Saturday, February 28, 2015

A PhD In Gardening

Honest to god.  I thought it was:

1.  A spoof
2.  And if not a spoof, a bogus degree offered at a bogus school.

It's the University of Michigan.

Which I guess is now a bogus school.


Adam said...

MSU actually has one of the premier programs in the United States for horticulture. -Quite- a lot of cultivars originate from there and they train folks in everything from landscape design to cloning.

I've spent a lot of time around those students. It might not be the most intellectually engaging work, but it is actually work and it is in demand. The dep

Have you completely run out of stuff to make fun of?

Florian Ulrich said...

They don't even try to pretend that this PhD (!) does not get you a job outside of academia:

"(...) supports students who wish to advance scholarship in landscape architecture and who typically pursue academic careers upon graduation. Landscape architecture graduates of the University of Michigan serve on faculties worldwide (...)"

You'll always water the flowers on the farm called academia. Sounds poetic until you realize you'll never be able to escape.

Adam said...

"They don't even try to pretend that this PhD (!) does not get you a job outside of academia: "

If you go all the way for the PhD, sure. Pretty much the entirety of the program guarantees you'll do everything from learning to use hydraulic machinery to dig trees to, yes, drawing gardens. You'll study (and use) organic chemistry, plant and soil sciences, and quite a lot of other STEM-related coursework.

If you're interested in the academic components and just research, you can stay there and contribute to a growing field of knowledge. I find the premise dull as hell, but whatever - if we're all going to seek the same passions it's going to be a really boring planet.

Or you can go out and get a job that is in demand (thousands of buildings built every day, each one needs someone to lay out the landscaping), spend your day pretty much at your discretion either in an office managing the finances / directing supplies or out in the sun getting exercise and fresh air. Then you can take a pretty competitive salary home to the wife and kids.

Oh, man. What suckers those kids are, pursuing commercially viable passions in a growing industry.

For a crowd claiming intellectual honesty, you guys haven't done even a minute of the most vapid research into the subject. You just saw a program, saw, "oh, I bet that's just grandma's gardening" and went with it.

This is starting to read like a fourteen year-old girl's twitter feed making fun of Becky.

Alex from Australia said...

If you study this degree you are basically nothing more than a indentured plantation ni**er for that institution that gave you a loan to study this crap. Kind of fitting and yet ironic at the same time.

About ten years back, I had a guy from high school who studied a bachelor in landscape architecture laugh at me because he didn't think I had what it took to study engineering. I am now gainfully employed in my field. I wonder what happened to him...

Paul, Dammit! said...

I'd say there's a world of difference between a horticulturist and a landscape architect. At some level there's art and engineering involved, I suppose, which justified the Post Hole Digger label.

Anonymous said...

Ph.D.'s in nonacademic studies are ridiculous, though much in demand.

However, Aaron, do you like eating? University programs in plant breeding, animal husbandry, veterinary medicine etc. have contributed mightily to farming in North America. Possibly more in Canada, with canola (a major crop in Canada - I don't know about the US), fast-ripening hard wheat varieties, all with some academic participation.

Anonymous said...

And you might look for contributions that tulips make to the economy of the Netherlands ...

Jimmy Jambone said...

Learning how to cultivate is a GREAT skill to have and IF this degree actually teaches you this and is the most efficient way of learning it, then great.

I seriously doubt it is. I suspect you'd learn a lot more (and get paid) if you just went to work in a garden centre for three years.

The degree certificate - well I've never known anyone to ask their landscape gardener if they have a degree or not.

Anonymous said...

I know a bunch of 20-something guys that make about 100k a year with no education actually doing this instead of learning it that would probably laugh at the ideal of going to school (grad school even) to do this. They have to sweat though, so that's probably a major drawback.