of enrolment. In the humanities, where most students pay for their own PhDs, the figure is 49%.

Read the whole report. Its very well written.
The same article also reports that “Research at one American university found that those who finish [their PhD] are no cleverer than those who do not.”

I know 🙂

Written on a V.

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7 thoughts on “Why i left my doctorate program

  1. Interesting thoughts. I think it is a pretty common reason for people leaving their PhD program, realizing that they don’t want to be that specialized.

    For me it is one of the reasons I am actually thinking about doing a PhD, being able to focus on something very specialized for a couple of years with limited need to have any commercial applications.

    Each to their own I guess.

  2. agree, and i will just add picking a significant and doable topic is extremely difficult. i am a bit sorry to say my topic was significant and doable, but i could not force my self to do it.

  3. That’s the point. Choosing a topic is always problematic. It’s like a gamble. And, doing a good research usually requires interest and patience, not the talent. That’s the main reason which causes that most people left the PhD program.

  4. I am not depreciate anything. I am just telling a fact. The fun of exploring knowledge is not that much as learning the knowledge. But I mean the situation in engineering school, not school of humanity. They may have difference. 🙂

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