May 24, 2013


The Changing PhD – Turning out Millions of Doctorates | Original Article | by Geoff Maslen

As more and more universities around the world graduate ever-increasing numbers of students with PhDs, governments are beginning to ask if it is time to slow the production line. A new study notes that China is the world leader in producing PhDs, having outnumbered the United States on a per year basis for the first time in 2008.

By then, the Asian giant had awarded more than 240,000 doctorates over only the previous 30 years after its PhD programmes were stopped during the Cultural Revolution. These did not restart until 1978 when a mere 18 students were undertaking doctorates – but since then PhD enrolment has expanded by 24% a year.

But according to the study’s author, Dr Les Rymer, the number of qualified professors needed to supervise China’s doctoral programmes has not kept pace, raising fears that quantity is not being matched by quality.

Rymer says each qualified Chinese professor has to supervise 5.77 doctorate candidates, much higher than the average ratio internationally.

Moreover, as University World News reported last October, unemployment in China among new postgraduates has been rising for the past seven years and was higher than for undergraduates in the three years to 2012. This is one reason why China is putting emphasis on growing the number of professional PhDs and on moving research to industry. Read More...

Image Courtesy of Kelvin Tang (Wikimedia Commons)

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