PhDs.org Blog

A comprehensive collection of articles for you to become well versed in the world of science and engineering.

November 2nd, 2010

Janitors with PhDs

I contacted Chris Matgouranis, the student who generated the “5,000 janitors with PhDs” figure cited in Richard Vedder’s Chronicle piece. He helpfully pointed me to 2 Bureau of Labor Statistics sources. The first, here, gives the distribution of educational attainment in various professions. The second, here, gives the number of people in each profession. Alas, … read more


October 30th, 2010

A PhD is not enough

I’m sure everyone knows that a PhD by itself is not a ticket to a great job. Just to drive the point home, some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (via Gizmodo and the Chronicle) reveals that there are 5,000 janitors in the US with PhDs. I’m trying to get some more numbers on … read more


October 29th, 2010

Rankings changes

Those of you in Communication Research may have noticed something strange about the NRC R-rankings for the field on our site: until yesterday, the confidence intervals for programs almost all started at 1. That means that in our simulated rankings, almost all programs ended up in first place at least 25 times. Why? The reasons … read more


October 22nd, 2010

NRC corrections?

From the NRC’s web site: Some institutions, when they examine the spreadsheet for the database of the National Research Council study A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs, may find data that are or appear to be incorrect. Over the next several weeks following public release of the report and database, we wish to be informed … read more


October 20th, 2010

Group Think

One of the big differences between working in industry and academia is that in industry you rarely work alone. Most problems companies have to tackle are too big and complex to involve just one person. There is extensive literature on problem solving ability in individuals (IQ and the like), but much less on groups. Some … read more


October 14th, 2010

Technology transfer?

Want to see your research have a real impact? One great way to do so is to get involved in turning your work into a product. Postdocs, it seems, are not so interested in doing so. George Mason professor Edmund Zolnik recently surveyed DC metro area postdocs about their interest in entrepreneurial careers. in a … read more


October 13th, 2010

“Crisis in the Humanities”

SUNY Albany is cutting its programs in French, Italian, classics, Russian, and theater, reports Stanley Fish in his NY Times column today. So not only are departments not hiring in the humanities, it looks like tenured faculty might actually be laid off – something that’s possible if universities are in dire economic straits. Fish’s proposed … read more


October 12th, 2010

NRC Data Quality, Part 2

Over the weekend I received another irate email from a department chair bemoaning the grievous and irreparable harm the terrible errors on phds.org were causing his program. I investigated. It turned out that the data in question came from the NSF’s Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. This survey in turn … read more


October 9th, 2010

NRC Data Quality

In the wake of the new graduate school rankings, we have received a handful of emails from department chairs who are angry about alleged errors in the NRC’s data. The emails by and large follow a pattern: “This specific piece of information about my program is wrong, therefore the data from the NRC are highly … read more


September 28th, 2010

New Graduate School Guide

A little later this afternoon we will be launching a big update of our graduate school guide. The upgrade includes the long awaited new rankings from the National Research Council as well as new data from the National Science Foundation and IPEDS. We’ve also done a big upgrade of the look of the site with … read more