British PhDs (was:postdocs to faculty)

David Shivak shivakd at fhs.csu.McMaster.CA
Thu Aug 21 03:21:26 EST 1997

In article <33FB487C.61D5 at>, Dr S Gibson  <sag at> wrote:
>i finished my PhD in Scotland (the UK) in 1994. This 4 year thing was 
>implemente by one of the grant awarding bodies, what happens is that a 
>student receives a grant for 3 years of study but has to submit there 
>thesis within 4 years, or else the instutute/department/supervisor that 
>there work was for is disqualified from receiving a grant for another 
>student for a certain amount of time.  Fine in practise but for the 
>student it means after 3 years you have no funding and are left to write 
>up your PhD whilst unemployed, as many employers make it a condition that 
>you must have finished writting up.
>I dont mean to make it sound grim, but it can be for some. personally i 
>was lucky i had a fair  boss, a great time and all went well.  im now 
>doing the post doc  bit, and find all the negative coments from overseas 
>very discouraging.  I wouldnt say our system is much different, maybe its 
>just my attitude that is. 
>Dr S

My thanks for your (and Bart's) response.  Do you actually get negative 
comments from overseas?  My own experience is that the "negative 
comments" are used to justify (in my opinion) overly long PhD programs here.

In the Science "Future of the PhD" article of 1995, they claim that the 
median time to PhD has crept up to 8 years (post-baccalaureate) in the 
life sciences.  In that time you could be done your PhD and a postdoc.  
Is the decreased time worth the increased (postdoc) wages sooner?

David Shivak

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

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