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I had initially assumed that this was back in the days when some students, having completed grad school, were hired on by the university to teach (tho Columbia was not really one of those schools at that time, as I recall). Additionally, Ray's comment that Peter never worked outside academia suggests this as one possibility. But Columbia seemed to be aching for an excuse to get rid of Venkman, so I don't know how well that really fits.

So, do we ever find out where Dr. Peter Venkman got his two PhDs in Psychology and Parapsychology?

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  • Faber College, probably. – Valorum Apr 20 '18 at 21:39
  • Columbia University; ectozone.com/gbfl/venkman.php – Valorum Apr 20 '18 at 21:45
  • Do universities in the US avoid hiring their own graduates for some reason? That would hardly be unusual elsewhere, AFAIK. Anyway, the fact that they wanted to get rid of him was presumably because he insisted on taking an approach to his research that was embarrassing to them, even by the standards of the parapsychology department. His post-graduate work would presumably have been more conventional. – Harry Johnston Apr 20 '18 at 22:23
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    @HarryJohnston It was a thing through the 60's-ish. I'm talking about- here's your diploma, how about you come work for us teaching the subject you just got a degree in? I can't comment on the humanities, but in math/science it was reasonably frequent for especially non-research faculty. I haven't heard of anyone doing it in decades tho, but that doesn't mean it isn't. – Broklynite Apr 21 '18 at 1:15
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    @Broklynite, it is my understanding that academic jobs in the US are nowadays much harder to come by than they used to be, so perhaps it makes sense for most universities to try to hire people who graduated from other, more prestigious, universities. But there is always going to be the occasional exception for particularly outstanding students, which I would imagine Venkman was. – Harry Johnston Apr 21 '18 at 1:26
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A year, perhaps, after the first Ghostbusters came out, my brother got a children's book based on the movie, illustrated with stills from the film. It didn't have a story, but it was structured as a guide for somebody wanting to start a Ghostbusters franchise operator. It listed advanced equipment needed (proton packs, traps, storage facility) as well as more basic needs: advertising, a vehicle, a base of operations (ideally a derelict firehouse, but other abandoned buildings could also work).

It also had information about the Ghostbusters personnel (although just Peter, Ray, and Egon). As I remember it, the book (which included a fair number of references and jokes that would have gone over the heads of its elementary school readers) said that Peter was "trained" at Columbia University.

There is not a very rigorous canon for Ghostbusters material; there are lots of contradictions between the movies and subsidiary media. Even so, this picture book would probably be among the least canonical sources. Moreover, I cannot find any reference to it online (but that is more a matter of there being a lot of Ghostbusters children's books, and this one was apparently pretty low profile). However, I figured that it was worth posting what the book had said about the matter.

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  • If you could remember the name of this book, that would be very helpful – Valorum Apr 22 '18 at 5:53
  • @Valorum There seem to have been several books with variations on a "Ghostbusters Training Manual" title, but none of the covers I find by Googling matches what I remember. – Buzz Apr 22 '18 at 5:58
  • An official movie tie-in sounds canonical enough for my purposes. If we can find the book tho, that would really be a help. I’m going to mark this as the answer until something better comes along. – Broklynite Apr 22 '18 at 11:05
  • Was it this by chance amazon.com/Ghostbusters-Training-Manual/dp/0899543588 – Broklynite Apr 22 '18 at 11:08
  • @Broklynite If that's it, my brother's had a different cover. – Buzz Apr 22 '18 at 16:44

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