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How many humanities Ph.D.s should universities produce?

How many humanities Ph.D.s should universities produce?

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  • It’s actually pathetic. I had originally planned to get my PhD in history, but that changed once I did some research. No matter how bad I want to be a professor and researcher, I refuse to be a taxi driver with a PhD, because that’s where most end up. I decided instead to go to law school, and once I’m

    It’s actually pathetic. I had originally planned to get my PhD in history, but that changed once I did some research. No matter how bad I want to be a professor and researcher, I refuse to be a taxi driver with a PhD, because that’s where most end up. I decided instead to go to law school, and once I’m retired, I might go back and get my PhD recreationally. It’s honestly a shame. Universities are slowly getting rid of their tenured positions in favor of the abusive TA system. Combine that with the unethical amount of humanities PhDs that universities are spitting out, and you’ve got huge problem. I don’t even know if it’s pragmatically fixable aside from doing something extreme like putting a legal ceiling on the amount of PhDs universities can produce or prohibiting universities from getting rid of tenured positions.

  • Consider artists. Very few find economic reward, despite spending many years working for low pay to grow their body of work. And many talented artists never find success.

    Getting a PhD is a commitment to a topic that you find meaningful. Those who start are generally not ignorant of this fact and are

    Consider artists. Very few find economic reward, despite spending many years working for low pay to grow their body of work. And many talented artists never find success.

    Getting a PhD is a commitment to a topic that you find meaningful. Those who start are generally not ignorant of this fact and are aware that they can make more money doing something else. About half choose to stop at some point, just like artists, when that tradeoff is no longer right for them.

    To call that outcome depressing is to fundamentally misunderstand the function. Because we value art, we subsidize it. Because we value scholarship, we subsidize it. In both we recognize that the output of the discipline is not primarily economic in nature. And to pretend like folks don’t know that going in is foolhardy.

  • 100% agree with Matt Wallaert's comment.

    The question could be asked of science PhDs too. There are certainly more jobs for them, but there aren't enough professorial positions for which most people choose to do PhDs.

    I completed a PhD in chemistry before becoming a journalist. And if I were to turn

    100% agree with Matt Wallaert's comment.

    The question could be asked of science PhDs too. There are certainly more jobs for them, but there aren't enough professorial positions for which most people choose to do PhDs.

    I completed a PhD in chemistry before becoming a journalist. And if I were to turn back time, I would do many things differently with the advantage of hindsight. Not pursuing the PhD wouldn't be one of them.

    The meta skills I gained, the people I met, and the experiences that shaped me are valuable. The thesis I defended will remain one of my greatest achievements, even if all it did was make a tiny dent at the edge of human knowledge: http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures

  • I chose to pass on a PhD and work in academics for little pay. From observation, today’s PhD is an investment that does not always open doors. The best way to stay competitive is to focus on the hard sciences or business. Our students must be pushed harder to compete against the global pool. I get pushback

    I chose to pass on a PhD and work in academics for little pay. From observation, today’s PhD is an investment that does not always open doors. The best way to stay competitive is to focus on the hard sciences or business. Our students must be pushed harder to compete against the global pool. I get pushback but my standards are more important than graduation rate.

  • I do not think I could have survived this life without the inner life enrichment my devotion to the liberal arts has given me. I have worked a number of practical skills jobs in my life, and have split the difference by teaching, but I do regret that I did not take that second major in philosophy :)

  • It's a false dichotomy to say you can have (A) legions of PhDs who enrich society just by existing and thinking deep thoughts or (B) a leaner grad school output that correlates more closely with the academic job market. The truth is, the majority of full-time profs hail from the top 10 schools. That

    It's a false dichotomy to say you can have (A) legions of PhDs who enrich society just by existing and thinking deep thoughts or (B) a leaner grad school output that correlates more closely with the academic job market. The truth is, the majority of full-time profs hail from the top 10 schools. That means many PhDs are out there finding alt-ac or non-academic careers that may be a great fit for them and a lot of their training.

    So to me, door (C) looks like getting a clearer picture of those careers and tailoring graduate programs (and career services) toward the best of them. By all means churn out huge numbers of terminal degrees in humanities. Just prepare your grad students for real careers in the process. And frankly, I'm not sure most profs are best positioned to teach those lessons. Is a puzzlement.

  • People don't have the money to waste on these useless degrees anymore, especially Phds, depending on the field.

    There are those, (I have already read all the comments) who would disagree. It's ok you are entitled to your opinion. The reality is, the more specialized you become, the less job opportunities

    People don't have the money to waste on these useless degrees anymore, especially Phds, depending on the field.

    There are those, (I have already read all the comments) who would disagree. It's ok you are entitled to your opinion. The reality is, the more specialized you become, the less job opportunities exist.

    For some staying in school to achieve a Masters or Phd is merely a delay from having to entre the real world. When they do, the positions aren't there, they have large student debt, and employers tend to avoid hiring overqualified people.

    It's ok to dream of a world where everyone is "highly educated". The problem is most degree paths end in a brick wall. Universities are producing far more graduates than the job market requires, and society can't afford this.

  • The anti intellectual movement coincides with the Fascist movement. The guy who said he could have learned all he needed to know about accounting in a year WILL BE replaced by a computer program. The lessons a student learns from being required to take History, literature, English composition, Government

    The anti intellectual movement coincides with the Fascist movement. The guy who said he could have learned all he needed to know about accounting in a year WILL BE replaced by a computer program. The lessons a student learns from being required to take History, literature, English composition, Government etc. contain the knowledge that helps that person make decisions that are necessary to keep that person from becoming another Fascist moron.

  • But an education as John Dortmunder suggests would omit the fact, that the entire field of geometry as we know it today was spurred by the need of Pharoah to precisely collect his taxes. And the lack of a broad education would also disabuse practitioners from detecting fraud.

    Let’s not leave out, that

    But an education as John Dortmunder suggests would omit the fact, that the entire field of geometry as we know it today was spurred by the need of Pharoah to precisely collect his taxes. And the lack of a broad education would also disabuse practitioners from detecting fraud.

    Let’s not leave out, that the progenitor of accounting rests in Algebra, which was also an invention by polymaths who were poets. I don’t have a “liberal arts” major, I’m computer science, but without exploring the history of my discipline, I wouldn’t know of Ada Lovelace or Charles Babbage, not would I consider the Abacus as the first computer.

    Technical science, without the humanities is educational masturbation.

  • The fewer we produce, the more we will lose our humanity.

  • Probably a more useful degree than Gender Studies...

  • The situation is abysmal