Counselling Centre Universities of Bern

PhD - yes or no? Criteria for your decision

For your decision the following criteria can help you: your career goals and expectations, your specialist interests and your personal circumstances.

Career goals and expectations

This includes thinking about whether an academic qualification, as obtained by writing a dissertation, is important or even necessary for your future career. If you want to pursue a career in higher education, for example, then a dissertation is absolutely essential. However, research centers outside the university sphere often also require employees to have a PhD.

In addition, the importance of having a PhD is rated differently from one faculty or field of study to the next. The vast majority of students in the Faculty of Medicine graduate with a PhD. A doctoral degree is still an integral part of their professional identity and patients also perceive it as such. In the natural science disciplines, a PhD is often desirable. In fact, a good third of graduates from the Faculty of Science still write a dissertation. The proportion of doctoral students in the other faculties is significantly smaller. In these disciplines, the level of importance attached to a dissertation varies depending on the context.

Specialist interests

The decision to write a dissertation should also be geared toward your personal specialist interests. This includes your interest in your chosen topic, for example, as well as how much you enjoy the activities that make up the academic work involved. The writing itself and dealing with texts should come naturally to you. You will also need plenty of motivation to analyze the research questions raised from a theoretical perspective and develop differentiated solutions for dealing with them.

Personal circumstances

When deciding whether or not to write a dissertation, you should also take your personal circumstances into consideration. For example, would studying for a PhD be compatible with your family situation or leisure activities that are important to you? Would those around you accept and support your decision? And finally, financial aspects also need to be taken into account. Since semester fees for doctoral students are not normally very high, it is worth thinking about whether it is feasible for you to manage for another three to four years on a relatively low income.

Just as the importance of a PhD varies from faculty to faculty, so too do the working conditions of individual doctoral students. Both the time required and the situation in terms of supervision are organized on an individual basis depending on the dissertation topic, the supervisor concerned, and the economic and social working conditions.

Given this diverse range of criteria, the situation for each individual doctoral student is complex right from the start. It is therefore important to take plenty of time to make your decision – there are a lot of different aspects that need to be weighed up. You may find our information and guidance helpful in making your decision.

Counselling / Coaching


Counselling / Coaching