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John Kuo, M.D., Ph.D.
My class sizes were typically 25 to 35 students, some of whom were biologists, Pharm Ds and other health professions. April 1, at 6: Now a huge trove of his personal writings has come to light, revealing the workings of his mind — and the life he leads behind bars. In the context of the Doctor of Philosophy and other similarly titled degrees, the term "philosophy" does not refer to the field or academic discipline of philosophy , but is used in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek meaning, which is "love of wisdom". Was it harder for you to be accepted due to the age?? I have slowly discovered this fact to be true.

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I can also develop my own consulting firm and then maybe only work at the university 9 months out of the year! Remember, we are living long and healthier than ever before and academia keeps your mind sharp!

I am 57 and will be submitting my final thesis next week. I joined for the PhD programme after clearing an entrance test five years ago along with 25 year olds.

It has been a learning experience. My 29 years of experience in the corporate world gave me contacts and insights which gave me an edge for my depth interviews mine was a mixed methods research in social sciences. Financially it has not been a burden as I was a full time faculty. I had registered as a part time scholar.

The 5 years has been very challenging and required a fine balancing between teaching and research. I recommend it to anyone interested in an intellectual stimulating life. I presented papers at conferences, got papers published, the works! Very very different from a corporate world! It is never too late for learning. I am 40, and I just started my Ph. So, cheers to everyone who wants to start a Ph. It is true that the earlier you start, the better! At 40, with the satisfaction of senior level work experience and some earnings under my belt, I returned to academia for the PhD.

We have folks in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, though the majority are probably late 20s or early 30s. There is one individual who is over 50, and this person is an incredible scholar, in addition to being a highly valued member of our cohort.

We also have some incredibly smart and prolific twenty-somethings. The bottom line is that once you enter the graduate seminar, or the research conference, or the publication process, you are all equals. That said, it takes a few years to figure things out. Older students have less time to waste. They need to hit the ground running HARD from day one.

However, for those of us who have endured the hectic life a management job or whatever else the opportunity to study deep theory or conduct meaningful research is an absolute dream — and the politics of academia are often no worse than any other job.

As for the post-PhD job market, be open to any and all outcomes. An academic career might be ideal, but a PhD also lends itself well to a number of high-level positions in industry and government.

So — provided that you can afford the drop in income during the time it takes to earn the degree, AND provided that you have the support of your immediate family, AND assuming that you have the pedigree, grades and CV to be accepted into a program or several — just go for it! Having spent over 20 years in public accounting and industry, and having a law degree as well, I realize that I have a passion for teaching and research.

Thanks for the encouragement! If someone has a dream to attain the highest level of education then age should not matter. The legacy left behind is what matters. If someone is healthy and intelligent with the passion to work towards a PhD then no one should stand in their way! Hi there, very interesting comments. I am over over 50 and just now finishing my PhD. And, I have a job teaching — a good job. I have a friend of mine who started a PhD over the age of He is very bright and everyone loves him and he is not looked down upon.

Another woman I know received her law degree at She will not use it — but then again, as long as she wanted it and paid for it, who cares. If you love the process and love learning — go for it. Feel free to follow my journey on my youtube channel in the link below. Started mine in the social sciences at 27 and finished at 32 Through poor planning had done no networking and my field was not doing well in the job market anyway.

After 7 awful years ended at a for-profit for 23 more. At least it was teaching and nobody gave a damn what I said. The place was finally put out of its misery after 1 lawsuit too many.

Yes tenure track academia is a dying option, but older Ph. But know what you are getting in to. And try to get some practical experience too; if you want to teach know how before you get up in front of a class. If you expect to work with other people understand something about group dynamics and socialization—some folks get this intuitively but as a group I think doctorate holders find these areas more difficult.

Give yourself every advantage possible. A very interesting post that I could address from the other side of the coin. During my first year, I had to work 60 to 80 hour weeks and I had a hell of a time. I did this side by side with a woman who entered the program in her late forties with a child. She was an incredible student but just could not keep up with the huge amount of things that we had to do to stay afloat. To me, this is shameful. Beyond this, I would also consider if you are able to take a large pay cut.

My tuition is covered, but my stipend is only about 15K a year. I live in a rural area that offers affordable housing and I commute to campus. My lifestyle is not glamorous and I go without a lot of the time. Perhaps this is just my perspective from the social sciences, but these were my honest reflections. I completely respect anyone over 35 who wants to go back, but I also know the challenges that await them, particularly the various degrees of discrimination that I have witnessed.

I also believe that a PhD is not an end all be all in terms of education. You could still feasibly educate yourself at any age without formally enrolling into a academy.

I find it surprising that hour weeks are required to train an anthropologist. Even in medicine, we are questioning if the grueling hours produce better doctors or just more tired ones. I think in the clinical sciences this is accepted as part of the socialization process that readies you for the great responsibilities you must take on. I suppose your professors are trying to achieve the same thing without having reflected on the effect of overwork on student performance.

Maybe your student cohort should share with them the findings from the medical literature about this. I disagree that self-education is possible if research is your primary goal.

The resources and networking that a university provides cannot be found elsewhere. As someone making a late life career switch from family medicine to environmental sciences, I naively thought I could show up and be embraced. Now I am studying for the GRE and taking graduate classes in ecology to prove I am worthy of a research doctorate. Does such a thing exist in academia or is it just brutal competition and one-upmanship?

If one is not seeking a traditional academic career is age-discrimination less prominent? I was sidetracked by being misdiagnosed as being terminally ill. Now I am year-old single parent with a chronically ill child. I have done some major things — I have been recognized by a CEO of a major fortune organization. I miss the mental stimulation of the Ph. I still long for the Ph. It will take a lot of time but the rewards are immense both intellectually and socially. I am 71, in my second year of a PhD program in transdisciplinarity, and I love it.

You have my best wishes. I am 28 years old, and got accepted into the Brown Sociology PhD program with full funding, excellent advisors, etc. I am so excited about the PhD that I do not want to defer. Brown allows you to defer for a year. You are only 28 years old. I will be 47 tomorrow and I just received my MA last April I understand that a PhD is important to you, but if you keep your current job and invest wisely you will be set for life before you are my age.

You may not have full funding through a university, but you will have a fuller pension. Especially if you will be vested in a year earning six figures and not even 30 years old. Check out PhD programs in Hawaii. So, you do not go full-time, you will still have a PhD before you are 40 and you will not be hurting for money. University of Hawaii does not compare.

I have a young friend who gave up a good job — a high salary — to start her PhD. One year into it, she decided that she hated academia. Fortunately, she got her old job back. My advice to starting a PhD at any age and I started mine very late in life is to realistically balance living in the present with planning for the future. Where do you see yourself in five years — in 10 years? Do you think it is feasible and do you like what you see?

What will you be sacrificing? If you are a woman, you may be sacrificing a lot. You must search carefully your own values. This comment is for Carole. I hope you finish your PhD and I wish you all the luck in the world. It is a tough go, but if you want it bad enough you will do it. But, you have my best wishes and as I said in my first comment — Go for it! Liz, thank you so much for encouragement and the reminder that it is certainly going to take a lot of determination to finish.

I will finish my course work next year and then on the the dissertation. I must admit that I am finding the process both challenging and requiring adaptation in study habits. I can almost remember when I had short term memory, unfortunately I no longer have it. This has been and continues to evolve my note taking and info filing strategies. Reading for more than an hour at a time is impossible but that just means I get to take more breaks. I must be clear though, this is the most fun I have had in decades..

I do suppose that a lot depends upon the program you are in and the passion you bring to the project. Thanks for your good wishes, my I offer mine in return for you in whatever passion you are following. I have a youtube channel with some videos of my first year and a half in graduate school. I finished my BSc. Still I have 30 years to give something to the community. This is due to selecting the correct major as well as your maturity level I admit, I was reluctant to go back to school 20 years after my BA, but I am so happy that I did.

I am not sure about the older grad students comment. I felt far ahead of the younger students because I had real life experiences. Also, they respected the fact that maybe I had learned a thing or two in 20 years. If you are doing it for a specific job or field, they may have prejudice, but individuals and schools do not seem to. I agree with Ken. I started my accelerated PhD at 53, graduating at 56 this year.

I received a full fellowship and full salary and many very low interest or forgiven loans. My cohort of 6 ranged from ages 32 to 53! Thank-you for the insightful comments!

It definitely helps ease the twinge of pain I still feel about the rejection, but makes me hopeful, in case I have to apply again next year. As long as you finish your PhD by 40 even better if by you will still be academically OK, especially if coming from a place like Brown.

What will be your inner satisfaction. Because, make no mistake, satisfaction at 55 is just not the same like it is at For those who are interested in academic career, my strong advice is to not embark on this path unless you can complete your PhD and be employed even if adjunct by The rest of you are just lost, insecure souls frightened with diminishing professional prospects, failing health, and increasing social irrelevancy, and so you are desperately invested in the idea that by running into academia you will find a safe haven that will magically erase all those difficult things from your life.

So if you recognize yourself in these descriptions do not throw the rest of your life away pursuing something so fickle. Academia also plays by the same rules as the greater society — they may just be more cunning about it.

There are various motives people go for PhD at a later stage than just capitilizing on it as single source of hope and hapiness in life — even for so, it always ones choice. Also, illness can be of varied sources and can strike at anytime of ones life. Finally, the academia is one of the rare areas that people retire formally but continue produzing and being useful to sociedade even from a will chair.

Dear Voice of Wisdom, I agree with you about deferring admission for one year, a vesting allowance is always worth it and sometimes allows the retiree to opt-in to the employer health care plan — far more valuable than the allowance for sure. I disagree with just about everything else you said.

I do not know who you are describing but many who return for a Phd later in life,myself included, are financially secure with solid careers who have reached a place in their intellectual development where pursuing research is the natural next step. There are many part-time Phd programs in the UK that accommodate just this type of learner.

We either have no intention of working in the low-paid, low-benefit world of academia or we work in applied fields that are always short of Phd trained teaching faculty like computer science or nursing. I also disagree with your assumption that satisfaction at age 55 is not as sweet as when one is I would argue that it is the opposite. Now with kids out of the house and finances in place, we can afford to pursue a life of the mind without the tremendous obligations that come with early adulthood.

You said that 35 you and your ilk- were juggling parenting and busy careers. Also, my advice is for those who are serious about getting into academic careers, and not for those who are pursuing PhD for the sake of it or for cute reasons like staving off potential dementia and what have you. If you are not PhD-in-hand and on the academic market by 40 — forget it. And academia for newbies in their 50s or 60s is not that place. You are distressed that there are people who do not want to follow what you deem to be age-appropriate behavior and you feel it is your responsibility to urge them to conform to perceived norms and expectations.

You are assuming that everyone who gets a Phd is seeking an academic career. Have a look at this Stanford website which shows post-Phd employment for their graduates. I did not pursue an academic career earlier because I wanted to make money. In my field, government and industry pay several times what academia does. I have always known that research informs practice and am now in a position to pursue research. The Phd is simply the best way to develop those skills. I was speaking to my friend yesterday who just finished his PhD at He is financially secure and one of the smartest people I know.

There is not doubt he could have had a PhD at Are you bitter about something? If you are incredibly successful as a young PhD I do not begrudge you for it, good on you. Dear Voice of Wisdom: I have been in academia and in teaching for years.

I will not tell you how many credentials and positions I have held sans the PhD that I will soon get. How do you like that for a near Ciceronian praeteritio? Achieving and maintaining employment with a PhD depends on what field of endeavor one has pursued; and no, not all of us grayed-haired types look or act grayed-haired, nor do we seek to stave off dementia.

One should not count a life in terms of decades of employment. One also should patently ignore what I was once told by a professor prior to not being accepted into a program.

By the way, I was 35 years old when that happened and I will always remember the incredibly elitist ego that accompanied that prediction. Unfortunately, there are more than many academics who are forced to publish to keep their jobs — a sad state of affairs since not all books are worthy of publishing much less reading and moving from shelf to shelf. I champion any and all who wish to pursue higher education for whatever reason. Keep trying until you get it! So sorry — Seniors do waiver: The name is Arthur Schopenhauer.

There is a Jacob in literature but not nearly as well known. Oh well, Schopenhauer was a devotee of Plato. Schopenhauer, I believe, also felt that angry or dissatisfied people represented unfilled will. That one alone was the reason I looked to Europe in the first place. Combination age and skin colour. Or maybe your friend was not like me, getting kicked in the head around the country US, Canada, and the UK on temporary sporadic jobs that never last more than a few weeks or months, over and over again, for the amount of years between the ages of 18 and I have found out, at least at my institution, that not every minute of your working life needs to be cited.

I combined jobs, abbreviated what I did, and only included what was appropriate or what would make me look good. I did not include everything I ever did. Not too long ago this year I took a survey for grad. It seems that my department is being audited for efficiency. The survey wanted to know how many papers I had given, published, books published, conferences attended and organized, grants received, etc. Well, I know there are some who have done more — but I have some papers to my name — no books yet.

But, I capitalized on my work experience, adjunct experience, full-time employment especially where I could say that I directed something or headed up a committee. I can say that in my life I had very little down time. But, I have heard that it is considerably different than in the US.

I have two friends who received their PhDs from Cambridge, and to hear them talk, the expectations are quite different than in the Midwest, US. They both feel that getting the PhD in England is much more difficult than what is encountered in the US. I still say that much depends on your institution, your department, your advisor, and what you expect of yourself. Pamela Kennedy You could combine all of your temporary, sporadic jobs into one long career as a consultant.

I never thought of combining everything I did into a consulting position. I guess I always thought that I would have to give a name of a boss, or company. I could just say that I worked for myself, which in many instances I did.

Good idea — the consultant. Came back here after someone checked me out from my post way back when and is great fun to see where everyone is at. Voice of Wisdom, sadly, is a troll. Again, I got my PhD and it ends up being my fifth degree. Not going for another though I know dual PhDs are all the rage. Feel free to check out my other comment on this board here: I admit, I had a full life before the PhD so getting one was just icing. Once you get it, aim high, real high someone has to get those jobs and you never know who might find you attractive for whatever reason.

Very inspiring to see so many people go for their dreams in the face of debilitating illness and chronic distress when I know I could not do so. I brought more experience than several professors, but lacked their understanding of theory and methodologies. My academic work paid for itself through consulting work and new engagements with clients, some of it by publishing some of my work.

Finances are important and can be an obstacle but if you can find the means and you have the drive, do it and enjoy it. Thanks for all the encouraging words. I was a little concerned about the age thing with the Phd but not anymore. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just got hooded from the Dept.

Another year- old also walked in May — a PhD in public policy. I have always worked in my field — teaching. I have been a music teacher and Latin teacher for years and I do translations for pay. But, I also hold a couple of state teaching certificates and I have a background in music education B. But, anything can be done if you are determined enough to forge ahead.

Accountants are needed at any age. And, here is another point. Some folks prefer to deal professionally with people close to their own age, so there is a special place for the recent but older graduate. Finally, there is no price you can put on the experience that only life can teach you. It is a selling point. I completed my Masters in Sociology this January I want to study further. Will you please tell me where and how should I apply for PhD?

Hope I can go straight for PhD after Masters. Or, do I need to do MPhill? I want to study Psychology which one will be the best; sociology or psychology? I have obtained very less marks except in the dissertation. Do I have any chances? As I went through all your comments, I found that everyone have lots of experiences long term and seem to be highly educated with top marks.

I just completed at age One is never too old and must simply have realistic expectations of what can be accomplished. I do have much more credibility in my field now and can better compete in the grant and contract world. Institution, not instruction…auto fill! That post will plague me until I die. Like I said in a previous comment — I received my PhD at age The prejudice in my department in terms of both ageism and sexism is astounding.

I have worked in higher education and in high school for many years. I totally agree with your statement that one must have realistic expectations. That in itself is an unfortunate reality for I know many people in my field who are knowledgeable, but have not earned the doctorate.

I will come back here to read all the postings, but for now, I need to say that I found this article very inspiring. I do wanna go for my Masters in Sociology, and am considering a Ph.

The truth is I am a bit concerned because I have not accumulated any wealth throughout my life nor I have any retirement plan other than the public one. At first i was concerned about my age, but upon reading many of the contributing posts I feel that I have made the correct decision in returning to school and changing careers.

I am starting an MA program in accounting next week and then plan to obtain my PhD. I would like to hear some comments concerning on campus or online for PhD programs. Also, would welcome comments concerning sources of free money for MA and PhD programs.

I earned a BA in social psychology in and a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in administrative and organizational behavior in I used the education and knowledge in the public sector and adjunct teaching, Much later, I discovered how I can merge my environmental interests with education and experience, and tackled a PhD program of study in natural resources management, with a focus on the human aspects.

Because my research was qualitative and seasonal, it took eight years to complete while I worked full time in — at age I saw the challenge as the successful climbing of a personal mountain.

I am now at a major land grant university where I primarily advise and teach both graduate and undergraduate courses such as environmental sociology, environmental policy, and environmental health. That did not happen in a vacuum but through departmental networking.

Now that I am full retirement age according to Social Security, I have no desire to retire until I mentally of physically can no longer function. I am just glad I have a decent teaching position. I think that constant networking and keeping up with your field is the key. If the person looks young it may help with ageism among classmates. If the person has 2 bachelors one being very recent will help I feel with the stigma of the school administrative committee thinking you are out of touch with your industry.

I feel that you can keep a level of respect and dignity for yourself by not trying to socially hang out with the students as you are not in the same age group…. Many of the abroad degrees are shorter as well so you can get in and get out quickly.

Age, drive , and your ambition have to do with you and the person you are inside. I love your comment. You are exactly what I described in my post before even looking at yours. I knew a woman in my undergraduate class who was She was getting her second bachelors. I never let my true age be known and some people still try to guess how old I am. If someone wants to know, fine — — look up my school records.

I know of people in their 80s who go back to school for personal and professional reasons. Went for my 2nd master about 20 years ago and there was a man who was in his seventies who just finished a BA in history and was starting his MA.

He eventually went on for the PhD. But, I was careful for years about my age still am a little bit since there really is ageism out there, ingrained in the system. As the first in my family to graduate college, let alone go on for advanced degrees, I wandered through my 20s without much guidance albeit managing to earn a B. I entered my PhD program—in English—at 30, found I loved teaching, and finished in six years.

At the time, CHE was calling seven years the average for finishing the doctorate, across all fields. I was hired to a tenure-track job at 37—and still have it 25 years later. Age is a peculiar thing. In those years I when I was writing my diss. I was aware that my diss. When I started my first job, however, it all changed, and I felt 22 again. Being surrounded always by young people is a similar phenomenon. It can make you young if you keep learning and changing, or, I suppose, make you feel like a fossil who would rather rot if you just resist change.

I teach some online courses; most in my age cohort shudder at the prospect. I survived cancer at 46; in many professions I would have been applying for disability then. I also had gotten a job without great pay to be sure but with more than adequate health insurance—something to which I barely gave a thought when I was hired. PhD 1 — begun age 47 finished in age No cost because I worked as a teacher from the adjunct faculty pool.

PhD 2 — begun age 59 finished in age Low cost because I worked a deal and hopefully will eventually teach online for them. I deferred my admission into Brown, so that I could work in my Hawaii job. Thanks for all the advice. Now, University of Hawaii has a very generous tuition waiver option if you work there. I can easily get a well-paid job there Hawaii is small, and I have developed a good rapport here. I can do the PhD part-time on the side can take 6 credits per semester and work full time with a great salary.

Should I do this, or go full-time at Brown? So wondering how job prospects will change. Another big aspect is that my Significant Other would much prefer to stay in Hawaii, than go to Providence.

We are warm-weather folk: Secondly, to say it takes circa 6 years is nonsense. Granted, it will if you get distracted by squirrels. If you have average focus it should take no longer than years. Either way, it took me less than 3 years, part time, and I enjoyed every little bit of it. Hello Richard, did you complete your PhD online or on a campus and what discipline did you receive your PhD in. Also, were you able to find any free money? Subsequently I researched scholarships and after identifying a suitable supervisor I approached them to see if it was feasible.

They liked my research proposal and were kind enough to assist me through the scholarship application process. As I am very busy in work, I attended the School of Law in the University of Limerick in Ireland, but only when essential supervision sessions etc.

It was hard to manage my time, but I think by only attending the University when I had to it allowed me to concentrate on writing the thesis. I believe that the main requirement for successful completion is work ethic, good supervisors and old fashioned graft. In saying all of that, as I work in a prison and my research topic was on prison officers, it was a labour of love and.

Found the process enjoyable and fascinating. I hope that info is useful to you and I wish you well in your endeavours. One is never too old to learn. The question may be, are they willing to invest their time in you considering your age? Age is a factor like it or not, and importantly you must find an area a professor with your topic interest. As a divorced single parent I re-entered the academic arena later in life to earn a Masters degree.

Learning was not a problem, my brain functioned as well as the younger students. One notably difference was the experience, which showed up in their reasoning. Either I could not find 3 professors alive or space availability. The PhD was not offered part time and relocation was not a choice, making it impossible to attain. Children were my priority and therefore work was necessary. Today it is offered part time but I am no longer 35, although my brain functions well; evident in the fact that I changed careers and successfully completed another master.

Today, it is more difficult to meet some of the admissions criteria which has nothing to do with your ability to manage but whether or not you can find professors to support your application.

Age, a factor makes it difficult to find more than one professor alive to provide references. Why should there be age discrimination? If a person wants to study for a PhD the year before they die, then why not? Every one in a while I visit this website. True — I received my PhD after working on it part and full time for 15 years. The only Canadian schools that they go to, our are really pushed to them to consider are McGill, Toronto, British Colombia.

Plus, they are in awesome cities! U of Alberta is completely out of subject in this discussion on highly respected universities in Canada. Mail will not be published required. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Does Canada have an Ivy League? American students enrolled at Canadian schools often find their introductory conversations go a bit like this: I went to XXX School. Yet when I attend conferences, I frequently find myself having this conversation: Why would you say that?

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Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Princeton, like other universities, is trying to help its students and scholars affected by the order, Eisgruber said, as some are unable to re-enter the country to continue their studies or teach, and many more are worried about the future. In the letter, the presidents wrote: The vetting procedures already in place are rigorous.

Improvements to them should be based on evidence, calibrated to real risks, and consistent with constitutional principle.

It has attracted talented people to our shores and inspired people around the globe. We respectfully urge you to rectify the damage done by this order.

Two spokesmen for the administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the letter on Thursday.

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