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The Future of the PhD

Scientists attaining a PhD gain entry to an academic elite — but it's not as elite as it once was. More people are graduating with PhDs than ever before, and the growth shows no sign of slowing. Nature explores this and other issues surrounding the science PhD today and asks whether it needs reinvention. Tell us what you think about the future of the PhD by commenting online or joining our Q&A.

Image credit: Oliver Munday


  • Live Q & A

    What are the problems with the science PhD - and does it need reinvention? Join us on Thursday, 21 April at 4pm London time for a live Q&A on the future of the PhD.


  • Fix the PhD

    No longer a guaranteed ticket to an academic career, the PhD system needs a serious rethink.

    Nature 472 , 259-260 ( )


  • Education: The PhD factory

    The world is producing more PhDs than ever before. Is it time to stop?

    Nature 472 , 276-279 ( )

  • Education: Rethinking PhDs

    Fix it, overhaul it or skip it completely - institutions and individuals are taking innovative approaches to postgraduate science training.

    Nature 472 , 280-282 ( )


  • Seven ages of the PhD

    Scientists share memories of doing doctorates in different decades, disciplines and locations, from the hunt for the structure of DNA to deciphering the human genome.

    Nature 472 , 283-286 ( )

  • Reform the PhD system or close it down

    There are too many doctoral programmes, producing too many PhDs for the job market. Shut some and change the rest, says Mark C. Taylor.

    Nature 472 , 261 ( )


  • What is a PhD really worth?

    An advanced degree doesn't always bring the prospects it once did, says Peter Fiske. But scientists can learn from the travails of those with professional qualifications.

    Nature 472 , 381 ( )