Garry Crawford completed his PhD in Sociology in 2001 and is now a Senior Lecturer in Sociology here at Salford.
“I chose to do my PhD at Salford as I had done my undergraduate degree here some years previous, and knew that Salford had an excellent, but also friendly, Sociology department. In particular, the department here had the appropriate expertise and reputation to supervise the subject of my thesis. I have been fascinated by Sociology ever since I discovered the subject at A-level so I guess I am now in my 'perfect job'. My role here is now divided between research and teaching as well as some administration responsibilities, and I hope to remain, and even progress, with my academic career here at Salford.
I gained a considerable range of skills from my PhD - too many to list really. But I think time management and self-motivation were two of the most critical.
I was really fortunate in getting my first academic post, which was largely the result of the right job coming up at the right time - just as I was finishing off my PhD. But I certainly would not have been able to get my first position as a lecturer without the PhD. My advice to current PhDs is first and foremost, focus and get your PhD. Get that done. Then secondly, look for things that will distinguish you from the pack such as publishing, teaching and getting involved and making contacts within your academic community - though never let any of these get in the way of finishing the thesis.
I know many Sociology PhD students go into academia, but I would also encourage doctoral graduates to look at what other jobs and routes are out there, and not be too narrow in their focus. For instance, there are roles for social science researchers in government, NGOs, think-tanks as well as in the private sector. Keep your options open and don’t think you are being disloyal to your supervisor or anyone else if you don’t want to stay in academia. Academia isn’t for everyone, and doctoral candidates bring with them a range of skills that can easily be transferred to the world outside of higher education”.
by Fiona Christie