Is a Science Ph.D. a Waste of Time?

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

…  is the (no doubt intentionally) provocative headline of this article in Slate.  Followed by the subheading “Don’t feel too sorry for graduate students; it’s worth it,”  the article is the latest in a flurry of recent articles and reports calling attention to the allegedly dismal job prospects of newly-minted PhDs in the sciences.  After this gloomy opening, though, the article goes on to point out that prospects for PhDs in research jobs in the private sector, as opposed to academia, are excellent.  Moreover, the Slate article cites a recent study in PLOS ONE reporting on career preferences of doctoral students that indicates that academic positions are not necessarily the prize that all PhD students covet; this study suggests that only about half of doctoral science students even want to pursue academic science careers.

An interesting and well-researched – and upbeat! –  addition to the recent thread of articles in the Washington Post and Nature.

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