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Do you need a PhD to be called a scientist?

  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
  2. No

    27 vote(s)
  1. Oct 26, 2008 #1
    Do you need a PhD after your name to be a scientist?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2008 #2


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    There are many "scientists" who don't have a Ph.D. As long as you are practicing in that profession, you are a scientist.

  4. Oct 26, 2008 #3
    My thoughts exactly. Some people don't see it that way though.
  5. Oct 26, 2008 #4


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    In theory, the acheivement of a PhD implies that one has a formal eduction, particularly with respect to the scientific method, and one can conducted some independent and original research that contributes to the advancement of the field or branch of science in which one was awarded the PhD.
  6. Oct 26, 2008 #5
    That's right, in theory...................

    How about one's education in the real world though? People with BAs and MAs who have worked for years in industry get their education from working on the job. I know some people with just BAs with 30 years experience who are incredible at science and know more than freshly minted PhDs that just got out of grad school.
  7. Oct 26, 2008 #6


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    Agreed. Real world experience counts. I also know people who push the envelope of knoweldge and experience as would be expected from any PhD, but they only have baccalaureate or master's degrees.
  8. Oct 26, 2008 #7


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    Formal education helps, but is not a prerequisite.
  9. Oct 26, 2008 #8


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    The job title of a Research Scientist in my corporation requires a MS degree with several years of experience or a BS degree with more experience.

    The public does not really care about your credentials , suppose that you don't even have a Bachelor's degree and have a nice invention , most people are going to refer to you as a scientist. You are rich , even your beautiful girlfriend is going to refer you to her parents as a scientist.

    It all depends on who you want to label you as a scientist.
  10. Oct 26, 2008 #9


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    Agreed. Technicians and bench scientists can have a B.S. or M.S. and still be a scientist. A Ph.D. just gives you the experience and qualifications to be in charge of the lab eventually (since academia and industry and government labs all have different titles for that, I'm not specifying a position), but everyone working in the lab is a scientist.
  11. Oct 27, 2008 #10
    The main advantage to a PhD is getting grants and government money.

    The government needs a way to keep Senator Wright's Uncle Jim from stealing the money from the National Science Foundation (Uncle Jim has no education -- just some crack pot ideas and a lot of political pull). The agreement that the pols have come up with is that in order to get government money one has to have a PhD. This keeps Uncle Jim at bay. It doesn't mean that there aren't other qualified people but the government has to have some way to keep the Uncle Jims of the World away from the very limited money.
  12. Oct 29, 2008 #11


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    You don't need a PhD or a job to be a scientist, it's who you are and how you think.
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