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Don't Go to Grad School - Page 10

post #136 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by erictheobscure View Post


Ha, just more proof that you have no need for a Ph.D. The typical doctoral candidate's mindset = "Holy fuck, gotta finish this research before someone else beats me to it!"

BTW, I thought you were all svelte from your low glycemic index pasta.

Svelte in comparison to my prior cruiser weight.

As far as the typical doctoral candidate's mindset...well, need I really say anything? wink.gif

I viewed the thesis as the single biggest hurdle in completing the program and just figured I would help contribute some useful knowledge to the cosmos in the process. It's also one of my pet peeves, i.e. inappropriate PEG placement demanded by family members that will not be financially invested in prolonging the life of the gomer that was formerly their loved one.
post #137 of 165
I have been realizing something lately that I wanted to bring to this thread. I work with a good handfull of people who are from various countries and most of them have graduate degrees. They don't have MBA, JD, or any of those specialized career degrees, they just have largely academic degrees realted to the industry. Now what we do at work has a very technical side, but it is also a business that requires intelligent deisions to be made about the company as a whole. I have found that people with these more academic degrees are more into "learning" then they are actually doing their job and thinking about how their job applies to the big picture of the company.

Let me give you an example, we have had two new people come into the group over the last year, both from two different countries, educated abroad and went to grad school at ivy leagues here in the US. This one guy, let's call him Tom is always proposing we go on these trips to seminars to learn about different issues. Mind you these trips are always far, like other states we would need to take a plane to far. Despite our company being very conservative and not willing to ever send anybody anywhere without damn good reason I asked him how could the cost of sending our group to a economic seminar across the country make you do your job so much better as to recoop that cost and turn a profit? He gives some hokey reason like, it can keep us in contact with people in the industry in different areas of the country and to network. There have been other times at meetings he has brought up going to seminars on things, which is all good and fine for general industry knowledge, but I can't see how any of it could make this guy's performance at his job any better. Mind you, he is lazy. He also likes to send out news articles to the entire group on all kinds of happenings that while some people might find them interesting are rather pointless to our daily work.

This other guy, lets call him Bob. Bob is newer than Tom also from another country with a higher degree. Both of them were put on a team with me to come up with a list of training classes that we felt our department could use to help us with our jobs. Needless to say they buddy up and are talking about taking all of these software courses, and seminars across the country. I have to say to them guys stop dreaming. If you want to learn about all of this broad crap go back to school, none of this is going to help you on a daily basis and the company is not going to give you the money to do any of this. If you enjoy this enough you are free to do it on your own time. Again, they give me these really big stretched ideas about how it would help. Bob doesn't do much either.

These are only two recent examples, but all in all my point is people that I work with with MBA's generally think about the company in the industry and help make real managerial decisions that have defined goals. A lot of these "academics" just don't get it. They seem to just want to learn about things and don't understand a business. It can be very asinine to work with because their input and their work sometimes is just not very useful to the business. I mean we know of these lifelong academics who don't ever really want to work so they just stay in school. I think in a lot of these cases these people end up in jobs where they do half-assed work because they don't like it, or the enviornment doesn't suit them. I think it is really important to know what you want when you are going into school. I want to learn, I have interests, but I don't expect the company to pay me to explore my greater interests about the industry if it is not going to result in some quantifiable benefit.

Ok, my rant is done.
post #138 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post


I would be interested to see some statistics on this. I know close to everybody in the sciences gets a nice stipend and gets a full tuition waiver (or tuition paid, depending on the setup). Everyone that I know in the humanities has a tuition waiver and a fairly pitiful stipend, but none pay tuition. This is somewhat anecdotal, but I think a rather low fraction of doctoral students pay tuition.

Much more common for master students to pay, of course.

This is the case for most if not all hard science ph.d's. When I was recently in graduate school for my ph.d (molecular pharmacology), your faculty advisor/PI pays your tuition and pays you a minimum yearly stipend (roughly $26,000/year last I checked) either from their own research grants, departmental graduate student funds, or you had your own research grant. The PI would make up any difference if your personal research/training grant did not cover the minimum yearly stipend.

Several of my classmates fortunate enough to be in very well funded labs had advisors that allowed them to pocket their training grants on top of the advisor paid stipend. Getting paid $40k to get your ph.d isn't that bad of a deal.

Granted if your research leads to any sort of commercialization, all IP belongs to the school/research advisor and you're SOL.
post #139 of 165
^ Holy shit. My first year in clinical psych I got $12,500, or as I typically put it, 125 $100 bills. The next year I got $11k - to be the instructor of record for two full lectures, mind.
post #140 of 165

I think this is relevant.
post #141 of 165
The The Simpsons sucks? I agree wholeheartedly.
post #142 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaimarr View Post


This is the case for most if not all hard science ph.d's. When I was recently in graduate school for my ph.d (molecular pharmacology), your faculty advisor/PI pays your tuition and pays you a minimum yearly stipend (roughly $26,000/year last I checked) either from their own research grants, departmental graduate student funds, or you had your own research grant. The PI would make up any difference if your personal research/training grant did not cover the minimum yearly stipend.

Several of my classmates fortunate enough to be in very well funded labs had advisors that allowed them to pocket their training grants on top of the advisor paid stipend. Getting paid $40k to get your ph.d isn't that bad of a deal.

Granted if your research leads to any sort of commercialization, all IP belongs to the school/research advisor and you're SOL.

You're not actually getting paid 26k/40k, are you? You still have to pay tuition, which takes a large chunk of that.
post #143 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadly7 View Post


You're not actually getting paid 26k/40k, are you? You still have to pay tuition, which takes a large chunk of that.

You are actually getting paid that amount of money. The average is in the $20k's; very few in the 40s.. I made $22k, and tuition was waived, never saw a bill. Your tuition will either be waived, or will be paid out of grants by your adviser (which actually makes grad students more expensive than postdocs, rather an odd dynamic tends to develop in those schools).

It's not an awful deal in most of the sciences really, quality of life aside. You make a little less than the average person with a BS, but can get a PhD out of it. I have no debt and actually saved some money, and should be pretty far ahead of other people who stayed on the BS track unless they were spectacularly successful.
post #144 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadly7 View Post


You're not actually getting paid 26k/40k, are you? You still have to pay tuition, which takes a large chunk of that.

It's not uncommon in some fields to get a $30,000+ stipend and a tuition fee waiver for 4 years.
post #145 of 165
Solid info, thanks for clearing that up.
post #146 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadly7 View Post


You're not actually getting paid 26k/40k, are you? You still have to pay tuition, which takes a large chunk of that.

In my 1st year of grad school the stipend was $22.5k (2003) and went up slightly every year. By the last year (2009) it was just a bit over $26k. Tuition was paid for by my doctoral advisor so I took home the entire stipend with virtually no taxes since the stipend was paid through grant monies. In addition because tuition was billed to me, I received a 1098T so that I could deduct the tuition expenses. Whether or not this was legal I'm not entirely sure but my accountant took the deduction anyway since being at such a low income level I wasn't at a high risk for being audited.

Its quite funny, because of the tax and tuition situation, 1st year postdocs actually took less money home than grad students.

I also stretched my monthly stipend pretty well since I could qualify for low income discounts on my utility bills (gas, water, electricity, etc).

When I was making about $40k right before grad school as a research associate at a biotech company, my take home pay after taxes was roughly the same as my monthly grad student stipend so the decision to go back to school was a no brainer.
post #147 of 165
I forgot to add, I didn't have a TA requirement for my program so my entire time was dedicated to research. I had classmates who voluntarily decided to TA and their doctoral advisors were nice/well off enough to let them pocket the quarterly TA income on top of their graduate student stipend.

Of course on the flip side I had classmates in labs that were less well funded such that they had to TA courses just to reach the yearly minimum stipend.
post #148 of 165

Why would you even think a MA in a general humanities would help your job prospects? I have an MPA and it has helped me greatly.

post #149 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater156 View Post

Why would you even think a MA in a general humanities would help your job prospects? I have an MPA and it has helped me greatly.


It's not unusual for public school teachers to have automatic pay increases pegged to earning a Masters, so there's at least one field where an MA in gen hum is helpful.
post #150 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaimarr View Post

In my 1st year of grad school the stipend was $22.5k (2003) and went up slightly every year. By the last year (2009) it was just a bit over $26k. Tuition was paid for by my doctoral advisor so I took home the entire stipend with virtually no taxes since the stipend was paid through grant monies. In addition because tuition was billed to me, I received a 1098T so that I could deduct the tuition expenses. Whether or not this was legal I'm not entirely sure but my accountant took the deduction anyway since being at such a low income level I wasn't at a high risk for being audited.

Its quite funny, because of the tax and tuition situation, 1st year postdocs actually took less money home than grad students.

I also stretched my monthly stipend pretty well since I could qualify for low income discounts on my utility bills (gas, water, electricity, etc).

When I was making about $40k right before grad school as a research associate at a biotech company, my take home pay after taxes was roughly the same as my monthly grad student stipend so the decision to go back to school was a no brainer.
Stipends are taxable income.. and it would have been illegal for you to deduct tuition. At least that's my understanding.

$26k seems generous. Depends on program, lab, etc obviously but most RA were receiving $22k or less, some TA were probably getting less than $20k.

We had some foreign postdocs and their pay wasn't so bad because they were tax exempt for 2 years. No taxes here no taxes back home.

There was a foreign grad student who cost more than an experienced postdoc because of his tuition. Thinking about it that way, grad students have a good deal. They can earn a Ph.D. with tuition and living expenses covered while quite frankly not contributing a whole lot yet requiring a lot of time for mentoring.
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