Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ph.D. vs. MA

DCAT explains the difference in response to an article from a community college professor:

To use a baseball analogy, having the PhD is like making the majors. Getting the MA places you somewhere in the minors, and not necessarily in Triple A -- a wonderful accomplishment and one relatively few people attain, but still along way from Fenway Park.
Read on.


greg said...

It's a poor analogy. Guys in Triple A want to make it to the big leagues. People who have their M.A. don't necessarily want to get their PhD. Ballplayers stuck in Triple A are their because they don't have the skill to get to the show. While that's certainly true for alot of M.A. candidates, it's not the rule. Plus no one carries your bags when you have a PhD., there's no one throwing ungodly breaking balls, and all the women aren't all gorgeous, to quote Crash Davis from Bull Durham.

J.D. said...

Perhaps another analogy is that of pilot to astronaut.

Tom said...

Maybe you like spaghetti and meatball? You more comfortable with that analogy?

Yes, considering we're in America. I mean, if you don't like spaghetti and meatballs, why don't you get the hell out?

dcat said...

Greg --
Rather than being a poor analogy, I'd say like most analogies, it is ONLY an analogy, and not a perfect comparison if you carry it out to the end. I think the quality factor is still there -- that whether or not one COULD have gotten one's PhD, the fact remains that the gap between those who do and those who don't have it are like the difference between the major leagues and something like Double A ball.
I make students carry my bags and I'll have you know that the women ARE gorgeous. And whether i face breaking balls, lord knows that from all directions there are people trying to break your balls.

Tom said...

Seriously, I think it is a solid analogy. Greg is right about not all MAs wanting their Ph.D., but that wasn't the issue. The issue was MAs who want to be full professors, which almost always requires a Ph.D. in fields that have Ph.D.s. If you really want to be a college professor, you usually want to be a Ph.D.

Besides, lack of skill is not the only reason players do not make the majors: lots of players don't have the patience to wait or lack discipline or aren't hard workers or just have rotten luck. All of these factors can stand between someone who has an MA and wants a Ph.D.

greg said...

Full disclosure alert: I didn't read the whole post by Derek, I just commented on the excerpt. You write too much Derek, that's why I read Big Tent so much, they don't say anything! Kidding. But, I do understand the analogy and I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I think it's safe to assume that anyone who makes it to Triple A wants to make it to the bigs. But, as in my case, not all those who do their master's work want to go on to do their Phd work. It can be a result of laziness, aversion to hard work, etc. like Tom mentions but sometimes it's just (again, as in my case) that one wants to do something other than the work of a professional historian. I like coaching 3 sports at my high school. I wouldn't have the opportunity to do that at a college or university.

And Derek, do you expect me to believe that all the women at UTPB are gorgeous? I know they were at Cal Poly and when I visited Ohio, but Texas? C'mon!

dcat said...

Greg --
Not all of 'em. Ben Franklin could certainly have a field day among certain demographic groups. But we get the perfect melange. Don't mess with Texas.

It is almost unfair to compare women anyplace to the inexplicable Athens phenomenon. I don't understand it, I just accept it.

In my very long piece I did almost say "Except for Greg. He's just plain dumb." But that would have seemed gratuitous.


greg said...

Fair enough.

Stephen said...

Greg experienced Athens. I remember.

greg said...

Best wedding ever.