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Discrimination against the private life?

phd2b at canoemail.com phd2b at canoemail.com
Sat May 8 20:23:52 EST 1999

Linnea Ista <lkista at unm.edu> wrote:
: And this starts early -- like in grad school. A friend of mine decided to
: go back for her PhD after working in a lab for about 5 years. She is
: REALLY excellent at what she does, and her boss (who was to be her
: advisor) had NO PROBLEM with her working 3/4 time and carrying a regular
: class load. She knew it would take lots of extra time, but she was willing
: to put it in (talk about no personal life!). Anyhow, the department chair
: at first turned her down. His attitude was "You have to be willing to
: sacrifice if you are going to be a scientist. If you want to go to grad
: school, you have to be willing to live on the $11,000/year that the
: stipend provides. You cannot work and go to school at the same time!"

The issue of part-time Ph.D. has been bantered around here recently too. I
sit as a student rep on committee that votes on such things. I was
appalled to find myself thinking much the same thing as your department
chair and I'm still in grad school!

I don't know if it is part of the hazing: "I suffered so you better suffer
too" or if I'm just jealous because I didn't think of it first. The two
cases that I have experienced are not legitimate reasons to do part-time
studies to me (both guys, one wanted to work as a tech, go to grad school,
train as a triathlete and take care of his parents. The other is already a
research scientist in a government lab and wants to upgrade is creditials
while keeping his job. Both are doing their work and their Ph.D. in the
same area). I think it is more legitimate to be working in one area and
doing your Ph.D. in something completely different. I feel that these guys
are taking advantage of the system in some way, but on the other hand,
this new way of doing things is to their benefit. I have decided to
counsel undergrads to work in the lab first, then go back to do the Ph.D.
part time. You have the benefit of increased salary and knowledge base to 
make your Ph.D. even better. I learned during my Ph.D. and as a result,
will have fewer papers than someone who worked as a tech before starting
grad school. If the number of papers is the bottom line (regardless of
whether these paper were done during grad school, before grad school or
after grad school), then why not do the Ph.D. part-time? Why would anyone
want to do their Ph.D. full time, especially here, where there is no
residency requirement? They anticipate that the Ph.D. would take you twice
as long on a part-time basis, but nobody holds you to that. Meanwhile, you
get to pay half of the tuition. No matter how unfair I think part-time
Ph.D is to those who have done theirs full-time, I refuse to let
others suffer as I suffered and fight the brainwashing that permeates this



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