Ph.D. Discussions on Quora

I came across some interesting Ph.D. research related topics on Quora that attempts to measure the quality and satisfaction of a P.h.D programme. Some of the questions that captured my attention include:

  • Q: Is there anyone out there who really enjoyed or is enjoying their time as a Ph.D. student?
    • A: Yes, very many! with a great advisor, great research area, working on the right problems at the right time, etc. Ph.D. students need to be driven to learn and try new things, to not settle, and to find your their own identity as researchers.
  • Q: What are the metrics for measuring the quality of a Ph.D. program?
    • A: metrics that are focused on the process of the Ph.D.
      • Grant funding received by department
      • Number of publications by student at graduation
      • Number of 1st author papers at graduation by student
      • Awards (both faculty and student awards like)
      • Fraction that gets academic jobs (Postdocs count in this number)
    • A: metrics that are focused on the Ph.D. student.
      • Did the student receive a job in the field they wanted?
      • Was the research they produced impactful (citations, not just #)
      • Was the student satisfied with their experience?
      • Do students feel well prepared when they join their next job? (academic or otherwise).
  • Q: I have spent one year in my Ph.D. program and haven’t published anything. What should I do?
    • A: What is the point of writing a paper that nobody reads? It is better to keep learning new things and keep asking the most interesting questions. When you finally publish your first paper, it will be amazing and worth 20 mediocre papers. The impact is what matters, not publication count. The hard stuff takes some time to come together into a quality publication.
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