Scott Jaschnik from InsideHigherEd writes about a recent study by Jeffrey A. Groen of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
and Cornell University which found found "that that the impact on time to degree in the humanities and social sciences is seen three to six years after the job market changes in various academic disciplines."
After years of coursework, training, and preparation, the doctoral student sits for prelims (or comps) and upon passing enters candidacy. At this point, a good portion of the research study is self-directed and the candidate is left to manage the project, meet deadlines, and deal with impacts to the research. All the while, maintaining a semblance of work-life-school balance. As the dissertation defense looms closer, candidates will be looking ahead to completion of the program, graduation, and the job market.
This prompts the question, is the independent nature of candidacy leading to doctoral candidates slowing their progress due to weak a job outlook?
Groen explains, “the results indicate that although current job listings are not associated with the probability of completion, job listings in prior years are associated with the probability of completion…. [T]he presence of an association with listings in prior years suggests than an effect operates through choices made by students earlier in their graduate programs, such as the dissertation topic and the research plan for the dissertation.”
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/01/23/study-finds-link-between-job-market-and-duration-phd-programs#ixzz1kNwh3WOb