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length of grad. student careers

4700gbera at umbsky.cc.umb.edu 4700gbera at umbsky.cc.umb.edu
Thu Aug 1 08:48:49 EST 1996

In article <DvFMAq.KDo at murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>, kas4e at galen.med.Virginia.EDU (Kathleen Ann Sindt) writes:
>j-stowe at uiuc.edu  writes:

>> This is just a question regarding length of graduate careers --
>> Are there advantages/disadvantages to "finishing up" quickly
>> vs getting a more complete story for your thesis?

>Just doing a few more experiments to tidy up a thesis is
>pointless.  However - if a bit more work earns you another
>paper - then it's worth the effort.  (Or if it makes your
>committee happier to graduate you.)  

Also, I think it's good to do a bit more work if it's on another 
aspect of the project, that will let you learn another technique, 
analytical skill or method of analyzing data. It will allow you 
to be more flexible in applying for positions.  
>> my impression is that your next position depends more on your letters
>> of recommendation than on your actual thesis (as long as you _have_
>> published something, I assume) 

>And the impression you make.  Typos in a cover letter or CV
>look terrible.  If you interview - the manner in which you
>handle the interview.  It will also depend on your technical
>skills and what the lab is seeking in a post-doc.  

Also, don't forget about meeting and conferences. It's very important
to start presenting your work early and, although I hate using buzzwords,
network, network, network!!! I found it particularly useful to get to
know graduate students in the labs I was interested in. They are the 
ones who will know if a position was going to become available anytime soon.

>Nobody reads or cares about your thesis but you and your
>committee.  And depending on your committee - you might have a
>few who don't read it!  (Though, I expect mine to correct my 

I am sure they only people who read my dissertation was my committee. I kept
mine as short and to the point as possible for that very reason! Our 
department has gotten away from the long, extensive literature review sort
of thing, and we pretty much just set it up with each chapter being pretty
much a publication (with a bit more detail, of course.) Are other departments
doing this now? 


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