1. Is the Ph.D. job market terrible in all fields? For example would a Comp Sci Ph.D. have less of a hard time getting tenure? My younger son is reeeeally smart and I’ve often thought a career in academia might be just the thing for him, but then I keep hearing about this glut of Ph.D.’s.

    1. It depends a bit on what you mean by job market and where you are talking about. If you only mean the traditional academic job market and you mean in the US, then yes, it’s tough in general. And it makes sense since in the US, the vast majority of all research is done at universities and we pump out many more PhDs than there are jobs in the professoriate to absorb them (pyramid structure; more undergrads, less grad students, less postdocs, less professors). However, if your son is willing to work abroad in another country where research is not as concentrated at universities or they don’t have such pronounced pyramid structures in research, or if your son is willing to consider alternative careers for PhDs whether in research (you can do research at institutes or even in the private sector, for instance) or other alternatives such as STEM education advocacy, Science & Technology Policy work, etc., many many more doors open up.

      1. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to work overseas. I hadn’t really thought about him working as a Ph.D. in the private sector but why not?


    2. I agree with Victor. Getting an academic job is always hard and requires a LOT of luck. I wouldn’t necessarily worry too much. If he’s smart and educated, it will work out. He may enjoy grad school even if it doesn’t lead to an academic job.

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