Beyond the “Dr.” Title— How Pursuing a Ph.D. Taught me More Than International Law

By Yusra Suedi, Ph.D.


I did it! After five long years, I completed my doctorate in international law on December 1st, 2020.

Between 2013 and 2014, when I started thinking about whether to even pursue a doctorate, I asked 20 different PhD holders for their advice. Of the 20, a whopping 18 advised me not to, for many reasons: It is difficult; I was too young; it will make me unemployable; I did not have enough life/professional experience, and so on. Only two — one of whom ended up being my supervisor, argued in favour, citing one reason only—passion.

Despite the two who encouraged me being in the minority, I was sold. After all, I had survived five infernal years of law school, being trained on how to sort out peoples’ taxes and manage their divorces. I had not put much thought into law school before applying (which I do not recommend!), and not a day went by without me thinking that there surely had to be something greater to the law than the law practice I was engaged in. It was upon taking my first international law class that I realised there was “something greater” that I had been struggling to find. A legal field that had bigger impli