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« Brief reflections, second week of classes edition | Main | This Week's Acquisitions »

February 05, 2013


Mr Punch

My daughter has just completed a PhD in a humanities field at a top-ten (by any standard) university and department. It took her almost eight years, despite "full" funding. She claims that 2.5-3 years of that was spent waiting for faculty comments on her dissertation work - beyond the time that she would have considered prompt attention. It's not so easy to incite tenured professors to action, unfortunately.


I finished in six, with full funding. My supervisor took two year-long maternity leaves in the first four years, and a year-long sabbatical. Each time, I had to scramble around to find another supervisor who was willing to take me on for a year at a time. One was terrific, but I remember that the (rather famous) American visiting professor who got lumbered with me in the first year managed to see me exactly once. He sent me a caustic email at the end of the year informing me that I was not, in his opinion, doctoral material, and that was the sole feedback I got from him on my submitted work. I hope he pays a little more attention to his Columbia students.

Life decisions and life choices, sure. But they won't necessarily be YOURS...

George Kelley

I finished my PhD at SUNY at Buffalo in 1995. It took me five years. I used the SUNY tuition discount for faculty at community colleges and paid the rest myself. My son completed his PhD at Carnegie-Mellon University. It took him seven years, but he was fully funded the whole time.

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