This afternoon I had a meeting to discuss the possibility of getting a PhD.
Relax! It was a meeting. Just a meeting. And a meeting is not a commitment. Got it? Good.
That said, the idea is that because the university does not offer a doctorate in precisely what I want to be a doctor of, I’d create my own interdisciplinary degree program. To do this, I would cobble together bits and pieces from two or more existing academic departments–courses, faculty and all. In my case it would likely be a mixture of communication, math & computer science and possibly education. I’d call it a PhD in internet communication. Or something.
You see, I’m fascinated by the way people use the internet to teach, learn, do business and socialize. And I’ve been hip-deep in the subject for a decade or so. Doing original research into this area, becoming a recognized expert and teaching others would be really terrific.
But there’s challenges.
First, I’d have to basically come up with a detailed, concrete dissertation proposal before I start the program. One does not typically need to do this as a condition of admission to a PhD program, but I would have to. And that means I’d also have to identify faculty who are both willing and able to assist me, be on my dissertation committee and so on.
Second (and more ordinary), it’s a big commitment. I’m told that I could finish the coursework in three years–even taking only one class at a time, fall, spring and summer. But three years is three years just the same. It would be a lifestyle change. A big cutback on time for hobbies, socializing, whatever. And then I’d have to write a dissertation, something that could easily take another year or two. All this while I’m still working full-time, of course. Do I really want it that bad? It’s something I have to think about carefully before I make a decision.
So where does this all go from here? My next step is to approach some of the faculty who I think might be interested in helping me and see what they think.