The Matter of the Master’s

(Manually) reblogged from Will’s World

[W]hat happens if the MLS degree withers away and dies?

Let’s suppose that some time in the preapocalyptic future, the MLS ceases to be a financially viable degree. That is a distinct possibility. As an academic program, the MLS is only as strong as the job market that supports it. The only reason that you pay for and pursue an MLS is to get a job. It’s not like pursuing a degree in, say, art history or English literature, where you want to expand your knowledge base and satisfy a personal intellectual interest. The sole purpose of the MLS degree is to give you a practical occupational skill set . . .

The MLS degree is in trouble because we’re mired in a depressed economy. Parents and students are seriously questioning the return on investment for a job training program for which there is a dwindling supply of jobs.

Check out the rest of this post and the numerous, lengthy comments that it provoked here.

As somebody who has just finished her first year in an MLIS program, I can’t say that I’m exactly thrilled about how many of my classmates seem to expect unemployment upon graduation (at least for a time). Neither do I, however, subscribe to the spoiled-brat theory of higher education. That theory goes something like this: I don’t want to do anything else, so I’m going to go to graduate school no matter what the job outlook of such an endeavor looks like. I’m going to graduate school willfully blind to my prospects of getting a job in the field, spend public money while enrolled in the program, including the tax dollars of those who aren’t privileged enough to pursue advanced degrees themselves, but still retain my full rights to bitch about how difficult it is to find a job when I’m in the job hunting phase.

Where does that leave me? I admit that I think about the job market constantly, that I’ve been thinking about it since I started the program. I know that I’m going to start the job search as early as winter of the coming year in the hopes of saving myself from unemployment. I can honestly say that all of my efforts during this past year and the following are going into making myself the strongest job market candidate possible. Everything within my power to do, I will do. That leaves me, in my better moments, optimistic.

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