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Does departmental prestige matter? At last we have the answer


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tldr: Yes




The outcome of a graduate student’s hunt for employment is often attributed to the student’s own accomplishments, the reputation of the department, and the reputation of the university. In 2007, a national survey of psychology graduate students was conducted to assess accomplishments and experiences in graduate school, part of which was an assessment of employment after completion of the doctorate (PhD). Five hundred and fifty-one respondents who had applied for employment reported whether they had obtained employment and in what capacity. Survey results were then integrated with the National Research Council’s most recent official ranking system of academic departments. The strongest predictor of employment was department-level rankings even while controlling for individual accomplishments, such as publications, posters, and teaching experience. Equally accomplished applicants for an employment position were not equal, apparently, if they graduated from differently ranked departments. The results also show the degree to which school-level rankings, department-level rankings, and individual accomplishments uniquely predict the various types of employment, including jobs at PhD-granting institutions, master’s-granting institutions, liberal arts colleges, 2-year schools, outside academia, or no employment at all.




Another fun finding is that each publication increases one's chance of getting a job by about 15%.


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Hmm, really interesting!  This article provides a different perspective than what my advisers have told me.  I thought one part of the article that was interesting was that number of publications do increases ones chances gaining employment, but quality MAY trump quantity.  That idea is slightly disconcerting to me. 

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Well, I have know about it for quite some time and have talked about it often on the Gradcafe. 


I have seen absolutely below-mediocre candidates coming out of top-ranked schools without any publications trumping candidates with shining research, publications and teaching profiles - and not in one case, but repeatedly.


And I don't really understand why these schools are top-ranked if they produce such below-mediocre candidates. 


When it comes to employment, the Academia is absolutely rigged and it's sacrilege to speak against it.

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