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Opinion
Noah Smith

America Is Pumping Out Too Many Ph.D.s

The U.S. probably doesn't need more humanities doctorates, but the opposite is true for STEM graduates. We just need to create the jobs to justify them.

The U.S. needs to create more jobs for STEM doctorates.

The U.S. needs to create more jobs for STEM doctorates.

Photographer: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

Ph.D. programs in the U.S. are in for some big changes. Humanities and social science fields probably produce too many Ph.D.s and will need to cut back. But a big expansion of government-funded research could prevent a similar fate from befalling STEM Ph.D.s.

The overproduction of Ph.D.s has been an issue for years in the U.S., which has a higher rate of doctorate holders than almost any other rich country.