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(Independent)   How old is 'too old' to start a PhD?   (independent.co.uk) divider line
    More: Interesting, Family, World War II, Wedding anniversary, Doctor of Philosophy, Charles Dickens, Anniversary, Ageing, Gold  
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335 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 05 Dec 2022 at 8:50 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



36 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-12-05 7:44:31 AM  
If you're in hospice you might have sat on your hands a bit long
 
2022-12-05 8:24:12 AM  
Getting a PhD requires making use of limited resources. At 85 you will not be the best candidate for those resources.
 
2022-12-05 8:59:53 AM  
I heard that back in my early 30s, that I'd be outrun by the young grads with no real world experience. LOL.
 
2022-12-05 9:21:09 AM  

DON.MAC: Getting a PhD requires making use of limited resources. At 85 you will not be the best candidate for those resources.


If you're self-funded and not in a field that requires lab equipment that's not an issue.
 
2022-12-05 9:25:35 AM  
Tuition in my state is free after 65...so that is when I plan on starting mine. 28 more years to go....
 
2022-12-05 9:34:45 AM  
It seems to me that the pursuit of knowledge is timeless and certainly more rewarding than simply killing time before the nutritionist intern brings you your next serving of applesauce.
 
2022-12-05 9:38:50 AM  
My grandfather on my father's side spent his entire career as a high school English teacher. When he retired, he did a PhD in English literature at Columbia. He was in his early 70s when he finished. At the time, he was the university's oldest PhD graduate.

I suspect he would much rather have spent his life in academia than teaching high school, but his students respected him.
 
2022-12-05 9:42:02 AM  
Just do like a farker here did, and get one from the University of Botswasana.
Print it out and frame it from Hobby Lobby for "look at me, PAGE"
 
2022-12-05 10:06:53 AM  
If it helps keep your brain sharp, go at any age.
 
2022-12-05 10:47:06 AM  

Lish: DON.MAC: Getting a PhD requires making use of limited resources. At 85 you will not be the best candidate for those resources.

If you're self-funded and not in a field that requires lab equipment that's not an issue.


It still is. PhD supervisors can't be just any hobo who falls off the boxcar.

/Mine was a raging alcoholic who dropped dead the week after I submitted my dissertation.
 
2022-12-05 10:51:32 AM  

PTP_Professor: Tuition in my state is free after 65...so that is when I plan on starting mine. 28 more years to go....


Maybe the lawmakers who voted for that should get a free economics course.
 
2022-12-05 10:55:12 AM  
As a wise man once said, "no, you're never too old to rock and roll if you're too young to die."  You wanna rock that PhD? Go for it.

I say never stop learning, having said that, I don't think I would have the patience to learn in structured academia these days.
 
2022-12-05 11:04:07 AM  
My dad lost his job at Kodak at 47 years old after 28 years there. He took his severance and went to school. Got his AS, BA, MA, PhD from there, and graduated at 56. Now he's a professor at a local community college and loves his job every single day.

Never too late to completely change what you do, you just have to have the will to do it.
 
2022-12-05 11:04:41 AM  

phimuskapsi: BA, MA,


*BS/MS, psychology is a science not an art.
 
2022-12-05 11:06:35 AM  
So I am in my mid-50s and working on my masters.
I graduated in the early 90s with a bachelors.
Started working on my masters 3 years ago, but only 1 class at a time due to full time work.

I might get my PhD in 10 more years if I'm lucky
 
2022-12-05 11:14:22 AM  
I have a friend who retired as a public school librarian. S/he became bored after only a couple of years and returned to school. S/he earned a doctoral degree in reading instruction. Because my friend was 65 or older, the classes were free. After earning the doctoral degree, s/he returned to work as a reading specialist working with children with dyslexia and other reading challenges. My friend went on to work about another decade or so before retiring for good.

As long as a person is physically and psychologically healthy, I don't think age is terribly relevant.  The issue is student loan debt. I used to work for a NGO that assisted people with a variety of, mostly legal, problems. We saw way too many people who thought they could educate themselves around the discrimination that hits the over age 40 set. Too often they went from being unemployed or underemployed and facing age discrimination to being unemployed or underemployed, facing age discrimination, and mired in student loan debt.
 
2022-12-05 11:29:20 AM  

BMFPitt: PTP_Professor: Tuition in my state is free after 65...so that is when I plan on starting mine. 28 more years to go....

Maybe the lawmakers who voted for that should get a free economics course.


Don't worry. It doesn't cost the state much because so few people take advantage of the program.

If you're thinking that the program is inappropriately directed, it may be, but we have long favored people age 65 and older over other age groups in many ways. Look at the imbalance in most of the housing programs. Not only is there more likely to be a place for Granny than for her adult child and minor grandchildren, but typically Granny is not allowed to let her homeless family live with her in her unit.

Another example, Granny has Medicare or Medicaid. If her adult child, who is supporting a family, loses his job; he loses his healthcare. There may be a program to provide insurance for the grandchildren, but if the parent incurs a serious illness while unemployed he will likely face bankruptcy.

Many communities have public transit options that are available only to people over age 65. Even communities that have no formal transportation services for the disabled will sometimes have limited bus service for the elderly. In my own hometown, I knew a blind person that was forced to use expensive taxi's to travel further than walking distance. A bus for the elderly rode past that person's house.

I would NEVER propose taking these services away from  the elderly! Never. Yet, it would be nice if a other people could sometimes be included as well.
 
2022-12-05 11:32:37 AM  
My oldest sister is now in her first semester of PhD study, at age 67. I'm not even 60, but even now I can't imagine focusing 4 precious years of effort on something like that. I'll stand with my little master's degree and f*ck around with music.
 
2022-12-05 11:57:04 AM  

Myk-House of El: As a wise man once said, "no, you're never too old to rock and roll if you're too young to die."  You wanna rock that PhD? Go for it.

I say never stop learning, having said that, I don't think I would have the patience to learn in structured academia these days.


Hear, Hear! I am quite old and my formal academic career ended years and years ago My employers covered my various certifications that were more pertinent to my line of work. Nowadays I am increasingly curious about so much that I missed academically and I am letting my own curiosity guide my own research (such as it is). I could never attend school in person as I am now too sick to do so, but one thing I wanted to bring up is my gratitude to the people on Fark for piqueing my curiosity every day. No matter the subject, you guys make me think. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with an old guy!
 
2022-12-05 11:57:32 AM  

Bruscar: Don't worry. It doesn't cost the state much because so few people take advantage of the program.


That's not an excuse.

If you're thinking that the program is inappropriately directed, it may be, but we have long favored people age 65 and older over other age groups in many ways. Look at the imbalance in most of the housing programs. Not only is there more likely to be a place for Granny than for her adult child and minor grandchildren, but typically Granny is not allowed to let her homeless family live with her in her unit.

Another example, Granny has Medicare or Medicaid. If her adult child, who is supporting a family, loses his job; he loses his healthcare. There may be a program to provide insurance for the grandchildren, but if the parent incurs a serious illness while unemployed he will likely face bankruptcy.

Many communities have public transit options that are available only to people over age 65. Even communities that have no formal transportation services for the disabled will sometimes have limited bus service for the elderly. In my own hometown, I knew a blind person that was forced to use expensive taxi's to travel further than walking distance. A bus for the elderly rode past that person's house.


Whatabout...

I would NEVER propose taking these services away from  the elderly! Never. Yet, it would be nice if a other people could sometimes be included as well.

Ignoring whether those programs sounds exist, as opposed to alternatives, there is no defensible basis for giving them to able bodied 65 year olds over those who need them more.  But it's also an entirely different category.  The entire rationale for publicly funded education, and especially postgraduate programs, is that there will be an ROI in the form of a productive educated population.  Prioritizing those who may or may not be in the workforce at all, or will at least be in it for much less time is a terribly inefficient use of resources.
 
2022-12-05 1:14:43 PM  
I think I will go with never too late.

The Ph. D. programs I am familiar with require the candidate to produce a thesis that expands the knowledge of that discipline. So by completing the program the sum total of knowledge goes up. That is always a win.
 
2022-12-05 1:44:49 PM  
 If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.
 
2022-12-05 2:14:17 PM  

tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.


Yikes
 
2022-12-05 2:46:38 PM  

tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.


Is this your modest proposal?
 
2022-12-05 3:21:57 PM  

Nogale: tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.

Is this your modest proposal?


all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.
 
2022-12-05 3:45:24 PM  
I'm too old, but I'm also an idiot. That might have more to do with it.
 
2022-12-05 4:19:05 PM  

tom baker's scarf: Nogale: tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.

Is this your modest proposal?

all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.


So your solution to colleges getting drunk on easy student loans and the suckers taking them out is for old people to recognize themselves for what they are: second class citizens 😅?
 
2022-12-05 4:20:42 PM  

bigdanc: tom baker's scarf: Nogale: tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.

Is this your modest proposal?

all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.

So your solution to colleges getting drunk on easy student loans and the suckers taking them out is for old people to recognize themselves for what they are: second class citizens 😅?


no.  just because i don't like a thing doesn't mean i like it's straw man opposite.  it's called nuance.  it isn't a vice.
 
2022-12-05 4:27:25 PM  

The_Philosopher_King: I think I will go with never too late.



sometimes it is.
30 Rock - Never Too Late For Now
Youtube k3Bh-WlB8Vo
 
2022-12-05 4:56:20 PM  

tom baker's scarf: bigdanc: tom baker's scarf: Nogale: tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.

Is this your modest proposal?

all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.

So your solution to colleges getting drunk on easy student loans and the suckers taking them out is for old people to recognize themselves for what they are: second class citizens 😅?

no.  just because i don't like a thing doesn't mean i like it's straw man opposite.  it's called nuance.  it isn't a vice.


I mean, it really sounds like what you're saying is that you're more deserving of that college education than the old people are?  You're pointing out a utilitarian motivation for the attitude in benefit to society, wouldn't it also benefit society if they gave up their houses jobs and cars too?  Am I missing your point?  And my counter point is simply there are other levers that we can pull before we disenfranchise people, and I'd there's any moral obligation it would be to pull those first.
 
2022-12-05 5:08:09 PM  

tom baker's scarf: all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.


Why couldn't the 90 year old put it to use? There are a number of jobs that involve research that could easily be done by them. People in their sixties may live up to 3-4 more decades (particularly now), let's not eliminate all of them from chasing their dreams shall we? Most of them have contributed to tax bases their entire lives, if there is a benefit due to them, let them have it.
 
2022-12-05 5:32:38 PM  

bigdanc: tom baker's scarf: bigdanc: tom baker's scarf: Nogale: tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.

Is this your modest proposal?

all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.

So your solution to colleges getting drunk on easy student loans and the suckers taking them out is for old people to recognize themselves for what they are: second class citizens 😅?

no.  just because i don't like a thing doesn't mean i like it's straw man opposite.  it's called nuance.  it isn't a vice.

I mean, it really sounds like what you're saying is that you're more deserving of that college education than the old people are?  You're pointing out a utilitarian motivation for the attitude in benefit to society, wouldn't it also benefit society if they gave up their houses jobs and cars too?  Am I missing your point?  And my counter point is simply there are other levers that we can pull before we disenfranchise people, and I'd there's any moral obligation it would be to pull those first.


yes you are missing the point and i think you know that, at least i hope you do.

at no point did i say that i was more deserving nor did i say that they are second class citizens who should just give up everything for the sake of society.  that would be nuts.

What i am saying is that them chasing that goal isn't just about them. Education is expensive and space in advanced degree programs is limited.  the reason we have large amounts of public funding for colleges is because we recognize that an educated society is more useful than an uneducated one but is based on the assumption that the educated will be able to do something with the education.

if at 85 you decide you want to take and pay for guitar lessons* have at it. If you decide to squat in a phd slot that costs 100s of thousands of dollars of public resources recognize that the societal ROI is completely backwards and you should give guitar lessons another look. this is the same reason we don't give heart transplants to 85 year olds.   those limited and expensive resources are better spent otherwise.  i'll grant you it is bleak and brutal but it is also true, welcome to life.

*just so you don't miss the point, again, i don't think learning to play the guitar is useless. it's simply an example of continued learning that doesn't soak up massive amounts of public resources.  also i'm not advocating we don't provide reasonable levels of health care to the elderly, and everyone else for that matter.
 
2022-12-05 5:49:09 PM  

tom baker's scarf: bigdanc: tom baker's scarf: bigdanc: tom baker's scarf: Nogale: tom baker's scarf: If you are elderly recognize that you learning anything new at this point is of marginal to no use to society. If it is an open program you do you though not if you are using student aid, scholarships, etc to pay for it.  if there are limited number of spots then find something else and leave the spots to people who are young enough to have a chance to actually implement what they learn.

basically if you are past the point of employment or nearly there you eating up resources/oppurtunities for your vanity project is kinda sucky.

Is this your modest proposal?

all i'm proposing is to not using up limited and incredibly expensive resources so you can make the local paper and maybe get a shout out on GMA.  which would you rather have a 90 year old with a phd in epidemiology or a 28 year old who can actually put those skills to use.

There are still plenty of new skills you can learn and lots of ways you can contribute.

So your solution to colleges getting drunk on easy student loans and the suckers taking them out is for old people to recognize themselves for what they are: second class citizens 😅?

no.  just because i don't like a thing doesn't mean i like it's straw man opposite.  it's called nuance.  it isn't a vice.

I mean, it really sounds like what you're saying is that you're more deserving of that college education than the old people are?  You're pointing out a utilitarian motivation for the attitude in benefit to society, wouldn't it also benefit society if they gave up their houses jobs and cars too?  Am I missing your point?  And my counter point is simply there are other levers that we can pull before we disenfranchise people, and I'd there's any moral obligation it would be to pull those first.

yes you are missing the point and i think you know that, at least i hope you do.

at no point did i say that i was more deserving nor did i say that they are second class citizens who should just give up everything for the sake of society.  that would be nuts.

What i am saying is that them chasing that goal isn't just about them. Education is expensive and space in advanced degree programs is limited.  the reason we have large amounts of public funding for colleges is because we recognize that an educated society is more useful than an uneducated one but is based on the assumption that the educated will be able to do something with the education.

if at 85 you decide you want to take and pay for guitar lessons* have at it. If you decide to squat in a phd slot that costs 100s of thousands of dollars of public resources recognize that the societal ROI is completely backwards and you should give guitar lessons another look. this is the same reason we don't give heart transplants to 85 year olds.   those limited and expensive resources are better spent otherwise.  i'll grant you it is bleak and brutal but it is also true, welcome to life.

*just so you don't miss the point, again, i don't think learning to play the guitar is useless. it's simply an example of continued learning that doesn't soak up massive amounts of public resources.  also i'm not advocating we don't provide reasonable levels of health care to the elderly, and everyone else for that matter.


Ok I did understand your point, I disagree with it and I find it morally dubious
 
2022-12-05 6:14:22 PM  

optikeye: Just do like a farker here did, and get one from the University of Botswasana.
Print it out and frame it from Hobby Lobby for "look at me, PAGE"


...or have your name legally changed and add the "PhD" to the end of your name.

CSB Time: When I worked at the Library a local patron went to the County office and did just that: he changed his legal name to add "PhD" to his legal name... then he came to the Library to have his Library Record updated.
 
2022-12-05 6:51:04 PM  

phimuskapsi: Why couldn't the 90 year old put it to use?


"Today a person 90 years of age is expected to live on average another 4.6 years"
 
2022-12-05 9:37:10 PM  
97 years...
 
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