Friday, December 28, 2012

Why Not to Get a Ph.D.

I get emails from the American Political Science Association's discussion page on Linkedin, and would like to offer a small piece of advice: be very careful about taking any advice people post on there. This one is particularly bad.

Do NOT pursue a Ph.D. just because no one can take the degree away from you or to "feel well educated." Holy cow. What that really means is that you get a Ph.D. just to put it after your name in every piece of correspondence you send in order to impress people. When you just end up unfulfilled and unhappy, don't blame me.

Also, NEVER take advice about a Ph.D. from someone who does not already have a Ph.D. because they have no idea what they're talking about and should not be dispensing advice. One important exception to this is getting advice from someone who got a job they love without a Ph.D.

I think APSA should have a free PDF right on the front of their homepage with short essays on the pros and cons of a Ph.D. in Political Science. Undergraduates and MA students want to know more but don't know who to ask and can't find reliable advice online.


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