PhDs in different countries

S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Wed Aug 27 13:02:13 EST 1997


> From: ravena at cco.caltech.edu (Karen Allendoerfer)
> 
> In article <34030BF7.502C873B at ag.arizona.edu>,
> Bart Janssen <bjanssen at ag.arizona.edu> wrote:
> >
> >However, (and this comment will probably get me into a flame war) my
> >impression is that despite a long BSc and long PhDs the average PhD
> in
> >the US is not as knowledgable or skilled as the average British or
> New
> >Zealand PhD.
> 

> Nonetheless, this statement doesn't fit my personal experience or that
> of people I know. It is hard to compare the two systems, and I have
> known plenty of outstanding PhD's from both systems.

Bart's pretty negative about everything in the US system.
While my undergraduate degree was fairly broad, on the
other hand, it allowed me a double major in disparate 
fields and was much more enriching.  And I'll stack
my MIT PhD up against a doctorate from any  institution
in any country  with confidence.  ;-)

i agree with Karen's post.  Let's watch out for broad 
generalizations, okay?  In my experience , which at the 
personal level is UC Berkeley, MIT, and UCSD in the US,
plus Oxford University in the UK (where I was a postdoc,
and tutored students extensively), overall, the
UK PhD is very focussed, and the US PhD is broader.
One is not better than the other, but they
are different and there are different expectations
from the university attached to them.  

For me as a PI choosing a postdoc, what 
matters is the individual rather
than the country of the degree.  You can do a 
lousy degree or a good degree.  That depends
on the candidate rather than the system.  


-susan
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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 
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