Fulltime or part time PhD? Share experiences please

Posted
by PediatricRNTX PediatricRNTX Member Nurse

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I have a high paying hospital lesdership/education job and am currently waiting to hear from a PhD program. I'm considering dropping to part time work (possible staffing 2 days a week) to pursue fulltime study. Financially I have this opportunity. The alternative is stay at my job and pack away at PhD for 6ish years. I'm in no rush but obviously if I can get done sooner thatd be great. What is your plan and may I ask for opinions and suggestions to be successful.

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 26 years experience. 3,796 Posts

Depends - what do you want to do with your PhD when done?

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 29 years experience. 2,309 Posts

I tried to continue working full-time while pursuing PhD but by the second semester I knew it was not going to work for me. I was in a BSN to PhD program and there was no option to take classes part time so I had to cut my hours. It was amazing how much going from 3 days/week to 2 days/week helped.

I'm in dissertation now and technically that is full-time (I have to pay for 9 credits/semester). However, now that I've collected all my data and am writing I might could handle going up slightly on my FTE. The problem is my employer has been weird about changing FTE statuses recently so hoping to just get through defense then look at some new career opportunities.

Several of my cohorts who already had their MSN have been taking their coursework part time. They seem to be about 12-18 months behind me. That means their PhD will take them approximately 5 - 6 years to complete. Last year I watched a couple of candidates defend their dissertations after being in the program almost 10 years (apparently they were on the verge of being ousted permanently). Just shoot me if I'm still in this thing another 6 years!

PediatricRNTX

PediatricRNTX

Specializes in Pediatrics. 127 Posts

Thanks for sharing. I actually am in leadership so I work 5 days 40plus hours a week and take some call. And 6 years vs 4ish...I am strongly considering pt work and ft study.Thanks

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 29 years experience. 2,309 Posts

11 minutes ago, PediatricRNTX said:

Thanks for sharing. I actually am in leadership so I work 5 days 40plus hours a week and take some call. And 6 years vs 4ish...I am strongly considering pt work and ft study.Thanks

A couple of the other students in my cohort also started with their MSN. One lady was taking a full time load and she completed all her coursework in just under 2 years and passed comps ("orals"). She was on track to complete within 3 to 3.5 years when she had some major upsets in her non-school life which really threw her for a loop.

Another fellow (MSN) student started out doing coursework part time, then decided to accelerate after about a year. She is also now in dissertation but maybe a few weeks behind me. She has been working full-time and I honestly do not know how she has managed.

I just noticed your username. I'm also in Texas.

Edited by TiffyRN

TeenyTiny

TeenyTiny, ADN, BSN

Specializes in Neonatal. 30 Posts

I think it depends on the program you are going into. I'm in an accelerated PhD program that offers both full (complete in 3 years) and part time (complete in 4 years) options. I also work full time but at the bedside. I could NOT imagine going through this program at the full time pace, even if I did not work full time.

The other thing to consider as you decide to do the program full time or part time is your family/social life. There will be so much school work that you will be doing when you'd rather be out with them. Finding the balance can be difficult.