My original MA was in a traditional academic subject, that while I love, is proving difficult to find employment with. (other than highschool teaching)
After some crazy stuff that happened in my life, I have thought about going back to school to study social work... particularly studying reform of the judicial system, judicial education, domestic violence.
I also homeschool my kids, so I am trying to find a program that fits my life...
There is a solid local school (No national recognition, but fairly well respected in my area) They only offer 1 phd program, and several MA programs. The PhD program is in an interdisciplinary studies program, which, when I was in grad school, was not looked at as favorably as something like PhD in Chemistry or PhD in English. This is more like "PhD in Liberal Studies" most alums work at the college after the graduate, and a lot of their dissertations span different subjects and departments.
There is also a school about an hour away from me that is huge, has a ton of programs, and I could get a degree in social work or even in my original area of study. The issue is that its far away and traffic is a beast, so it might be 2 hours away on a bad day. Then, a 3 hour class...
I'm wondering if there are any mostly online phd programs that are reputable... social work, education, or history are areas that I could pursue. I would love to have something that is mostly online, with an on campus portion (I could get my mom to visit for a semester or two for child care... she just could not stay for 4 years)
[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 10:47 AM, April 4th (Friday)]
I also want to have another baby relatively soon (Im 35... so... clock's ticking). Im just trying how to fit this into my life. hmmm...
[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 12:09 PM, April 4th (Friday)]
If it's for your own satisfaction, then do what works for you.
If it's for one of the other reasons, I would talk with several (at least) people successfully working in that position to see what they have to say about it. Doctorates take a long time and a lot of work. And for many fields, it does matter where you get the degree, especially if you are not already working in your target field.
For instance, if you are a school principal, it doesn't matter as much where you get a doctorate, if you want one. If you want to be a professor, it generally does matter. The more prestigious the school you want to work at, the more your educational background counts. There are exceptions, but those are generally exceptional people, or fields where lots of talent doesn't go into higher Ed because it doesn't pay as well.
It's really mostly for myself. I set a goal when I was in grad school 10 years ago to get a PhD. Now that I am older, I really want to see if I can do it. When it comes down to it, its a personal goal.
My biggest problem is figuring out what I want to do in this next phase of life. My track before kids was MA, work, PhD... I was a graduate assistant, won several awards\grants, and was even asked to apply for a position within my department when I graduated. (I moved out of state and declined to apply... but it made me feel good that a few of my old profs would want to work with me...)
That was in a traditional academic subject. Looking to the future, I would like to teach that subject at a small college or community college. I have recently applied to teach that subject as an adjunct at two community colleges in my area.
Choice #2-- After personal experience, I have recently became very interested in helping women who had been through what I went through several years ago. Brainstorming ideas-- I think I would enjoy working to for change in the judicial system, judicial education, or telling the stories of women who have survived domestic violence.
I would not want to teach social work, but do more work in research...
I feel sort of stuck, as I have two different paths to go down. Which one do I want to take, I can only do one...
Choice #2, sounds awesome! Don't know what educational credential you need. Law school? Start with volunteering, I would think, and again, talking to folks in the field. Women's shelters, women's advocacy groups, women's center at local colleges.
Research-- see who's doing something you're interested in, contact them, and ask if you can talk with them about their work. Develop that contact. Then you can ask about doing research with them. Or if you're bold, ask sooner!
You should look into AAUW. They have money for women returning to school.
Btw, I don't think that going on one path necessarily precludes the other one.
So, basically, either choice I pick is almost like starting at square 1. Which is good, because the fact that I had some experience in Choice#1 did cloud my judgment (do I want to start over, I have a few years put into the MA and working in that field...)
something to think about! =)
[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 7:33 AM, April 7th (Monday)]
Its a lot of money and time and effort -- don't half-ass it. That's my advice.
and I really think if I do an online phd (I was hoping there would be something similar to Johns Hopkins' online MA programs... mostly online but some on campus stuff, too)
Truly, I will not consider the goal met until I buckle down and finish the program that is an hour away. I would not be satisfied with the other program close to my home or an online program.
Its just not the right time in my life to pursue a PhD. I really want to, but its not the right time. Soon... maybe in 5 years
Check it out: http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/
You could start reading in your field, and also see if that one-hour away school has talks, drive in conferences, etc. Grad students host this sort of thing regularly now, because it's so important to start getting professional experience. You may not be able to attend classes an hour away, but you could go to a professional event an hour away once a month. See also if there are online discussion groups for your field. Professional level and grad student level.
I would also look for ways to start getting published if possible. You can ease into it by contributing to a professional newsletter, or to a professional journal that has a "notes" section (something that doesn't need to be peer-reviewed). Unless you have something that's review worthy! If you have something like that, buff it up and send it out. You've got nothing to lose, and you're likely to get some feedback that will help you improve it.
Can you get back in touch with your old profs -- let them know your plans/goals, get their advice, start rebuilding your network.
Reading in the profession is a great start, though -- you'll be working your brain in a new way, feeling connected with the field, and preparing yourself to go back to grad school.