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Do you have a source for the rough number 10? I'd have guessed the average is more, even if the median is 10ish.



It is just a rough guess based on my experience as a grad student. The average professor at my university had 1-2 grad students at a time, and with 6 years to finish a PhD and about 35 years where a professor takes on grad students it works out to roughly 10. I wouldn't be surprised if the number was actually as high as 20 though, 10 is probably a low estimate. Another way to look at is that roughly half of people go on to do a 1st postdoc, half of those go on to do a 2nd and 3rd or 4th postdoc, half of those get a tenure track position and around 3/4 of people with a tenure track position actually get tenure. The problem with a career in physics these days is that a postdoc position is a terrible deal. As a graduate student you at least have job security and can stay in the same place for a good amount of time, not so as a postdoc.


It really depends on the field -- fields with labwork tend to have more PhDs per professor because there's an incentive to get cheap labor.


https://www.its.caltech.edu/~dg/crunch_art.html claims it's about 15. Though that article was written in 1993, it seems (good read in general, btw).

Still, it seems low IMHO. Unless you start counting at the point where the person gains full tenure rather than from the point where they become some kind of "group leader", "assistant professor", or such "tenure track" type position?


I think the relevant number is the fraction of PhDs that go one to a position that mints new PhDs. (That's where the multiplier comes from.) So that almost never includes non-tenure-track positions, but does include assistant professors who don't go on to make tenure.




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