Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pointed words on Ph.D.s

Back when I was pondering grad school, everyone told me to study molecular biology because there was a great demand for molecular biologists. So I followed that advice, and so did thousands of others. Now the job market for folks with a molecular bio background is extremely competitive, and the Ph.D. is simply not enough to ensure a successful career. The latest Nature has some articles on this problem, and they're pretty blunt. Check out Mark Taylor's take on the situation:
The system of PhD education in the United States and many other countries is broken and unsustainable, and needs to be reconceived. In many fields, it creates only a cruel fantasy of future employment that promotes the self-interest of faculty members at the expense of students. The reality is that there are very few jobs for people who might have spent up to 12 years on their degrees. ... There are two responsible courses of action: either radically reform doctoral programmes or shut them down.
They've also published a piece giving a more global perspective:
Education: The Ph.D. Factory

Definitely articles worth reading.

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