Monday, January 03, 2011

A PhD may not be worth the money and effort

The Economist has an interesting article on PhDs. The title is: The disposable academic - Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time.

Here is an interesting paragraph:

PhD graduates do at least earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree. A study in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management by Bernard Casey shows that British men with a bachelor’s degree earn 14% more than those who could have gone to university but chose not to. The earnings premium for a PhD is 26%. But the premium for a master’s degree, which can be accomplished in as little as one year, is almost as high, at 23%. In some subjects the premium for a PhD vanishes entirely. PhDs in maths and computing, social sciences and languages earn no more than those with master’s degrees. The premium for a PhD is actually smaller than for a master’s degree in engineering and technology, architecture and education. Only in medicine, other sciences, and business and financial studies is it high enough to be worthwhile. Over all subjects, a PhD commands only a 3% premium over a master’s degree.

I think as adults we should continually learn new subjects. But another five to seven years working on a PhD may not be a good investment.

(Hat tip: Dr. Helen)

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