Grad School Thread

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

  1. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior 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.


    Aha, you were referring teaching job, ok.
     


  2. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    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?
    I guess I need to expand. I was recruited to attend the info session for the inaugural incoming Ph.D. class. During the session, I asked when I could start my thesis work. One of the co-deans asked, "You've already given your thesis some thought?" I told him yes, I had a research topic that was relevant, a huge issue in a certain sector of healthcare (both clinically and ethically), and had already gotten a commitment from one of the nation's top five practitioners in this area to be my data gathering arm. I told him the thesis seemed the killer in a Ph.D. program as the course work presented looked straightforward to handle. Now, here is where you are probably correct. I was told this is not how it's done. That I needed to spend 3-5 years getting my course work done, spend 45k in tuition doing that, then approach a professor to do research he wanted done...and pay another 20k in tuition for this "honour." Well, they recruited me. I took the initiative to get a partnership with someone most would cut off their right arm to get. I would not have dismissed someone I personally recruited out of hand like that, particularly in a group setting. Now, you're right, I'm not an academic. Then again, public health is considered a "professional" program, not an academic one and this degree is considered a professional one, not an academic one. But you're right, all of this was not relevant. They had their way and were almost aghast I did not realize how things were done and took actual steps in pre-planning how to tackle the biggest hurdle in the program. That was not relevant. They however did not land a local well known and successful alum, one they picked by hand to try and woo into their inaugural class, and they did not get 70k or so of my dollars nor the good press of having me in their inaugural class which I know they wanted. So who won here? I would say neither party but they lost much more than I did as I really don't need "Dr." in front of my name to carry on my merry way whereas someone there decided I was one of 20 folks they handpicked as potential incoming folks for their inaugural program. One good that came out of it is they no longer get a healthy annual donation from me. [​IMG] Where you were most wrong was in saying I'm not a bad guy. As you can see, I'm a complete mo-fo. I do not suffer fools well, particularly when the fools reached out to me, hand ready to take my money.
     


  3. bslo

    bslo Senior member

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    I guess I need to expand. I was recruited to attend the info session for the inaugural incoming Ph.D. class. During the session, I asked when I could start my thesis work. One of the co-deans asked, "You've already given your thesis some thought?" I told him yes, I had a research topic that was relevant, a huge issue in a certain sector of healthcare (both clinically and ethically), and had already gotten a commitment from one of the nation's top five practitioners in this area to be my data gathering arm. I told him the thesis seemed the killer in a Ph.D. program as the course work presented looked straightforward to handle.

    Now, here is where you are probably correct. I was told this is not how it's done. That I needed to spend 3-5 years getting my course work done, spend 45k in tuition doing that, then approach a professor to do research he wanted done...and pay another 20k in tuition for this "honour."

    Well, they recruited me. I took the initiative to get a partnership with someone most would cut off their right arm to get. I would not have dismissed someone I personally recruited out of hand like that, particularly in a group setting. Now, you're right, I'm not an academic. Then again, public health is considered a "professional" program, not an academic one and this degree is considered a professional one, not an academic one.

    But you're right, all of this was not relevant. They had their way and were almost aghast I did not realize how things were done and took actual steps in pre-planning how to tackle the biggest hurdle in the program. That was not relevant. They however did not land a local well known and successful alum, one they picked by hand to try and woo into their inaugural class, and they did not get 70k or so of my dollars nor the good press of having me in their inaugural class which I know they wanted.

    So who won here? I would say neither party but they lost much more than I did as I really don't need "Dr." in front of my name to carry on my merry way whereas someone there decided I was one of 20 folks they handpicked as potential incoming folks for their inaugural program. One good that came out of it is they no longer get a healthy annual donation from me. [​IMG]

    Where you were most wrong was in saying I'm not a bad guy. As you can see, I'm a complete mo-fo. I do not suffer fools well, particularly when the fools reached out to me, hand ready to take my money.


    Well, the idea of a traditional Ph.D. program in a professional area is what is odd to me. The whole idea of a Ph.D. program is to train students to be academics. It's really not good for much else, at least in the humanities and many social sciences. Part of the training involves course work, of course, and also serving as a Teaching Assistant. More importantly, though, it involves the students assisting the professors in their research, not the professors assisting the students. That very hierarchical system is suspect in a situation where older professionals are the students, and these students have no plans to enter academia. It strikes me as just another masters degree cash cow system (which Teger will avoid by going to VT, if he's smart). Which perhaps you recognized. It doesn't seem like you wanted the degree for anything other than a badge of prestige. If that's the case, it's probably good that you didn't enter the program.
     


  4. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    Well, the idea of a traditional Ph.D. program in a professional area is what is odd to me. The whole idea of a Ph.D. program is to train students to be academics. It's really not good for much else, at least in the humanities and many social sciences. Part of the training involves course work, of course, and also serving as a Teaching Assistant. More importantly, though, it involves the students assisting the professors in their research, not the professors assisting the students. That very hierarchical system is suspect in a situation where older professionals are the students, and these students have no plans to enter academia. It strikes me as just another masters degree cash cow system (which Teger will avoid by going to VT, if he's smart). Which perhaps you recognized. It doesn't seem like you wanted the degree for anything other than a badge of prestige. If that's the case, it's probably good that you didn't enter the program.

    I do not see where I indicated I wanted a professor to assist me...in fact, quite the opposite which is where I think the problem arose. It seems subservience and co-dependence are fostered. Also, I don't remember saying this was a "traditional" Ph.D. program but rather pointed out it was/is considered a professional degree. Here is a wiki link to explain it further: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profess..._public_health Also, who are you to judge my motives for getting it? Seems to me the people standing on their "prestige" were the co-deans, not me.

    And again, they were chasing me for the prestige/good P.R. of having me in their program would afford them.

    But you're correct, probably best I didn't enter the program. I might have had to buy less wine due to paying those tuition fees. [​IMG]
     


  5. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Update: Got another funded offer. $11,000 a year + tuition + teaching position from my current school (VCU). Tempted to take it, but would rather get a nod from history here. I know it's not good to attend the same institution for undergrad/grad, but personal issues really, really, really tempting me to stay..
     


  6. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    Be sure to continue updating us throughout the entire process. I'm emotionally invested in what dead end career path you choose.
     


  7. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Update: Got another funded offer. $11,000 a year + tuition + teaching position from my current school (VCU). Tempted to take it, but would rather get a nod from history here. I know it's not good to attend the same institution for undergrad/grad, but personal issues really, really, really tempting me to stay..
    There's nothing inherently bad about staying at the same school as long as it's a top-notch program. I'd think VT or UVA would be better, but I really don't know. By the way, congrats on the offer.
     


  8. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Be sure to continue updating us throughout the entire process. I'm emotionally invested in what dead end career path you choose.

    Invested enough to keep posting [​IMG]
     


  9. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    Update: Got another funded offer. $11,000 a year + tuition + teaching position from my current school (VCU). Tempted to take it, but would rather get a nod from history here. I know it's not good to attend the same institution for undergrad/grad, but personal issues really, really, really tempting me to stay..

    Would that teaching position also pay some money?
     


  10. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Would that teaching position also pay some money?

    The money is probably from the teaching position.
     


  11. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    The money is probably from the teaching position.

    That's per term then? Or for the academic year?
     


  12. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    It's per year. ITs about 2k less than Tech but again - personal reasons
     


  13. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    You are actually applying for both English and History positions?
    Update: Got another funded offer. $11,000 a year + tuition + teaching position from my current school (VCU). Tempted to take it, but would rather get a nod from history here. I know it's not good to attend the same institution for undergrad/grad, but personal issues really, really, really tempting me to stay..
    Take a long serious look at your priorities here. Advancing in academics requires sacrifice. It is perfectly fine to value your personal life over job advancement, but that will not be rewarded or even accepted in this field and you should recognize that. You will most likely have to be willing to move to Bumfuck Nowhere to get a faculty position once/if you get a PhD. You are making it harder to get a position anywhere, even in Bumfuck, by restricting your search to schools in state. Staying at your 3rd tier alma mater is limiting you even further. And all this is in a field where it's already incredibly difficult to find a job, and you'll be competing with people who were willing to move across the country and sacrifice everything else in their life. Whatever your personal reasons are, weight them against the career costs. Consider if they'll change in the future to allow you to move to find a job. You need to think about this stuff before you spend years of your life, and a lot of opportunity cost, on pursuing a graduate degree.
     


  14. superego

    superego Senior member

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    So I need to decide what the fuck I'm going to do for grad school.

    Here's the situation I'm in:

    I'm waiting to hear from 2 MA programs. One is in English and History. I will probably get in, with funding, to both these programs, and I'm very tempted to accept the History program.

    But, with that said, I have 3 offers on the table for an MA in English, that I've whittled down to 2.

    School A:

    Best program in the state, in the top 5 in the country.

    I originally applied for admission to the PhD (with funding), but didn't get it. Instead they've offered me admission to the MA program, with an opportunity to transfer to the PhD program after I graduate (they hold several spots for their MA students). Unfortunately, this doesn't come with funding.

    I'd be looking at somehow coming up with $35,000 or so a year.

    School B:

    Second best program in the state, not really nationally ranked.

    I was admitted into the MA program here with funding. The funding would waive tuition, pay me about $13,000~ a year (and 85% of my health insurance). I would have a teaching position starting my second semester, ending with teaching two classes a term second year, with a funding increase. The downside is this program doesn't have a PhD program, and I would be out of the area (total college town) within 2 years.

    Even with the funding, I'd probably have to take several small loans, on the terms of $3,000 - $4,000 a year, maybe less.

    Well, WTF !

    Part of me says School B is the smart choice because of the cost. But School A has always been my dream school, and and is so well known that a diploma from there would really open doors. But the loans would be crushing, even if I could beg, borrow and steal.


    What do you want to do with your degree?

    (1) If you plan to go into academia (ie, seek a professorship), you're chances are basically nil with just a master's. Paying out of pocket for a masters when you'll ultimately be pursuing some kind of professorship seems kinda misguiding, since you're not going to be making much money as a post-doc or assistant prof anyway.
    (2) If you're not planning on a career in academia, what in the world do you plan to do with a grad degree in English or History?

    If it were me, I'd have applied to more schools, hoping I would have gotten funding for a PhD rather than going for either of the MA options which are substantially less than ideal for different reasons.
     


  15. chronoaug

    chronoaug Boston Hipster (Dropkick Murphy)

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    lol. i love some people on this forum

    "Help me choose between A, B and C"

    "You're shortsighted and misguided. You should have done D"



    But yea, i do agree the ideal option is to get full funding at a good university on a PhD track but that apparently wasn't an option. I'm gonna trust that teger at least looked into that stuff and partially has connections in VA. I do think that paying out the ass for a masters program at UVA when you're not even guaranteed a PhD track is not a great choice compared to going to VT (i know nothing of VCU other than they lost in the tourney last night) for cheaper, getting teaching experience and then applying to a variety of PhD programs.

    But yea, obviously in humanities faculty spots, you're going to have to go wherever in the country they'll take you unless you're happy doing the permanent adjunct professor thing making like 20k a year (i guess depends on the field and how much you're able to do). Those tenure track spots are like a white whale


    Personal reasons is usually code for wiminz ime
     


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