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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag: Sept. 28

    I am responding to Michelle A. Monroe’s (column) in which she argues that graduate school is no longer a viable option for the majority of people. It has never been. It continues to be a great option, however, for those who seek higher earnings, greater (but not foolproof) economic security and higher independence and intellectual rewards.

    Although it is certainly true that tuition is higher than ever and that a master’s does not guarantee a job, individuals with master’s and doctorate degrees have a lower unemployment rate and higher mean earnings than those with less education, even in this sluggish economy. For instance, the unemployment rate of individuals holding a master’s degree in 2010 was 4 percent and for those holding a doctorate degree, 1.9 percent, compared to the unemployment rate of 5.4 percent for individuals with a bachelor’s and 7 percent for those with an associate degree. Mean earnings in 2009 continued to go up with education: $116,305 for those with a Ph.D. and $87,913 for those with a master’s, versus $68,812 for those with a bachelor’s and $49,835 for those with an associate degree. Considering that a master’s takes approximately two years and a Ph.D. approximately three and a half (years) beyond that, graduate education still seems an excellent investment.

    Although few graduate programs these days provide funding for master’s degrees, the UA, as well as top universities throughout the country, continue to provide teaching and research assistantships covering tuition, health insurance, a stipend, fellowships and tuition scholarships to most individuals seeking a Ph.D. Furthermore, the demand for advanced degrees will continue to escalate — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2018, 2.5 million more jobs will require graduate degrees — as the baby boomers retire and our globalized world becomes ever more complex. Now that jobs are scarce is the time to prepare.

    Many who’ve done the math have concluded that graduate school “may be the best place to ride out a recession.”

    — Maria Teresa Velez, Ph.D.
    Associate dean, Graduate College

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