PhDs' best deterrent

February 27, 1998

Debts discourage students from taking PhDs (Research pull-out, THES, February 20) for several reasons. First, the graduate job market has seen salaries and demand rise, thus making postgraduate study the subject of greater scrutiny in terms of other opportunities available.

Second, the pay-off. The average university post-doctoral wage is between Pounds 15-18,000 per annum. It is not uncommon for research jobs to pay less than Pounds 15k. Compare this to even a teacher in a secondary school or the average salary levels of most graduate jobs and guess who is the poorest relation?

The widespread use of short-term contracts, a heavy workload and poor promotion prospects make the picture worse. As a final-year doctoral student, I will look at a university job as a last resort. Spending three or more years on your own research project often with little support fosters self-interest. Perhaps a survey of where PhD students would like to or expect to end up would be revealing.

Glenn Athey. Department of urban studies. University of Glasgow

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns