Graduate school does have formal coursework, as most new to the process assume. It just doesn’t last very long, not much beyond the first year or two in most cases that I am familiar with. It can be excellent or dismal, depending on the degree to which the faculty as a whole think it is a waste of time better spent on running experiments. For both students and instructors.
Compromises are struck in the professoriat’s unending quest to shed teaching responsibility so that they can focus on the only thing that makes or breaks their careers- scientific output.
One such compromise is the team-taught course in which a number of profs are rounded up to do a lecture or three. This leads to the following scenario, hilarious distilled by Samia of 49 percent blog:

Each unit of every course is taught by multiple instructors from various departments, so each exam is really a bundle of mini-tests that are graded separately and using entirely different (and sometimes mysterious) criteria. Since every professor is lecturing on their Favouritest and Most Special Part of Science THAT NO ONE ELSE RESPECTS *rips shirt off*, we get about 100000000x more information than most of us will probably need.

Guilty as charged, Your Honor.

Master's degree, en passant

December 8, 2010

Science Professor has a new post on the role of taking a Master’s degree prior to entering and/or completing a Ph.D. There are a couple of reader questions so go over there and comment.

Here are my questions for you:

Do you write M.S. students into your grant proposals or do you only advise M.S. students supported by teaching assistantships?

Do you value M.S. students or consider the M.S. an option for “failed” Ph.D. students? (Or something in between those views)

Me, being a lazy blogger, I thought I’d poll my readers for the experience of their own doctoral training program. Feel free to answer if you are in a PhD program at present with your plans with respect to taking a Master’s degree in passing.

Select up to two options.