A modest question: Should we abolish the PhD degree?

Steve Dossick Steve@KnowNow.com
Tue, 28 Aug 2001 18:39:33 -0700


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Russell Turpin [mailto:deafbox@hotmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2001 6:41 PM
> To: fork@xent.com
> Subject: Re: A modest question: Should we abolish the PhD degree?
> 
> > Why do you separate paper writing from the PhD 
> > process? For me they were inseparable.
> 
> You make my point for me. If they are so inseparable,
> what is the point of anything else? I suspect that you
> were fortunate. A lot of PhD students find there is 
> significant work turning published papers into a thesis, 
> and managing their way -- and their committee -- 
> through the process. And not all of it has to do with 
> learning all there is about a specific topic.
> 

...and the corrollary to this is that there's a lot more to doing research
than just doing research and publishing papers.  No matter where you do
research (or _any_ original work, including starting a company) you will
always have to manage expectations of others, keep them happy with your
plans, and generally manage your own way through the process.  Outside
academia these other 'stakeholders' may not be professors/committee members;
they may be superiors, VCs, etc.  So the process prepares you for a lot.

I'll be the first one to admit that the actual research I did for my
dissertation isn't going to set the world on fire, but going through the
process and learning how to set up my environment to make the work possible
was invaluable.

-s