Doctor No

, Deborah Lambert, Leave a comment

Among the questions that apparently plague academics these days is—Why don’t more conservatives pursue doctorate degrees?

When Matthew Woessner and his wife April Kelly-Woessner of Elizabethtown College wrote about this subject, they made some interesting discoveries. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “the Woessners found that in a variety of ways conservative students were less interested than liberals in subject matter that leads to doctoral degrees, and less interested in doing the kinds of things that professors spend their time doing.”

On the other hand, liberal students reportedly savored the opportunity to “write original work and make a throretical contribution to science”—and outnumbered conserviatve students 2-to-1 in the humanities and social sciences, the fields of study that most likely produce the most doctorates.

While conservative students placed more value on raising a family and on personal achievement in a structured environment and practical professions that could earn them a lot of money, traits not suited to the rather messy and unstructured world of academia.


Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.