USA : Doctoral Education : Too Much ?

Blog U on inside higher Education | September 7, 2011 | By Philip G. Altbach
mercredi 14 septembre 2011
par  antonin
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A recent OECD report on doctoral education points to an oversupply in some countries—mainly in North America and Europe. The report notes that many PhD holders cannot find academic jobs and that perhaps there is an overproduction of doctorates. It is useful to have global attention paid to doctoral education, which has expanded significantly in recent years, but largely without planning or coordination in most countries. The expansion no doubt reflects two realities—the desire of many universities to offer doctoral degrees as a way of increasing their prestige as a research university, and the need in many countries to boost the number of doctorates to provide teachers for rapidly expanding higher education systems. It is quite likely that surpluses for some are matched by shortages for others.

While there are no accurate statistics, it is likely that close to half of the people who are teaching in post-secondary institutions worldwide hold only a bachelor’s degree—and worldwide only minority have earned a doctorate. The large majority of countries produce only a small number of doctorates—and a number have identified the expansion of doctoral education as a key higher education priority.

Where has doctoral education expanded ? In the United States at least, much of the growth has been in universities in the middle of the prestige hierarchy, institutions seeking to raise their profile by joining the ranks of research universities—and offering doctorates in a range of disciplines is very much part of this effort. The traditional producers of doctorates, members for the most part of the Association of American Universities, have increased doctoral enrolments over the past half-century, but not by very large numbers. The greatest expansion has taken place at second tier universities, and graduates from those universities have greater difficulties finding full-time academic positions.

In developing countries, even the best universities were largely focused on undergraduate education—and to this day this remains the main responsibility. But where doctoral education has expanded, it has been at the top universities. However, a challenge has been to develop a model of doctoral training that provides high quality education that is appropriate to national needs. Most of the professors have received their graduate training in the West, and their experiences may not have be the most efficient for the countries.

There seem to be two main models of doctoral education—the American style doctorate that includes considerable coursework focusing both on methodology and the substance of a particular discipline, and the European pattern commonly referred to as a “research doctorate.” A student typically studies with a particular professor and takes a few methodology courses but otherwise spends full time researching a dissertation under the supervision of a professoriate “guide.” There seems to be a global trend toward the American-style “taught doctorate,” which of course includes a dissertation, and away from the European “research doctorate.”

Doctoral education is at a crossroads. In some countries, there is an oversupply of doctorates, while in others there are significant shortages. In countries now developing doctoral education, there is some confusion about the best ways to structure doctoral education. There is much debate and criticism about current patterns of doctoral preparation in both North American and Europe, but little consensus about the best way forward. And for developing countries, this is a topic of great importance, since there is a great need for doctoral graduates to teach in the rapidly expanding universities.

By Philip G. Altbach

Read on Inside Higher Education

Picture by Shan Jiang










Aucun évènement à venir les 2 prochains mois


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An analysis of where Canada’s Ph.D.-holders are employed finds that just 18.6 percent are employed as full-time university professors. The analysis from the Conference Board of Canada finds that nearly 40 percent of Ph.D.s are employed in higher education in some capacity, but many are in temporary or transitional positions. The other three-fifths are employed in diverse careers in industry, government and non-governmental organizations: “Indeed, employment in diverse, non-academic careers is the norm, not the exception, for Ph.D.s in Canada.” - Inside Higher Edu, January 8, 2015

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Sunday 27 April 2014

On 1 July this year, new legislation will come into force in Sweden that includes measures which will make it considerably easier for foreign doctoral candidates and students to stay and work in the country after graduating.

An agreement between the outgoing Alliance government and the Swedish Green party will secure a majority vote for the proposal in the parliament. (...) – University World News, by Jan Petter Myklebust, 21 March 2014 Issue No:312

On the Web : Full news here

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vendredi 18 avril 2014

Tenure is dying out at US universities.

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Sur le Web : Read on

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jeudi 12 décembre 2013

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Une recherche académique en récession aux USA...

Étudiants étrangers : la sénatrice Dominique Gillot dépose une proposition de loi visant à améliorer leurs conditions d’accueil et de séjour

vendredi 15 février 2013

« Il n’est (?) ni dans l’intérêt des pays d’origine, ni dans le nôtre, de renvoyer chez eux les étrangers dès la fin de leurs études. Au contraire, c’est après au moins une première expérience professionnelle que ces diplômés pourront, à leur retour chez eux ou à l’international, mettre à profit les compétences acquises en France et en faire la promotion. » Voilà ce qu’écrit Dominique Gillot, sénatrice (PS) du Val d’Oise, dans l’exposé des motifs de la proposition de loi relative à l’attractivité universitaire de la France qu’elle dépose mardi 12 février 2013.

« Droit illimité au séjour » pour les diplômés d’un doctorat français. Dans son article 4, la proposition de loi « crée un droit illimité au séjour en France pour tout diplômé d’un doctorat obtenu en France, à qui la carte ’compétences et talents’ est délivrée sur sa demande ». Il est précisé que « cette disposition a vocation à favoriser les échanges entre les pays d’origine et la France, permettant de développer une coopération économique continue, enrichissante, sans pillage des cerveaux des pays émergents ».

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