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Grad School Thread

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Teger, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    http://www.usnews.com/education/worl...ities-top-400-

    UVA isn't even in the top 100. Why would it even be a remote consideration to take on so much debt for such a useless degree from such a low ranking school?


    That's not even a remotely relevant ranking. You'd need to look at the specific graduate program rankings, and even then the rankings are close to meaningless.
     
  2. chronoaug

    chronoaug Senior member

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    Your best move would be to marry a woman with a good job who would be willing to support you indefinitely.

    Oh man. Do this, teger. This sounds amazing. My gf and i are doing well but to marry a rich chick (my age) and let me go back to school and do basically what you're doing in history would be awesome

    Can that be option C?



    But if you're doing a PhD no matter what go for the VT path and just work hard while you're there in your program and try to participate in other national history journals and shit like that. Going to UVA doesn't even guarantee you an in to the PhD program it seems. It's a better school but it's not the magic key that a harvard, stanford or something like that would be.

    It does blow about the location not being that fun but you're gonna be busier than you have been in the past so it won't be that big a deal. The idea of almost 100k debt and just being poor and happy is definitely easier to swallow not vs 8 years from now when you're also paying for phd program or other moving expenses to the new school/area.


    Also, if you're gonna get into professorship after you get your phd, you won't be able to be super picky with the school you do research and teach at either with the phd teaching market. You might have to take a spot at a school in a lame college town if you want work. Holding out for only cool cities to teach in is gonna be tough (though this is like 8 years down the line so no worries now lol)
     
  3. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    If you need further proof of what the labor market for social science PhDs looks like, give this a look:

    http://www.poliscijobrumors.com/

    And keep in mind that poli sci PhDs are actually more employable than most humanities PhDs are.

    Yikes.
     
  4. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    You might have to take a spot at a school in a lame college town if you want work.
    in which case, Blacksburg Virginia will prove excellent practice.
     
  5. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    This isn't my area of expertise but a little more anecdotal evidence to add to the fire. My cousin was a rockstar student in PoliSci at a top school (U of Chicago), incredibly savvy and personable with a number of well-regarded publications - everything you'd expect in a great teacher who also knows how to play the internal politics game. In other words, a sure bet to be a top academic.

    Today, at 40, he is doing the adjunct thing at a couple different local small schools (just above the community college level), has a new baby and is making about 20 grand. Luckily, his wife does well but his story reflects what you're hearing from Manton and others.


    There's an amazing contrast between the realities for humanities positions and the sciences. Teaching is basically the lowest tier of employment for science PhDs, and they have to scrounge to find decent people. I'm doing it for family reasons. I had a slightly above average PhD career at a mid-20 ranked university, with no lecture experience, and got a full time teaching job within 15 miles of my apartment. I didn't even have to move. I only teach two classes and four labs, and get paid substantially more than the non-tenure track humanities types. Teachers in the humanities at my level of experience seem happy to be teaching a few adjunct sections for pocket change.

    Just a stark difference. Pretty amazing what having industrial and government jobs available will do. I believe there are substantially more science PhDs as well, just a lot fewer of them want to teach.
     
  6. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    There's an amazing contrast between the realities for humanities positions and the sciences. Teaching is basically the lowest tier of employment for science PhDs, and they have to scrounge to find decent people. I'm doing it for family reasons. I had a slightly above average PhD career at a mid-20 ranked university, with no lecture experience, and got a full time teaching job within 15 miles of my apartment. I didn't even have to move. I only teach two classes and four labs, and get paid substantially more than the non-tenure track humanities types. Teachers in the humanities at my level of experience seem happy to be teaching a few adjunct sections for pocket change.

    Just a stark difference. Pretty amazing what having industrial and government jobs available will do. I believe there are substantially more science PhDs as well, just a lot fewer of them want to teach.


    Of course. Because a PhD in Chemistry can go make bank in industry whereas a PhD in History can...well, teach.

    This isn't to denigrate people who choose to teach the humanities. I just think you need to be realistic about your career if you do.
     
  7. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Senior member

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    Of course. Because a PhD in Chemistry can go make bank in industry whereas a PhD in History can...well, teach. This isn't to denigrate people who choose to teach the humanities. I just think you need to be realistic about your career if you do.
    This. The market will bear higher salaries for PhDs in the sciences because there is real (and substantial) industry opportunity for them. Academy needs to pay them well to keep them away from industry. Whereas there are relatively few non-academic jobs open to humanities doctors (maybe museum curation, academic publishing, or foundation management?).
     
  8. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    This.

    The market will bear higher salaries for PhDs in the sciences because there is real (and substantial) industry opportunity for them. Academy needs to pay them well to keep them away from industry. Whereas there are relatively few non-academic jobs open to humanities doctors (maybe museum curation, academic publishing, or foundation management?).


    Not foundation management. They're usually MBA or JDs these days. Or the off spring of the person that made the money.
     
  9. StephenHero

    StephenHero Senior member

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    Follow your dreams, Teger.
     
  10. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Follow your dreams, Teger.
    QFT
     
  11. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    There's an amazing contrast between the realities for humanities positions and the sciences. Teaching is basically the lowest tier of employment for science PhDs, and they have to scrounge to find decent people. I'm doing it for family reasons. I had a slightly above average PhD career at a mid-20 ranked university, with no lecture experience, and got a full time teaching job within 15 miles of my apartment. I didn't even have to move. I only teach two classes and four labs, and get paid substantially more than the non-tenure track humanities types. Teachers in the humanities at my level of experience seem happy to be teaching a few adjunct sections for pocket change.

    Just a stark difference. Pretty amazing what having industrial and government jobs available will do. I believe there are substantially more science PhDs as well, just a lot fewer of them want to teach.


    Interesting, academia in engineering is still very competitive as far as I can tell. Most engineering phd went to industry just like in your case though. Out of all the friends I have who got phd only 1 went to academia (1 more also went, but got lured away to silicon valley in like 2 year).
     
  12. cheessus

    cheessus Senior member

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    damn i didnt realize uva was so expensive for grad school. it was super cheap for undergrad.
     
  13. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    matt:

    1. there probably is no easy job that would eradicate the debt.

    2. none

    basically my thoughts right now are this:

    i'll go to tech/another funded option. im still going to try to continue on the phd track, and worse comes to worse, i end up with basically no debt and an MA degree. there are many, many worse situations.

    tech also gives me 2 years of very, very good teaching experience. pretty strong resume booster, regardless.
     
  14. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Interesting, academia in engineering is still very competitive as far as I can tell. Most engineering phd went to industry just like in your case though. Out of all the friends I have who got phd only 1 went to academia (1 more also went, but got lured away to silicon valley in like 2 year).

    Teaching and academia are two different things. "Academia" implies a research position, with a minor (if any) teaching component. Those are extraordinarily hard to get and attract some of the best talent in science. The money is pretty decent, many start around $100k, and you can get up into the $250k+ range if you're awesome.

    Positions that focus on teaching are not considered desirable at all, and are kind of looked down on by the research crowd. The pay is much lower, $60-70k max. You might get to do just a little bit of research in your spare time, but you won't really have a lab to speak of.
     
  15. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    matt: 1. there probably is no easy job that would eradicate the debt. 2. none basically my thoughts right now are this: i'll go to tech/another funded option. im still going to try to continue on the phd track, and worse comes to worse, i end up with basically no debt and an MA degree. there are many, many worse situations. tech also gives me 2 years of very, very good teaching experience. pretty strong resume booster, regardless.
    Good thinking. VT is a good school located in a very nice town. More importantly, the program has enough confidence in your ability to invest in you. This is a huge commitment by them, and it really means something. Teger is gonna be a Hokie. [​IMG]
     
  16. toslat

    toslat Well-Known Member

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    Teaching and academia are two different things. "Academia" implies a research position, with a minor (if any) teaching component. Those are extraordinarily hard to get and attract some of the best talent in science. The money is pretty decent, many start around $100k, and you can get up into the $250k+ range if you're awesome.

    Positions that focus on teaching are not considered desirable at all, and are kind of looked down on by the research crowd. The pay is much lower, $60-70k max. You might get to do just a little bit of research in your spare time, but you won't really have a lab to speak of.

    I would disagree. Academia means working in a higher institution of which your responsibilities would include one or more of research, teaching, and administration. The actual composition would depend on the institution and the position e.g. a tenure track at an elite science and engineering program could involve 70% research, 20% teaching and 10% admin, while at a comprehensive university one could have almost equal ratio of all three.

    Also, while research efforts tend to earn more, most of the money also come from the amount of research grants you are able to attract to the school, while the income from teaching often correlates to the size of the undergrad population (and less dependent on the prof.).

    People that are good at research often shun increased teaching commitments because they are typically poor at it, and a lot of top research institutions are resulting to hiring for dedicated teaching positions that pay (per commitment) better than the research positions.
     
  17. bslo

    bslo Senior member

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    If the goal is just to have a Ph.D., couldn't you get a degree or two first, that would let you actually earn money and then fulfill the Ph.D. dream part time? Although, I will warn you, I went to check out upgrading my MPH to a Ph.D. and I just could not deal with the idiocy and ego of academics at this point in my life. Little people, making 1/3rd what I do, and wanting to tell me how my proactive and logical planning to get this done was all wrong. I decided they didn't deserve another 50k of my money so I could put "Dr." in front of my name.

    Imagine academics trying to tell you, a non-academic, something about academia. And they make less than you. And they're short, apparently. The nerve! I've sure you're not a bad guy, but there is a huge gulf between the "real world" and academia. I'm not arguing that the differences are a good thing, but too many older students think that their real world experiences give them some kind of insight into academia. They don't. Your plan might have made logical sense to you, but that's not really relevant, is it?
     
  18. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    I would disagree. Academia means working in a higher institution of which your responsibilities would include one or more of research, teaching, and administration. The actual composition would depend on the institution and the position e.g. a tenure track at an elite science and engineering program could involve 70% research, 20% teaching and 10% admin, while at a comprehensive university one could have almost equal ratio of all three.
    You say "I'm going into academia" to a chemist, and they think "research," not "teaching." That's the distinction I'm trying to make here, whatever ratio you end up with. In chemistry certainly, the positions with a higher fraction of research are far more competitive and more highly regarded by most.
    That's true. Researchers get more money because they bring in more money. The job is also a lot more demanding, so I'd say that deserve it on that level too. My old advisor was one of those guys in the $250k+ range, pretty familiar with how the system works.
    I'd say most researchers shun teaching because there are limited hours in the day and they'd rather spend their time on research. Suffering through five years of lab research to end up teaching isn't the dream of most. Certainly plenty of researchers are bad teachers, but there are quite a few who are very effective teachers and just prefer to use their time for research. My advisor was a great teacher, but did one trivial graduate class a semester because he didn't have time for undergrad classes.
    What does "per commitment" mean? Teaching positions may pay better per hour worked, but the overall pay is a whole lot lower from everything I've seen in my field.
     
  19. toslat

    toslat Well-Known Member

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    You say "I'm going into academia" to a chemist, and they think "research," not "teaching." That's the distinction I'm trying to make here, whatever ratio you end up with. In chemistry certainly, the positions with a higher fraction of research are far more competitive and more highly regarded by most.
    I dont see how localizing to chemists validates your earlier assertion. I am not a chemist, but if chemists truly equate academia to research, then that is a misconception on their part that needs to be corrected and in no way makes it valid. How much, if any, research is required of a faculty position is primarily dependent on the type of institution your are in, and a purely teaching position at MIT or stanford is more competitive than a research position at some lower cadre school.

    Demanding is a subjective term and how demanding you find a job is more a function of your ability and affinity, than any inherent factor in the job. Most good researchers, like in any other endeavor, would likely find research less demanding than other things they are less adept at.

    Those who are competent teachers are the exceptions not the norm, and even then are barely average when compared to the larger group. The diet of your responsibility defines how your performance is evaluated. Top researchers who are often found in top research institutions are less inclined to put in effort into teaching that they are poor at, and coupled with their evaluation depending less on it and more on their research result, they would typically shun any increased commitment. Same applies to administrative responsibilities. Their teaching often only becomes tenable at graduate level where the knowledge gap is much less.

    Is per hour worked not a fair comparison? if you are willing to work as many hours as a researcher of similar quality with respect to peers, your are likely to earn similar income.
     
  20. sportin_life

    sportin_life Senior member

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    I didn't read through all the posts. However, I have been at academic places throughout my young career and I think those 2 are comparable to most people outside that region; hence, it might not be justifiable to pay a huge difference between the two. As someone else mentioned above, if the alternative were one of the heavy hitters (i.e. harvard, yale) then it would probably be worth it not just for the name but also for the connections.

    For the MA/PhD in History, if that is what will make you happy, you should pursue it. You might not be making truckloads of money afterwards, but it will definitely open up some doors that otherwise wouldn't be there.
     

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