T Nation

Have Your Ph.D. Thesis Written for You



Very interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the pay for paper writing business and one writer's account of the job. I'm currently a senior in a top private university (see if you can guess which one) and this article honestly made me sick to my stomach.

This anonymous writer has written everything from college admissions essays to graduate thesis papers, over a wide range of subjects, but it is hard for me to find fault with his actions. I put the onus more on the education system and the students themselves, although there is a compelling arguement to point the finger at the author. It just makes me sad that while I knew of the existence of this black market, it is more prevalent than I thought.

Also, let me say, I am not a saint when it comes to academics, and this is probably why I side with the author. While I have never cheated personally, I have been in the authors situation, albeit on a much much smaller scale. I have helped friends and gfs write papers, I have sold assignments and lab reports and I have even written one paper on a 'for pay' basis. I regarded these situations as capitalizing on opportunities presented, and as a broke college kid, I could not turn them down.

With that, I can't help but feel a certain superiority in taking a hard science/engineering major. While I know that there are brilliant people in all majors and subjects in higher education, I also know from personal experience that this kind of cheating will not fly. Yes, there is cheating here and there in my major and similar ones, but without actually knowing and understanding the material that is taught, there is practically no way one could pass and get a degree, unlike other college level subjects. To think that there are people out there getting undergraduate and even advanced degrees because they can cheat their way through all the while being essentially incompetent does not lend to a great future for America.

Edit: Lulz, talk about irony. Can a mod please fix the spelling error in my subject title. Flame away.


Also, if anyone is interested, as I know there are at least a few educators on this board, there will be a live chat with the author today at 12:00 PM Eastern. Just go to the Chronicle of Higher Education homepage for the details.


As a future teacher/educator/person and as well as a person in the education system. I just think it's junk, everything is based on marks and numbers rather then learning and understanding. Everyone is brought up from grade school that you need to get As and if you don't you are screwed, perhaps even more ironically they then teach you that measurements such as test marks are largely inaccurate. Answering that on a test always made me giggle.

I know people that will be graduating with marks far better then myself not because they are any smarter, but because they've had 90% of their courses done by other people. Tests, assignments, essays are always passed down. Midterms and finals are always somewhere to be found. I feel as though "higher education" is more about who has the right connections rather then what we learn. It's too bad we are slaves to the numbers.

my sloppy and random 0.02. off to study for my exam now.


I have a friend who is doing this. He basically is taking all of his courses online and has hired two or three other people to do the work and take the tests for him. The Irony is that he just got his Masters in CRIMINAL JUSTICE! A few years ago he was just a blue collar guy. To his credit, he knows "The System" better than anyone else I've come across, and he is just ruthlessly exploiting the loopholes.


Numbers, grades, and "the system" get a bad rap but frankly without them we would learn even less.

If there were no tests in my courses, I'd be damned if I spent hours reviewing the material, trying to figure out things I didn't know, asking questions about it. On days where I felt tired, I just wouldn't take notes or try that hard. I sure as hell would never get a paper done in a reasonable amount of time. I can recall courses where I've had strict or difficult professors, and these are the ones that I have actually done the most work in and learned the most.

Maybe I'm a lazy bastard (not really). But I think this is true for most people, and I have serious doubts about someone if they say they are this totally self-motivating person that would be better off without the formal system. Really? Would you study your psychology and physics and calculus equally as vigorously as you do when forced to by grades?

Would you stay up late, read your dry textbook about a subject of no passionate interest to you, do assignments, spend a few hours trying to figure out something that you don't get, all just for the fun of learning?

Well, if you were that kind of person, the grading system would be a non issue anyway because you would know the material well enough to get good grades. A catch 22 of sorts?


Expanding on what kman said about science degrees, you have to defend your PhD thesis in front of an internal examiner and an external examiner. It may be possible to pass of work as your own if you don't see your supervisor regularly, or they don't look at your work (this is common), but you would fail your viva.


Very interesting article, thanks for sharing!

I'm also in a hard science/engineering program and I agree: that shit probably wouldn't fly. Although if you were in the softer side of the field, where engineering project proposals and business/entrepreneurship come together, it might be possible to get away with it.

About the ethics though... isn't this what capitalism is all about? The guy is profiting by providing a niche service. It does (further) devalue liberal arts/business/education degrees though. Perhaps the pressure to "go to college, get a degree" is misapplied. There does seem to be some disdain toward people in vocations/trades (which is completely unjustifiable IMO). Maybe if we valued real working skills more, less students would be pursuing worthless degrees, and hence the market for ghostwritten papers would dry up.


The only thing unethical about that are the prices they charge.

har har har... play me off, keyboard cat!

Serially, though, I used to trade off assignments with my friends all the time, so I can't really complain. Despite the extent to which this guy blows himself in that expose, I find it extremely improbable that he can churn out a better paper in a few days than a student involved in the field can with a few weeks preparation (not that he ever claimed to, though; he just does it better than his "client" would be able to).

Plus, his statement about being able to stretch paragraphs into pages makes me believe much of his material is more sizzle than steak, which would fool his customers but probably doesn't fly as well with the grading professors as the article would make it seem... particularly when we are talking about PhD papers and graduate theses over a huge variety of fields.

All in all, I'm more offended by the fact that people get out of doing the assignments in general than I am by them getting out of the assignments AND having an A-quality paper to pass in... but if they want to fork over thousands of dollars for that luxury, more power to them.


The good thing is that the people who are getting their papers written for them are really the only ones getting fucked in the end. The pen-for-hire gets paid, so he is obviously making out OK. The professor might not like it if he were made aware of his student's douchebaggery, but in the end he grades the paper or whatever it is and life goes on much as it did before. Meanwhile, the student--who it must be remembered is likely paying anywhere from "a lot" to "a veritable fuckton" of money for their education--gets nothing but a meaningless grade atop someone else's (probably mediocre) work. At various points in this person's college and professional career, it will be necessary to perform academically in class or in the workplace and under pressure--in other words, they will eventually have to produce quality work on their own. If they paid for their degree, chances are this work will suck and they will get fired/fucked by a professor (in the not cool way).

And if they perform well, despite having cheated their way through college? Fuck it, more power to them. A college degree is valuable in that it speaks to the competence of its holder. If you can spend half of your time in school being a lazy piece of shit and outsourcing school work and then do well when you yourself are being tested, then you are obviously competent enough to succeed in the workplace. Once you're hired there is a good chance that your company will be outsourcing the dirty work--powerpoints, write-ups-- to third-party businesses in India anyway.


^ this raises some good points. College gives you a foundation with which to go forth and work, it isn't the end all in life. Actually, I'm convinced a college degree is over rated. Everyone and their brother goes now, it's turned into nothing more impressive than a high school diploma.

The person writing these must be one smart fucker if he/she understands what they're writing about.


Could the person offering the services be somehow punished if he/she is a student or is the person doing the hiring the one who gets screwed?



"Dysgenic fertility means that there is a negative correlation between intelligence and number of children. Its presence during the last century has been demonstrated in several countries. We show here that there is dysgenic fertility in the world population quantified by a correlation of â?? 0.73 between IQ and fertility across nations. It is estimated that the effect of this has been a decline in the world's genotypic IQ of 0.86 IQ points for the years 1950â??2000. A further decline of 1.28 IQ points in the world's genotypic IQ is projected for the years 2000â??2050. In the period 1950â??2000 this decline has been compensated for by a rise in phenotypic intelligence known as the Flynn Effect, but recent studies in four economically developed countries have found that this has now ceased or gone into reverse. It seems probable that this â??negative Flynn Effectâ?? will spread to economically developing countries and the whole world will move into a period of declining genotypic and phenotypic intelligence. It is possible that â??the new eugenicsâ?? of biotechnology may evolve to counteract dysgenic fertility."


my friend is currently doing a post-grad in international business and tourism (or something like that). a lot of the students are from overseas, and not native english speakers. he says most of them pay other people to write their essays. he realised this when he was given a group assignment, and was put in a group with 3 overseas students.

he said 2 of them are COMPLETELY unable to write an essay in english. the other can write, but his grammar is so bad that it needs to be corrected by him. this is one of the top 10 post-grad business schools in the world apparently.