Sunday, November 30, 2008

To grad school, or not to grad school? That is the question.


As I hear more and more about the economy going downhill and universities stopping their job searches, I wonder : is grad school a smart decision? Should I look to do a Ph.D? I see a lot of very well-trained scholars looking for jobs, not feeling terribly confident. I heard on NPR about a former professor who helped these guys win a nobel prize with his research who now works at a car lot driving cars (not even a salesman). This doesn't exactly inspire confidence.


My major concern is finding funding. Whereas the sciences are still able to be funded by grants and such, what with their research being a bit more "tangible" and therefore immediately "beneficial" to society, the humanities seem to be taking a hit.


Though, I figure I have quite awhile before I'm going to be looking for a job myself. I have about 3 semesters left here, 2 more in an M.A., and probably 5-7 in a Ph.D. I figure if these economic woes are cyclical and Obama really is the savior of the economy, things should be settled out by then - but if they aren't..

11 comments:

mike said...

have you ever considered teaching in a missional setting? training national believers in a foreign country?

patmccullough.com said...

I've been thinking about this a couple of ways for myself. My "backup" careers are librarian (though that requires yet another degree), editor at an academic publisher, or education ministries with the Church (at the denominational level would be nice). Ideally, though, I would prefer to stay within professorial work even if I can't get a New Testament job right away. Since I have a M.Div. and my doctorate will be from one of the top ten history departments in the nation, I think I could find a job in either history or religion (my field at UCLA is actually called "History of Religion").

But that's my own plan and I'm in a bit of a unique situation. It's good to have alternatives laid out, I think. But if you get into one of your top choices, I don't think you'll have a huge problem. There are a lot of little Christian schools out there. I'm sure one of them will give you a job!

steph said...

Not even Obama ever said he was the saviour of anything nor that he would fix the economy. It's more about exploring ways to help things get better.

Josh McManaway said...

Pat and Mike - Good ideas.

Steph - I was kidding...

steph said...

I guessed so. I just noted a tone of sarcasm or cynicism.

mike said...

steph... English doesn't express "tone" in its orthography...only in its spoken intonation.

Prof Reed said...

You seem a bright student with a passion for the discipline. The bottom line in a tight economy is going to be where you do the degree. I know you are looking at Chicago and that's a good choice even though I think they are not doing the most cutting edge stuff there (I got my Ph.D from the Div School @ Chicago so I can say that). Still you want a school of reputation, Chicago, Harvard and Yale continue to be your best bets for getting a job afterwards. Predictions are never certain (unless ex eventu), When I started grad school in the early 90's everyone said, "The baby boomers will all retire, there will be plenty of jobs." That has not happened, but if this is where your passion is than it is disservice to yourself not to follow your dream -- just do it smartly.

Josh McManaway said...

Prof Reed - Thanks for the kind words. I've definitely thought about some of what you brought up. And Chicago is certainly a top choice, but I think I would prefer Duke or Notre Dame over Chicago at this point - from what I've seen. I want a school that's going to allow me to have a little wiggle room between Patristics and New Testament and I think ND's program is good for that. Do you have any suggestions?

steph said...

More sarcasm? Tone is also a manner of expression in speech or writing. You appear to assume English has very limited use.

mike said...

steph: more like merely giving you a hard time...

but English orthography does limit things - much more than aural speech.

either way, though, I apologize if I caused any offense.

steph said...

Oh I don't feel like I'm being given a hard time - just that you're young and pretentious:-). My use of tone is correct. It applies to the spoken and written word as you should well know. I think you're wrong though - I'd like you to give some examples.