Friday, January 08, 2010

Question of the Day: Would you go to Grad School?

An interesting piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Thomas Benton and a follow-up to a previous column by the author. The overall argument is that students, unless independently wealth, well connected, well supported, or already supported by a current position, should not pursue a Ph.D. in the Humanities because of institutional constraints e.g. too many students and not enough positions; the academic labor system; nepotism.

After reading the article, do you agree or disagree with the author's conclusions? And, more importantly, if given the opportunity, would you pursue a degree in the humanities?


harrogate said...
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supadiscomama said...

I definitely don't encourage students to go to grad school. I'm very honest with them about the amount of student loan debt one accrues (except for the fortunate few), the amount of time invested, and the difficulties of finding a job in academia. As a mutual friend put it, they should only pursue the Ph.D. if they think they'll die if they don't.

As for a do-over for myself, I don't know. I'm one of those people who has become so invested that I can't imagine doing anything else. I mean, I really have no clue how to pursue a career outside of academia at this point--and I really don't want to.

Basically, it's a big ball of suck.

solon said...

Though this may be field dependent (sorry English folks), it seems that the criticism is harsh for non-English literature jobs. It seems, maybe only anecdotally, that Rhet/Comp had many good jobs available.

Also, the author seems to avoid any discussion of the larger economic climate.

solon said...

Hpmh. Weren't there more comments here?

harrogate said...

Sorry. I staked more in it than any sane person would, and so at this point any attempt to discuss will be futile.

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