The N.Y. Times has an interested article titled “Exploring Ways to Shorten the Ascent to a Ph.D.” The piece speaks of the difficulty of completing a Ph.D. and wonders whether a PhD should be considered more of a training exercise or a mandate for revolutionary research. An excerpt:
For those who attempt it, the doctoral dissertation can loom on the horizon like Everest, gleaming invitingly as a challenge but often turning into a masochistic exercise once the ascent is begun. The average student takes 8.2 years to get a Ph.D.; in education, that figure surpasses 13 years. Fifty percent of students drop out along the way, with dissertations the major stumbling block. At commencement, the typical doctoral holder is 33, an age when peers are well along in their professions, and 12 percent of graduates are saddled with more than $50,000 in debt.