Is a PhD worth it

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Is a PhD worth it

Postby Jon » Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:14 pm

I have a MS in Applied Mathematics. I used to be focussed towards getting my PhD in the area of applications to medical/disease research. For my masters, I have already published in this area. However, I wonder if it's really worth the 4-5+years of struggle for the PhD. My supervisors are encouraging me to go for the PhD, but on top of everything, I'm having a hard time finding a good biomath program at a top school located in a major urban center. I took a summer job this year in math. finance, and, while, it wasn't as interesting as math bio, still, it was decent. Do I have many options in math bio industry with just MS; how much better does the PhD make it - I don't see myself in academia.


Is a PhD worth it ?

Postby Jim Austin » Fri Oct 15, 2004 12:34 pm

First off, check out our recent feature on this topic (assuming you have access to Science's Next Wave.

I'm not an expert on the field of mathematical biology, but I edited that feature, and based on that experience I'd have to guess that it's pretty much an academic field...and a lively one at that. Which is to say that I'm not aware of very many jobs in mathematical biology that are not in academia.

Is it worth it? That's for you to decide. No academic career is easy. A Ph.D. in a relevant field is no guarantee of future success.

You've got some more introspection to do. But if your goal is to work in mathematical biology, I think you need a Ph.D.

Best of Luck,
Jim Austin

Jim Austin
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