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RE: The (long) future of paleontology

What Phil wrote is only partially true. I was at a university that made the 
transition between a loosely held time limit and a rigid, official one. The 
change was because of a growing number of "professional students", meaning that 
they got so comfortable being students that the thought of finishing and having 
to look for a job (hence "grow-up") was difficult for them. I know of at least 
one graduate student at the U. of California Berkeley who had already been a 
graduate student for 20 years when I met the person in the late 1970s. The 
rigid deadlines became a way of forcing students to finish something they 
started and to move on in life. 

Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology/
Chief Preparator
Department of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205
Phone: 303-370-6392
Fax: 303-331-6492
for PDFs of some of my publications, as well as information of the Cedar 
Mountain Project: 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf Of Phil 
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:32 AM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: The (long) future of paleontology

Some U.S. universities place a time limit on graduate programs.  Other U.S. 
universities don't.

So why should a university care how long it takes a student to finish? 
IMHO, the university's impetus is a financial one.  If a student has finished 
his/her course work, and is writing the thesis and is signing up for only a 
couple "thesis/dissertation" credits per quarter, then he/she is paying the 
university only a small amount of money.

In contrast, a brand-spanking-new Masters/PhD student is usually taking a full 
course load at the university.  Hence the university makes more money off of 
the new student.

In order to increase the efficiency of the "get 'em in - push 'em out"
style of graduate education, some U.S. universities have implemented what is 
called a "No Thesis Masters degree" option.  It involves only a couple years of 
course work, no research, no written thesis, and no resulting professional 

The grad student loses out on what could have been a good education, while the 
university gets newer students (along with their full course load tuition 
payments) into the department quicker.

I certainly hope that this post didn't reveal my bias on the matter.  ;-)


On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:38:45 +0100 Thomas de Wilde <thomas@dinoforum.net>
> Doesn't a License/master's thesis always have a deadline, they do in 
> Belgium, and I find that rather logical, as they have to be finished 
> within that year, since most people tend to leave university the year 
> after the last year
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Marjanovic" <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
> To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:19 PM
> Subject: RE: The (long) future of paleontology
> > > --- Ursprüngliche Nachricht ---
> > > Von: Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org
> > > Datum: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 20:54:35 -0700
> >
> > > But then when the ultimate deadline of submission of a written
> thesis is
> > > hanging overhead, reality sets in, and suddenly the thesis topic
> is
> > > smaller than the original proposal. Where did all the time go?
> >
> > Deadline?
> >
> > Are there deadlines on dissertations in the USA? If so, my
> decision to
> > write mine in France (where I get everything organized for me) was
> better
> > than I thought, even though it'll be about placodonts and maybe
> some
> > general sauropsid phylogeny (for simple lack of dinosaurs
> <sniff>)!
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu on behalf of Andrew A. Farke
> > > Sent: Mon 1/16/2006 7:24 PM
> >
> > > Let someone else do the phylogeny--I'll just use it as context
> for my
> > > funky morph work.
> > > ;-)
> >
> > And _then_ comes _evolutionary functional morphology_! HARR HARR! 
> =8-)
> >
> > --
> > Lust, ein paar Euro nebenbei zu verdienen? Ohne Kosten, ohne
> Risiko!
> > Satte Provisionen für GMX Partner: 
> http://www.gmx.net/de/go/partner

"Am I crazy, Jerry?  Am I?  Or, I am SO sane that you just blew your mind?!" -