Skip to comments.The Internationalization of U.S. Doctorate Education (don't go to graduate school)
Posted on 07/02/2009 7:31:06 AM PDT by reaganaut1
One of the most significant transformations in U.S. graduate education and the international market for highly-trained workers in science and engineering during the last quarter century is the representation of students from outside of the United States among the ranks of doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. In all but the life sciences, the foreign share of Ph.D. recipients now equals or exceeds the share from the United States. Students from outside the United States accounted for 51 percent of Ph.D. recipients in science and engineering in 2003, up from 27 percent in 1973. In 2003, doctorate recipients from outside the United States accounted for 50 percent of Ph.D.s awarded in the physical sciences, 67 percent in engineering, and 68 percent in economics.
In Internationalization of U.S. Doctorate Education (NBER Working Paper No. 14792), authors John Bound, Sarah Turner, and Patrick Walsh highlight the importance of changes in demand among foreign-born students in explaining the growth and distribution of doctorates awarded in science and engineering. They find in particular that foreign students demand for U.S. doctorate programs, especially in science and engineering, has grown in countries where undergraduate education has expanded. Many foreign students specialize in those fields as undergraduates: in 2004, China awarded 60 percent of its undergraduate degrees in science and engineering, while the concentrations were lower in European countries including in Great Britain at 35 percent, and in the United States at 32 percent.
Beyond the increase in numbers of foreign undergraduate students prepared for graduate work, periodic demand shocks affect foreign representation in U.S. doctorate programs. These include increased birth-cohort size and undergraduate degree attainment in countries of origin, development of networks among successful immigrants in the United States, and political transformations, such as the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the fall of the Shah and American hostage crisis in Iran in 1979, and normalization of relations with China in the early 1980s. However, there is little evidence to suggest that these demand shocks have led to direct crowd-out or reductions in degree attainment among U.S. residents, the authors find. For example, the large influx of Chinese students in the early 1980s had no discernible impact on the number of students from the United States or any other nation receiving doctorates in the sciences. Instead, the overall number of doctorates increased, with foreign student representation increasing particularly at less highly ranked U.S. programs.
While there is no direct evidence of crowd out in doctoral programs, the influx of foreigners into the science and engineering labor market in the United States has changed the return to investment in advanced degrees in science and engineering for U.S. residents. Bound, Turner, and Walsh suggest that these effects explain why domestic demand for programs in science and engineering has remained stagnant or declined in the period of increasing foreign demand. Over the last quarter century, the relative returns to U.S. students from advanced study in the sciences have not increased. Labor market data show that the earnings of new advanced degree recipients in science-and-engineering fields trail earnings for other college-educated workers. At U.S. universities, the extended duration of low-wage post-doctorate appointments has lengthened the time between entry and completion of graduate school; the salary gap between senior and junior faculty has widened; and permanent university employment is uncertain.
Unless someone is *extremely* smart and dedicated to an intellectual field, and is willing to sacrifice substantial earnings to do research in it, graduate school is a bad idea, IMO. I speak from experience.
A college degree is a credential one must have even if it is useless to your field. It is frustrating that our colleges are not more focused on training for fields rather than brainwashing the masses.
Old news. It was pretty much that way back when I was in college in the 1980’s.
The thing is, the foreign students (Asian, mostly) went to grad school — the Americans got out of school and got high-paying jobs, or started companies.
Most people don’t realize that the right industry job is a grad school education, and then some.
The article, as disturbing as the trend is, constitutes old news. The long term earning power of science and engineering graduates at all levels has always lagged the long term earning power of business and law.
Business and legal knowledge changes slowly and is accretive with experience. Science and engineering is always “improving”, making older nerds obsolete. It has been said that the knowledge of a biology major becomes obsolete at a rate of 20% per year. Maybe. But business and legal types are not confronted with the same demands of keeping up with new developments that may require you to unlearn some of your foundational knowledge; e.g., I never paid close attention to RNA in college, but now evidence is showing it has a far more dramatic role in determining genetic expression and the breadth of it looks considerable.
So, those foreign students will be faced with the same challenges back home and they will get to be treated like shit like most scientists and engineers are in this country. For a company like Intel, engineers are disposable commodities. They talk out of both sides of their mouths about wanting talent. Today’s talent is tomorrows has been. Yes, there are notable exceptions, but they are rare. Plus, in some industries, they created more equitable incentive structures, but on the overall, forget it. How companies treat their R&D people is shameful.
This article is talking about Ph.D. degrees. Master’s are viewed these days as a Bachelor’s was years ago. In many fields you need a Master’s to advance.
The guy from India went through his bachelor's degrees for $50 a semester - what does the US based guy pay?
The guy from China has a pretty nice job waiting for him - are YOU going to move to China and learn Chinese?
Intel's best seller chips, Core and Core2Duo, are based on designs from Israel, as an example. Hyundai of South Korea has a standing offer of a job to the top grads of engineering courses. What does the US offer in contrast?
Sorry to disagree. I was lucky enough to start teaching on a college level (SUNY) at the ripe age of 26 and I remained in that system until retirement some 35 years later. I had a wonderful work life and would not have traded it for anything in the world.
IMO education pays.
Those that can do, those that can’t.....
There is one good reason for a company to hire a PhD (science) - that is to assure that the person has the persistence and work ethic to focus on a narrow field as much as necessary to assure success if it is possible. Their “knowledge” is seldom used in their job, though.
There are not many jobs in industry that require such persistence, and consequently few jobs prove to be able to compensate PhDs.