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RE: The (long) future of paleontology
Indeed, as Phil noted, the 20 year grad student was in paleo. But the
University of Colorado implemented a strict deadline in the late 1970s because
of students in Geosciences were dragging out the completion of their thesis.
Several were working with petro exploration companies here in Denver as the
"excuse" as to why they were taking so long. But I noted that many of these
students were actually only working part-time and were spending a lot of time
hanging out with other geo grad students. Graduate school should be a time when
students learn time-management, but unfortunately, few learn that lesson until
get into the real world. It was then that I realized that people always find
time to do what they want to do.
As for me, I began and completed my PhD (with dissertation) in 3 years WHILE
working full time here at Denver building our dino skeletons. As a result, I
have little sympathy to whinny grad students (they really do; I used to listen
to their whining when I was an undergrad, and was so put off about what a hard
life it must be that I delayed for over a decade before I worked up the nerve
to do a PhD). And least any take a pot-shot about being financially supported
during the time I was in grad school, guess again. I paid for school out of my
own pocket (whining about funding was something I also heard in the 70s).
Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology/
Department of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205
for PDFs of some of my publications, as well as information of the Cedar
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Phil
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: The (long) future of paleontology
I don't know the situation in paleontology, but in the geosciences, many PhD
candidates who have finished their coursework and are writing their
dissertation are already employed full-time as geoscientists.
I currently have 3 friends who are "finishing up" their dissertations while
simultaneously working full time in their chosen profession.
Needless to say, holding down a full time job slows down the dissertation
rewrite process. One of them, now employed as a geophysicist, is under an
official deadline (and he is MAJORLY stressed out because of it), while the
other two, who are employed full time as geologists, have no official school
But it is true that many grad students are not willing to "leave the nest", and
some students can get quite creative at avoiding flapping their wings. Some
who have already graduated use Post-doc positions as a way to postpone the
inevitable. And some who have received their PhDs opt to stay at their alma
mater as 101 lecturers, rather than competing for a position as a full
On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 11:46:05 -0700 Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org writes:
> 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: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf
> Of Phil Bigelow
> Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:32 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> 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 publication.
> 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
> > Doesn't a License/master's thesis always have a deadline, they do
> > Belgium, and I find that rather logical, as they have to be
> > within that year, since most people tend to leave university the
> > after the last year
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "David Marjanovic" <email@example.com>
> > To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > 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
> > 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)
> > 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: email@example.com 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?!" - Kramer
"Am I crazy, Jerry? Am I? Or, I am SO sane that you just blew your mind?!" -