To Ph.D., or not to Ph.D? That is the question.
November 2, 2008 5:29 AM Subscribe
Should I get a Ph.D.?
posted by valkyryn to Education (43 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
So I'm about to graduate from a top-25 law school. I've got a respectable but not stellar GPA (the school doesn't rank). I spent my last two summers working for a U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Communications Commission. Yay me.
Except that I don't have a job yet, and with the economy having tanked, prospects are not as rosy as they once were. BigLaw has already finished hiring, so that's off the table. The clerkship thing doesn't seem to have panned out. Which leaves me with public interest and small firms.
Thing is, what I really want to do is teach. Teach and write. And neither of jobs I'm most likely to be able to land at this point have a clear track back into academia. Tenure track law positions, hell, even non-tenure track law positions, generally require a few publications under one's belt. Which I don't have yet. I'm working on a paper that I think is really interesting, one that has the potential to be a major academic project, but there's no way I can have it even ready to submit for publication before the spring. Which is a problem, because academic hiring is going to be finished in about a month.
On the other hand, there's a Ph.D. program at my university that I'm completely fascinated by. History and Philosophy of Science. I'm currently taking my second non-law graduate class, and I've talked with my current professor, who happens to be attached to the program I'm looking at. I'll be sitting down with the program director week after next to see if I could actually do a course of study that would be satisfactory for all involved.
My question for the Hive Mind is whether or not I'm completely crazy. I turn 27 in a few months, I'm sitting on low six figures in educational debt, and I'm considering embarking on a 5-6 year academic program. Granted, my job prospects will be significantly better once I'm done--I'm told by law faculty that JD/Ph.D.s are in no small demand--but the thought of being in school until I'm 33 gives me pause. I love both research and writing, and assuming the program is willing to work with me on a few logistical issues (and, you know, admits me, though I'm not terribly worried about that) I know I can complete the program. Should I? Or should I just bite the bullet and get whatever real job I can?