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Faced with financial hardships, multiple demands on their time and uncertain career prospects, some graduate students are losing faith in their chosen career path. In Nature’s 2022 global survey of graduate students — its sixth such survey since 2011 and the first to include master’s students — just 62% of respondents say they are satisfied with their current programme, a notable drop from 71% in 2019, the last time we surveyed PhD students. Half of respondents in the current survey say that their satisfaction has declined since starting their programme.