Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mr Haney-ovich sells PhDs 

You heard, did you not, that Vladimir Putin may have copied scads of his dissertation from a textbook? This is hardly unusual. Oksana Yablokova reports that you can hire a whole firm to write up your dissertation and prepare you for a defense.

The Russian system of academic degrees is different from most Western systems and includes a "candidate of science" degree, which is roughly the equivalent of a Ph.D., and a higher degree of "doctor of science." Seekers of both degrees are
required to write a dissertation and defend it before an academic board.

Firms that offer to write dissertations estimate that up to 30 percent of all postgraduate students resort to their services these days, and they said the number continued to grow.

Most students seek a candidate of science degree but are too busy to put their careers on hold for the six or more months that it takes to write a dissertation, industry experts said.

I saw lots of people with "candidate" next to their names. Most of these are in economics or law. They are almost required as a credential in ministries of finance or in central banks in the FSU where I've been. They have to be: At $1000 to $7000 per degree, the assistance is out of reach of most mid-level managers in the government.