What is the point then, of getting a PhD? Can you actually do more at least?
<p>It might be hard to imagine yet, but many people, especially after some work experience, care a lot about the nature and quality of their work life, and it is not just about the most money. For those pursuing a PhD, they are doing so because they enjoy the intellectual challenge of research and teaching. While they may not be rich, they aren't exactly taking a vow of poverty either. I just looked it up: the engineering faculty at the public university at which I teach are earning around 130-140k. And there are wonderful perks with academic careers, such as the freedom to craft your own workday, the autonomy to choose your own problems to solve, flexibility in terms of when you work, as well as world travel and lots of cool technology courtesy of research grants. Of course, a PhD can be a longhaul, and the pre-tenure years can be a long stressful road, but it is a great career for some people. </p>
<p>Although you receive a tuition waiver and stipend as a PhD student, keep in mind what you have to do for it varies a lot from school to school. At some schools you will primarily do research - which is what you want to do if you are going into academia. At others, you will be teaching a ton of courses, serving as cheap, exploitable labor (delaying your progress out of grad school and limiting your ability to build a strong c.v.).</p>