AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 102. Training the Next Generation of Professionals: What's New for Majors and Graduate Students
Special, Oral, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Continental Ballroom C

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[102.05] On the Importance of PhD Institute in Establishing a Long-Term Research Career in Astronomy

B.K. Gibson (CASA), M. Buxton, E. Vassiliadis, M.N. Sevenster, D.H. Jones (ANU), R.K. Thornberry (ATNF)

We have examined the success rates of 19 American, Canadian, Australian, and Dutch graduate programs in producing long-term, career, research astronomers. A 20-year baseline was considered (1975-1994), incorporating 897 astronomy PhD graduates. The major conclusion from our study is that the fraction of PhD graduates still involved in astronomical research is surprisingly insensitive to the institutional source of one's PhD. With few exception, ~55arrow 75% of astronomy graduates, regardless of PhD source, remain active in the astronomical research community. A Kepler-Meier survival analysis of two disparate institutes demonstrates that ``success'' is a dynamical entity, and that blind consideration of a 20-year baseline sample can mask important recent trends. Within ten years of PhD receipt, an equilibrium is reached in which ~45% of the graduates are in identifiably permanent positions, ~ 20% remain in soft-money positions, and ~35% have left research entirely. Graduates of American universities are \gtrsim 2arrow 3\times more likely to find permanent employment in the USA than Canadian or Australian graduates are within their respective institute's country. While the number of American, Canadian, and Dutch PhDs have grown ~20% during the past decade, the growth in Australia has been closer to ~70%.

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