Do you want a quick and easy PhD?

December 23, 2017

 

 

Obtaining a PhD is the greatest achievement in some people's entire life. For others, having one is a source of solace throughout a day of hard work as a Starbucks™ barista. What most seem to agree on, though, is that obtaining the crown jewel of academia entails superior intellectual challenges and that it demands all sorts of sacrifices. Right? Well, no, this is simply not true. For anyone dreaming of a PhD degree, there are several options to get there via the fast lane, with minimum or no effort at all, and in a 100% legitimate way.

 

Here is my Top 5 picks. Right after, as a Christmas bonus special, I will chip in an easy how to guide when the time comes to effortlessly write that pesky doctoral dissertation. There are hundreds if not dozens of diploma mills where one can buy a degree, but those places have a tainted reputation and will only work as bragging devices in backwoods parts of the planet. What I aimed at with this list, instead, is to pick "respectable" universities in developed parts of the world so the feel of accomplishment is greater than the shame of having a worthless piece of paper. Moreover, the list was made taking into account tuition fees, availability of online courses, and the publications by the institutions' students or faculty staff, in order to illustrate what type of benchmark you have. The result? Pure doctoral magic.

 

1.

University: University of California Riverside (USA)

Department: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Studies

Degree: PhD in Critical Dance Studies

Tuition: USD $15k

Online courses available: Yes, several

Benchmark: "Choreographers and Yogis: Untwisting the Politics of Appropriation and Representation in U.S. Concert Dance."

 

2.

University: California State University Fullerton (USA)

Department: Department of Education (opt-in from Gender Studies Department)

Degree: Ed.D.

Tuition: USD $6.4k

Online courses available: Some, tuition makes up for it

Benchmark: "Using Autoehnographic Writing to Explore Marginalization and Sense of Belonging in Community College Students."

 

3.

University: Washington State University (USA)

Department: Education 

Degree: PhD, Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education

Tuition: USD $12k (non residents)

Online courses available: Yes, but undergraduate

Benchmark: “Pain is temporary; pride is forever: Interrogating the Body in Contemporary Cheerleading."

 

4.

University: University of Warwick (England)

Department: Sociology

Degree: PhD (by published work! no need to study a damn thing!)

Tuition: £16k (overseas)

Online courses available: Not needed at all, they give PhDs by published work; no need to study a damn thing!

Benchmark: "Trans*Inter*bodies that queer: art as activism" (yes with asterisks included)

 

5.

University: York University (Canada)

Department: School of Gender, Feminist & Women's Studies

Degree: PhD

Tuition: CAD $6k (per term but, hey, it's Canadian dollars)

Online courses available: Yes!

Benchmark: "The Postmodern Turn: Reading Brian McHale's Postmodernist Fiction and Linda Hutcheon's A Poetics of Postmodernism and The Politics of Postmodernism." (if you write 'postmodern' enough times you get published it seems)

 

There you go. Any of the universities you pick from above won't set you back badly neither in financial nor in intellectual terms. You can see that they are respectable names with pretty affordable tuition fees, and, most importantly, the benchmark of intellectual achievement is magnificently low. To make it more attractive, some of those institutions may not even require several trips to the campus, if at all, and you can take intervals between taking online courses and playing Xbox or watching TV.

 

But, how am I supposed to write the doctoral dissertation? --you may ask. Relax. Having gone through the publications accepted in the past and the caliber of the topics "researched" by their faculty, I can guarantee you that it won't be a problem. To start with, the subjects covered are frankly childish and some, to be honest, are outright jokes --at least for anyone outside their little safe space. The best feature of these programs, though, is that the bar has been set so low in the humanities that pretty much anything counts as a dissertation. English, sociology, gender studies, and communications departments all over the world accept nowadays whatever you put them on the table, including rap records. Your best bet, though, is to go for an autoethnography.

 

An autoethnography is, basically, a diary. And since these departments all rest over the premise that truth and fact are relative, it is very hard to reject whatever you feel like writing. Just stare at your navel and then type. Like the Sokal affair demonstrated (and the professors of the aforementioned universities don't appear interested in dispelling) all you need is a heavy, heavy dose of buzzwords. There is even a Wiki-How on how to be a believable charlatan. Take any subject you can imagine and find a way to connect it to anything where there are some individuals better off than others, then accuse the latter of oppressing the former. Here, I give you a few examples. The following three paragraphs are quotes from Derrida, Butler, and Foucault, respectively, all of them caricatures of thinkers, whose writings are extremely easy to paraphrase: 

 

J. Derrida:

The end of man (as a factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought from the vantage of the end of man (as a determined opening or the infinity of a telos). Man is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always.

 

J. Butler

If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called ‘sex’ is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always already gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all.

 

M. Foucault:

I set out to grasp the mechanisms of the effective exercise of power; and I do this because those who are inserted in these relations of power, who are implicated therein, may, through their actions, their resistance, and their rebellion, escape them, transform them—in short, no longer submit to them.

 

Now, if you replace the underlined words for whatever you like, once you have found a related binary, and action the binary in the second paragraph, you just paraphrase the third one adding something to blame on "imperialistic Western capitalism" or the "patriarchy" and, voilà, you have a knockout. Let's do this. For example, let's pick electronic cigarettes and add a phallic twist, shall we? here we go:

 

The end of smoking (as a factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought from the vantage of the end of smoking (as a determined opening or the infinity of a telos). Smoking is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always. If the immutable character of cigarettes is contested, perhaps this construct called ‘cigarette smoking’ is as culturally constructed as vaping; indeed, perhaps it was always already vaping, with the consequence that the distinction between smoking cigarettes and vaping turns out to be no distinction at all. I set out to grasp the mechanisms of the effective exercise of power when the large corporations of the West push any vice they can on consumers in the third world, preferably something manly as any phallic symbol ejaculating smoke; and I do this because those who are inserted in these relations of power, who are implicated therein, may, through their actions, their resistance, and their rebellion, escape them, transform them—in short, no longer submit to them.

 

Fun, isn't it? Let's do another one:

 

The end of motherhood (as a factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought from the vantage of the end of motherhood (as a determined opening or the infinity of a telos). Motherhood is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always. If the immutable character of breastfeeding is contested, perhaps this construct called ‘breastfeeding’ is as culturally constructed as feeding babies with formula; indeed, perhaps it was always already feeding babies with formula, with the consequence that the distinction between breastfeeding and feeding babies with formula turns out to be no distinction at all. I set out to grasp the mechanisms of the effective exercise of power involved in forcing women to feed babies in any way possible under neoliberal oppression; and I do this because those who are inserted in these relations of power, who are implicated therein, may, through their actions, their resistance, and their rebellion, escape them, transform them—in short, no longer submit to them.

 

And, to demonstrate how easy it is, here's a third one, even more ridiculous than the previous one:

 

The end of drying oneself after a shower (as a factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought from the vantage of the end of drying oneself after a shower (as a determined opening or the infinity of a telos). Drying oneself after a shower is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always. If the immutable character of towels is contested, perhaps this construct called ‘towels is as culturally constructed as air-drying; indeed, perhaps it was always already air-drying, with the consequence that the distinction between towels and air-drying turns out to be no distinction at all. I set out to grasp the mechanisms of the effective exercise of power evidenced by hygiene campaigns that privilege the Western notion of what the correct way of getting oneself dry after a shower is; and I do this because those who are inserted in these relations of power, who are implicated therein, may, through their actions, their resistance, and their rebellion, escape them, transform them—in short, no longer submit to them.

 

There you go. Pick your favorite subject, paraphrase as I just did, and make sure to hammer down 250 to 300 pages of absurd inanity circling around the same topic, over and over again. If you run out of imagination, just start writing how the topic you selected makes you feel, and do not worry about describing details such as your breakfast, a walk in the park, or a trip to the urologist. If you run out of inspiration, make sure to read what others are publishing, something which will surely free you of any qualms about your own integrity. I recommend New Real Peer Review on Twitter, a channel specialized in finding and sharing real papers and dissertations from the most ludicrous "scholars" in the humanities. A real treat, I assure you.

 

Enjoy your PhD.

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