I’m Glen Farrelly a graduate of the master’s communication program in 2009. I’m now in my second year of a PhD program at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. I’m studying the user experience of social media mobile applications. I blog about my academic experience, including a version of this presentation at my blog glenfarrelly.com.
There’s a lot of advice on the web on the many reasons not to do a PhD (and first off don’t do it for the money!), but the reason why I decided to do a PhD is I loved my field and I loved exploring the latest cutting edge aspects of it. In my prior life, I never had the opportunity to pursue these goals and I felt stifled. Already, since starting my PhD I have got to do some really cool research, got consulting work (including for Emmanuel College pictured here), and have noticed that being in a PhD program already confers a degree of recognition for expertise that I otherwise didn’t get.
Prospective students might have a restrictive vision of academia. I certainly didn’t envision myself studying here in a program known for training librarians. But try to have an open mind when exploring and evaluating PhD programs. It's important that you feel that you will fit into the program (trust your hunches) but no program will be perfect. You shouldn't have to pay to do your PhD. There are various sources of PhD funding, including: grants (offered by the university, province, country, or a company) teaching assistantships research assistantships
Here is the process I went through, in order: Disciplines I wasn’t really open to relocating to anywhere in the world, and there weren’t Communication programs that were a great fit, so I started broadening my search to other disciplines. but consider other disciplines that may apply such as journalism, sociology, anthropology, even engineering. 2) Program Look into various programs. I started with reading through the websites, did tours, met with staff, and then I asked my social network about the program. Another good source of insider info on what a program really offers is to go over the current graduate course list and to look at the recent dissertations of students. 3) Consider the university The program may be great, but the overall university does matter too – not only for physical details, such as commute time, aesthetics, facilities (office space, libraries), but also the reputation does matter. 4) Consider the faculty PhD programs require students to work very closely with a handful of professors. So it is essential that you find permanent faculty who will support you and your research interests. Read faculty biographies and their recent publications. You need to find at least one faculty member who could feasibly be your advisor, but I recommend having more than one person that you can see yourself working for as professors can leave for various reasons. Arrange to meet with faculty This is a big choice so it’s worth the homework – as you don’t want any unpleasant surprises. It’s also many years of you life (for some, many, many years) so if you do decide to do a PhD try to remember what it is that drew you to this path as this will help you get through the long haul.
What to Consider if You're Considering Doing a PhD
What to Consider if You’re Considering a PhD Glen Farrelly October 18, 2010 Presentation to masters students Royal Roads University
About Me <ul><li>Glen Farrelly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Graduated MAPC, 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enrolled in PhD, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Studying mobile social media apps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.glenfarrelly.com </li></ul></ul>
To PhD or Not to PhD? <ul><li>Love research & exploration </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy sharing thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition </li></ul><ul><li>Offers unique opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>(Not for +++ salary) </li></ul>
Choosing a Program <ul><li>Be open </li></ul><ul><li>Explore </li></ul><ul><li>Find a good fit </li></ul><ul><li>Trust your hunches </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t pay! </li></ul>
What to Consider <ul><li>Consider disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Consider programs </li></ul><ul><li>Consider university </li></ul><ul><li>Consider faculty </li></ul>