Thursday, January 07, 2010

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go

Share/Bookmark An eye-opening article by Thomas H. Benton.


Don Paco said...

I concur with the author's premises (his description of the way the system works and its flaws and lies), but I have a different conclusion (advice as to what to do) than 'just don't go':

I would say:

1) Get a degree in a major that will get you a well-paying job (and at most only do a minor in the humanities field that you plan to go to graduate school for); this may involve getting just an undergraduate degree (e.g., for starting a career in business, finance, engineering, accounting, etc.), or both an undergraduate and a professional degree (e.g., for a starting a career in medicine, law, business, etc.). Be sure to get good grades and make a connection a few professors (who will later write your letters of recommendation).

2) Then get the job and pursue that career for a number of years until you become financially independent (pay all debt, get your life financially in order, etc.),

3) Once everything is in order, apply to grad schools. They are all eager to accept students with good grades; they are likely to give you full-tuition remission and even a small living stipend.

4) When you're done, you might not find a job in academia for a while (or just a job as an adjunct for many years until you find the right place), but you do have another career you can fall back on. This gives you some cushion to wait for the right academic job, if it comes at all...

Don Paco said...

Here's the author's previous article on the same topic: