Stuck in the middle : doctoral education ranking and career outcomes for life scientists
Title: Stuck in the middle : doctoral education ranking and career outcomes for life scientists
Author: SMITH-DOERR, Laurel
Citation: Bulletin of science, technology & society, 2006, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 243-255
ISSN: 1552-4183; 0270-4676
Why do some Ph.D.'s languish in positions with little authority, and what does educational background have to do with it? Hypotheses predicted that life scientists with Ph.D.'s from elite programs would be the most likely, those from middle-ranked programs the next most likely, and those from lower ranked programs the least likely to achieve supervisory positions. A sample of 2,062 life scientists with doctorates from U.S. universities was collected from records archived from 1983 to 1995. In contrast to hypotheses, Ph.D.'s from elite and lower ranked schools did not have a significantly different chance of supervising. Within prestigious organizations, however, Ph.D.'s from top 10 programs did have a greater likelihood of leading. Ph.D.'s from middle-ranked programs were less likely to advance into supervisory positions. Qualitative interviews explored how, in a knowledgeexpanding field such as the life sciences, being stuck on the bottom rung early on can adversely affect a scientist's career.
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