How do you know if you are "PhD" material?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Havensdad, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Havensdad

    Havensdad
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    I was reading the posts in one of the other threads, and I suddenly started wondering, "How do you really know if you are capable of completing a PhD.?

    I thoroughly believe that not everyone can do this. From the little I have seen, I would place possible Ph.D candidates in the upper 10 percent of the population. My question is, what objective academic criteria can one use for "measuring" themselves in this manner?

    For instance, if someone consistently scores A's on research and writing projects at the Masters level, does this indicate they are capable of the level of writing and thought necessary to complete a Ph.D? I would think this would be the best indicator of one's ability, rather than one's GPA. A GPA can be influenced by other factors, such as extra work, "open book" tests, etc., which might lead a person to overestimate their ability.

    What say you?
     
  2. Martin

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    ==That is a tough question. The answer is that I'm not sure you can know if you are, or are not, PhD material until you try. Generally though you have to love the subject and be willing to work hard for several years. PhD holders are not all smart, they just love their field and worked to earn their degree. I think there also has to be a level of "need" in PhD work. If a person "needs" the degree to fulfill his/her calling that is probably very motivating.

    ==Another difficult question. Many universities use the students GRE scores, GPA, and references. Of course none of those things individually, or put together, are an accurate predictor of a person's ability to earn a PhD. Personally I think it is high time we start doing away with tests like the MAT, SAT, and GRE. They don't prove anything. After all, why does a person have to be good at math or analogies to earn a PhD? Makes no sense. I know of one or two schools that have dropped the GRE and I say good for them.


    ==No. I graduated from Liberty Seminary (M.A.R) with an "A" average and as far as I can recall I got an "A" on most of my research papers. I also graduated with an "A" average when I earned my Masters in Social Studies/History. I made an "A" in "Research Methods" and on my graduate research project (Historical Research). However I don't think I would be able to successfully write a PhD dissertation. Why not? Because my attention span would not hold out. By the time I finished my two research projects, I was tired of King Philip's War, the Puritans, and John Sassamon (recently I have begun to revisit those topics). My point, however, is that "Research Methods" was one semester and I worked on my Historical Research project for almost 2 years. That is not a long period of time and certainly it was a far shorter amount of time than any PhD dissertation. Yet before I finished my research and writing I was really tired of the topic. I can't imagine trying to keep interested in a specific topic while doing a PhD dissertation. I like to bounce around too much within my fields.
     
  3. exscentric

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    Easy, if you have one you are capable :laugh:

    As to the top 10% I'd doubt it is that elite - maybe in evangelical circles, but not in the general population.

    Another easy one is whether God has led you to get one or not :wavey: If God leads to a place then the way must be possible.
     
  4. TomVols

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    "Open note" tests were some of the hardest I ever took. EVERYTHING is fair game. I do mean everything.
    Now, to your question:
    You'd better be able to research thoroughly. You have to have superior writing and analytical ability. You need to be the kind of guy that finds typos in books and it irritates you. (What, like I'm the only one?). You have to have a voracious reading appetite. You have to enjoy the mundane and sometimes esoteric world of scholarly studies. Someone rightly said that if SBL or ETS meetings / journals bore you, don't do a Ph.D. You have to be able to go to sleep at night reading about minutia and wake up thinking about it. Doctoral work requires the highest levels of motivation, because a substantial number of people just burn out or give up. Ultimately, ask what your motivation is. If you want the Ph.D. to have the Ph.D., watch out. I know most of those guys. They're the ones that dropped out. It was too much. I may share more insight privately with you.

    Others are good evaluators, too. If you have this passion and no one else senses it, that could say something. Almost every Ph.D I know was viewed as one from very early stages in their seminary work by professors and fellow students. Can't think of a one who would fall into the "Wow, never saw him doing that" category. D.Mins are no exception, either, though those are slightly different animals.

    I don't entirely disagree, just so long as there is some measure of a person's analytical capabilities. Usually interviews and essays do the trick. I mean, I can do calculus, but I've yet to find how that helps me assess Clowney's RH model or Erickson's Christology in light of alternative kenoticism theories.

    If there's a question as to whether or not you're the Ph.D type, maybe do a ThM. Test the waters.
     
  5. Havensdad

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    Gotta finish my M. Div. first! :laugh:
     
  6. Johnv

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    If you enter a PhD program and earn the degree upon the progrm's completion. That's usually a giid indicator.
     
  7. TomVols

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    Thanks Johnv. 20 minutes into the next blizzard, let us know if it's snowing or not :tongue3:
     
  8. Johnv

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    Oh, you wanted pre-indicators? Hey, you didn't say that!! :laugh:

    BTW, I have a very advanced weather system. If I put my hand on the window, and the window is warm, I know it's hot. If it's cold, I know it's cold outside. If it rattles, I know it's windy. If it is wet, I know it's raining. If the blinds on the window cast a shadow, I know it's sunny out.
     
  9. TomVols

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    What you just described is every bit as sophisticated and as effective at predicting the weather as the millions spent on NOAA/NWS last year :laugh:
     

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