Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A counter-intuitive result: median time to degree has been getting shorter?

I think you could have won $50 of me on this one. (from the Survey of Earned Doctorates).

(I wonder if people have been spending more time in postdocs? I don't think we have that data.) 


  1. Disclaimer: I did not completely understand the text of note A.

    CJ, I think the line that addresses time in a doctoral program directly is the "since starting doctoral program". I suspect all the others bake in the delays that come between college and grad school, and between a masters and a PhD. Until that third line shows a trend, I'm going to interpret this to mean more kids are powering through from undergrad to PhD, not that the PhD is taking less time.

  2. Some programs have put a time limit in place. Perhaps that's driving down time? We just had a few who had to graduate within 5 years (life sciences) but they then stayed on as a postdoc in their graduate group for another year.

    1. i believe you are onto it. Several programs faced pressure to reduce time to Ph.D. completion so they told students, after your 6th year we can't fund you anymore.

    2. Yes, my school had a 7 or 8 year cap across the entire graduate school, so from sociology, to chemistry, to art (if we had grad programs in that).