PhD Completion Quandry?

Inside Higher Education reports on a PhD Completion Quandry:

The quandary is complex, but can be simply stated. “The problem is many students who begin Ph.D. programs do not complete them,” said William Russel, dean of the graduate school at Princeton University. And so far, he continued, “Our traction on this issue is still limited.”

The article then details various proposals for solving this problem. They may be interesting in and of themselves but I note the juxtaposition of this alongside a steady deluge of pieces about how there are too many PhDs chasing too few tenure-track jobs and how tenure as we knew it is in danger of going away and wonder why people not finishing PhD programs is a problem?

Or is this perhaps an April Fool’s joke?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    The smartest PhD mathematician I’ve ever known spent 15 years wandering from university to university chasing tenure-track positions, eventually giving up to become a computer programmer.

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    Why is it a problem? It’s a huge waste of resources.

    The current system is failing a great number of people and institutions. Reform is needed from top to bottom if we want to gain control of costs.