Value of a PhD

Are academic doctorates worth doing?

One might assume that people do a PhD, because they aspire to be an "expert" in their field of study; and upon completing studies, they would expect to bee considered to be an expert.

A study from University of Illinois reported on this week (March 2015), indicated that this may not be the case. Three hundred leading media professionals were surveyed about who they referred to in their publications; and it was determined that having a PhD actually decreases your chances of being quoted as an expert; by as much as 60%.


There must be something lacking in how PhD's are being conducted.

Is it that the courses are not training experts in the way that experts need to be trained for today's world?

Is the concept rooted too much in the past; and largely irrelevant in the present.

Maybe the study itself is not a problem' but the culture amongst those who conduct PhD's, is breeding the wrong attitude amongst graduates.

Attitude Can be Very Important to Employers and the Public

Experts who think they are experts can be perceived as elitist and out of touch. Experts who think their capabilities are well below what they really are, tend to be more approachable. Perhaps in order to be approached for advice, by either an employer, or the media, an "expert" needs to have a greater amount of humility, and lower expectations than what are often found in some of today's academics.


There is a real dilemma here for universities though. In today's competitive world, unis need to compete and sell themselves as "bigger and better" than the other unis. If they don't sell a PhD as something "exceptional", they may not attract students; but if the graduates leave, without real world experience, thinking they are already "exceptional"; they may never be given the opportunity to gain the experience needed to become "exceptional".