Opportunity Cost

I have been wondering about the pros and cons of grad school education in general, and Ph.D. in particular. One thing that most people do not talk about is the opportunity cost of the decision to go to school for 7 more years (2 Masters + 5 Ph.D). Exactly how much does one loose in terms of lost earnings? More importantly, how long does it take for us to make up the difference?

I am suspicious that the numbers don’t play out well for grad school, else they will be touting it around. More on this later.

PS: First post from Google Chrome!


  • By Breena Ronan, September 20, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

    No question about it, a PhD makes little sense if you can get a professional job without it. The finances make little sense.

  • By deeply frustated MA student, October 14, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    I’m posting to an old post, but

    This is exactly my conundrum. I think I’d enjoy teaching and researching. the problem is I can’t resolve myself to another 4-8 years of minimal earnings after i finish my MA. I want to own a house and have kids etc. Did I mention I didn’t go straight to grad school? I also want to fucking go to fucking bed before fucking one fucking am after having spent 8-15 hours doing work with minimal procrastination FOR POVERTY PAY. It is utterly infuriating. So far as I can gather today’s undergrads are taught by people who were either so wealthy that they had no concern over money, so stunted they were afraid of the “real world” or so cloistered they don’t realize that they hold their precious tenure position out of luck, considering that one tenured position opens up for what, every three to eight adjunct jobs? Insane. I can’t justify abusing myself that long anymore. I’d rather live an intellectually unfulfilled life with middle-class wages than an intellectually challenging one that demands I accept substandard pay and 65-hour workweeks for some weird-ass Dead Poet’s Society version of reality.

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