Is Graduate School Really for You?: The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph. D.

Overview

Landing a job in today?s academic job market is no easy feat. Is graduate school the answer? This informed and candid book provides anyone thinking about pursuing an advanced degree?and those who support them?with the inside scoop on what to expect in graduate school.

Amanda I. Seligman helps potential students navigate graduate study?not just how to get in but how to succeed once you are there and what to expect when you leave. She weighs the pros and cons of attending graduate...

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Is Graduate School Really for You?: The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph.D.

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Overview

Landing a job in today’s academic job market is no easy feat. Is graduate school the answer? This informed and candid book provides anyone thinking about pursuing an advanced degree—and those who support them—with the inside scoop on what to expect in graduate school.

Amanda I. Seligman helps potential students navigate graduate study—not just how to get in but how to succeed once you are there and what to expect when you leave. She weighs the pros and cons of attending graduate school against achieving a sustainable work-life balance and explains the application process, the culture of graduate school, and employment prospects for academics.

This book guides readers through the ins and outs of graduate school, and no topic is off limits, including

• qualifications and admission guidelines• financial aid and graduate stipends• meeting expectations and residency requirements• coursework, theses, and dissertations• degrees, jobs, and academic careers• tenure, research, and peer review• social life (will you still have one?)

Written in a question-and-answer format, Is Graduate School Really for You? eliminates the guesswork. Whether you are considering applying to graduate school, already enrolled, or would simply like to know more about continuing your education, this is the book for you.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

NACADA Journal - Courtney McDermott

For an undergraduate curious about graduate school, this book is a perfect guide. Seligman’s writing style is clear and concise, and the Q&A format of the book allows readers to search out the questions most compelling (or confusing) to them with succinct answers and explanations... This book is also necessary for anyone's parent, spouse, or friend who is asking: 'what is grad school and why is it taking you so long to get that PhD?'

Chronicle of Higher Education - Leonard Cassuto

My job, as I see it, is to provide that information, thorough and unvarnished. I'm always hunting for resources to help guide undergraduates, and I've lately found a good one: Amanda I. Seligman's recent book, Is Graduate School Really for You?

NACADA Journal
For an undergraduate curious about graduate school, this book is a perfect guide. Seligman’s writing style is clear and concise, and the Q&A format of the book allows readers to search out the questions most compelling (or confusing) to them with succinct answers and explanations... This book is also necessary for anyone's parent, spouse, or friend who is asking: 'what is grad school and why is it taking you so long to get that PhD?'

— Courtney McDermott

NACADA Journal - Courtney McDermott
For an undergraduate curious about graduate school, this book is a perfect guide. Seligman’s writing style is clear and concise, and the Q&A format of the book allows readers to search out the questions most compelling (or confusing) to them with succinct answers and explanations... This book is also necessary for anyone's parent, spouse, or friend who is asking: 'what is grad school and why is it taking you so long to get that PhD?'
Chronicle of Higher Education - Leonard Cassuto
My job, as I see it, is to provide that information, thorough and unvarnished. I'm always hunting for resources to help guide undergraduates, and I've lately found a good one: Amanda I. Seligman's recent book, Is Graduate School Really for You?
NACADA Journal
For an undergraduate curious about graduate school, this book is a perfect guide. Seligman’s writing style is clear and concise, and the Q&A format of the book allows readers to search out the questions most compelling (or confusing) to them with succinct answers and explanations... This book is also necessary for anyone's parent, spouse, or friend who is asking: 'what is grad school and why is it taking you so long to get that PhD?'

— Courtney McDermott

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421404615
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 1/12/2012
  • Edition description: 20
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,032,826
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda I. Seligman is an associate professor of history and director of the Urban Studies Programs at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is author of Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

1 So You Want to Go to Graduate School 1

What motivates people to pursue graduate study? 2

Should a student go to graduate school immediately after finishing the bachelor's degree or wait a few years? 3

Is a master's degree a necessary prerequisite for getting a Ph.D. or a job as a professor? 5

Is it possible for a student to go to graduate school in a discipline other than one studied as an undergraduate? 5

How are admissions decisions made? 6

How many applicants do graduate programs accept? 7

Should a prospective graduate student pick a school or a program? 8

Are online graduate programs respectable? 9

What equipment does a graduate student need? 10

How do graduate students finance their education? 11

2 Financing Your Education 12

What forms of financial aid are available to graduate students? 13

Why do universities pay graduate students to attend? 16

What size stipends do universities offer graduate students? 17

Where does the money for graduate assistant stipends come from? 19

What is adjunct teaching? 19

Why do highly educated professionals accept the working conditions of adjunct faculty? 20

Why do some graduate students join unions? 20

If a graduate student can work as a teaching assistant or even an adjunct instructor, is completing the degree still worthwhile? 21

Should a graduate student take a job outside the academy while completing a dissertation? 22

Should a graduate student accept a job as a professor before graduating? 23

3 Graduate Expectations 25

Is graduate school more demanding than college? 26

How is graduate school different from professional education in medicine, law, and business? 26

How is going to graduate school different from a full-time job? 27

How many hours per week should a graduate student expect to spend working? 29

What characteristics are most valuable for success in graduate school? 31

How does learning occur in graduate school? 33

What do graduate students learn? 34

Do graduate programs expect all of their enrolled students to graduate eventually? 35

What are the attrition rates in graduate programs? 35

Why do some graduate students drop out of their programs? 36

Why do graduate students' personalities sometimes change? 37

Why do graduate students often seem self-absorbed? 39

How can intellectual work take a physical toll on graduate students? 40

How long does graduate school take? 41

Why is five years considered the normal amount of time it takes to complete a doctorate? 42

What are residency requirements? 44

What are time limits? 44

Is there a best approach to getting through graduate school? 45

4 Coursework Is Hard Work 48

What are the steps in obtaining a graduate degree? 49

What kinds of courses do graduate students take? 50

How important are letter grades or GPA in graduate school? 51

How important is research during the coursework years? 53

How does graduate coursework help a student write a thesis? 54

How should a student use coursework to prepare for writing a thesis or dissertation? 54

What are comps, quals, prelims, generals, cumes, and orals? 55

Why do graduate students in many fields, even the sciences, have to pass foreign-language exams? 58

What is an advisor? 59

What makes a good advisor? 60

When should a student get an advisor? 61

Can graduate students change advisors? 62

What happens if an advisor leaves the university where the graduate student is studying? 62

5 Dissertations and Theses 64

What is a thesis? 65

What is a dissertation? 65

Who reads dissertations? 67

How do I find out what is the cutting edge in my field? 68

Should a graduate student try to work in a trendy area of research? 68

How much autonomy do graduate students have in choosing their research topics? 69

Who evaluates a thesis or dissertation? 70

What is a thesis proposal? 71

Why does a student have to write a proposal before writing a thesis or dissertation? 72

Why do apparently good dissertation topics sometimes fall apart? 73

How long does it take to write a dissertation? 74

May a graduate student seek professional writing services, such as those offered by ghostwriters or editors? 77

What is a dissertation defense? 78

Is a defended dissertation a finished dissertation? 79

What happens to a dissertation after it is defended? 80

6 The Academic Culture 82

What do the terms assistant professor and associate professor mean? 83

What is tenure? 84

How should graduate students address professors? 86

What role does institutional prestige play in a graduate student's personal reputation? 89

How do scholars disseminate their research findings at conferences? 90

Why is it important to present work in progress at conferences? 91

Why do presenters have to pay to attend a conference? 91

What is peer review? 92

How can a graduate student find out which journals are worth reading regularly? 93

What counts as an important journal? 94

Who did the most work for a book or journal article that has more than one author? 95

How do scholarly journals compensate their authors? 96

Why does a scholarly author sometimes have to pay to have his work considered or published by a journal? 97

Should graduate students try to publish their research before their dissertations are finished? 98

How much publication is enough? 99

How do graduate students celebrate the completion of their degrees? 100

Is a Ph.D. the only kind of doctorate? 101

7 Having a Life in Graduate School 102

Why do prospective graduate students often relocate to attend school? 103

What kinds of extracurricular activities should graduate students participate in? 104

What do nonacademics understand about graduate students? 105

Can dropping out of graduate school be a good decision? 106

Why do graduate students sometimes avoid family gatherings? 107

How much work do graduate students have to do between semesters? 108

What are the difficulties of maintaining a romantic relationship during graduate school? 109

Why are sexual relations between students and faculty forbidden? 110

May graduate students date other students? 111

Why do some graduate students live apart from their partners? 112

What challenges do parents of young children face in graduate school? 113

8 Degrees, Jobs, and Academic Careers 116

What are the employment prospects of a newly minted Ph.D.? 117

What are the steps in the academic hiring process? 119

What is the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae, or CV? 122

What are the rhythms of the academic job market? 122

Should a prospective professor pick a place where she wants to live and then focus her job search there? 123

Do academic careers have to begin with an assistant professorship? 125

Why do women still leave the academy disproportionately? 125

Do universities hire their own Ph.D.s as faculty? 126

What is spousal hiring? 127

What is a postdoc? 127

How likely are faculty members to change jobs? 128

Can a professor at a community college hope to land a job in the Ivy League? 128

Why does writing a dissertation qualify a graduate student to be a professor? 129

How do new professors learn to be teachers? 130

Do professors spend as much time on research as graduate students do? 130

What do professors do in the summer? 131

Are professors satisfied with their work? 132

What nonacademic careers are open to Ph.D.s? 132

How can Ph.D.s persuade nonacademic employers to hire them? 133

Afterword 134

If graduate school requires so much work with so little reward, why would anyone bother? 134

Notes 137

Glossary 141

Sources 147

For Further Reading 153

Index 157

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