Data to PhD students: you’re screwed

“Furthermore, there is no definitive evidence that Ph.D. production exceeds current employment opportunities.” – Francis Collins and Sally Rockey


Enough people have sent me this beautifully depressing picture that I figured I’d put it up here for posterity. It would be nice to see it broken up into field – this figure is for science and engineering, but science and engineering tend to have very different career paths! My friends who have PhDs in biology are much more likely to try the academic route than my friends in bioengineering, for instance, and physics and chemistry seem to have more post-PhD career options than biologists (in my experience).

I also wonder how this varies with university; I know in Economics (and the humanities) that you’re much, much, much more likely to get a faculty position if you come from Harvard than if you came from, say, State University. I at one point went through a random list of neuroscience professors at top universities and found that a majority of the…

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2 Comments on “Data to PhD students: you’re screwed”

  1. Matt D says:

    Both the graph and the statement by Collins could be true. Not all employment opportunities are tenure track.

  2. rxnm says:

    What combined set of employment opportunities that require biomedical PhDs do you think have grown enough to accommodate that increase?

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