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Roll Right

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  1. Man - what is with the obsession with supply and demand logic here? Its pretty sad that so many folks are willing to bar the doors to higher education in order to enhance their own access to resources (funding, jobs, etc.). Its easy to claim that graduate schools should only accept the very "best and brightest" (whatever that means) after you've already been admitted to a graduate school. Did somebody say "entitlement?" I prefer to think about a model of higher education that allows for greater access without limiting resources. Moving away from a neoliberal university model would be a good first step.
  2. I find it strange that this problem is being discussed so mechanistically - as if it were merely a question of supply and demand. I don't think supply vs. demand is the problem here. That is a symptom of a larger issue that nearly all universities are wrestling with: the restructuring of modern capitalism according to neoliberalism, coupled with the imposition of "lean production" techniques in nearly all sectors of the economy. Universities have not escaped the restructuring process. In fact, many universities have adopted neoliberal administrative apparatuses that are intent on cutting costs while increasing their profit margins. Labor is one of the biggest expenses for universities (and any other profit driven enterprise). So, in order to increase their profit margin, universities have cut labor costs. They have accomplished this, in part, by transforming tenure and full time positions into temporary adjunct positions that are worth (according to administrators) a very small sum of money. Workers who hold these temporary positions are often hired "just in time" - that is, just before classes start. Benefits are not offered because the position is part-time. Moreover, adjuncts typically aren't compensated for course preparation time, and they usually aren't granted institutional support aside from the poor wages they are paid. There are plenty of these positions to go around. So, there is plenty of "demand" in that sense. Its just not the "demand" that PhDs expect. So - why "limit" the supply of PhDs when the problem is not "supply versus demand?" The problem is the neoliberal model that universities have adopted.
  3. Why do you think this question needs to be explained sociologically? Why aren't you thinking about an economic explanation? In other words, shouldn't you have some idea as to why this problem might require a sociological explanation before you assume that it does? Tell us why you think this is a sociological question.
  4. Take note: the salary figures are based on averages, not median incomes. its likely that those averages are overrepresenting incomes at the bottom, or the top, of the income distribution in each of those fields. I wouldn't put much stock in their estimations because of that. Also, I find it interesting that many of the degrees listed in that article are related to coveted STEM fields. There is supposed to be a shortage of STEM workers in the US right now, hence the push for greater H1B quotas by corporations and certain politicians. Sounds like they are far from "useless." Finally, what about the overaccumulation crisis of global capitalism? Wages across the board have stagnated or declined for the vast majority of laborers, and productivity has also stagnated.
  5. I agree with most of what has been said in this thread. I know, based on ASA research on the employment of sociology graduates, that those with an MA usually do much better than those with a BA. Those with a PhD in sociology also do very well, although their employment may fall outside of the university. State agencies and corporate research groups usually hire the soc PhDs who aren't absorbed by the university. However the odds of finding employment are conditioned by the skills you develop while working on your MA and PhD. If you're purely qualitative, the odds of finding employment are much lower in comparison to someone with mixed or quantitative expertise. Frankly, if you go to USF, you should know that a PhD from a low tier school such as USF will put you at a comparative disadvantage in the academic job market. So, you probably won't have an easy time finding a professorship. You'll probably wind up working as an adjunct for very little pay. I think it may be worth it to go to USF and building a mixed method or quantitative skill set. Those skills will allow you to be competitive in the corporate world, or in the government sector. I know this because I am working on a PhD at an unranked program. To make up for that disadvantage I've studied historical comparative methods, ethnographic methods, quantitative methods, and geospatial methods, while also studying classical and contemporary theory very closely. These skills have allowed me to find employment with research organizations and institutes in my area, while also allowing me to coauthor comparative historical manuscripts and quantitative manuscripts which deal with the topics that interest me. Adopting a similar strategy (yes, the work will take over your life) might help you find employment in the corporate or government sector, which typically pay more than academic positions anyway. The extra income will help you pay off all of that debt! And trust me, you'll probably accrue more debt while working on your PhD. I certainly did.
  6. ESRI offers free trials of ArcGIS which last for three months. Plenty of time to learn. Visit the ESRI site. It is not user friendly.
  7. Send me a message if you want to meet up - we can connect on Facebook from there if it makes things easier.
  8. Yes, I'll be there with a large contingent of grad students from GMU and some other universities. I'm on the committee for sociological practice and have a few presentations to give on immigration and wages, and religion and globalization. Separate topics, of course. Looking forward to NOLA - its always a good time. Let me know if you want to get in touch during the conference.
  9. This is pure sensationalism and conjectur. No one here has produced convincing evidence regarding the "health" of the job market do social science PhDs.
  10. I've never heard anything about it in the 10 years I've studied sociology. I'm sure it's a good program. Frankly, sociologists don't sit around talking about programs at various schools. We try to stay abreast of the rankings of various programs, that's about it. I think you should apply. I'm sure you'll do well when you're accepted.
  11. Those sound like good strategies. I find that on difficult days I enjoy junk food (particularly Tina's burittos), some cheap beer, statistics, and video games. For some reason I enjoy building statistical models or playing video games when I'm having trouble with other avenues of life. I'm not sure how I've avoided obesity.
  12. Everyone has a few (or more) days when life just seems overwhelming and everyday activities appear to be larger than they truly are. What strategies do you use get by on those days?
  13. The GRE is important for all the reasons already mentioned. There is another reason it is important, though. I learned this from graduate directors while I was applying to PhD programs many years ago. Graduate schools receive hundreds of applications per year. This is especially true of those in the highest rank. It would be a ridiculous task to compare all of these applications in order to identify a few of the most qualified students. In order to reduce the size of the task, graduate programs often use the GRE as an initial yardstick, with applications above a certain score receiving priority reviews, and applications below a certain score receiving less attention. That is why the GRE is important. It is your chance to put your "foot in the door", so to speak. Having said that, I did horribly on the GRE and I'm in a strong program. So, don't think a low GRE score will keep you out of graduate school.
  14. I constantly write, everyday. And I re-write what I wrote previously so it reads better. I still have trouble expressing my thoughts, and English is my first language.
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