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Just Don't Do It: A Fractured and Irreverent Look at the Ph.D. Culture

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A Fractured and Irreverent Look at the Ph.D. Culture

by Gary M. Grobman, Ph.D.

With devastatingly caustic tongue-in-cheek humor and probing insights, Dr. Grobman gives readers ample reasons not to get a Ph.D.—from the excessive time invested (45 years, in one case) and callousness of professors and dissertation committees, to vision of students wandering around campus in a “catatonic state” known as ABD ( “All But Dissertation”). He presents numerous anecdotes—some sad, some hilarious—about what happens when people succeed at getting a doctorate—and when they don’t.

Most Ph.D. dropouts feel an “almost universal bitterness” at a perceived personal failure, Grobman writes. Since people accepted into a doctoral program have been screened for having the ability to succeed, he argues that the high attrition rate in these programs “lies principally with the system and culture,” not with the students themselves. His biting satire will leave permanent teeth marks on this academic culture.

No aspect of the academic culture is sacrosanct and Grobman’s arrows hit their mark with his satirical look at online degrees, diploma mills, honorary degrees, the treatment of female students, and the history of the Ph.D. degree. He provides citations in this meticulously-researched book and a Webography of online Ph.D. humor. And, in case you insist on subjecting yourself to the grueling and “masochistic” process to obtain the coveted degree, Grobman includes a chapter of advice to guide you to accomplish your goal in the least amount of time and with the least stress possible. 

Just Don’t Do It! is a sidesplitter, page after page. A dozen original cartoons illustrate this book, which will have you laughing out loud or crying. Or both at the same time.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Why Did I Ever Get My Ph.D.?  

Chapter 2: Re-Examining the Reasons You Want a Ph.D.  

Chapter 3: History of the Ph.D. Degree  

Chapter 4: Comparing the Ph.D. Program to a Marathon   

Chapter 5: Having a Ph.D. Doesn’t Guarantee Success in Life  

Chapter 6. Ph.D. Program Mental Health   

Chapter 7: Honorary Doctorates  

Chapter 8. Diploma Mills  

Chapter 9. Online Schools  

Chapter 10: Ph.D. Program Attrition  

Chapter  11: Bashing My Chosen Field  

Chapter 12: My Ph.D. Journey—Part 1: Classes and Comps  

Chapter 13: My Ph.D. Journey—Part 2: ABD and Beyond  

Chapter 14: Women and Ph.D. Programs—Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment  

Chapter 15: Thoughts on the Bizarre Nature of the Academic Culture  

Chapter 16: Tips on Surviving in a Ph.D. Program  


Appendix 1: Vocabulary for Talking Like a Ph.D.  
Appendix 2: Annotated Webography of Ph.D. Folklore  
About the Author  

Other Details

Gary M. Grobman, Ph.D.
Publication Date:

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