February 01, 2011

Cautionary tales for those considering a PhD in chemistry

As I began considering leaving graduate school more seriously, I started looking around online to see what sorts of jobs were available to holders of a PhD versus a MS. I ran into a fascinating debate that has continued to grow in popularity on whether or not we (as a society) are producing too many PhDs in the sciences.

by flickr user srqpix
If you are an undergraduate currently considering attending a chemistry graduate program, you should definitely read these articles. It's important to understand that the job market won't be easy when you complete your degree. In fact some people are predicting that it will continue to worsen as Pharma consolidates and continues to announce lay-offs.

If you are currently a first or second year in a chemistry PhD program you should also read these articles. The are very sobering and provide important facts for your consideration as you advance in your education and consider your future career.
  • Doctoral Dilemma: Is chemistry facing a glut of Ph.D.s? by Bethany Halford at C&EN
The most recent article I've come across. This one is excellent because it provides a lot of relevant statistics to support some of their speculation.
The link goes to the summary page for the four part roundtable, and links to the individual articles are in the first paragraph. 
The first article I read on this issue. It discusses science PhDs in general and not just those in chemistry. I didn't agree with everything, but it raises some good points.
The blogosphere seems to be running with this story. Have you noticed any other well-supported arguments either for or against this idea of "too many PhDs"?

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