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> whereas American Ph.D.s can (usually) transition directly to faculty jobs

In physics, going straight from grad student to professor is extremely rare these days.

In the biological and biomedical sciences, it is literally impossible.

I think the OPs comment was about computer science in particular, but even there things are changing somewhat. Partially it's because of the weak economy and scarcity of faculty jobs, but getting into the top-tier places almost requires a postdoc these days.

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