Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Could Have Gotten A PhD On The Internet

Or: Why Not To Go To Snooty U
(Also, Why MD/PhDs Mostly Get Them For The Wrong Reasons)
A dear little naïve undergrad is in the lunch room.

NI: I could get an MD in Canada in three years! And then get a PhD in Europe.

Me: Why?

NI: It's faster. Only three years.

Me: European PhDs are largely considered equivalent to being a fourth-year grad student.*

NI: But it's faster!

Me: So why do you want a PhD anyways?

NI: So I can do research!

Me: Ah. So you want to do research, but you don't want to be trained for research.

NI: Well, after working here, I feel like it would just be more of the same!

Me: [Of course. We don't learn anything in grad school. It's just like having your hand held on an undergrad project, five hours a week. What was I thinking? I could have three doctorates by now!] ...Ah.

*For bachelor's-to-PhD programs. Having a Master's or a couple years extra labwork evens it out. But honestly, most of the European bio PhDs** I've met know as much as I did two years ago. Because experience is good for something. And yes, if the unis here were motivated, we could learn almost as much in five years, and then graduate. But slave labor, you see, is cheap.
**But I'm willing to believe perhaps my sample is biased.