Why do we need to rethink STEM PhD admissions procedures?


Approximately 37,000 students enter STEM PhD programs annually [2], but 15,000 do not complete. The annual cost of educating a STEM doctoral student generally ranges between $50,000 and $75,000. If the 15,000 students who leave do so after one year, the annual cost approaches $1 billion. Many students stay for 2-3 years and leave with masters’ degrees. Institutions do not generally fund STEM masters training and, instead, charge students tuitions and fees, so institutions lose revenue. If even half of those who do not complete take this route, the cost approaches $2 billion per cohort.

These calculations do not include the personal investments of students who do not complete degrees or the time and resources invested by faculty and staff in training these students.