Comments on Graduate Education



Graduate education does have its troubles, but the recent article by Billy M. McCormac (June EOS) contains some statements that cannot escape without challenge. We are especially concerned with the treatment given employment of doctoral recipients, the postdoctoral fellow, and the financing of doctoral programs in universities. Several studies bearing directly on these topics became available within the last year.

1. A major goal of graduate education is and must continue to be the providing of Ph.D.'s for faculty positions. Graduate students are not educated ‘predominately for industry and government’ as McCormac suggests. According to a recent study conducted by the Office of Scientific Personnel of the National Research Council (Employment Status of Doctoral Recipients, May 1970) 74% of the 17,081 doctoral recipients in all fields in 1969 were employed by educational institutions; 22% were employed by government and industry. The corresponding average percentages for engineering, mathematics, and the physical sciences are 50% and 47%, indicating nearly equal numbers for these fields, but certainly not justifying McCormac's additional statement: ‘The number of Ph.D.'s required to satisfy faculty vacancies has recently become minimal.’