Rethinking graduate education

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Science  24 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6246, pp. 349
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac9592


All available evidence suggests that over 60% of new Ph.D.s in science in the United States will not have careers in academic research, yet graduate training in science has followed the same basic format for almost 100 years, heavily focused on producing academic researchers. Given that so many students will not join that community, the system is failing to meet the needs of the majority of its students. Many academic, governmental, and professional leaders and organizations have lamented this disconnect and have suggested worthwhile adjustments, but most of these have been minor changes in graduate course offerings. It is time for the scientific and education communities to take a more fundamental look at how graduate education in science is structured and consider, given the current environment, whether a major reconfiguration of the entire system is needed.