Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The PhD Dilemma


Hey, you sick bastard, not THAT dilemma.


PhD’s are also known as Doctorates of Philosophy which are usually awarded in succession of the master’s degree. Although if we’re going along with titles, Master sounds a hell of a lot more badass than Doctor. Then again, if we take philosophy in this case literally, Nietzsche was a pretty big pimp. Enough shenanigans.

With competition rising, education levels too are rising. No longer is a bachelor degree worth much value. In fact it’s often taken for granted that you have one. Unless it’s part of a professional program (Law, business, pharmacy etc.) then you usually won’t be able to do much with it. In fact very often it won’t even distinguish you. People with work experience but no education will be taken first, and often individuals will get jobs based on who they know and not their education. This means that many individuals are going higher up the education ladder, getting master’s and in some cases even PhD’s. In the last 20 years PhD holders have increased about 40% in OECD countries. Forty percent in twenty years is absolutely insane. Sure that’s across a whole slew of countries, but it’s still astronomic.

What does this mean then? Well first off, there’s nowhere to go after a PhD, so we might have finally hit our academic ceiling (hopefully – 10 years is enough,) Perhaps we may see an introduction of new professional schools for many professions (Psychology, biologists, and physicists.) In fact, that’s exactly what I think should happen. Back in the olden times they would apprentice people, who would shadow a professional and learn the trade from a young age. This is good for a number of reasons. The first is that the individual will learn much more and much faster with one on one, and actually gets hands on work. The individual doesn’t waste time learning unnecessary subjects (majority of our education up to and even sometimes including master’s or professional programs). It also holds the amount of individuals coming into the system at a maintenance level. If only one person can accept one or two others as a student, then the workforce wouldn’t flood over. You can see a similar system in the police force for example. Although professional schools offer this now, they offer very little hands on experience compared to an apprenticeship program. Residency in medical school may be the only thing I can think of that comes close (and it does come very close.)

This would guarantee PhD’s with jobs, make the work force less of a shock to the system, and make their degrees applicable to actual work experience rather than a certificate that says I’m a hard working individual with lots of knowledge about application but no application knowledge. It also would grab kids out of high school who still have passion that hasn’t been sucked out by the dirty strumpet that is university.

Just something to think about. Oh yeah, and by the way, I’m not suggesting all professions should apprenticeship (be honest with yourself English, philosophy etc. PhD’s – you’re not practicing a profession.)

17 comments:

  1. I wanted to get a PH.D for Psychology, Then i realized the qualifications I needed. Screw that.

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  2. A good idea on paper, it would be hard to implement in the workplace, and would be a burden on the employer.

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  3. PhD = Poorhungry Doctor. In all seriousness, the two greatest challenges to higher education are the depreciation of the bachelor's degree, and the rising cost of tuition. Both undermine the value of higher education. I'll have more to say on this later.

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  4. Agreed @ Alex.
    @ Gaming how would it be hard to implement? All you need to do is have someone follow another person around and they get to watch them work or run errands for them. They're unpaid, in fact they would increase efficiency. It also would keep the professional on their toes because they would constantly be answering questions. That's a good thing in a professional workplace, not a bad one.

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  5. There was a big article in the NYT(?) last year about graduate schools being a huge scam, because they know that there aren't enough jobs out there but advertise placement rates in jobs that are sketchy at best. The law profession was especially shady with that. I'll see if I can find it and bring you the link. Anyhow, great blog! I'm following!

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  6. I don't really think there is any degree that they could offer after a PhD that would make sense, logically. The whole idea of your Master's and PhD is that you advance to the forefront of your field and begin to dictate where it is headed through research and papers.

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  7. greeeat post amazing blog =)

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  10. I completely agree with you on this one. A degree by itself it simple not worth much any more..

    Following!

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  11. I feel for you mate, I'm in my late teens and I'm already feeling the pressure that my parents are giving me. The fact that I live in Australia sort of makes it easier I guess. I mean I either have a choice of going to a TAFE college or university.

    I'd rather choose TAFE because that means that I can get into the workforce quite quickly without having to go through uni. Aus is in need of miners because of the mining boom here as well as tradesmen for building projects, at least where I'm from.

    You could try your luck here in Australia for a degree or something.

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  12. "Education" learn this useless information so that our general education professors don't starve to death. If you want to learn, learn from the best. Go find the best in whatever you want to do and do what they do. Also MASTER the basics even if you hate it. Because all success is based on the basics. Like one pedal makes the car go. If you don't know how to properly stop and go you can't do cool car stunts. Focus on the Basics, you'll get to the cool stuff when you are ready.

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  13. Good idea.

    But dude, I just now realized how much more awesome "Master" is as a title. Excellent.

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  14. I question the benefits of most educational systems in general, so I enjoy seeing what people have to say!

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