Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rise Of The Science Ph.D.

Few doctoral graduates in biology, physical sciences, and engineering become tenure-track professors.  In fact, very few - ~15% - apparently do.  In Ph.D.'s Come out of the Closet, the journal Science discusses where doctoral scientists actually do end up.  What makes this article rather remarkable is that it avoids the usual lamentations of this phenomenon as a loss or waste of talent.  Instead, it portrays an anonymous doctoral student's trajectory towards harnessing his Ph.D. for attractive and fulfilling work outside academia.  Indeed, science doctorates are increasingly seen as highly-desirable indicia of merit in places like Silicon Valley and the Route 128 necklace.  The day may be approaching when the prevailing assumption is that one seeks a Ph.D. in computer science, mechanical engineering, genetics, analytical chemistry, or physics not to become a professor, but, rather, to pursue one of the myriad other careers for which a science doctorate is superb preparation.