Going to university and studying for a degree may be seen as a rite of passage; something you do as a young adult and during an educational transition between school and work. While relatively few people go on to study for a PhD, it is still largely seen as something you do to start climbing the ladder of your chosen career.
However, doing a doctorate need not be just a means to an end and can be an end in itself – something you do just because you are interested in the topic and want to stretch your intellect. As such, there is no reason why it has to be a young person’s game and a quick Google search reveals a surprising number of ‘senior’ graduates. In 2004, the Reverend Edgar Dowse, at 93, was said to be the oldest person in the world to be awarded a PhD. This feat has now been matched by the 93 year old Elisabeth Kirby, a former actress, who became Australia’s oldest PhD graduate in April 2014. In 2010, it was reported that the 100-year-old Bholaram Das had enrolled in a PhD programme, but there is no further news on how he fared. The full stories can be found by following the links below: