I just graduated with a computer-science bachelor’s degree and accepted a job offer as a data scientist with a well-known company. It is a research role; so I’ll presumably be working towards goals that are also academic in nature.

Now is it possible for me to find an advisor who would be okay with me working full-time? I’ve interned for this company and they have no issues with sharing any research as long as no confidential data is involved; so I will be able to publish and share some of my work with an advisor.

I am really enamored with the idea of having a PhD – for the sake of having a PhD (which is silly, I know). However, I’m hesitant to put my life on hold or quit my job so this is the only option left to me.

  • They hired you on a research role, and you have only a bachelor? – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 21:13
  • Well I interned with their Data Analytics team for 2 summers and part time through 2 semesters. It seems I made a reasonably good impression across a long ass time lol. – kksred Feb 21 '17 at 21:16
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    At least part of your question (Should I pursue a PhD?) appears to be off topic (see this discussion). Your second question about working full time during a PhD, has already been answered here. – Richard Erickson Feb 21 '17 at 21:20
  • OK. I just wonder what kind of research role is, that requires only bachelor qualifications for working towards academic research. I am not sure I understand your question: Will you have a particular research topic in the company and you ask if it's possible to find an adviser to supervise you on that particular topic? Or you ask to do things in parallel (different topic of PhD)? My guess is that in both cases the answer is probably no for many reasons – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 21:21
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    @kksred I see. You want to use the work done in the company as part of your PhD. This is very hard to answer since we do not have info regarding the particular topic. I think the best way to find out is to consult your local department, the people with expertise as close as possible to your future project, who will be able to judge if this makes a valid and potentially fruitful research plan. If yes, then I do not think you will have big problems admitted to the PhD program. But be careful that they might ask you do some master classes. – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 21:30

There cannot be a definite answer to your question, because we lack basic information regarding the project, arrangement etc.

I think the best way to find out if something like that is possible is to consult your local department where you finished your BSc, the people with expertise as close as possible to your future project, who will be able to judge if this makes a valid and potentially fruitful research plan. If yes, then I do not think you will have big problems admitted to the PhD program.

As a side note, observe that you might be asked to deal with some Master level courses/exams etc which, if you work full time, and depending how difficult is your department, will not be a piece of cake.

  • I agree with the piece of cake comment. Also, note that a great way to find out if you really want to be Superman and proceed with your idea would be to start by taking one class per semester while working full time, and see how it goes. Also, having an academic track record (of several graduate level courses taken while working full time) would be a good way to convince a potential advisor that you really can do this Superman feat. (There are some people in the world who could do such a feat, and you may be one of them.) – aparente001 Feb 21 '17 at 21:50
  • @aparente001 How is it possible to take one class per semester? I never heard of something like that, usually you have to take the whole curriculum in a pretty tight schedule (+thesis etc). The only way to do so, while working full time and also keep track of your potential PhD is indeed to be a very very committed person (and I ignore the logistics of study, attendance etc) – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 21:54
  • You can take classes towards a Master's part time, and you can also take classes as a non-matriculated student. – aparente001 Feb 21 '17 at 23:27

Should you pursue a PhD? This is something that only you can make a decision on.

Can you accomplish a PhD whilst working full time? This falls under the wide umbrella of things that cannot be answered by others. There are too many variables at play. The only one who can know if you can accomplish this task while working full time, is you.

Opinions can be shared on if setting out on the PhD journey is a good one at this time, or what struggles you will face may be when working on said PhD but these will not be answers.


The best thing to do is talk to the computer science department at your old university and/or if you know which university you want to attend. It would not be easy having a full-time job, and studying for PhD, even if you only take one course per semester.

  • I cannot agree more. I am having trouble pulling off a full time unpaid internship (Practicum for CIS degree) and trying to learn Japanese. – NZKshatriya Feb 22 '17 at 3:44
  • Same here, 14 hours of Ms classes, 2 Teaching assistant classes and teaching 2 courses as an adjunct instructor. :( – JKJ Feb 22 '17 at 3:46
  • You officially have me beat sir. – NZKshatriya Feb 22 '17 at 4:04

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