Advertisement
Epitomics
Epitomics

Scientists Take the Long Road

 Click for larger version (35K) We asked our readers with postgraduate degrees how long they spent in postgraduate education and in postdoc positions; 215 responded. The average time spent in postgraduate study, which varies by country, was 4.9 years. Students in both the UK and Germany devote an average of 3.5 years; in the United States and Canada, the average is 5.5 years. The vast majority, 83%, went on to nontenured or nonpermanent positions--mostly postdocs--after completing their

June 16, 2003

We asked our readers with postgraduate degrees how long they spent in postgraduate education and in postdoc positions; 215 responded. The average time spent in postgraduate study, which varies by country, was 4.9 years. Students in both the UK and Germany devote an average of 3.5 years; in the United States and Canada, the average is 5.5 years.

The vast majority, 83%, went on to nontenured or nonpermanent positions--mostly postdocs--after completing their formal education. Those who finished their postdocs spent an average of 4.9 years, with 16% taking eight years or more to do so. "Sometimes it seems endless, but I see the light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel," said one respondent.

The tunnel's gotten longer: Time spent in postdoc positions is growing. Those who finished before 1990 spent an average of 3.6 years in that position; the average has since grown to 5.6 years.

As usual, our respondents had interesting insights. One said that today's students need to be a bit more practical regarding one aspect: "I think that young people today need independent guidance about choice of postdoc positions--mentoring for career path rather than [settling for] 'Oh this might be interesting.'"

Another pointed out a second practicality: "The older you are when you achieve a PhD, the less likely you are to find a permanent, well-paid position that compensates for all the years of deferred gratuity. There is little ageism in teaching, and so that's what I've ended up doing. I was 44 when I got my PhD, and I'm still paying back my student loan at 50!"


Please indicate on a 1 - 5 scale how strongly you would recommend this article to your colleagues?
Not recommended
1
2
3
4
5
   Highly recommended
Please register your vote
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Biology Research
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist
Advertisement