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Ph. D. Material

Hi,
I have done my MS in computer science 6 years back. I have been doing programming from last 5 years now..
I feel some degree of talent within myself that I like to explore.

Doing Ph. D.  is a good option but not with Family and other commitments.  So I want  to study my self along the similar lines without full commitment for the lactures.

I am a self learner and can understand unknown topics slowly but surely if I am inclined.

Looking for books, websites, magazines or any other sources. Past experiences can also become very helpful.


Thanks.!

Social Programmer.
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Google...

Mr. Obvious
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Start with a spell chacker.

Green Pajamas
Monday, June 14, 2004

What's the benefit of knowing a PhD's worth of material & not having the actual certificate?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 14, 2004

Well wouldn't knowing a PhD's worth of material, prior to starting the PhD, allow the OP to complete the PhD quickly?

On that note what is the benefit of a PhD at all?
I would love to do one one day, not sure that I am capable but maybe one day. However my understanding is that a PhD is all about research. So really they are only going to be of benefit if you want to step into a theoretical and exploratory frontier world. Am I wrong in this?

Aussie Chick
Monday, June 14, 2004

NB I should admit, despite an incredibly love of study which could be misread as a motivation for a PhD, my sole motivation for wanting a PhD is that I would love the 'Dr' in front of my name.

Aussie Chick
Monday, June 14, 2004

Dr Aussie Chick. I like that.


Monday, June 14, 2004

Aussie Chick: http://www.bogusphd.com/

Matthew Lock
Monday, June 14, 2004

Not good enough, it still has to be the real mccoy.

Aussie Chick
Monday, June 14, 2004

http://www.supercrawler.com/pages/non_accredited_universities.html

Matthew Lock
Monday, June 14, 2004

A Doctorate isn't obtained through teaching - although you may be entitled to attend any lectures you need - but through research into an original topic of enquiry. I can't see how this can be done without enrolement into an academic institution. Some universities allow this to be part time, but this can take up to five years instead of the normal three. The risk is that someone else publishes on your topic of enquiry, thus nullifying its originality and leaving you to hunt for another.

Gaius
Monday, June 14, 2004

Hmmmm, isn't the point of a Ph.D. that you do original research? I always thought the coursework was mostly incidental.

John C.
Monday, June 14, 2004

Unless the OP means one of those "new route" PhDs which are offered by some UK universities. You do 4-5 years of coursework (not sure which sort, sorry) and you get a PhD at the end of it. I've seen it in some brochures, but that's as much information as I have on it..

Speaking of PhDs, I think the main idea is that you gain an indepth knowledge in a particular area, sufficient to be classified as an expert (if not "the" expert) in that specific domain. That's why you get PhD research in what would seem to be arcane and very very specific topics, because you ARE expected to know everything related to that area.

To the OP: don't do it unless you really want to and you're positive that you can stay the course. You're going to spend at least 3 years (maybe more) dealing with nitpicking, peevish supervisors, more work than you can possibly imagine (yes, even the geniuses in grad school do a serious amount of work) and equal (over)doses of coding, writing, reading and presentations. If you have family and other committments, it's just that much harder to find the focus to do all of these things.. Having said that, if you DO decide that a PhD is for you, then one thing that I CAN promise is that you will be in work that you are genuinely motivated to do (not always something you can say in a commercial outfit) and your deadlines are far less driven by external pressures..

deja vu
Monday, June 14, 2004

Isn't it possible (but rare) for someone to do research independently and then approach a suitable university to have it assessed for a Ph.D. ?

MugsGame
Monday, June 14, 2004

Or become head of the state, visit some other country, give a lecture or two in a university and get an honorary degree. :)

Green Pajamas
Monday, June 14, 2004

"Hmmmm, isn't the point of a Ph.D. that you do original research? I always thought the coursework was mostly incidental."

Except that typically the uni regards the course work as background material.  Without the knowledge contained in the course work, the research you would do has probably already been done by someone else.  If you can do well on entry tests, you can sometimes skip the first year of classes - they regard your background knowledge as sufficient.  The second year of classes tends to be more specialized and really brutal.  Once you pass those and the following exams, then they deem you ready to do real research.  At least that's how it works at Purdue.  YMMV.

Aaron F Stanton
Monday, June 14, 2004

As far as I know, a Ph.D. does not require any courses beyond what you need for an MA or MS. The one I got didn't, anyway, but it is not in CS. Sometimes there are exams testing your comprehensive knowledge of the subject, or you may have to write a  literature review instead.
Some people wind up as "ABD" (all but dissertation). That means they did everything except what is most important,  since a dissertation is the only real difference between a masters and a Ph.D.

Dr. Real PC
Monday, June 14, 2004

> Isn't it possible (but rare) for someone to do research independently and then approach a suitable university to have it assessed for a Ph.D. ?

Yes. It's possible to be granted a PhD based on published work.


Monday, June 14, 2004


The neat thing about a Ph.D is that you get to spend so much time on such a specific sub-set of your discipline that you become world-class in that area.

I used to get really excited about Ph.D and considered a Ph.D in organizational behavior (OB) a couplea times.

Then I started to read some Ph.D disserations in OB. Things like "A study on burnout" that concluded that too much overtime leads to decreased effectiveness.

WOW.  What a new an insightful idea.  So cutting-edge ...

I decided that if the disserations were crap, the process was bogus, so I've decided not to pursue it.

Then again, 90% of everything is crap.  Perhaps I should re-think again ...

Matt
Monday, June 14, 2004

"As far as I know, a Ph.D. does not require any courses beyond what you need for an MA or MS."

Two friends of mine received their doctorates without Masters degrees. A philosophy grad and a biology grad who went on to do recombinant DNA research.

sethx9
Monday, June 14, 2004

----"WOW.  What a new an insightful idea.  So cutting-edge ..."----

This kind of research is done all the time in the Social Sciences and is unfarily stigmatized.

What you must think of is how valuable it would have been if the opposite was found out.

Common sense is right most of the time but not always.

Take the case of a noisy environment; affects productivity sure?

Well, actually no. They did the research in a factory and found out that that noise had no effect on productivity but did hava a negative correlation with the number of mistakes made (that is with accuracy).

Now, climb the tower of Pisa and open a bag full of feathers and bag full of ball beariings. Pretty obvious the ball bearings will hit the ground first. But that doesn't mean Galileo was wasting his time when he dropped 100kg (or whatever) of lead adn 1kg of lead and proved that the lighter didn't hit the ground first.

Stephen Jones
Monday, June 14, 2004


If it was unique or non-redundant work, I agree.

This was a study from 2003 on burnout.  Also, from what I read, it was mostly qualitative data (anecdote) not quantitative data (statistics).  So yeah, it was crap.

Matt H.
Monday, June 14, 2004

I skipped the M.S. and went directly to Ph.D.  It's how Purdue's chemistry department does it most of the time.  If they give you only a Master's it's really a statement that they didn't feel you could cut the mustard on the Ph.D.  You do have a few tries to pass the tests, though, so most people (who don't burn out completely) wind up getting the Piled Higher and Deeper.

Aaron F Stanton
Monday, June 14, 2004

The study of burnout and overtime might seem clear enough to you, who are a progammer, but in other fields it's not so clear.

I tend to agree though; the main problem is that unversities are insisting on a PhD to work there, so plenty of people are getting one for purely financial reasons.

Stephen Jones
Monday, June 14, 2004

Here in the UK PhD students are required to complete a number of credits from modules or seminars.  We can choose which modules we’d like to take from any undergraduate, masters or training programme. Basically the objectives of taking modules are:
1.    to improve your knowledge about your research topic. For example if you are researching in emotional intelligence it would be very useful to know what has already being said in that area or related areas, so you could take a module on psychological testing.
2.    maybe more important than the previous one, to learn how to do research. If you are doing quantitative research you would probably have to learn about statistic methods, lab methods, etc.  If you are doing qualitative research you would have to find out about interviews, participant observation and so.  For both types of research it might be useful to learn a bit about the philosophical perspective in which your research stands so you can defend your selection of methodology on your thesis.

You can take the modules on your first, second or third year, but I think the best is to take all of them in your first one… so you don’t have to bother about them the rest of your PhD and you have more time in the other two years. Apart from that, you are on your own, your supervisor is just an advisor, s/he can guide you on what material you need to read but it’s only you who shapes your research. 

On your second year, if you are doing quantitative research you might need to do lab work (chemistry or physics) or programme some code if you are doing computer science.  If you are doing qualitative research you might need to travel to interview people or to participate in projects, etc. 

On your third year you draw conclusions out of the work you have done and the material you have collected and then you write your thesis.

< "new route" PhDs which are offered by some UK universities>

What I know is that: universities will be encouraged to include a “Master of Research” in the first year of the PHD, so the PhD will not be three but four years.  The purpose is to improve the quality of research.

Cecilia Loureiro
Monday, June 14, 2004

PhD...... hmmm,
I rather knit my grandma a shawl

TheKnitter
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Social Programmer are you doing the PhD?

Socrates
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

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