Thinking About PHD?

Why Do A PHD?

Why Do A PHD?

  • There is only a growing pool of Māori who have completed doctoral qualifications. However it is relatively small compared to non-Māori. This means that Māori communities have very limited choices if they wish to commission Māori researchers for important matters such as Treaty claims, environmental impact reports, social and cultural analyses, health or education studies, and so on.
  • When a Māori student gains their PhD it shows everyone else in their whanau what is possible, and it gives hope to those who follow behind them.
  • Māori voices belong everywhere, including the highest echelons of the academic world!
  • Māori students often need Māori mentors. The more Māori with PhD's means more mentors for the rest of us.
  • The PhD degree offers the opportunity to combine learning new skills with your enthusiasm and commitment to a particular subject.
  • Having a PhD can enhance employment prospects for Māori. Most universities now expect that entry-level academic staff will have a PhD.
  • The PhD qualification shows that you are able to hold your own in an international academic forum.

Reasons NOT to do a PhD

A PhD isn't the best choice for everyone. If you want to do a PhD:

  • To avoid having to work for a living
  • But you're not really sure why, it just seems like a good idea, or
  • You have heavy financial responsibilities and high ongoing expenses, or
  • The rest of your life is in a mess, and you hope doing a PhD might help you to take your mind off things, or
  • Your whanau is unsupportive and not likely to change their views, or
  • You can't think of anything better to do just at the moment, or
  • You will not be able to put in the long hours needed to complete the qualification, or
  • You received very poor academic grades previously, and don't understand the reason why, or
  • You are unlikely to listen to advice from your thesis supervisor.

If any of the above applies to you, think very carefully about whether a PhD is right for you.

You and your PhD - is it the right choice for you?

Doing a PhD is expensive, and it requires a long-term commitment. It is also very hard work. It can be difficult if you don't have the support you need to complete the qualification. You will need to make sacrifices involving time, finances, and sometimes, emotional availability. This means that your children, partner, spouse, whanau and friends will also be making sacrifices.

For that reason, they need to be closely involved with your decision to do a PhD.

It is important that you have a very clear idea about why you want to do a PhD. There does need to be a good reason. Remember, sometimes it is better to stop at the end of your Masters degree and put your time into gaining practical, professional expertise instead of doing a lengthy period of advanced study.

It's not a good idea to begin a PhD when you have major problems in other parts of your life that need attention. Doing a PhD can amplify the troubles you might be experiencing in the world outside the University. Sort these out BEFORE you enrol. If you can't sort them out but go ahead with enrolment anyway, make sure you have a strong network of support both within the University system and outside it. Remember that your supervisor is there to give you academic support and advice but you may well need to find personal emotional support from other sources.

If you would like to talk more about your options, please contact us at MAI ki Pōneke.