It’s a valid question. Why spend at least another three or four years slaving away to write the longest piece of work you’ve ever had to struggle with?

Well, as any PhD student will tell you, it is hard, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences you can have at University.

In short, a PhD is your first chance to make your mark on the academic world. It is an opportunity to study, in depth, almost any subject that interests you. You can experiment with new theoretical approaches, present new evidence, and engage with academic debates on a level that you will never have had the chance to as an undergraduate or masters student. With a bit of luck, your thesis could even be turned into a book and end up on the shelves in Blackwells or Waterstones.

Undertaking a PhD also gives you a chance to get involved in a diverse range of other projects, including (although this is not an exhaustive list) teaching at various levels, widening participation activities with secondary school and college students, a huge range of public engagement activities, and organising events within the University.

Completing a PhD involves a lot of hard work, research and writing and it can be a very lonely experience, but the social circle is always there, and there are always healthy distractions from work! However heavy the workload is, it is always rewarding to work on something you enjoy.

A PhD does not necessarily have to lead to academia however. It can prepare you for a career outside of academia in that it will help to hone those skills that you begin to develop as an undergraduate, critical engagement, self-reflection and evaluation of evidence, formation of arguments and clarity of communication to name but a few.

If you are reading this, and you think you would like to take a PhD, speak to academic advisors, peers and current PhD students about their experience. They will all tell you it is well worth doing.