Continuing on the non-PhD route…

I wrote several months ago about not going down the traditional PhD route. I still feel the same way, but now I have a few new insights to add to that. Some of which may involve exciting world travels.

I’m not closed off to the possibility of going back to graduate school, and if I do I’d probably do another masters with the same reasoning as before for avoiding PhD programs. I am, however, feeling much less positively towards universities in the United States of America. For masters programs, tuition fees are high, and stipends and scholarships are hard to come by. This is even if you are able to get into the school of your choice. And with the economy the way that it is, the competition is the stiffest it has ever been with people applying for graduate school who would normally be pursuing other opportunities.

I have been doing some research on graduate programs abroad. There are some good opportunities for scholarships, and some schools waive tuition fees completely. Even if that were not the case, many of the programs I’ve looked at have much lower tuition fees than in the US.

This article in the Economist details the rankings, costs and figures of business schools internationally. The interesting part is comparing the costs of tuition and length of program, and the increase in earning power after completing the program. Some of the less expensive programs ($33K per year vs. >$60K) still produce good results, with earning power increasing by 64 to 100+ percent (although this may not be a perfect metric).

But that isn’t what I’m mostly concerned about. Sure, I would like my earning potential to increase. But mostly, I want to add to my skill set so that I can do more interesting things. It’s why I’m taking part in online courses and learning coding. The arguable leader in this area is MIT, with their OpenCourseWare. Online learning resources are so hot right now, that it would be a shame not to take advantage. This Stanford professor left academia after teaching an online course, so that he could create an online education startup.

For now, to me it is much less about getting the credentials, and more about transfer of knowledge and development of skills. At least, this seems to be the bandwagon that I have found myself on.

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6 Responses

  1. Chia-Yi says

    @Sara It is a pretty fun way to learn coding, if you aren’t just jumping straight into a project (which might be much more frustration-inducing!). I think I’m a week behind on Code Year, but if you have questions they have a really good Q&A section for each lesson with other people’s problems that came up!

  2. Sara says

    Thanks so much for this post! I’ve decided to give Code Year a try. Open-source communities really do have a lot to offer if you know where to look—and it seems like you know where to look!

  3. Chia-Yi says

    Yeah! Actually I have! There are some that are very expensive, and others that are cheaper and some that waive tuition fees (sometimes only for EU citizens). Are you looking in Europe too? What types of programs are you interested in?

  4. Allison says

    Have you tried looking at one year Masters programs in Europe that are much cheaper?

  5. Chia-Yi says

    @Nat I hope your grad school classes are super interesting. Don’t overload yourself!

  6. Nat says

    I agree with everything in this post!!