Different Cultures

That the “total time to doctorate” (TTD) is longer in the humanities than in the sciences is neither bizarre nor inexplicable, contrary to what is suggested in “University Briefs” (The Scientist, June 26, 1989, page 7). First, one must recall that the humanities and the sciences are not merely different fields of knowledge, they differ profoundly; as C.P. Snow aptly put it, they are different cultures. Furthermore, one must consider some of the specific differences be

Henry Bauer
Oct 1, 1989

That the “total time to doctorate” (TTD) is longer in the humanities than in the sciences is neither bizarre nor inexplicable, contrary to what is suggested in “University Briefs” (The Scientist, June 26, 1989, page 7).

First, one must recall that the humanities and the sciences are not merely different fields of knowledge, they differ profoundly; as C.P. Snow aptly put it, they are different cultures. Furthermore, one must consider some of the specific differences between these cultures:

(1) In the humanities, graduate students work very much on their own; their advising professors regard the dissertation work as the student’s, not as a joint endeavor; and the work is typically published after the student’s name alone. In the sciences, it is a master-apprentice relationship, typically manifested in joint publication Thus, in the sciences the advising professor has a much more direct stake in the outcome of the dissertation...

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