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Subject: Grad. positions...
From: Tom REINERT <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 18 Apr 1997 08:27:31 -0500

text/plain (52 lines)

I feel that I should comment on M. Grober's assertion:

"If you want an academic position, you
are much better off going straight from your Bachelors into a PhD
program. Most 'major' PhD granting institutions treat master's
students like second class citizens or use the degree to terminate
PhD students who don't 'work out'.  The only situation where I think
the MS is critical, is for a student who (by virtue of a spotty
academic record) can't gain access to a top lab/program."

I disagree with nearly everything in this statement.  Obtaining a MS
helps one be more specific in the career path that they wish to
follow.  At the very least, it will qualify you for state and federal jobs
or it will help guide you into a more specific area of research to
follow with a Phd.

Also, most BS grads aren't ready for the rigors of Phd work.  I have
seen many examples of promising young graduates accepting Phd
fellowships and burning out, wasting their (and their institution's)
time (and money), settling for sub-par dissertations, or hating what
they are doing and moving on to something completely different
when their Fellowship runs out.  This isn't very productive.
Personally, I think that Fellowship programs should require a MS or
at least demonstrated undergraduate research experience before
accepting candidates for the program.

As far as the perception of MS degree seekers/holders as
'second-class citizens,' I certainly did not feel that way at my
institution and don't see it at my current one.  Granted, I have seen
Phd candidates that failed their Prelims settle for MS degrees, but
that is the rare exception rather than the rule for people who
receive MS degrees.

I feel that obtaining a MS and moving on to a Phd (preferably at
another institution) will only serve to broaden one's experience and
enhance their scientific background, both of which should aid in the
pursuit of further educational goals or job opportunities.  If the
current trend that M. Grober recommends continues, we are only
going to reduce to quality of Phd work to that of what is currently
MS work and the science as a whole will suffer for it.  I find this
disturbing and hope the discussion continues on this thread.

Thomas R. Reinert, Research Coordinator I
Georgia Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602-2152
Phone: 706-542-1124            FAX: 706-542-8356
Email: [log in to unmask]

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