Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reforming the Humanities Ph.D.

Posted by Babak Ashrafi on 10/14 at 03:00 PM

Insider Higher Ed has a review of a book that reports on a 10-year $85 million (!) project to evaluate and improve the process of producing Ph.D.’s in the humanities.  The project sought the reasons that attrition rates are so much higher, and the time for completion is so much longer, for Ph.D.’s in the humanities than for other fields.  The Mellon Foundation supported efforts in 54 departments to reduce attrition and shorten the length of time it takes to complete a degree.  They saw only modest success.

Among the findings: increased summer funding has a big impact; having a wife helps; finishing more quickly does not improve employment prospects; a significant fraction of students who leave the humanities have good success elsewhere.

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