Piled High and Deep

I get this question a lot: “Should I go get a PhD?”

I have never seen a convincing case that getting a PhD is something that you need to get if you’re not going to be a prof.

While Joe cites a harsh fact in the conclusion — that a faculty position is what a minority of PhD recipients achieve — I don’t get the above quote. (Others often couple this with the sentiment that not getting a faculty position is failure, which is thankfully absent here) It’s like there’s this great blind spot about research, by most people blogging about research — they imply that it’s all done by university faculty. A great many people do research in government labs (well, not so much now in the US, what with the shutdown and all) and in private industry. I’m not sure what Joe would find convincing. When an announcement asks for a certain level of experience, I suppose technically one could argue that it need not come from graduate school or a post-doc, but that just creates a circular argument about how a person got that experience in the first place.

I’m not a prof, and you’d better believe my job requires a PhD. I know/am acquainted with many people to which this applies.

2 thoughts on “Piled High and Deep

  1. I would also note that there are plenty (more than faculty positions anyway) in industry that are not necessarily research related but still require a PhD. Prominent fields for this are in the pharma and biotech sectors.

  2. I think we have a huge surplus of people with PhDs. I found it very difficult to get the position I have now and that is a short term postdoc. I will tell you I applied to over 100 jobs before I got this one. The positions are just not there and I am worried about what to do next. I see very few similar postdoc positions that suit my skills and interests let alone a faculty position.

    One idea that I know has been stated before is that only the top universities should be allowed to grant PhDs. For example, in the UK that would be only Oxford and Cambridge.

    Okay, that would mean I would not have a PhD, but then I would have been guided into something else earlier and build a career there instead of applying for positions get far too many applicants.

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