Universities face growing financial challenges. Most in the United States, for example, have not recovered from losses incurred on investments during the financial fiasco of 2008, and they probably never will. State and federal support is also collapsing, so institutions cannot afford to support as many programmes. There could be an upside to these unfortunate developments: growing competition for dwindling public and private resources might force universities to change their approach to PhD education, even if they do not want to.
There are two responsible courses of action: either radically reform doctoral programmes or shut them down.
Eh. I’m instinctively skeptical of suggestions that the only “responsible” action is radical change. The PhD isn’t going anywhere for a very long time, and any changes that do occur will surely be small and exploratory. Statements like that make me roll my eyes.
That said, graduate education does need to be reexamined. It’d be nice if we could get a group like the National Academies to write a report that will later be forgotten. I’m pretty sure no one remembers this one from 1995!