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AcademicGround >> Any Phd's in the house?


5/4/11 4:00 PM
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DrKimura
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History Ph.D. here.
5/6/11 2:10 AM
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DustDevil
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None So Blind -  

Any advice/info/goofy stories you want, let me know  ;-)


All of the above?

Actually, I'd be really interested to read any advice you may have along the lines of looking-back-now-I-wish-I-had-known-this-going-in, I would very much appreciate it. I want to get the best start I can.

Thanks!

If it helps to know this, I'm going into a program that is a masters on the way to Ph.D.; I'll have to do a masters thesis the second year, and then dissertation before internship. The program operates on the advisor model rather than the mentor model. I'll be expected to get to know the faculty over the first semester then pick a primary advisor for the rest of my program, but will be able to mix and match (within reason) committee members for thesis and dissertation projects based on the type of projects I'll be doing. I've already got an advisor in mind, so I won't be waiting around for too long to get that aspect put together.

Anyway, I welcome any advice you may have for a psychology doc program newb.
5/6/11 10:50 AM
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None So Blind
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 Alrighty then ;-)

My program was essentially identical to yours (advisor model). Pretty good set-up, IMO. I had a fellow student who went to a program with a strict mentor model, and two years in his mentor died, and they fucking *kicked him out* - no other teacher was willing to take the dead guy's students. That is all kinds of fucked up, IMHO, but it was a psychoanalytic program, and those people are nuts to begin with ;-)  My buddy and all his fellow students from that guy all had to apply to other programs...

What I wish I knew now - I took 6 years to finish the whole shebang (not counting internship and post-doc) because I signed on to do a master's project that was grant-funded. Because of that, I wound up having to take 2.5 years to do a project that would otherwise have taken 1 year - what happened was that we had a HUGE problem getting subjects, and since the grant required "X" number of participants, I had to slog away until I got enough. Yeah, I got paid an extra $12K a year, which is a lot for a grad student, but that balances out against 2 years I would have had in my career making $70K+ more a year as a professional as compared to a student. I got fucked, IMO. End result - I'd advise avoiding any overly complex or lengthy research projects as your thesis or dissertation, especially grant funded ones. You can sign on to other complex ones if you commit to helping out a bit on internship or post-doc, which is the smart thing to do - it may leave you an escape clause down the line.

Having said that, PUBLICATIONS, PUBLICATIONS, PUBLICATIONS. Get as many as you can. Even if you HATE research, having your name on a lot of posters and papers will allow you your best choice of internship, post-doc, and first job. So do it. The median number of pubs for folks graduating in clinical psych doctoral programs is *1.* However, it is of course skewed - my job is at a VA and med school,with an internship that is clearly academic in focus. Our applicants average 6-8 papers and 10 posters in their 4 years in grad school. That's a lot, but these are the cream of the crop. If you have that kind of CV, you can pick one place where you want to go, and they will fight to get you. Given that ~33% of folks didn't place *at all* this year, that's an enviable position to be in. Curiously enough, the post-doc that I run is the opposite, it's clearly clinical in focus, but pubs are tied for the #1 thing in the equation we use to rank folks (other is "fit" - we don't want a developmental person applying for a neuro spot!).

Given that I was in school for 6 years as opposed to 4, I had 3 papers and 8 posters, which is better than average by far but not in the creme de la creme - but I also had 3000+ clinical hours, where most of the kids applying to my program now have less than 500. It's obvious where my interests were to anyone who looked at my APPIC form ;-)  Some sites like folks with that many clinical hours, but it's not as impressive as the pubs.

Other big advice - don't stress yourself TOO much. School will be hard, likely harder than anything you've done before. You may have weeks where you have 200+ pages of reading a day, every day, in addition to classwork, patients, papers, etc. You can do it. People before you did it, the idiots who come after you will do it, and you can do it too. There's enough stress in the process itself without you developing an anxiety disorder or bleeding ulcer on top of it ;-) Have confidence and just take it one day at a time, as the 12-Step folks say ;-)

Don't blow off your classwork from the first 2 years once it's done - you WILL need it at least two more times in the following years. I'll assume your program has something like orals or "comps" or "quals" (comprehensive or qualifying exams) that you will do following completion of your master's degree but before you're allowed to do your doctoral work. These exams SUCK. They suck even harder if you kinda purged your memory of all the stuff you studied as a newb ;-) Try to keep fresh with it, once a month go back and look at it (esp. stats and research design). You'll need it again as well when you take the EPPP (licensing exam) following internship. Again, this exam SUCKS, inasmuch as it is very broad and you will get tested on a TON of shit you possibly never studied (e.g., there are big sections on pediatrics and I/O psych, two things I never touched in my program - but I had to learn them with the quickness when the exam rolled around).

Funny story - I stressed big-time over the EPPP, I was almost done with post-doc and had a baby due any day, and I had a good job lined up (the one I'm at now) that would take me *only if* I passed - so no pressure, none at all :-P I studied my ass off for that test, and in the end I smoked it. I mean I really smoked it - the state board director said she'd not seen a score that high in years. My post-doc advisor (whom I would say is smarter than me by a bit) expressed pride that I crushed his score by a wide margin. However, he then actually CHASTISED me (jokingly, I think) - he said "You spent 100-120 hours studying for that goddamned test, and that gave you a brilliant score - but if you spent only 50 hours and got a score 250 points less, you still would have passed comfortably. You could have used that extra 50-70 hours on a paper or a couple of posters! You can't put bragging rights for a high EPPP on your CV!"

Can't win for losing, I guess....
5/10/11 1:03 AM
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DustDevil
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NSB,

Thank you so much for the advice. I really appreciate it.

One of my fatal flaws is an overdeveloped Superman complex. If someone puts something in front of me I'll take it on without thinking because, you know, I'm so awesome. I was even jotting down some ideas for initiating or getting involved in some grant-funded projects before I read your post. What I need to do is calm the fuck down and keep getting my program done before I'm 60 my main priority. Thanks for the reminder.

This is pure gold: "People before you did it, the idiots who come after you will do it, and you can do it too."

Wow, 6 to 8 papers and 10 posters in four years is at lot. Do you see a wide variance in the type of journals and conferences those publications are representative of? As in, does quality matter as much as quantity? The program I'm going into seems to be split fairly down the middle between research and clinical emphasis. I'm personally very interested in research and want to focus in program development and evaluation, so I'll have to do some planning on how to crank some publications out while in my program.

Yeah, my program has quals. They seem to have a pretty structured way to get us prepared, which I hope turns out to be the case. I'll keep in mind not to churn 'n burn information as I go like I did as an undergrad (i.e. so what was the Fundamental Attribution Error again?)

That sucks at the EPPP. It's hard to know going in what you need to completely rock, and what you just need to check the box on. That's the way I felt about the GRE.

And holy shit about those folks getting booted from their program after their mentor died. Wow. Hallelujah for the advisor model.

I actually didn't even know what the difference was between the advisor and mentor models, or that there even was a difference when I went through the application process. I didn't know to ask. It was explained at an interview I was invited to at one program that ran on the advisor model, which provoked a little panic because I then realized that of the eight programs I applied to only two of those ran on the advisor model. I got shot down at the one I interviewed at, but got accepted to the other. I think I got pretty lucky with where I ended up, all things considered.
5/10/11 11:20 AM
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None So Blind
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Yeah, be wary of the Superman complex - you'll get snowed under if you bite off too much too early.

My pub record was solid because (A) I had 6 years to accumulate it instead of 4, and (B) I'm in neuropsychology, and if you get access to a solid database, you can mine it for years without having to run subjects.

Just to scare the crap out of you, here's the CV of a student I had as an intern 2 years ago. He's now on faculty at a university in Milwaukee. At the end of *grad school* he had 14 publications, 7 of which he was first author; one invited book chapter written (sole author); published THREE books as second editor; had three manuscripts under review; had 5 manuscripts in progress; translated one book (from Korean to English); had 27 posters (10 as first author); and had a &1.2 million DARPA grant. BAD motherfucker any way you cut it, and in fact even in my super-academic internship, the faculty was in awe of this guy. To be fair, though, he cheated ;-) He got whatever passes for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in Korea (though their model is very different, it's 2 years all coursework and then 3 years all clinical work), then came here and started over. Even across 2 full grad programs, that's a staggering output.  I soothe my ego by noting that his clinical skills in assessment were non-existent, I really had to start from the ground up when teaching him how to interact with patients (his therapy was OK, and since he was an anxiety disorders specialist, he was rock solid in treating that domain). Keep in mind that if you want to be an academic, this will be your competition ;-) Helluva nice guy, though, and in fact I have a letter from him hanging on my wall - he said that he enjoyed my rotation so much he wished he'd had it earlier so that he could have chosen to specialize in my area. High praise, IMO.

And as far as quality vs quantity - folks do note the power level of your journal pubs (at least at my site they do), but it's a give and take - 1 or 2 in a really solid journal equals maybe twice that many in lower level ones.

Still, just remember that the mean AND modal number of pubs is *1,* so unless you're shooting for a hardcore academic site (which doesn't sound like the case), having 3-5 is easily doable and will make you stand WAY out from the pack.
5/12/11 4:35 PM
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DustDevil
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Yeah, the program development-slash-qualitative route I want to focus in may be too labor intensive to shoot for a rockstar amount of publications. 3 to 5 does sound doable. I want to structure my thesis and dissertation well enough to be able to publish off them as well. I'll work with my advisor to get a good plan put together. The faculty in my program are pretty productive (at least the two I'm planning on working primarily with are), so I'm looking forward to some good mentoring on that end.

I've wanted to be an academic, but I'm not sure anymore if I'm cut out for it. Even if I score a gig with how competitive and few the jobs are, I don't know if I could survive another six years of tenure track publishing after my graduate work. Bleh.

That student having 17 pubs with half of those as first author is mind bottling, even with the "cheating". And pulling in that grant funding win. Sheesh.

Thanks for answering the quality vs. quantity question. That makes sense. I'll see where I can strike my balance.

5/16/11 12:18 AM
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SpankMeWithYourWisdom
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Not a Ph.D.

But I do like to ask where all the traffic is as I have heard the UG is very popular.

Where do members congregate? Which section is the most busy? Which section has the most traffic and so forth???

Please help out a Noob?
5/16/11 2:05 AM
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crazydave
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SpankMeWithYourWisdom - Not a Ph.D.

But I do like to ask where all the traffic is as I have heard the UG is very popular.

Where do members congregate? Which section is the most busy? Which section has the most traffic and so forth???

Please help out a Noob?



U.G. is for if you trane ufc

O.G. is for winning.
5/17/11 1:35 AM
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dnwsr
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Edited: 06/13/11 1:04 AM
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Update to my original post...I managed to land a tenure track job. The academic job market is rough right now, but if you're willing to stick it out, good things will eventually come. My field (political theory) is one in which jobs are typically scarce anyway so my hopes weren't exactly high going into this process. I was expecting to have to go through several temp (1 year) positions. So the moral of the story is stick with it if you're truly passionate about it and things will eventually work out. I'd be glad to answer any specific questions about grad school/job market. It certainly varies from field to field, but there are some general guidelines that tend to transcend disciplinary boundaries.
6/15/11 12:29 PM
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Kona Silat
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I am curious to know ... I am starting my PhD program in the fall. I am going to downgrade to part time work and go for my first year as part time (gradually going to full time in my second year). Good move or bad move?
6/15/11 2:34 PM
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None So Blind
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^^^ What are you studying?
6/15/11 8:02 PM
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Kona Silat
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None So Blind - ^^^ What are you studying?


biomedical informatics
6/18/11 2:44 AM
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crazydave
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Kona Silat - I am curious to know ... I am starting my PhD program in the fall. I am going to downgrade to part time work and go for my first year as part time (gradually going to full time in my second year). Good move or bad move?



Depends on how you are with time management really. I am full time at the moment and going well. I have seen people do PhD part time but they will always have times of inactivity. Another thing to think about is keeping your supervisory team together the entire time.
6/22/11 1:27 AM
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thesleeper
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dnwsr - Update to my original post...I managed to land a tenure track job. The academic job market is rough right now, but if you're willing to stick it out, good things will eventually come. My field (political theory) is one in which jobs are typically scarce anyway so my hopes weren't exactly high going into this process. I was expecting to have to go through several temp (1 year) positions. So the moral of the story is stick with it if you're truly passionate about it and things will eventually work out. I'd be glad to answer any specific questions about grad school/job market. It certainly varies from field to field, but there are some general guidelines that tend to transcend disciplinary boundaries.


Did you get a TT at a LAC or R1? What topics did you specialize in?

I did PT for my undergrad and recently switched to Human Geography from IR. I can still publish in PT and my dissertation is mostly applied Foucaultian/Gramscian theory.
6/25/11 3:19 AM
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dnwsr
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That sounds interesting. What prompted the switch? The job is at a LAC. I graduated from an R1, but I thoroughly enjoy teaching so I think it's going to be a good fit for me. I wrote my dissertation on scientism, and I'm basically using it as a "prospectus" for my career (in that each section can be turned into a full length study).
6/26/11 4:37 PM
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thesleeper
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Edited: 12/23/12 8:41 PM
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I switched for a number of reasons. I am an area specialist (Brazil), I like theory, and I wanted to do field work. Geography is drifting into the void that CP created by emphasizing big N research too much. So in the end it made more sense. The flexibility that a Geography PhD has is also good, I don't have to publish on the same topic as much.

I am also thinking that a LAC is probably where I want to end up.
7/14/11 12:53 PM
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BoiseBlueBelt
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I don't have a Ph.D., but I do have an MS in Semiconductor Engineering with over 30 industry related patents to my name. I was 28 when I got my BS (Biochemistry) and I wanted to get on with my career, so I didn't push for the doctrate. In this industry, your degree only determines your starting salary, so it isn't as important after 11 years.

Anyway, just thought I'd chime in...
11/21/11 12:24 AM
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DustDevil
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I wanted to give this thread a bump to give None So Blind some mad props.

I'm just about done with my first semester and have been implementing your advice. As soon as I splashed down on campus in August I didn't waste any time lining up my advisor and getting clear on my intended career path. My program requires both a masters thesis and a doctoral dissertation so I'm getting started on my thesis proposal process in a couple of weeks in order to have things planned well enough to not kill myself, get my thesis wrapped up by the end of my second year, and then immediately start on my dissertation after that. My advisor is on notice to help me structure my thesis to publish off of it, and to do the same with my dissertation.

I've also been getting good at fighting my Superman complex and saying "no" to anything that isn't going to lead to a credit on my CV that's going to advance my career. Work leading to a publication (or publications, plural) is a little slow right now, but things are moving along.

NSB, thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. You helped me get laser focused on what I need to do to make the most of my time in my program.
3/20/12 5:38 AM
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crazydave
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 BUMP!
3/20/12 9:23 AM
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None So Blind
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Best of luck, DustDevil! Make it through the first year and you're set.
5/8/12 9:58 AM
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Stymie
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DVM and PhD here. Best 13 years of my life.
7/12/12 6:03 AM
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P.V.Jena
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Got my PhD in Physics in May (2012).

Doing my post doc in NY now.
7/12/12 6:37 AM
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CyborgRoyce
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P.V.Jena - Got my PhD in Physics in May (2012).

Doing my post doc in NY now.

 Congrats dude! Welcome to the club!

You're not at Cornell are you? If so, I know someone who is in the same department as you. 
7/14/12 6:01 PM
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P.V.Jena
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CyborgRoyce - 
P.V.Jena - Got my PhD in Physics in May (2012).

Doing my post doc in NY now.

 Congrats dude! Welcome to the club!

You're not at Cornell are you? If so, I know someone who is in the same department as you. <br type="_moz" />


Thanks. I'm at Memorial Sloan-Kettering now, across the street from Weill-Cornell, if you have friends there.
12/7/12 6:33 AM
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faixa branca
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I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and am currently a postdoctoral fellow at UPenn. I'd be happy to answer any questions pertaining to the biomedical sciences.

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