British PhDs (was:postdocs to faculty)

David Shivak shivakd at fhs.csu.McMaster.CA
Sat Aug 16 22:15:29 EST 1997

In article <Pine.SUN.3.95L.970815193454.1576E-100000 at>,
Judith Gibber  <jrg43 at> wrote:
>On 15 Aug 1997, Julia Frugoli wrote:
>> how would someone with only a two year post-doc do in the granting pools 
>> as new faculty?  
>They'd do fine, if there was pressure to ensure that ALL postdocs lasted
>only 2 years.   I am not suggesting changing the length of a postdoc 
>for any one individual, but rather changing the entire system.

Please excuse my tangent.  I have been wondering how the recently 
implemented 4 year PhD time limit in Britain has worked out.  I believe 
it is now mandatory for some institutions to get all PhD students out in 
4 years, rather than the usual 6-8 (at least in my experience).  Has it 
worked?  Are the students happy?  Is it reducing productivity?

I would greatly like to hear how this has worked from those within the 
British graduate system.  

Here it seems many faculty outwardly regard the shorter term PhD as a 
badge of shame when discussing it with students, but it does not prevent 
them from hiring British postdocs.

While I'm at it: what is the general time to PhD in other systems than 
Canada and the US?  Do you think the time is justified?


Dave Shivak
David Shivak - email shivakd (at) * 
Check out the web site Careers In (and Out) of Science @

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