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5 reasons to do a PhD today

Vathsala Illesinghe, Policy Studies PhD candidate and Ryerson’s first Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar

The decision to pursue a PhD has become more daunting as the number of tenure-track professorships has decreased over the years. While it’s certainly harder to land an academic dream job these days, there’s ample evidence that doctoral studies establish rewarding career trajectories beyond the university.

Recent figures show that four out of five PhD graduates ultimately land jobs outside of academia, external link, from government research and policy positions to the not-for-profit sector. According to Statistics Canada, the employment rate for PhD graduates outpaces the general population by around 10 per cent.

On average, doctorates earn 34 per cent more, external link than those with a bachelor degree. Even as the percentage of PhD graduates who become full-time professors tapers, the career outcomes of those who do hold a doctorate are typically lucrative and meaningful.

There are many reasons why PhD graduates enjoy quality careers, most of which relate directly to the motivations for pursuing doctoral studies in the first place. At Ryerson, our PhD programs are designed to prepare students for successful academic and industry careers.

With more master's graduates in the workplace today, doing a PhD is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the crowd. The expertise you'll acquire is a prerequisite for a career as a professor but also highly valuable beyond academia.

Original research is the cornerstone of doctoral studies. It presents a unique opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to our collective knowledge-base and to transform the way we engage with the world. 

Over the long term, doctorates earn nearly 10 per cent more than master's graduates and over 30 per cent more than those with bachelor degrees. 

Writing, communication and interpersonal skills are key elements of doctoral studies. By pursuing a PhD, you'll also set major goals and gain crucial project management skills. The insights and experience you'll acquire will be valuable for the rest of your life.

The expertise acquired during a doctorate provides a powerful springboard for students to succeed in careers that have a meaningful social impact. From teaching to research to public speaking, your education prepares you to become a changemaker.

Why do a PhD at Ryerson?

Ryerson’s PhD programs are designed to prepare graduate students for both teaching and research careers as well as those in the broader workplace. From our culture of innovation to the integrated career services on offer, doctoral studies are different here.  

We’re cutting-edge

Step outside the box with 15 PhD programs devoted to contemporary research, industry trends and new ways of learning. From Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Science to interdisciplinary programs like Policy Studies and Communication and Culture, doctoral students here combine diverse interests to make a real-world impact.

We combine research and industry excellence

With Canada Research Chairs and Royal Society Fellows on staff and professors lauded for their industry connections, you’ll learn from a dynamic and engaged faculty. Whether it’s determining how to integrate autonomous vehicles on city streets or using photo-acoustics to measure the effectiveness of chemotherapy, our professors have the creativity and expertise to help you make a difference.

We offer career services that move the needle

Ryerson’s award-winning Career Centre helps doctoral students address the often intimidating post-graduate world with innovative programs like Industry Insights and Navigating Networks, an immersive learning initiative that links PhD students with industry leaders, and graduate services like Future Smart, which provides essential professional development skills to graduate students.

We’re connected to a network of labs and institutes

Ryerson PhD students benefit from our partnerships with a wide array of labs and research institutes in Toronto and around the world. Doctoral studies here aren’t conducted in an ivory tower apart from practical application — our drive to innovate resonates across the city and around the globe.

We drive change and create an impact

We value research that relies on innovation to effect change. From pioneering work in water sustainability to probing the ways that immigration policies can make women less vulnerable to violence to the use of 3D printing to revolutionize bone graft surgeries, Ryerson doctoral students engage in work that makes a lasting impact.

We’re in the heart of a booming tech scene

As an innovation hub in the heart of a city with a tech scene that’s bursting at the seams, our doctoral students benefit from access not just to our own incubation Zones, but also countless startups, industry-leading software companies, and research labs at major hospitals and biomedical facilities.

Quick facts

4 out of 5 PhD graduates work outside of academia. Source: Conference Board of Canada
Over $5 million available in federal and provincial scholarships
Over 970 graduate faculty supervisors
47 per cent increase in research funding from 2012 to 2017

From our students

"My supervisors Dr. Huu Doan and Dr. Ali Lohi provided me with outstanding guidance in always enhancing my research achievements and pushing the boundaries to create new scientific methods and innovation"

Dr. Amira Abdelrasoul, Chemical Engineering PhD