Mon 18 Jan, 2010 05:24 pm
There was an amusing interview this afternoon on NPR with one Louis Menand from Harvard. He claims that it takes something like 9 years after undergrad school for folks to get a PHD in the humanities (English, art history, philosophy) while a law student is pleading cases or a doctor is cutting people open in half that time. Why is that?
He contends that the median age for getting a PHD degree in the humanities is somewhere between 28-35.
He traces this back to 1945 or so when colleges were ramping up enrollment after WW2, and enrollment increased in grad programs in the mid 1960's through mid 1970's. My take, not Menand's, had to do with VN.
There is also an issue about cheap labor. These PHD candidates are readily available to teach 1st year college kids.
rjb, I think I accidently sent you the wrong brownies the other day in my complimentary gift basket to aging and senior a2kers.
i'm not certain how to put this...
might be best to only eat a half of one at a time.
(ooops, too late.)
I thought it was a damn good story from NPR. What do you disagree with?
We got more from Vietnam than just the GI Bill. Think of all the kids that got college deferments and were finally compelled to persue advanced degrees to avoid the draft. Then, they became teachers.
i don't disagree, I was ribbin' you for being so creative and humorous all of a sudden.
so creative and humorous all of a sudden.
That hurts, RH.
What have I been attempting do be for years? "All of a sudden." Sigh.
Dunno about where you are, RJB, but here in Oz you have to get your Phd done within a specific time frame now...so the days of taking forever to get your Phd, while doing a bit of teaching and such, are gone.
I suspect that ages for getting the beast are now much younger.
Although, increasingly people are going back to upgrade their qualifications after some years in the workforce, so I guess that would raise the average again.
I'm even older than dys, and I had a friend who took seven years to get to the end of his PhD in music and lost out because of timing and had to start over. (There was probably more to that, but I was eighteen and knew nothin' of academia). That was in 1960. There are phases in this education stuff, y'know.
You're talking with someone mad for tuition free education*, like UC used to have. We spend trillions on wars, don't get me started.
* with tough standards, and tutoring.
Back to the point, I read Menand a lot and will be interested to read this piece.
Not having read it but saying, many people working for degrees have to earn a living for themselves and families and study in the middle of the night. Since this is difficult it seems to me that making the time shorter punishes those without full scholarships and various grants but also without money at hand.
it takes something like 9 years after undergrad school for folks to get a PHD in the humanities (English, art history, philosophy) while a law student is pleading cases or a doctor is cutting people open in half that time. Why is that?
Part of it (though only part) has to do simply with the requirements for a humanities PhD. You have to write the equivalent of a book, and unless you're exceptional that can take a long time.
That's a good point--and the book you write has to be original and on a topic which is either new, or which has not been fully explored in the existing academic literature. One thing that makes humanities grad students tear their hair out is just trying to find a thesis topic, and get it past their doctoral committee. My brother was in a philosophy PhD program, and he was very interested in to what extent Freud attempted to use physical cures for his "mental" patients. The response of his committee was, "Naw, that's been beaten to death." He ended up with a title (approved) of "The extent to which Freud's practice as a neurosurgeon affected his analysis of personality disorders."
Social/Economic entropy resulting from suburbanization following WW II.
I have it on good authority that Dyslexia got his PhD in SHUT THE HELL UP!
Would you like to know what the topic of his dissertation was?