Cover: The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It, from Harvard University PressCover: The Graduate School Mess in HARDCOVER

The Graduate School Mess

What Caused It and How We Can Fix It

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674728981

Publication Date: 09/14/2015


320 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

2 line illustrations


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Cassuto clearly presents the challenges facing graduate institutions, including antiquated admissions policies; incoherent course offerings; esoteric, gatekeeping qualifying exams; long times to degrees; and failure to prepare students for diverse career outcomes… The novelty of his treatment is in identifying broader and more encompassing forms of teaching as a solution.—Johanna Gutlerner, Science

Cassuto does more than just map the problems facing graduate students and graduate departments today. He examines the assumptions that perpetuate these problems, and he makes recommendations for extensive reforms to graduate education.—Sara Rodrigues, PopMatters

With rising costs, longer time frames to get PhDs, and uncertain job prospects at the end of it all, more and more students are questioning the wisdom of getting the advanced degree… Cassuto offers a thoughtful and well-researched look at the broader ills of academia through the lens of graduate education programs.—Vanessa Bush, Booklist

The volume is richly referenced and moves in soup-to-nuts fashion from graduate admissions to qualifying exams, the dissertation, the degree, and the job market. Prospective humanities graduate students, program directors, and faculty will probably find spending a few hours with Cassuto’s book worth the investment.—A. R. Sanderson, Choice

Cassuto presents astute summaries of the history of graduate education in America as a foundation for specific approaches to reconceiving it… A thoughtful, clearly written analysis aimed at university professors but speaking to a broader public.—Elizabeth Hayford, Library Journal

There are many books offering graduate students a guide to academe, but there has never been a book for graduate faculty, advisors, and program directors—until now. Cassuto’s thorough account of the mess, from admissions to comprehensive exams and dissertations, will be required reading for everyone who wants to understand how we got into this mess, and how we can get out of it.—Michael Bérubé, Pennsylvania State University

Graduate education in the humanities needs to change at every level; Cassuto’s lucid, frank, and informative book explains why. He traces the history of institutions that seem eternal, shows how and when they came into being, and makes clear that they no longer serve the needs of our students. Everyone concerned with graduate teaching should ponder his concrete and sensible proposals for reform.—Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

This is an important book that will engage anyone with a stake in higher education. Cassuto’s diagnosis will spark a lively debate, but the questions he is asking cannot be ignored.—James Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association

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