Laura Pappano writes for the New York Times:
He calls the proliferation of master's degrees evidence of “credentialing gone amok.” He says, “In 20 years, you'll need a Ph.D. to be a janitor.”
Among the new breed of master's, there are indeed ample fields, including construction management and fire science and administration, where job experience used to count more than book learning. Internships built into many of these degrees look suspiciously like old-fashioned on-the-job training.
Indeed; this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does risk blurring the goals of graduate degrees further than they already are:
There may be logic in trying to better match higher education to labor needs, but Dr. Vedder is concerned by the shift of graduate work from intellectual pursuit to a skill-based “ticket to a vocation.” What's happening to academic reflection? Must knowledge be demonstrable to be valuable?
That's a very Newman-esque question and one very much worth asking.
HT: Travis McMaken.