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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 12:06 AM   #21
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud

Ahhh... now two people that are a bit misinformed (at least from what I think).... what do you think a JD is A 'Doctorate' degree... same thing to me...
JD, MD, DDS, etc. are all professional, albeit doctor, degrees. They have a set time period and set course of study.

PhDs have a considerably different philosophy (pun intended) in the expectations, coursework, and independent study requirements.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 12:21 AM   #22
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Re: anyone with a phd?

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Originally Posted by LOL!
I want to comment on the 5-6 years to get a PhD thing. In the UK, science PhDs take about 3 years. If you try to go longer, you don't get paid. In the US, they should take 4 years. If you are taking longer, then you are a slacker or your advisor is prostituting you.

Full disclosure: I have a PhD. I teach many grad students.
I'm uncertain how the UK handles their doctoral programs. However, I believe it is similar to that of the continent. As such, being in academics, I'm sure you are aware that a PhD from an American University and European university are treated very differently - the European PhD is considered a midpoint between an American MS and PhD. For example, with a PhD from a top-tier American school, one can immediately apply for and be hired on to a faculty position; a European PhD will have two years of Postdoctoral work before they reach this interviewing/hiring scenario.

Science and engineering Phds in top-tier schools are now averaging somewhere around six years; fields such as theoretical physics or chemistry average closer to 9.

I'll assure you that those timelines aren't from slacking. From all that I have seen and heard, far longer hours are expected now than in the past. Part of the longer graduation times relate to funding (which is where your prostitution comment comes in) and part is simply that there is more to learn now than there was 20 years ago. The groundwork required for a thesis "story" or even a single research paper can often take several years alone.

Here is an interesting anecdote. In the late 1940s, one use to be able to get a PhD from a good school by solving one or two x-ray crystallographs. The whole of a student's PhD work from then can now be accomplished in less than one hour. Yet today's student still has to understand the theoretical background behind the science. And now multiply this scenario by the hundreds of experiments one might perform over the course of a graduate thesis.

Degrees certainly take longer, but there is a reason that, in general, American universities are still seen as the best in the world for graduate work.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 08:02 AM   #23
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Re: anyone with a phd?

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Originally Posted by cho oyu
with a PhD from a top-tier American school, one can immediately apply for and be hired on to a faculty position
That is exactly what happened to me within a week after my Ph.D. was conferred. I still had a lot to learn, but that seems to be a life-long condition for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu
Science and engineering Phds in top-tier schools are now averaging somewhere around six years; fields such as theoretical physics or chemistry average closer to 9.
That sounds about right. In my experience a Ph.D is not like a high school diploma, with a fixed curriculum, specified tasks, and rigid length of time to graduation. The timeline depends on the subject matter, as well as the quality and usual practices of the advisor, the individual department and the particular university granting the degree. Occasionally, standard practice in a given department is to require the student to write up an M.S. thesis on the way to a Ph.D. That can add the few months necessary to write a thesis. I did that, as did every prior Ph.D produced by my department. As a result, technically my Ph.D. was awarded 3.0 years after my M.S. A 3-year Ph.D.? Yeah, right. Believe that if it makes you happy! :

Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu
I'll assure you that those timelines aren't from slacking.
I agree. Some top researchers take this long to complete a Ph.D, and do not consider it to have been excessive. Often the slackers are the ones that finish faster and are pushed quickly through the program, and produce nothing of importance there. There is a huge difference between the length of time for a Ph.D of a potential researcher, and the Ph.D of an administrative wannabe, from the same department, university, and even advisor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu
Degrees certainly take longer, but there is a reason that, in general, American universities are still seen as the best in the world for graduate work.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 09:20 AM   #24
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu
...
For example, with a PhD from a top-tier American school, one can immediately apply for and be hired on to a faculty position; a European PhD will have two years of Postdoctoral work before they reach this interviewing/hiring scenario.
In the sciences this is very rare. In the US, PhDs in life sciences, chemistry, and physics do two or more years of a post doc work. I do not know about social sciences, English, humanities, etc.

Quote:
Science and engineering Phds in top-tier schools are now averaging somewhere around six years; fields such as theoretical physics or chemistry average closer to 9.
Folks who take 9 years to yet a PhD in chemistry are real slackers and will probably never get a so-called good job. In the US, coveted NSF, NIH, and other graduate fellowships only pay for 3 years. You are expected to get out in 4 years, 5 at the top most.

Quote:
I'll assure you that those timelines aren't from slacking. From all that I have seen and heard, far longer hours are expected now than in the past. Part of the longer graduation times relate to funding (which is where your prostitution comment comes in) and part is simply that there is more to learn now than there was 20 years ago. The groundwork required for a thesis "story" or even a single research paper can often take several years alone.

Here is an interesting anecdote. In the late 1940s, one use to be able to get a PhD from a good school ....
I assure you, that I am employed in the field. I have been co-PI on NIH training grants. I do not wish to leave the impression to new graduate students that they should take 6-9 years to finish. They should try to finish in 4 years.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 11:11 AM   #25
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Re: anyone with a phd?

I guess it depends in which field you get your PhD. My brother and SIL got their PhD's in history [Chinese and African respectively] from the University of London. They both got fulltime faculty jobs at US Universities fairly shortly after getting their degrees. Of course, the positions weren't at very good schools, and not real close to each other, but still full time teaching positions none-the-less.

- Alec
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 11:24 AM   #26
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Re: anyone with a phd?

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Also, how many attorneys do a "post-doc"?
Not a lot, but more than I would have expected pursued a LLM after getting their JD in some specialized subject -- tax seemed to be the most popular one. I think they are generally one year programs.

And I won't demean certain legal jobs by title/category, but there are jobs for JDs which are essentially low paying post-doc jobs. (Some for attorneys and some for JDs who failed the bar exam.)
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 11:30 AM   #27
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Re: anyone with a phd?

I always thought that "clerking" for a judge was similar to a post-doc position.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 11:40 AM   #28
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire
Occasionally, standard practice in a given department is to require the student to write up an M.S. thesis on the way to a Ph.D. That can add the few months necessary to write a thesis. I did that, as did every prior Ph.D produced by my department. As a result, technically my Ph.D. was awarded 3.0 years after my M.S. A 3-year Ph.D.? Yeah, right. Believe that if it makes you happy! :
Very good point. If one already had a separate master's thesis, I think the full PhD might run 4 years. Almost all departments only accept PhD terminal students and the master's can be obtained on the way for a bit more effort. I did the same as you, so I guess my PhD truly only lasted a little over 3 years
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 11:58 AM   #29
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
In the sciences this is very rare. In the US, PhDs in life sciences, chemistry, and physics do two or more years of a post doc work. I do not know about social sciences, English, humanities, etc.
Folks who take 9 years to yet a PhD in chemistry are real slackers and will probably never get a so-called good job. In the US, coveted NSF, NIH, and other graduate fellowships only pay for 3 years. You are expected to get out in 4 years, 5 at the top most.

I assure you, that I am employed in the field. I have been co-PI on NIH training grants. I do not wish to leave the impression to new graduate students that they should take 6-9 years to finish. They should try to finish in 4 years.

You are correct with postdocs in pure sciences; I have an engineering background and tend to project that bias

I'm not certain why the US government has retained that 3 year figure for fellowships. Far more competitive fellowships such as those from the Hertz Foundation are now 5 year grants. My thought is that, since the first two years of the PhD are mainly consumed by coursework, these fellowships allow an advisor to pay a student from research grants only after they are "producing".

I don't know if there are statistics on grad student tenure by school, but I think you might want to find some before continuing to call people slackers. Just a thought.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 12:06 PM   #30
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu
Science and engineering Phds in top-tier schools are now averaging somewhere around six years; fields such as theoretical physics or chemistry average closer to 9.
I think you will find that, on average, a theoretical physicist receives his PhD in less time than the average PhD physicist. I believe the correct number for a theoretician is more like 4 years (of full-time study) after a bachelor's degree. Theoretical physicists, on average, tend to be brighter than experimentalists. They also don't have to spend years building and testing equipment to provide the necessary environment to do their research (e.g. low-temperature work).
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 01:17 PM   #31
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Re: anyone with a phd?

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While the pure pursuit of knowledge and research is a very noble and appealing prospect, getting a doctorate can be filled with politics, arbitrary advisors, strange dissertation committees, costs, time sacrifice, and all kinds of unpleasant hoops to jump through. You'll probably want to be crystal clear about your motivation and goals so that these compromises will be worthwhile in the end.
My master's thesis quenched my thirst for higher education.

So many retirees claim that they're going to go back to school or pursue professional certifications. I have no problem chasing down the knowledge required to get those sheepskins, but the sheepskins themselves seem worthless outside the context of employment.

I enjoy the process of learning but not the testing & certification. I much prefer the effort becoming an educated investor-- feedback is prompt, and the better you get the more gratifying the feedback!
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 03:43 PM   #32
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Re: anyone with a phd?

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Originally Posted by bright eyed
toying around with the idea of pursuing a ph.d - it would be in a social science - just wondering what others felt about the experience.
You should definitely track down and read a copy of The Ph.D. Trap Revisited, by Wilfred Cude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed
there is really only one school i want to go, there is one other i would apply to that I would consider...is that too risky?
If there is "really only one" place that you want, then by all means don't apply anywhere else ... what would be the point? Better not to enter any doctoral program (which calls for a significant commitment of time, energy and money) than to go where you "really" don't want to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ats5g
I guess it depends in which field you get your PhD. My brother and SIL got their PhD's in history [Chinese and African respectively] from the University of London. They both got fulltime faculty jobs at US Universities fairly shortly after getting their degrees.
Alec - cho oyu's reference to European doctorates was surely intended to mean continental degrees, not British ones (no knowledgeable person would suggest that a D.Phil. or PhD. from Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, UCL, Oxford, Durham, etc. was not fully equivalent to any North American doctorate). Doctoral graduates in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, countries of the former USSR, etc., are required to complete a habilitation before they are eligible for faculty positions.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 08:30 PM   #33
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Re: anyone with a phd?

For your edification from a professional society I belong to:
"How long does it take to earn a physics PhD?"
http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends...p/figure14.htm
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 08:55 PM   #34
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Re: anyone with a phd?

I have a Ph.D., and I am also a Professor.

First, Robert the Red's commentary is right on the money.

I have students come to me all the time who want to earn a Ph.D. The first thing I ask is "why?" The second thing I ask is "what will you hope to do afterwards?" The typical answer is something like "well, I've always wanted one," or "my father has a Ph.D.," and it trails off from there.

There are only two good reasons for going for a Ph.D. The first and most important is that you have a burning, unquenchable desire to learn everything there is to know about some topic. Not because you think it would be “rewarding,” but because you are completely driven. The second is that you wish to enter a profession (due to the first reason!) that requires a Ph.D. The latter, for most people, means that you wish to join a research University. Almost all other reasons are for the sake of vanity.

It is noble to wish to explore ideas and questions, and so you are approaching an adequate reason for wishing a Ph.D. However, if you came to my office and told me what you included in your post, I would gently suggest that you are not a good candidate for a Ph.D.

Since you are not in my office, and I feel you may be making a mistake, let me offer some fairly brutal comments and advice. I would invite you to consider that:

* You may not wind up studying the ideas an questions that you are actually interested in. You could easily wind up working with an advisor that has entirely different things in mind. He or she, not you, would likely set the agenda. You would feel pressure to consent or else spend a few years in the wilderness before giving up.

* You would come close to abandoning your family for 4-6 years.

* You and your family would suffer chronic penury during that time.

* You, like so many before you, may well suffer years of intense fear, loathing and every other negative emotion ever felt by man.

* You could spend a few years of wasted time before failing your preliminary exam and being ejected, or your qualifying exam, or your defense, or just plain having your advisor give up on you, etc.

Also, do you really want to move your family and subject them to all this so you can pursue your own rather vague sounding dream? You should think very carefully about whether this is an escape fantasy of yours or whether you - and your family - are fully committed to 4-6 years of toil, poverty, humiliation and potential failure.

Finally, publishing is a necessity. We at least hope that Ph.D. students are able to write reasonably well. Well, can you, punk?

My advice? Don’t try it! But best of luck if you do.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 09:00 PM   #35
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Re: anyone with a phd?

I have often wondered where all the PhDs go after they earn their degree. Most of them certainly do not become university professors. I know that some of them sell life insurance, some of them are homemakers, some go to work painting houses (remember The Three Philosophers house painting company?), etc. But many of them work in industry, government and academia. Very few become professors.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-15-2007, 09:29 PM   #36
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Re: anyone with a phd?

This is surely one of the strangest discussions/preoccupations for an ER board. If you love physics enough to go through all that crap, wouldn’t you want to keep up your career as long as you possibly could? And wouldn't you need to do that, merely to break even on all the time money and toil you invested?

Seems to me one needs to go either directly from a 4 or 5 year degree to a well paying job, or take a bit longer-DDS, JD, MBA and get a really- really well paying job. Or avoid the education thing altogether and buy or start a business.

Too easy for bad **** to happen in grants etc and then physicists become just really smart really frustrated people fighting all the Sikhs to get a place in the cab queue.

Ha


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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-16-2007, 12:29 AM   #37
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Re: anyone with a phd?

My dad got his PhD in three years by quitting his job with the State Department. These were the only three years that I lived in the US growing up. They moved in with my Mom's parents and did LBYM on their savings.

Of course, it helped him since he went on to work for another 22 years.
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-16-2007, 12:34 AM   #38
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bssc
My dad got his PhD in three years by quitting his job with the State Department. These were the only three years that I lived in the US growing up. They moved in with my Mom's parents and did LBYM on their savings.
Of course, it helped him since he went on to work for another 22 years.
Or else he had to flee the country to escape his thesis adviser!

I remember watching a Navy O-4 come back from a meeting with her advisor, put her head down on her desk, and have a good cry. Never let an AI computer scientist parse your grammar...
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:11 AM   #39
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Re: anyone with a phd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
I have often wondered where all the PhDs go after they earn their degree. Most of them certainly do not become university professors. I know that some of them sell life insurance, some of them are homemakers, some go to work painting houses (remember The Three Philosophers house painting company?), etc. But many of them work in industry, government and academia. Very few become professors.
My former boss had a PHD in math and ran the real estate group... did not need the degree at all...
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Re: anyone with a phd?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:19 AM   #40
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Re: anyone with a phd?

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Or else he had to flee the country to escape his thesis adviser!
I think that he got along well with his advisor because he invested in said advisor's get rich quick scheme.
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