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Ph.D Addendum

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Rather than comment, I thought I’d add my take to Erik’s post below. Essentially, I don’t think it’s possible to make generalizations like “it’s a terrible idea to get a PhD in 2011.” There is one salient difference between the very real problems of doctoral programs and the problems with legal education: namely, PhD students are generally funded and hence shouldn’t graduate with crushing debt. I would say without equivocation that unless you’re independently wealthy paying for a PhD with anything other than opportunity costs is crazy. But if you can get funding from a good program, whether you should get a PhD depends on some highly contingent variables: the job market in your specific field, your willingness to move to a wide variety of locations, the other career options available with your undergraduate degree, your commitment to an academic career. If you’re clear-eyed and look carefully into these things, you might find seeking a PhD (with guaranteed funding) worthwhile.

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