I saw an Economist article about the systemic problems with PhDs in the humanities and sciences posted to the Academic Jobs Wiki, and I wanted to share it with my friends who may not follow the wiki or see it on The Economist’s website. This article raises many good points for the graduate humanist and scientist alike. I had a good discussion relating to this article on my post yesterday on cheating here (scroll down to the comments). Here’s an excerpt of The Economist article followed by a link to it:
Whining PhD students are nothing new, but there seem to be genuine problems with the system that produces research doctorates (the practical “professional doctorates” in fields such as law, business and medicine have a more obvious value). There is an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.