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You Won't Believe What These Students Learnt In Just Four Years

if Upworthy ran a university their doctoral theses would probably sound like these.
posted by divabat on Jun 11, 2014 - 30 comments

Publish or perish

Look Who Nick Kristof’s Saving Now. Political scientist Corey Robin on today's public intellectuals, an "entire economy of unsung writers with PhDs," and what Nicholas Kristof doesn't understand when he writes academics have marginalizes themselves and "just don’t matter in today’s great debates." As Aaron Bady wrote, ”He only reads The New Yorker, and then complains that everyone doesn’t write for The New Yorker.”
posted by spamandkimchi on Feb 16, 2014 - 51 comments

Some stats behind the doom and gloom

Amid a number of recent articles (previously, previously, and previously) about the state of doctoral study in the United States, the NSF has released an interactive report compiling statistical analysis of broad trends about who earns a doctorates, which fields are attracting students, influences to obtain a degree, payment for that degree, and trends after graduation. The report is also available as a .pdf, with further explanation of what these numbers generally indicate.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 23, 2014 - 15 comments

We were wrong?

Even Ph.D.s Who Got “Full Funding” Have Huge Amounts of Debt (SLSLATE) "A shocking number of users also report [a debt loan of] $100,000 and up; some $200,000 and over, even with a funding package. “My graduate stipend did not cover my living expenses, books, money I needed for research,” explains one user. “TA salary and fee remission not enough to support my two children,” says another. Graduate students do not usually receive funding in the summer—but are often expected to complete intensive research or exam prep—so many users also cited summer living expenses. Though Kelsky expected a substantial reaction, she says she is still “stunned” at the rate at which entries keep coming in, and “with such devastating figures and stories.” (be sure to check out the link for 'fully funded')
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jan 16, 2014 - 152 comments

Guys in Speedos portraying chicken sperm...

That's a winning combination for the "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, which celebrates efforts to turn doctoral thesis topics into interpretive dance. This year's top prize goes to University of Oxford biologist Cedrick Tan, for a series of dances based on his study of "Sperm Competition Between Brothers and Female Choice." The dance video has to be seen to be believed (and understood).
posted by billiebee on Nov 22, 2013 - 16 comments

Does Open Access Diminish Publishing Opportunities for Grad Students?

The American Historical Association just released a statement that "strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to adopt a policy that allows the embargoing of completed history PhD dissertations in digital form for as many as six years." The statement is aimed at publishers who are disinclined to consider books based on dissertations that have been made freely available in open access databases. Some responses cite a 2011 survey, "Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?," that found most publishers self-reported they would indeed consider publishing such dissertations, but also suggested university libraries are refusing to buy books based on dissertations that have previously been available online. "The Road From Dissertation to Book Has a New Pothole: the Internet," a 2011 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, quotes editors who are wary of publishing such books, and discusses the process by which students can restrict access to their work at companies like ProQuest, "the electronic publisher with which the vast majority of U.S. universities contract to house digital copies of dissertations." [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Jul 23, 2013 - 40 comments

The remote odds of becoming a professor in humanities...

Getting a literature Ph.D. will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor. "Who wouldn’t want a job where you only have to work five hours a week, you get summers off, your whole job is reading and talking about books, and you can never be fired? Such is the enviable life of the tenured college literature professor, and all you have to do to get it is earn a Ph.D. So perhaps you, literature lover, are considering pursuing this path. Well, what if I told you that by 'five hours' I mean '80 hours,' and by 'summers off' I mean 'two months of unpaid research sequestration and curriculum planning'..."
posted by dfm500 on Apr 5, 2013 - 190 comments

A tax time bomb, slowly ticking away

Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
posted by reenum on Dec 18, 2012 - 134 comments

The Corporatization Of Higher Education

In 2003, only two colleges charged more than $40,000 a year for tuition, fees, room, and board. Six years later more than two hundred colleges charged that amount. What happened between 2003 and 2009 was the start of the recession. By driving down endowments and giving tax-starved states a reason to cut back their support for higher education, the recession put new pressure on colleges and universities to raise their price. When our current period of slow economic growth will end is anybody’s guess, but even when it does end, colleges and universities will certainly not be rolling back their prices. These days, it is not just the economic climate in which our colleges and universities find themselves that determines what they charge and how they operate; it is their increasing corporatization. If corporatization meant only that colleges and universities were finding ways to be less wasteful, it would be a welcome turn of events. But an altogether different process is going on
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 14, 2012 - 69 comments

PhD Comics tv

You may already be familiar with PhDComics (Previously) and the PhDMovie (Previously), but PhDComics.tv has now become a pretty fantastic resource for both researchers and laymen. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 26, 2012 - 2 comments

If you want to live forever, then don't stop breathing, like I did.

To Disneyland - you can now throw away that "Banned for Life" file you have on me, I'm not a problem anymore - and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this. Val Patterson, 1953 - 2012, wrote his own obituary as he was dying of throat cancer. He made a few confessions.
posted by gaspode on Jul 17, 2012 - 53 comments

anyone who goes into science expecting employers to clamor for their services will be deeply disappointed

In the sciences, Ph.D. ≠ job.
posted by gerryblog on Jul 8, 2012 - 92 comments

The PH.D. Grind: A Ph.D. Student Memoir

The Ph.D. Grind: A Ph.D. Student Memoir is Philip J. Guo's candid book about his six years of working towards a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University. Lots of Hard-earned wisdom and useful advice (especially in the epilogue) for those thinking about getting a Ph.D. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jun 30, 2012 - 59 comments

I Didn't Want To But I Did

[Denis Wood wrote] a crazy dissertation. It’s about maps, mental maps, getting kicked off a bus, psychogeography, single element veridicality analysis, Europe, cartography, Kevin Lynch, passed-out subjects, Peter Gould, psychogeomorphology, the Shirelles, and the invention of “Environmental a” – a language for mapping. Among other things. It is driving the wrong way down the one-way-street of academia.
posted by barnacles on Jun 18, 2012 - 21 comments

Too many trainee positions in biomedical research

The U.S. National Institute of Heath has urged steps to curb growth in "training" positions in biomedical research (report). [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 16, 2012 - 39 comments

alt-ac census

Who are the alt-acs? They are people with graduate education (mostly in the humanities and library science) who have decided to pursue alternative academic careers. They choose to skip the "dues-paying crap" often associated with pursuing a traditional tenure-track job, and avoid languishing in unrewarding adjunct assignments. They also tweet like mad. The results of a new (and, as of this writing, ongoing) #alt-ac census show alt-acs thriving in diverse positions; there's a strong contingent involved in the digital humanities, but also a historian at the U.S. Department of State, an exhibit developer at the National Constitution Center, and a self-employed "Editor, musicologist." [more inside]
posted by Orinda on May 16, 2012 - 26 comments

His dissertation was a slam dunk

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal received his doctoral degree Saturday morning. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on May 7, 2012 - 94 comments

A Ph.D. in comic book form.

Nick Sousanis has been approved to write and submit what may be the first ever Ph.D. dissertation in comic book form. See here (PDF) for a taste of the style and content.
posted by Rumple on Mar 5, 2012 - 39 comments

So You Think You Can Dance Your Ph.D.

In this annual contest, each dance must be based on a scientist's Ph.D. research, and the scientist must be part of the dance. Biomedical engineer Joel Miller has won Best Ph.D. Dance of 2011. The crowning ceremony will be held at TEDxBrussels in Belgium on November 22, 2011. No word yet on whether the winning choreography will be performed. Previously danced here.
posted by Laminda on Oct 23, 2011 - 18 comments

Three Minute Thesis

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges higher degree students (PhD and MPhil) from Australia and New Zealand to communicate their research in three minutes to a non-specialist audience. Contestants are judged according to communication style, comprehension and engagement criteria. Here's the 2011 Winner, Matthew Thompson (University of Queensland): Suspects, science and CSI. [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 17, 2011 - 31 comments

The importance of stupidity in scientific research

The importance of stupidity in scientific research
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 29, 2011 - 42 comments

Shortage of STEM Workers

Is There a Shortage of Skilled Foreign Workers? What is never mentioned is that “the best and the brightest” are already here. This argument is an old one. [more inside]
posted by BuffaloChickenWing on Aug 19, 2011 - 43 comments

Nature Special Issue on the Future of the PhD

Mark Taylor. Reform the PhD system or close it down. Nature 472, 261 (2011) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 26, 2011 - 54 comments

I Smoke Crack Rocks

PhDChallenge.org proposed a challenge: To have the phrase "I smoke crack rocks" included in a peer reviewed academic paper. The winner is Gabriel Parent from Carnegie Mellon, who included it in his paper [PDF].
posted by reenum on Dec 16, 2010 - 54 comments

The Meaning of Degrees

Too anxious to take exams? University of Manitoba will give you a PhD anyway. A professor is suspended for disagreeing with that decision.
posted by binturong on Nov 3, 2010 - 102 comments

I'm going to be a college professor

So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities. Also. (Previously)
posted by shivohum on Oct 26, 2010 - 90 comments

Dance the microtubule tango

While working on a PhD, did you ever feel no one understood your research? Well instead of writing your dissertation about your topic, ““Microtubule Catastrophe in Living Cells” or “Hydrodynamic Trail Following in a Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)”, you can dance to it. Or, if you don’t want to dance to a science topic, then change your topic and publish research about zombies as a disease model. [more inside]
posted by Wolfster on Sep 29, 2010 - 3 comments

"Calling the job market 'rather bad' was akin to calling Katrina 'a bad storm'"

One psychology professor, looking at the oversupply of PhDs for a very limited number of academic jobs, thinks that programs should simply stop admitting PhD students, and has decided not to add any others to her own lab.
posted by grouse on Aug 18, 2010 - 119 comments

The Real Science Gap... Jobs.

The Real Science Gap:
“There is no scientist shortage,” declares Harvard economics professor Richard Freeman, a pre-eminent authority on the scientific work force. Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a leading demographer who is also a national authority on science training, cites the “profound irony” of crying shortage — as have many business leaders, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates — while scores of thousands of young Ph.D.s labor in the nation’s university labs as low-paid, temporary workers, ostensibly training for permanent faculty positions that will never exist.

posted by ennui.bz on Jun 14, 2010 - 80 comments

The Academy Produces More PhDs than the Academy Needs, and That's Just the Way the Academy Likes It

Average time to an MBA: 2 years. Time to a law degree: 3 years. To an MD: 4 years. Average time to a humanities PhD? 11.3 years. Then there's only a 50% chance you'll get a job somewhat related to your field--and odds drop to a 25% chance that you'll ever become a tenured professor. The life of the Academy and its myriad institutional problems, from Harvard magazine.
posted by jefficator on Oct 29, 2009 - 130 comments

More false stories in the news

Roxanne Shanté, considered by some to be a queen of hip hop, got Warner Music to pay for her PhD in psychology. Except, a Slate investigation says it never happened. [more inside]
posted by movicont on Sep 2, 2009 - 72 comments

Short Versions

Dissertation Haiku
posted by Miko on Aug 18, 2009 - 34 comments

Shortage of Business Faculty

There is a potential crisis (PDF) looming in business education. Unlike many other fields in higher education, demand for qualified faculty well outstrips supply. The result is a strong job market and high pay (PDF). In response to this potential shortage a number of things are being done. The accounting profession has recently started a program designed to increase the number of professors in the field called the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program. This program provides fellowships of $30,000 a year for 30 students. The AACSB has created a website to promote getting a PhD in business. The PhD project is designed to increase the number of minority PhD business professors. [more inside]
posted by bove on Oct 16, 2008 - 32 comments

"Awful Poo Lady" herself full of crap

Gillian McKeith banned from calling herself 'Dr'. Gillian McKeith, a "nutritionist" who has had several UK TV series, endless adverts for health supplements and sex pills, has for years used her title of Doctor to persuade people that she actually knows what she's talking about. Except now, thanks to the Advertising Standards Authority, she's no longer allowed to call herself a Doctor. I guess non-accredited correspondence-course PhDs and the membership of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, something that a dead cat can be a member of for the princely sum of $60, doesn't actually mean much after all.
posted by TheDonF on Feb 18, 2007 - 67 comments

It surrounds us. It binds all things. It flows through us. It gives us life... Free Food. There. Can you smell it?

Will Mike Slackenerny ever graduate? It looks like long-time readers of PhD -- a comic strip about graduate students -- will have to buy the book to find out. Some people aren't taking the news so well.
posted by casu marzu on Apr 9, 2005 - 17 comments

The Mathematics Genealogy Project

The Mathematics Genealogy Project. A service of the Department of Mathematics at North Dakota State University, the project intends to "compile information about ALL the mathematicians of the world. [...] It is our goal to list all individuals who have received a doctorate in mathematics." Seven generations from one of my recent professors back to Gauss, six back to Felix Klein (of Erlangen Program and bottle fame), eight back to Jacobi, and nine back to Poisson and Fourier, then Lagrange, then Euler, then the Bernoulli brothers, then Leibniz, and then it blew up at infinity.
posted by gramschmidt on Dec 21, 2004 - 5 comments

Diploma mills

Ever wonder how people buy those fake PhDs? It turns out a number of real people, including psychologists, criminologists, and university faculty are using diploma mill degrees to earn positions. Absolutely fascinating.
posted by MikeB on Oct 14, 2003 - 36 comments

Caroline Myss,

Caroline Myss, Ph.D., is a wildly popular best-selling self-help author, loved by Oprah and PBS stations. She has her own show on Oxygen. But in what did she earn her cherished and paraded Ph.D.? Intuition and Energy Medicine. Where did she earn it? From a non-accredited correspondence school. Who founded the department from whence she graduated? She did. She maked it up. I'm always a bit skeptical of the intelligence and merit of anyone who so prominently adorns their pop writing with academic credentials. Here, my skepticism seems vindicated. Any other gurus out there with bogus credentials?
posted by dilettanti on Sep 23, 2002 - 38 comments

Can't seem to finish your thesis?

Can't seem to finish your thesis? Then this site may be for you. It's a support group for those of us who just can't seem to write up and finish off that Ph.D./Masters degree. It'll either give you hope and motivation or it'll make you more complacent. "Well, I guess I'm not the only one who's taking a long time; I won't stress out about it anymore".
posted by percine on Jul 14, 2002 - 15 comments

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