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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:37 pm

Brendan wrote, "I am not sure, but this sounds vaguely like some doctoral program's found in Scandinvaian countries, which I have heard Faculty in my department openly mock as glorified masters programs.

They would be exactly like those, or like a PharmD. The people who have those Professional Doctorate degrees are laughing at your faculty, having gone directly into high-paying jobs in their local bio/pharma industries as opposed to lagging behind financially in postdoc after postdoc,

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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Ken » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:39 pm

How would the training be different, other than just being shorter? What would be cut in order to slice the time to degree by 50%?
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Kelly » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:50 pm

"How much in lost benefits, insurance, and "real life" time if this is the case?"

Article from Women in Science looked at this about three years ago. Answer: it costs you a million dollars in lost wages and benefits to become an independent scientists and this is based on only those that landed in tenure track positions eventually. The bulk of the loss is that 5 years of graduate school and 5 years of post-doc. If you are taking longer you lose even more.

I think any program or mechanism that moves people through the process more quickly (including weeding some out), reduces the amount of time with low wages and uncertain prospects is worth a try. I think the academic-industry connection is probaly the best "proving ground."

BTW: My PhD was from a top 10 medical center setting and average time to PhD was about 8 years (did mine in 4.5 but I got lucky in terms of my first project working and going somewhere).
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Kelly » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:53 pm

ps:

that 8 years to PhD was about 10 years ago. may peace be with those there now.
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Jim Gardner » Fri Jul 15, 2005 1:26 pm

Dave,

I think it is a good idea in general (the professional doctorate), but I don't think it will fly with the hiring managers in biology and chemistry (in big pharma companies) in the near future. Many of these managers consider themselves to be "academically oriented" and expect people to follow the traditional PhD/postdoc path (that they and all those working for them have followed). I'm afraid these new expedited doctorates would be seen as being more like MS degrees than PhD's.

That PharmD degree, I think, is underrated. There is room for more PharmD's and maybe more degrees like it. For some reason, at least at the company for which I work, the PharmD seems to be perceived as a higher degree than a masters for non-laboratory positions (med writing, regulatory, project management, competitive intelligence, med information, etc.). Folks with the PharmD do well in these fields.

By the way, I took just a few months less than 8 years to finish my PhD back in 1996. Perhaps I helped to start this trend of long PhDs. Sorry.

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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby K Seth » Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:03 pm

So how does this professional PhD programs work? They just happen parallel to the regular program? that a PI can have a 'regular' PhD student and a professional Phd stuent in the same lab, but their focus, and funding sources are different?
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Kim » Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:13 pm

Many schools, like the University of California, have put limits on the length of PhD studies. I think at UC it is 7 years. After 7 years, the students would no longer get any financial supports.
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Drew Parrish » Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:44 pm

Okay, so we all agree that the 8.5yr number might be off...but as to Dave's real question -

The company I'm with has been having conversations with the nearby research university on whether having a "professional doctorate" program is a good idea.

The general premise that they're discussing is that it would be silly for some of the people here with a decade of so of research experience to go back to grad school with the straight-out-of-college kids to earn a PhD. They have more research experience than most PhDs, have lead their own projects, and published manuscripts and patents. What they might lack is the coursework - so they would take the graduate courses and write up their company research as a dissertation of sorts.

It's a win for the school, because these people (unlike the "regular" graduate students) would pay tuition - or rather, the company would pay their tuition.

The question is really whether this benefits the would-be PhDs. Officially there's no glass ceiling here, though unofficially it's harder to climb through the ranks without one. Would this degree solve that, or would it be viewed as masters? And would going through this program make these people any better at their jobs? I think there's skepticism, but it's being discussed.
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Kelly » Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:18 pm

no I don't agree that the 8 years might be off and if it were, its not off by that much. I think the last hard numbers I saw were 6.5ish years for PhD and that was about 3 years ago.
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Length of biomedical PhD's increasing 1-month every year?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:57 pm

My contact said that the information is directly from the National Academy, but is traveling and couldn't give me the specifics. I'll get them, I'm sure. He says that it is always disputed based upon people's individual experience.

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