Editorial

You are reading this blog and made it here either accidentally, or just for the fun of it, or have some concerns about your pursuit of a PhD. Of course it is not real SCAM (as in the obvious definition of a scam); we just wanted to draw your attention and have you think twice about it.

This page is a collections of internet stories and testimonies that you will unlikely read somewhere else. Why? Because the main players in this business (universities, academic journals, professors,…etc) don’t like this dark side of most PhD programs, and it conflicts their interest in attracting as many PhD students to keep the system functioning. Is it a conspiracy theory? No. The facts are out there, but they are not advertized. Any students reading the internet articles would most likely come across just the positive stories of why a PhD is great for its intellectual merit, more earnings…etc. Yet, these biased projections are never balanced by the other side of the reality that most PhDs have very slim job prospects, the opportunity cost of spending 4 to 8 years with no real earning (or worst getting in debt), no job experience,… etc.

Why would a university tell its prospective students to think twice before pursuing a PhD? Every professional organization pushes for its interest with true facts or blind lies; that being Bush administration invading Iraq based on FALSE claims of WMD (even Colin Powel admits to it now); or being a tobacco/alcohol company misleading the public with ads, or some low profile scientist writing a proposal to get funding for his experiment that will lead allegedly to new technological advancement based on some theory calculations, or some laboratory tests. Everybody has his own story to tell, and whether it is true or not is up to us to judge. The main problem with deciding to go for a PhD is you never hear the other side of the story. And because most of the students admitted anyway into a program are the best of students, they think that they will succeed and be better than the other guy who just failed, dropped out, had no job,…etc.

Most of the unhappy PhDs are not dumb/dropout students but the opposite. Some have graduated from good universities, but they have just realized that their career path may have been a lot easier if they knew better. At the age of 35 y, a regular M.Sc. student may have spent 10 years working (assuming he finished MSc at the age of 25 year old) and gained practical experience and fair earnings, while a new PhD must be just doing his 1st or 2nd postdoctoral and paid a construction worker salary after all these years spent beyond high school.

Our main goal here is to provide a platform for the other side of the story, and expose it as much as we could. All authors of this blog are (or soon-to-be) PhDs with really good CVs, not just sour losers who could not make it. We all make mistakes, and we made this mistake of doing a PhD too, and we want others to know about it. We, us authors and owners of this blog, have no real gain from doing this. We genuinely believe that there is a deep problem needs fixing. We are not providing solutions here, but the first step in any treatment is to know/acknowledge the problems. A PhD could be a decent choice for some, but you have to know the consequences of spending 4-8 years of your life doing it. It is better to be aware of this now rather than later. It is up to you to decide of course, but at least you should know what you are getting into.