Question: PhD in Bioinformatics: to continue, or not to continue? That is the question--
2
gravatar for MAPK
3.6 years ago by
MAPK1.1k
United States
MAPK1.1k wrote:

Hi Guys, 

I recently joined a PhD program in Bioinformatics at a well-reputed school. After joining this lab I came to know that people in this lab had to spend at least 7 years to get their PhD and most of them already had Master. I came from a third world country and thought I would get my degree in Bioinformatics and bring innovative ideas to my country. I am already 32, I already have my MS degree from the US (with several publications), and spending another 7-8 years for PhD seems pretty daunting to me. In this situation, I am not sure if it is really sensible to spend another most valuable 7 years of my life. I would like to know from you guys about the future prospects of Bioinformatics and if I should really continue. I know it should be absolutely my personal decision, but I would appreciate if you guys could share about what you feel about this field. I think Biological science in general is not so good career choice where you have to spend years and years working under some bullies who think they know everything about life (not just life sciences!). Please help me decide what I should do by sharing your personal experiences/knowledge!

Thanks for your kind suggestions!

bioinformatics career • 2.2k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.6 years ago by slw287r100 • written 3.6 years ago by MAPK1.1k
3

I think Biological science in general is not so good career choice where you have to spend years and years working under some bullies who think they know everything about life (not just life sciences!).

I think you already answered your question. :)

ADD REPLYlink written 3.6 years ago by Dan D6.3k

I would suggest you change a lab. 7 years is too long to get a bioinformatics degree. I know many students graduate in 3 years with couple very good publication. 

ADD REPLYlink written 3.6 years ago by Xingyu Yang260
5
gravatar for Dan Gaston
3.6 years ago by
Dan Gaston6.9k
Canada
Dan Gaston6.9k wrote:

Did you get this information from former PhD students or are there a lot of PhD students currently in the lab who have been there for ~7 years without finishing yet? What about supervisors in the rest of the department or with students in the same program?

There is no one answer, as how to deal with these situations depend a lot on you, the supervisor, your supervisory committee, and your department. But it is highly unusual for a majority of students to take that long to finish a PhD. It may be the case that the supervisor is well funded and quite a few students just took a long time to finish because they were comfortable, funded, and felt no need to finish quickly. This may have created an informal culture of "taking your time" in that particular lab but doesn't mean that the supervisor expects you to take that long.

If, on the other hand, students are taking a long time because the supervisor is unreasonable, or the lab is generally unproductive, those are issues you will want to deal with, and quickly. In many places you are accepted into a program or department and can change supervisors if there is going to be a conflict. This isn't always easy, depending on your funding situation, but in the long run is much better than staying in a lab where you feel you just won't meet your own professional goals.

Hind sight is 20/20, these are definitely the sort of questions you should be asking before identifying a supervisor you want to work with or joining a program/department.

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.6 years ago by Dan Gaston6.9k
3
gravatar for Istvan Albert
3.6 years ago by
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 75k
University Park, USA
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 75k wrote:

I would say that an average of 7 year to graduate from a bioinformatics program is unreasonably long and I would consider that as warning sign.

No one knows what the future holds, it may be that today the chances of getting hired with a MS in bioinformatics may be much better that of getting hired with a PhD  in 7 years.

 

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.6 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 75k
2
gravatar for slw287r
3.6 years ago by
slw287r100
China
slw287r100 wrote:

Maybe you can chat with people in your lab to see whether they regret spending that 7 year long for a PhD.

Do you mean that the 7 year PhD is from bachelor (including MSc and PhD) or only PhD for a MSc?

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.6 years ago by slw287r100
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