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The Many Costs

In a recent commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, graduate student Jon Bardin says his path to a PhD "has been full of teachable moments that I know will benefit me regardless of the specific work I pursue." Blogger Chemjobber, though, cautions readers about the costs of graduate school, and how time is but one of them.

"When we talk about the costs of getting a PhD, I believe that we don't talk enough about the sheer length of time ([five-plus] years) and what other training might have been taken during that time," Chemjobber says, adding that opportunity costs also matter. "Are the communications skills and the problem-solving skills that he [Bardin] gained worth the time and the (opportunity) cost? Could he have obtained those skills somewhere else for a lower cost?"

Taking somewhat of a devil's advocate stance, Chemjobber asks whether, financially speaking, US taxpayers' contributions to Bardin's graduate education were well spent. Typically, taxpayer-supported scientific training pays for itself, Chemjobber says, as PhD-level researchers "can go on to generate new innovations in their independent career in industry or academia." But, should a PhD scientist chooses to leave research, "is this a bargain that society should continue to support?" Chemjobber asks.

HT: Derek Lowe

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