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The Forum > Article Comments > What’s in a PhD? > Comments

What’s in a PhD? : Comments

By Murray Hunter, published 5/9/2019

Is a doctoral degree necessary for success in Southeast Asia?

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Excellent clear article. I worked hard for the award of my PhD in Science/Technology in 1987 and supported myself thru limited small research grants, lowly, demeaning part-time jobs and the support of my patient wife. Three years fulltime 14 hr/day, 7 days per week and it was a worthwhile experience. It didn't get me a relevant job initially and I ended up lecturing computing for the first two years. Having moved on into my chosen field for 5 years at unis in UK and Oz, I have moved into industry and government sectors in my chosen field. Did the Phd give me more pay, more respect, greater career progress... No. It give me was a sound basis for problem solving and "spin-detection" skills, which in itself is not often appreciated in this world of ego, narcisim and spin!!

Traditionally a PhD had to ne first & foremost a standalone piece of well argued and original research, summarized in a plain, bland 3-5 copy hardcopy book. But then the sausage factory mentality of greedy uni's adopted the "3-5 peer reviewed papers PhD", which led to start a downward and slippery quality path in "first-world" uni's. A bit akin to 1st class degrees being offered for project work with no viva or final examinations. University academic leadership have mortally wounded the value of a traditional PhD. Greed to export education products have devalued the product, akin to the printed money of hyperinflated failed economies. Unlike failed economies, I doubt PhD's will ever regain their value in our increasingly spin, social media and hypedworld... I bet they even give out PhD's in social media promotion these days somewhere in Oz !!

BUT if you do want to do a "proper" PhD, " old-school style", the do so. But remember, the beenfits will be for your personal development, skills and satisfaction... it won't make you money and will cost you not only several years of low/little income... it won't even contribute to your superannuation nest egg which you will need in your eventual retirement, where no one will care that you are "Dr".
Posted by Alison Jane, Thursday, 5 September 2019 9:50:41 AM
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Phd=

Wasted years of frustrated elitist conformation. Get a real job.

Dan
Posted by diver dan, Thursday, 5 September 2019 11:09:26 AM
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If it can be bought and sold and only as good as the size of your's or your parent's pocketbook/wallet? then it has no value?

Moreover, given this particular marketplace is awash with bogus credentials? Completely devalues the genuine article, the years of study, effort and possible sacrifice, required to gain VALID credentials!?

If the holders of such (forged) credentials were required to validate them via an unbeatable space age lie detector test and charged with fraud and perjury for relying on bogus documents to gain a superior salary and position? Or an undeserved financial outcome? Then there'd be a lot less of this behaviour or market?

Even so, when rich kids can have others write their papers and take their exams, with complete apparent impunity?

It's going to be hard to completely eliminate the practice other than making validation via the foregoing, mandatory, before an appointment or financial transaction!

Furthermore, there has to be some serious hard jail time for all the, knowingly involved, mendacious, disingenuous participants! A fine for some? Of little consequence! Unless it also results in penury!

And forfeiture of all the equipment, plates and material used to create fraudulent documents etc! Which should be very thoroughly trashed and destroyed, smelted, so they cannot find new homes and new fraudsters, using them to make illegal incomes!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 5 September 2019 11:34:15 AM
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Hi Alison Jane,

What is your background? What did you do your PhD in?
Posted by Mr Opinion, Thursday, 5 September 2019 12:57:58 PM
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I remember the old joke about:

We all know what BS is.
An MS - is more of the same.
And a PhD - is piled higher and deeper.

One thing many students have in common is
dissatisfaction. Low pay and uncertain
prospects are widespread.

The requirements to complete vary enormously
between countries, universities, and even
subjects.

Many will find that hard work and brilliance
may well not be enough to succeed and they
would be better off doing something else.

They might be better off using their research
skills to look harder at the disposable academic.
Someone should write a thesis about that. (smile).
Posted by Foxy, Thursday, 5 September 2019 4:22:10 PM
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Dear Foxy,

I separate degrees into two streams: vocational degrees and scholarly degrees.

One does a vocational degree to get a job: engineering, medicine, law, architecture, etc. People doing vocational degrees are taught skills and knowledge necessary to carry out work to the satisfaction of employers.

One does a scholarly degree out of interest: archaeology, sociology, anthropology, history, etc. People study these subjects basically because they hold a fascination for people. We study humanities because we want to know what it is to be human. A handful of scholars get jobs as lecturers and make a living out of it but the majority do it just because these are fascinating subjects that help us understand the world we live in.

I bridged the divide between both types. I did an engineering degree first and have always made a living in that field. But I also followed this with several Arts degrees: sociology, anthropology, and history. The first I did for money and the second I did for interest.

A PhD is one of the hardest things that a person can undertake. It is only done for two people: the research student and the examiner. Personally I think it is mainly applicable to the Arts and the Sciences where people are wanting to discover things about the world we live in and the people we were, are and will be. A PhD in the vocational fields won't necessarily get a person a better job or bigger salary because there is only a relative handful of employers who actually need that level of qualification. Believe me when I say that there are a lot of engineers in Australia who would not get into a university let alone complete a basic undergraduate degree.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Thursday, 5 September 2019 4:57:44 PM
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