By Kate Shaw
In developed nations, the number of PhDs given in the sciences each year has grown by almost 40 percent since 1998, reaching about 34,000 doctorates in 2008. This type of expansion sounds great in theory: interest in the sciences is growing, and we now have a population that is more educated than ever. However, the effects of this worldwide trend are troubling. The workforce cannot absorb all these highly trained graduates, there is little money to support these expensive programs, and the quality of education is often low, among other problems. This week’s issue of Nature examines the problems with the expansive growth of the PhD.
What can we do?