Lack of Direction for Ph.D. Students

Recent articles about postdocs have revealed job-related issues such as low salary, lack of benefits, and insufficient mentoring (H. Black, "The Plight of Postdocs," The Scientist, 15[2]:28, Jan. 22, 2001; K. Devine, "Reader Survey: The Postdoc Experience," The Scientist, 15[2]:29, Jan. 22, 2001). Now, a study released in January shows Ph.D. students with woes of their own as well. "At Cross Purposes: What the Experiences of Today's Doctoral Students Reveal about Doctoral Education," ( indicates that many students do not understand the doctoral education process. The study, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, reveals that one-third to two-thirds of students are unclear about doctoral study core processes such as course work applicability, amount of time to spend with advisers, graduate studies and dissertation funding, and criteria determining whether they graduate. "We found that many students do not have a clear...

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