Yale PhD in Law

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quakeroats
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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:06 pm

Alexandria wrote:Well, I'm betting on it. I'm starting in the program this fall. I might blog about it if people seem interested -- a law school friend suggested it to me.

The faculty (particularly the ones who matter) are VERY invested in the program, and I feel like I will come out of it a much better scholar than I would have come out of a more traditional fellowship or VAP program. I also think they will be a big help when I'm on the market.


If you're an American doing a JSD, you're wasting your time. It's not viewed as a serious degree and is very unlikely to lead to a tenured position. The people you're listening to have an interest in your decision and won't be hiring you. Hiring committees will not be impressed.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Dr. Dre » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:14 pm

quakeroats wrote:
Alexandria wrote:Well, I'm betting on it. I'm starting in the program this fall. I might blog about it if people seem interested -- a law school friend suggested it to me.

The faculty (particularly the ones who matter) are VERY invested in the program, and I feel like I will come out of it a much better scholar than I would have come out of a more traditional fellowship or VAP program. I also think they will be a big help when I'm on the market.


If you're an American doing a JSD, you're wasting your time. It's not viewed as a serious degree and is very unlikely to lead to a tenured position. The people you're listening to have an interest in your decision and won't be hiring you. Hiring committees will not be impressed.


I think she's in the PhD Law program at Yale

Not the JSD

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:29 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Alexandria wrote:Well, I'm betting on it. I'm starting in the program this fall. I might blog about it if people seem interested -- a law school friend suggested it to me.

The faculty (particularly the ones who matter) are VERY invested in the program, and I feel like I will come out of it a much better scholar than I would have come out of a more traditional fellowship or VAP program. I also think they will be a big help when I'm on the market.


If you're an American doing a JSD, you're wasting your time. It's not viewed as a serious degree and is very unlikely to lead to a tenured position. The people you're listening to have an interest in your decision and won't be hiring you. Hiring committees will not be impressed.


I think she's in the PhD Law program at Yale

Not the JSD


It's the same thing. If you look at the description you'll see that the program is new. Before they started it, they offered a JSD for foreign and domestic students. Now they've limited the JSD to non-U.S. students and started a "Ph. D." in law. That's not going to fool a hiring committee.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Dr. Dre » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:49 pm

quakeroats wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Alexandria wrote:Well, I'm betting on it. I'm starting in the program this fall. I might blog about it if people seem interested -- a law school friend suggested it to me.

The faculty (particularly the ones who matter) are VERY invested in the program, and I feel like I will come out of it a much better scholar than I would have come out of a more traditional fellowship or VAP program. I also think they will be a big help when I'm on the market.


If you're an American doing a JSD, you're wasting your time. It's not viewed as a serious degree and is very unlikely to lead to a tenured position. The people you're listening to have an interest in your decision and won't be hiring you. Hiring committees will not be impressed.


I think she's in the PhD Law program at Yale

Not the JSD


It's the same thing. If you look at the description you'll see that the program is new. Before they started it, they offered a JSD for foreign and domestic students. Now they've limited the JSD to non-U.S. students and started a "Ph. D." in law. That's not going to fool a hiring committee.



1. So a JSD is only for international students and this PHD we are talking about is only for American students? (CR = yes)

2. You say a JSD is useless and from that you conclude that a PHD (in law) will be useless? Aren't you making a few assumptions?

a. (they are different [see sentence #1] and only one school in the US currently offers a PHD in law)

b. Couldn't it be the case that the JSD degree is not respected because many TTT schools offer it and employers are like "lolwut! a JSD from this toilet!!!"


c. Also, don't most of those JSDers work outside of the U.S? Whereas these PHDers will most likely work in the US?

hmmm i'm confused...please enlighten me :mrgreen:

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:06 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Alexandria wrote:Well, I'm betting on it. I'm starting in the program this fall. I might blog about it if people seem interested -- a law school friend suggested it to me.

The faculty (particularly the ones who matter) are VERY invested in the program, and I feel like I will come out of it a much better scholar than I would have come out of a more traditional fellowship or VAP program. I also think they will be a big help when I'm on the market.

If you're an American doing a JSD, you're wasting your time. It's not viewed as a serious degree and is very unlikely to lead to a tenured position. The people you're listening to have an interest in your decision and won't be hiring you. Hiring committees will not be impressed.


I think she's in the PhD Law program at Yale

Not the JSD


It's the same thing. If you look at the description you'll see that the program is new. Before they started it, they offered a JSD for foreign and domestic students. Now they've limited the JSD to non-U.S. students and started a "Ph. D." in law. That's not going to fool a hiring committee.



1. So a JSD is only for international students and this PHD we are talking about is only for American students? (CR = yes)

2. You say a JSD is useless and from that you conclude that a PHD (in law) will be useless? Aren't you making a few assumptions?

a. (they are different [see sentence #1] and only one school in the US currently offers a PHD in law)

b. Couldn't it be the case that the JSD degree is not respected because many TTT schools offer it and employers are like "lolwut! a JSD from this toilet!!!"


c. Also, don't most of those JSDers work outside of the U.S? Whereas these PHDers will most likely work in the US?

hmmm i'm confused...please enlighten me :mrgreen:


Read this post and all the comments and then we'll talk:

http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblaw ... 5/jsd.html

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:21 pm

quakeroats wrote:
Read this post and all the comments and then we'll talk:

http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblaw ... 5/jsd.html

Eh, the comments raise some concerns, but they're by no means universally knocking graduate programs in law. The law PhD/JSD is like anything - you have to think very carefully about why you're getting it and what you can realistically get out of the program. If you know how to do that, I fail to see how these degrees are going to hurt you. I think the PhD is probably better, yes (and that you could probably find an appropriate non-law department for just about any legal topic you want to pursue). But that doesn't transform the Yale PhD into academia's equivalent of Cooley at sticker.

(I suspect the bigger problem is that the JD does not remotely prepare someone for a sustained research project like a dissertation, so I could see people struggling with the transition unless they have prior research experience. But that's true of PhD programs as well.)

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Alexandria » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:22 pm

1. Yes, accepted. It's a small class -- 5 people, and we applied last fall and were accepted in January. 100% yield. The other 4 people have JDs from HYS. Mine is from Michigan.

2. Not single. ;)

3. The point of program is not so much the degree -- I've always viewed getting a PhD as a bonus. As far as I'm aware, those of us doing it were considering VAPs and fellowships, not PhD programs in other fields. Instead, I'm excited about what the program offers -- not only the time and resources to research and write (something people always think they'll be able to do in their spare time while practicing and rarely actually have the time to -- especially if you have a child like I do), but an incredible, structured system of faculty support and other opportunities to improve me as a scholar. That system is something the JSD program does not have. There also seems to be a lot of faculty enthusiasm for the program. It is the "baby" of the dean of the Law School, and that shows.

No one is ever guaranteed a tenure track position, and we all know the market isn't great right now. But I feel confident that if I work my ass off to make the most of the opportunity that has been given to me, the faculty I work with at Yale will offer me all the help they can when I am on the market.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:35 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
quakeroats wrote:but they're by no means universally knocking graduate programs in law.


Yes, they are (if by graduate program you exclude JDs and LLMs). The views in that thread are the views of the people who make tenure-track hiring decisions. I submit to you that they're representative of the views of hiring committees generally. Here, again, are just a few:


"I teach at one of the top law schools that heavily emphasizes inter-disciplinary work. We have several PhD's and an occasional foreign SJD, but we've never hired an American SJD. The overwhelming perception is that SJD is not a serious academic degree, surely inferior to a PhD. So, if you are considering SJD versus a fellowship, SJD might be a good option, especially if SJD is at a top school while a fellowship is at a lesser school and involves a lot of time-consuming non-specialty teaching (legal research) with little faculty contact. But if your choice is PhD versus SJD, get a PhD. There is simply no comparison. PhD involves a much rigorous training and is treated with a lot more respect on the market. I bet Marc would have done more good to his academic credentials if he went back to school to finish his romance languages PhD instead of doing an SJD. (Of course, I am not saying PhD programs are universally more enjoyable or fulfilling -- just that confer a more marketable degree)."



"Marc - as you go down the US News ladder, a VAP or fellowship is probably even more valuable than the JSD because the VAP or fellowship provides teaching experience. Even if that teaching experience is unrelated to your area of expertise, it's valuable. In fact, everyone should teach legal writing to appreciate both the reasoning and writing schools that our first year students have and the work that our legal writing colleagues do on a daily basis.
As a hiring chair, I put no weight on a JSD - as you pointed out in your original post,it's a cleansing agent, just like an LL.M from Yale. I just don't see the point of going beyond the LL.M."


"Compare that to American candidates: when an American gets an SJD, the market infers only one thing -- s/he was not smart enough, or diligent enough, to get a real academic degree (PhD). That's why the market treats US and non-US SJDs very differently."

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:43 pm

More on the Yale "PhD" in law:

"Yale Law School's New Fake "PhD in Law" Program...
...got only 82 applicants, which is surprising. I would have expected higher demand for a three-year paid Fellowship for aspiring law teachers! (The linked article, bizarrely, thinks this is an impressive tally, yet I can't imagine any other "PhD program" at Yale has so few applicants. On why the program is a fake qua PhD program, see the earlier discussion.)"

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leit ... ogram.html

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Alexandria » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:49 pm


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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:06 pm

quakeroats wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
quakeroats wrote:but they're by no means universally knocking graduate programs in law.


Yes, they are (if by graduate program you exclude JDs and LLMs). The views in that thread are the views of the people who make tenure-track hiring decisions. I submit to you that they're representative of the views of hiring committees generally. Here, again, are just a few:


"I teach at one of the top law schools that heavily emphasizes inter-disciplinary work. We have several PhD's and an occasional foreign SJD, but we've never hired an American SJD. The overwhelming perception is that SJD is not a serious academic degree, surely inferior to a PhD. So, if you are considering SJD versus a fellowship, SJD might be a good option, especially if SJD is at a top school while a fellowship is at a lesser school and involves a lot of time-consuming non-specialty teaching (legal research) with little faculty contact. But if your choice is PhD versus SJD, get a PhD. There is simply no comparison. PhD involves a much rigorous training and is treated with a lot more respect on the market. I bet Marc would have done more good to his academic credentials if he went back to school to finish his romance languages PhD instead of doing an SJD. (Of course, I am not saying PhD programs are universally more enjoyable or fulfilling -- just that confer a more marketable degree)."



"Marc - as you go down the US News ladder, a VAP or fellowship is probably even more valuable than the JSD because the VAP or fellowship provides teaching experience. Even if that teaching experience is unrelated to your area of expertise, it's valuable. In fact, everyone should teach legal writing to appreciate both the reasoning and writing schools that our first year students have and the work that our legal writing colleagues do on a daily basis.
As a hiring chair, I put no weight on a JSD - as you pointed out in your original post,it's a cleansing agent, just like an LL.M from Yale. I just don't see the point of going beyond the LL.M."


"Compare that to American candidates: when an American gets an SJD, the market infers only one thing -- s/he was not smart enough, or diligent enough, to get a real academic degree (PhD). That's why the market treats US and non-US SJDs very differently."

First, those are only 3 anonymous comments on a post dedicated to explaining why the SJD can be valuable, if you go in with certain expectations. You may well have reason to think that they're representative of hiring committees in law, but I don't know what it is. Second, the Yale program isn't an SJD, and I know, you think it's a "fake" Ph.D/dressed up SJD, but I think it's too early to determine whether that's the case, or whether the Yale Ph.D. will garner the same reactions as SJDs do in the 3 comments you cite. Betting on Yale's academic qualifications isn't the biggest gamble out there. Third, it doesn't sound like the people entering the Yale Ph.D. need their credentials "cleansed" in any way. There's a difference between saying, Here is someone who has an SJD, therefore we won't hire them [regardless of other qualifications], and saying, Here is someone who has an SJD, and the SJD is clearly an attempt to make up for weak JD credentials, therefore we won't hire them. Fourth, Alexandria's point that it's an alternative to a fellowship/VAP, not to a Ph.D. in another field makes sense to me (and as an aside, I think you'd have to go pretty far down the US News ladder to find a school that actually values a VAP for teaching experience rather than for the opportunity to publish. If you think teaching experience carries any meaningful weight on the academic job market, I have a bridge to sell you).

(Personally, I think another downside of graduate law degrees is that they really only qualify you to teach in law schools, whereas a non-law Ph.D. will help you get a gig at a law school AND in the department of your Ph.D. But that's a different issue.)

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:17 pm

Alexandria wrote:And a more balanced take:

http://www.volokh.com/2012/07/12/the-yale-ph-d-in-law/


Which other Yale Ph. D. programs had fewer than 100 applicants? Which other Ph. D. programs at any major university had fewer than 100 applicants? How many new associate (US) professors had JSDs in the past 10 years? What's the percentage of US law professors with JSDs?

It's not impossible to get a tenure-track position with a JSD, but neither is it impossible to get a job at Sullivan and Cromwell with a degree from Pittsburgh Law. This is a hope-based degree. Recognize it as such.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby thelawdoctor » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:35 pm

Alexandria wrote:1. Yes, accepted. It's a small class -- 5 people, and we applied last fall and were accepted in January. 100% yield. The other 4 people have JDs from HYS. Mine is from Michigan.

2. Not single. ;)

3. The point of program is not so much the degree -- I've always viewed getting a PhD as a bonus. As far as I'm aware, those of us doing it were considering VAPs and fellowships, not PhD programs in other fields. Instead, I'm excited about what the program offers -- not only the time and resources to research and write (something people always think they'll be able to do in their spare time while practicing and rarely actually have the time to -- especially if you have a child like I do), but an incredible, structured system of faculty support and other opportunities to improve me as a scholar. That system is something the JSD program does not have. There also seems to be a lot of faculty enthusiasm for the program. It is the "baby" of the dean of the Law School, and that shows.

No one is ever guaranteed a tenure track position, and we all know the market isn't great right now. But I feel confident that if I work my ass off to make the most of the opportunity that has been given to me, the faculty I work with at Yale will offer me all the help they can when I am on the market.

Only 5? Dang. Are they allowing you to take any electives with other majors to make up for that?
I'd hate to think a class that small will have any attrition too, lose two guys and almost half the class is gone.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby sublime » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:47 pm

..

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:09 am

sublime wrote:PhD classes, especially at elite institutions typically don't really have attrition.

Not to be the constant contrarian, and I suppose this varies by field (I'm sure it's worse in fields with longer average time-to-degree), but a lot of people who start a Ph.D. program don't finish (I've seen estimates of the attrition rate at 40-50%).

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby sublime » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:11 am

..

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Dr. Dre » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:18 am

Alexandria wrote:2. Not single. ;)




darn!


:(

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby sublime » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:19 am

..

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Dr. Dre » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:20 am

sublime wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:
Alexandria wrote:2. Not single. ;)




darn!


:(


She may have been out of your league to begin with, bro. :|



Yeah I was thinking that, but was worth a shot. (I mean she is Yale).

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:24 am

sublime wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
sublime wrote:PhD classes, especially at elite institutions typically don't really have attrition.

Not to be the constant contrarian, and I suppose this varies by field (I'm sure it's worse in fields with longer average time-to-degree), but a lot of people who start a Ph.D. program don't finish (I've seen estimates of the attrition rate at 40-50%).



You may have better info than I do, but from what I have seen, at the prestigious universities, because they only take 5 or 10 people, they make damn well sure you finish, even if it takes 7 years.

That assumes that completion rate is of any particular concern to departments - I think it's become more significant in recent years, but I'm still not convinced it weighs that heavily. In many many schools - including "prestigious" ones (which I'd argue means something different for Ph.D. programs than for law schools), it's much more important just to get Ph.D. students in to teach the undergrad courses (and to provide warm bodies so grad profs can teach their pet grad courses and not have to teach undergrad courses).

In any case, these estimates cover all Ph.D. programs, so yeah, it'll vary. Most of the numbers I can find are a little old, but this Council of Graduate Schools presentation from 2008 shows a cumulative completion rate of 57% over 10 years. (http://www.phdcompletion.org/resources/ ... Sowell.pdf) That's pretty consistent with my experience - I'd say about half the people who started my Ph.D. program didn't finish. (I think it admitted 27 people my year; it has reduced its classes since then, though, to more like 15-18.)

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Alexandria » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:36 am

thelawdoctor wrote:
Alexandria wrote:1. Yes, accepted. It's a small class -- 5 people, and we applied last fall and were accepted in January. 100% yield. The other 4 people have JDs from HYS. Mine is from Michigan.

2. Not single. ;)

3. The point of program is not so much the degree -- I've always viewed getting a PhD as a bonus. As far as I'm aware, those of us doing it were considering VAPs and fellowships, not PhD programs in other fields. Instead, I'm excited about what the program offers -- not only the time and resources to research and write (something people always think they'll be able to do in their spare time while practicing and rarely actually have the time to -- especially if you have a child like I do), but an incredible, structured system of faculty support and other opportunities to improve me as a scholar. That system is something the JSD program does not have. There also seems to be a lot of faculty enthusiasm for the program. It is the "baby" of the dean of the Law School, and that shows.

No one is ever guaranteed a tenure track position, and we all know the market isn't great right now. But I feel confident that if I work my ass off to make the most of the opportunity that has been given to me, the faculty I work with at Yale will offer me all the help they can when I am on the market.

Only 5? Dang. Are they allowing you to take any electives with other majors to make up for that?
I'd hate to think a class that small will have any attrition too, lose two guys and almost half the class is gone.


The only class we all necessarily have together is the pro-seminar, which is required for us and is also opened up to certain other "graduate" students (JSD, LLM, JD/PhD, maybe PhD in other disciplines) to get it up to a certain size (I think like 10-15 is the goal). The first semester of the pro-seminar is on seminal works from the last 20 years that we should all be familiar with, and the second semester is workshopping papers -- first faculty papers, then our own.

The other classes we take are particularly geared toward any holes in our knowledge that we might have in our preparation for our particular projects. You come into the program with a very specific idea of what your research and writing will be on. You take 0-4 classes other than the proseminar, depending on what you need. In my case, I think I will be taking 1 core JD class that I didn't take when I was in law school but that is strongly related to my practice area (and, more importantly, my project) -- so I have a strong but rather focused knowledge of a particular aspect of the subject and need to broaden my knowledge. That might be the only class I take other than the proseinar, plus a 1-on-1 directed study with my main advisor, who is also (non-coincidentally) a top scholar in my main area of interest, and probably a sort of independent study of another area that I need to bone up on that Yale isn't offering any classes on.

You can take graduate courses in any of the other Yale schools (or at least in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences -- I don't know what would happen if you wanted to take something in the Medical School or something). But, again, anything you would take needs to have a purpose -- it needs to be helping you toward your particular research and writing project.

I will be surprised if there is attrition. We are simply people who know what we're getting into. It's not like we are people with only BAs who then go into a PhD program in a related or unrelated area without any experience in graduate/professional school.


Edit: I should add -- this is really being viewed as the second half of a PhD program, with the first half having been the coursework you did as a JD.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Talar » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:07 am

Alexandria, do you mind giving your stats? Like, did you do well in law school or did you have a lot of work experience after LS? Thanks!

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Alexandria » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:16 am

Talar wrote:Alexandria, do you mind giving your stats? Like, did you do well in law school or did you have a lot of work experience after LS? Thanks!


Magna cum laude at Michigan. 3 years at a selective firm. A clear interest in a particular research/writing/teaching area, demonstrated by my practice, classes I took in law school, and the one piece I've already published.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby Talar » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:28 am

Alexandria wrote:
Talar wrote:Alexandria, do you mind giving your stats? Like, did you do well in law school or did you have a lot of work experience after LS? Thanks!


Magna cum laude at Michigan. 3 years at a selective firm. A clear interest in a particular research/writing/teaching area, demonstrated by my practice, classes I took in law school, and the one piece I've already published.


Thank you! And congrats again on the opportunity.

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Re: Yale PhD in Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:04 am

Alexandria wrote:I will be surprised if there is attrition. We are simply people who know what we're getting into. It's not like we are people with only BAs who then go into a PhD program in a related or unrelated area without any experience in graduate/professional school.

Yeah, sorry, I was really going off on a tangent. I didn't mean to suggest there was any reason to expect attrition at your program in particular. (Presuming everyone has enough of a background in research to get through a dissertation process. But I come from a background where completing a dissertation in 2 years was REALLY uncommon, so I'm a little pessimistic.)




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