Should you go
to Grad School in HCI?
Notes from BayCHI Mentor Program
Kickoff Wednesday, May 1, 7:00 PM
Audio of the 3 panelists available here
"You say I'm cool, I'm no fool,
but you wind up applying to grad school." Matt Groening, Life in Hell
Two valuable general resources
Advice for Undergraduates Considering Graduate School
What You Came for : The Smart Student's Guide to Earning a Master's or a Ph.D.
by Robert Peters
- Should I go to graduate school
to improve my job skills?
- If research is what you want
to do, learn from practitioners (most are still in universities).
- If you want to combine research
and practice, consider INTERNING while going to school:
School signals that you
are affordable, focused on learning rather than earning, and it makes
it possible to get involved with a lot of the companies you're interested
in as an intern. Quick
tips from HFES
- If you know what you want
to learn, apprentice yourself to someone who is really cool. Learning
- If I want to apply to graduate
school, what should I do to prepare?
- Talk to grad students, then
- Do research (ie, organize
some way to collect new information)
- Speak the language of professors
in your statement of purpose
- Affiliate yourself with academics
in ways that result in publications or new knowledge
- If I do choose to go, which
is right for me: masters or PhD?
- A master's will enable you
to learn a lot of what is already known in the field. It does not teach
you how to plug into the non-academic world, so you should intern simultaneously.
- If you want to move up in the
business, consider an MBA rather than a research degree. You will then work
to set the usability budget at a company.
- PhD's contribute a small piece,
whose impact is minute but essential. You must love your topic.
I doubt if anyone would
claim to enjoy life at high altitudes -- enjoy, that is, in the ordinary
sense of the word. There is a certain grim satisfaction to be derived from
struggling upwards, however slowly; but the bulk of one's time is necessarily
spent in the extreme squalor of a high camp, when even this solace is lacking.
... I used to try to console myself with the thought that a year ago I would
have been thrilled by the very idea of taking part in our present adventure,
a prospect that had then seemed like an impossible dream; but altitude has
the same effect on the mind as upon the body, one's intellect becomes dull
and unresponsive, and my only desire was to finish the wretched job and
to get down to a more reasonable clime. --
Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
- How can I combine my interest
in research with my desire to make a difference in the wider world?
- How can research skills be
used in the workplace?
- What are the financial costs
and benefits of graduate school?
- Grad school is essentially a
low-paying job, with lots of on the job training. Master's programs typically
require paying up-front, whereas doctoral programs simply require betrothal.
- Opportunity costs dramatically
increase the cost.
- Salary reviews don't suggest
that you would be motivated purely by the economic rationale.