The idea that a Ph.D. can prepare you for diverse careers — not just for the professoriate — is now firmly with us.
ost doctoral students in the arts and sciences start out with the desire to become professors. But that’s not where most of them end up. By now, most graduate advisers understand that their doctoral students will follow multiple career paths. And increasing numbers of professors and administrators are trying to help students do that.
The number of Ph.D.s who pursue nonfaculty careers varies by field, of course. But the reality in many disciplines is: f you’re teaching a graduate seminar with eight students in it, only two of them, on average, will become full-time faculty members. What happens to the rest? And as important, how do they feel about where they end up?
Those questions raise a different one for graduate faculty: How do we assess our efforts to train Ph.D.s for myriad careers? It’s one thing to try to help, and another to know that we are helping.
Who should we be looking at? What should we measure? And how?