Is it possible to do a PhD part-time?

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Is it possible to do a PhD part-time?

Post by PoincareSection » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:53 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm sorry if this has been asked before.... I haven't found anything on this so...

I was a frequent poster last year, and, to make a long story short, I didn't do so hot on the PGRE. That, along with my restriction on location, led to me getting no offers.

But, I managed to score a tenure track position teaching physics at a community college, and I love it!!! (Advice to undergrads: Get your Masters if you don't get a PhD offer!!)

The college where I work is very supportive of their faculty doing research and getting PhDs. They will even pay for the graduate tuition in full. I have a relatively light teaching and grading load, so my plan is to teach there for a year or two (this way I can teach every course in the physics sequence and have less prep to do later on), and return to graduate school part-time for the PhD. My work load now is about 30 hours a week, but after I've prepped for everything, I could cut it down to about 20/25 hours a week for most weeks (15 hours a week of actual teaching, 5/10 hours for prep/grading and bullshit meetings). This was my workload when I was a TA in my Master's program, and I did fine with it. I'm thinking that this will leave me enough time to take 1 or 2 courses a semester, and get research done during the year, and definitely over the summer.

Has this been done before, and are graduate programs generally ok with this? I wouldn't need to apply for funding since the community college will pay my salary and tuition. Would not having to apply for funding improve my chances of getting in? I'm specifically interested in Rutgers, but I would consider a good-fitting program in the NYC area.

Sorry if this sounds dumb, but I never hear of anyone doing this and I just wanted to get some outside opinions.


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Re: Is it possible to do a PhD part-time?

Post by noojens » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:36 pm

I haven't specifically heard of this being done, but it wouldn't surprise me. It sounds like you've got a clear and logical plan; the next step, IMO, is to take it to the chair of the Rutgers physics department and give him your pitch. I bet he'll be receptive!

Good luck :)

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Re: Is it possible to do a PhD part-time?

Post by admissionprof » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:39 am

I've heard of this being done. If you don't need financial support, departments have little to lose. Talk to the department chair.

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Re: Is it possible to do a PhD part-time?

Post by cooper » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:28 am

PoincareSection wrote:Advice to undergrads: Get your Masters if you don't get a PhD offer!!
I told a Physicist at my job that I was thinking of going for a Terminal Masters degree in Physics. He told me that if someone applied to him for a job, and they had a Terminal Masters in Physics, he would think the person wasn't good enough to get a Phd (I took his remark to mean that he, and in his opinion, other people, would be vastly less likely to hire a person with a Masters in Physics). Do you agree with that? Did you find it easy to get a teaching job at the Community College with just a Masters in Physics? Thanks.

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