Friday, February 29, 2008

PhD in political science--my but we're slow

Professor Sousa pointed out this recent study and discussion of doctoral completion rates among various disciplines. Lee Siegelman at The Monkey Cage (a blog run by faculty at George Washington) sums up:
  • At every time point, students in political science, anthropology, and sociology had lower completion rates than their counterparts in psychology, economics, and communications. For example, by the end of Year 7 only about 27% of political science doctoral students had finished up.
  • Political science students didn’t just throw in the towel after seven years. In fact, by the end of Year 10, their completion rate had risen to about 45% — still far below the 65 or 66% rate for students in psychology and communications but far above the seven-year cumulative completion rate of 27% in political science.
  • On the other side of the coin, the cumulative attrition rate for political science doctoral students by Year 7 was approximately 35%. That was the highest within the social sciences.
  • Some simple math establishes that about 38% of the political science doctoral who had entered seven years earlier were still in the program (the other 62% having completed their degree work or dropped out). And almost half of these 38% were still enrolled even after ten years.
Ten years. Ten years. Ten. Years.