Years-to-Degree

Female Science Professor strikes again!Her post “Years-to-Degree” made me happy. I privately determined that I would graduate in six years when I began graduate school, and I saw no reason why I wouldn’t be able to. Even though at orientation they told us that hardly anyone graduated in six years, I figured I was quicker and better than most people and I would be able to do it. As FSP points out, there’s many many factors that determine years to degree. Among the ones she listed that slowed me down: “extent of research experience prior to starting the graduate program” (almost none), significant events (a wedding in my case), and nature of funding (teaching-based funding).

But here’s my favorite part:

3. When a colleague and I looked at the dataset and applied our qualitative and totally subjective evaluations as to which students were our most ‘successful’ (as in smart and hard-working, got awards/fellowships in grad school, published, got jobs after graduation etc.), we saw no trend in years-to-degree. Some ‘successful’ students zipped through the PhD program, finishing in 3-4 years; others took significantly longer.

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