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What exactly IS post-doctoral study?

  1. stanwshura profile image74
    stanwshuraposted 5 years ago

    What exactly IS post-doctoral study?

    What credential is a student trying to earn after the Ph.D.?  Is that not the highest rung on the stedent ladder?

  2. brianrock profile image89
    brianrockposted 5 years ago

    When you're a post-doc, you're conducting research for the sake of it without looking for a credential. While a PhD is the highest degree you can earn, being awarded a PhD doesn't mean that you've learned everything there is worth learning. In fact, a newly minted PhD is really at the bottom of the pyramid compared to more experienced and older researchers.

    One reason to engage in post-doc research is to receive grant money. Let's say you want to research biology, but you don't want to teach. A grant could pay for your research (plus a stipend / salary).

    Another reason to do post-doc research is to bide your time (and enhance your resume) while waiting for a tenure track position to open up at a research university. There are lots of PhDs out there, and very few tenure tracked teaching jobs. To get one, you'll need to have a thick resume of research, and one way to do that is to conduct more post-doc research after you get your doctorate.

    And if you want to think about it in an idealistic way, post-docs are just trying to conduct research to contribute to their fields. At it's core, research is about understanding a problem - not about earning a degree.

  3. phdast7 profile image83
    phdast7posted 5 years ago

    They are not trying to earn another degree, as you said a doctorate is a terminal degree.  The term usually signifies an intense period  (a week to several months in length - some are even longer) of research or study or scientific investigation with a foundation, science institute  (the CDC), research organization (History - National Archives). 

    I have had two occasions to spend several weeks of concentrated study at the USHMM and two occasions to spend several months working in the National Archives.  These opportunities made me more valuable to my university and strengthened my chances of being promoted.

    The goal of Post-Graduate Study is usually to (1) get one's foot in the door in a particular field, or (2) to have additional advanced and practical experience in one's field before trying to secure a full time position elsewhere, or (3) a way to stay current in one's discipline until a full - time position opens up. 

    Usually, these are competitive positions; they do not usually pay that well, and some not at all,  but they are highly sought after, well - respected, and are a great addition to a resume or Vita.   Hope that helps.   smile