How Do-able is a PhD program?


When you tell someone that you are a PhD student, their eyes get big and I think whether they intent to or not, they automatically place you on a pedal stool. I was even once told, you are probably too smart for me. I’m like nooo!!!, if only you knew. While higher education is good and those who do it, are better for it, I feel this mindset has made the doctorate degree something most feel they cannot attain. So, I got curious.  I wanted to know, how many people are receiving doctorate degrees and what has the trend been like in the past 30 years so. Below is a graph I made from data I found in a 2016 report published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) showing how many science and engineering doctoral degree has been handed out in the United States between 1973 and 2016. The data shows an upward trend. More and more people are getting doctoral degrees. Based on the data, one can make a few assumptions 1). More students are applying to science and engineering doctorate program, 2. More students are finishing and as a result more people are entering the job market more qualified. If we are seeing an upward trend, then getting a PhD is not for a select few, I think it’s for anyone who is willing to put in the work. To see where I got the numbers, please click on the link below the graph.