Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Next time you think that linguistics grad school sucks...

It's lousy being a grad student. But it seems that being a grad student in the lab sciences is a whole lot worse than being a grad student in the ling departments I am acquainted with.  In my experience, by and large, ling grad students are well treated (factoring in available financial resources). Their profs are expected to meet with them regularly, read and comment on their work in a timely fashion, treat them with a modicum of respect etc.  I think that this is just part of the ling culture; owing largely to the tone set in the earliest days of generative grammar at MIT (thanks Morris, Noam).  The central problem with ling grad education concerns not how students are treated when PhDing, but whether jobs will be available when PhD is completed.  The job market could be a whole lot better and many very able people (more able than I was when I finished) have much too hard a time landing permanent positions. However, younger colleagues, next time you want to complain about the grad school experience, pull THIS out and (re-)read it.  I understand that the reported expectations are not dated and that there are parts of academia that make the gulag look like spring break.


  1. As someone with his feet planted firmly in both worlds.... yes, very yes. Working with linguists already makes every day a delight for me, and hearing my neuroscientific peers' experiences just makes me savor it all that much more.

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