Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Little help?

I've been thinking for a while now about applying to do my PhD. And within the past week or so, I've been thinking about it more seriously. But if I *do* end up applying, I'll have a range of decisions to make.

First of all, there's which universities to apply to. But more importantly, I have three choices in terms of subject matter:

1. Museum studies.
2. Archaeology.
3. History.

I don't think I could cope with museum studies - three years of studying museum theory? No, thank you. I had to do a semester of archaeological theory in my Honours year, and it nearly killed me. Museum theory isn't much better. Which leaves archaeology and history. With archaeology, I could probably go back to my undergrad university and continue the research I did for my Honours degree.

And with history, I could either make the research from my Honours degree more of a straight history study, rather than including the archaeological implications in it. Or I could do something on early colonial Melbourne. And I could probably include museum objects in there so that my PhD had *some* museum connection.

So there's THAT decision. Plus, there's the whole "Can I live on a PhD scholarship ($22,000 a year) for three years?" thing to consider. I had thought that maybe I could get some part time work to top up the scholarship. But at least one of the universities I'm looking at specifies that to be eligible for a scholarship, you can't work more than 8 hours a week... I *can* always move back in with my parents. But do I *really* want to be living with my parents until I'm *shudder* 31?? :S

Apparently, in the long run, a PhD is a very smart career move. And it makes sense to do it now rather than when I'm older and don't have the moving back home thing to fall back on. But there are FAR too many decisions involved for me to do this on my own.

Basically, I suck at making my own decisions, and I'd like some opinions on both the "should I do it?" front AND the archaeology vs history front. Please???

K xx


  1. Flip a coin. If your gut reaction to whatever the coin says is disgruntlement/uncertainty/desire to flip again, then go the other way. If, on the other hand, the reaction is relief or excitement, then the Coin has Spoken.

    I'd do it while you have the support. Your 8 hours a week PT work would be enough to pay the rent in a share house (by which I mean a share house full of like-minded PhD students, not a share house full of hygienically challenged undergrad Arts students) and the rest is tax free, so whilst your holidays and social life would be limited, it would be doable.

    Ness is having the very same dilemma right now, btw, except that she's a year into it and deciding whether to go back to work and study part time - but if she does, she'll never be able to get the scholarship again. Ever.

    As for which field to do it in, well I guess it depends on a) what will be more useful in whatever you want to do, and b) who your supervisor would be.

    ~* Ness

  2. I won't tell you what to do :-) I won't even tell you what I would do, because the whole thought of going back to school horrifies me! I think, like Ness says, it would depend who you'd be working with - you'll be seeing a lot of them!

    Moving back home wouldn't be so bad. You'd be in the city you prefer, so it's not as though you'd be stuck at home with strangers or anything.

    Eight hours work might only net you about $150, depending on what you are doing. Would you be eligible for any government money? I have no idea. Your parents are willing to support you though, which is great.

  3. Weeeeeell, there is the part where living at home would drive me completely insane. Although if I was out of the house all day every day, it probably wouldn't be too bad.

    Kat - sadly, the standard PhD scholarship IS government money, so you can't get any more from there *sigh*

    And Nessa - if I did archaeology, I'd probably have the same supervisor as Honours, which would be fine. I'd have to try and recruit someone for a history PhD, which is making me lean towards archaeology...

  4. I've lived on my own making less than $22,000... tho I guess you're also paying tuition with that? Then again, I don't know what apartments rent for where you would be going to school.


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