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PhD fail rate


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4 replies to this topic

#1 science noob

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 03:54 AM

Know of people who decided to quit a PhD due to unforeseen or foreseen circumstances. What I heard of was: lack of drive, couldn't get good data/results, supervisor moved universities/labs, conflicts?

excuses excuses or valid reasons?

#2 pito

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:52 AM

I dont know how it is in your country, but here we have some drop out.. and to be honest: most of those are people that should NOT have been accepted.
The problem here lies in the way how the "people here" select the PhD candidates.

THe majority of drop outs here is just because they have no "backbone" , no real drive for science.. They are in for the title/money...

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#3 hobglobin

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 09:27 AM

I guess it depends on the point of view...the people I know who gave up did it mostly because they got a good job (outside biology) while writing their thesis. So they had no time and mood to write on...for the job they didn't need a PhD then anyway.
Some were anyway at the wrong way.
If the supervisor moves to another university usually the students move too, or if they're more or less finished, they're remotely supervised...i.e. not really a reason to give up.

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...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#4 science noob

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 05:53 PM

I dont know how it is in your country, but here we have some drop out.. and to be honest: most of those are people that should NOT have been accepted.
The problem here lies in the way how the "people here" select the PhD candidates.

THe majority of drop outs here is just because they have no "backbone" , no real drive for science.. They are in for the title/money...


I heard of people who dropped out because they were trying to work at a particular project but just couldn't get any positive results. I know some who just lost the drive halfway through.

PhD selection can get quite ambiguous. Most of the time, selection is based on merit and how well an applicant has done in his/her undergrads. Problem is, you can be smart but not have drive/passion/enthusiasm. In a way, you just have to ace your exams to get a PhD position. I see alot of PhD candidates who are just not into it.


I guess it depends on the point of view...the people I know who gave up did it mostly because they got a good job (outside biology) while writing their thesis. So they had no time and mood to write on...for the job they didn't need a PhD then anyway.
Some were anyway at the wrong way.
If the supervisor moves to another university usually the students move too, or if they're more or less finished, they're remotely supervised...i.e. not really a reason to give up.


Giving up a PhD after 3 years is a big call to make.

#5 pito

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 05:20 AM

I heard of people who dropped out because they were trying to work at a particular project but just couldn't get any positive results. I know some who just lost the drive halfway through.

PhD selection can get quite ambiguous. Most of the time, selection is based on merit and how well an applicant has done in his/her undergrads. Problem is, you can be smart but not have drive/passion/enthusiasm. In a way, you just have to ace your exams to get a PhD position. I see alot of PhD candidates who are just not into it.


This is what I mean and this is where it all goes wrong: acing an exam =/= being a "good" scientist/having the potential to do a PhD...

Altough it depends on the country and how they have exams/classes.

The criteria used to select people are sometimes not right.

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.





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