Tracking the Elusive Ph.D.

Due in part to a weakening academic job market, some colleges and higher-education groups are scrambling to collect data on what sorts of jobs Ph.D.’s are getting. The American Historical Association recently pinpointed where 2,500 history Ph.D. recipients were working, while many university departments and individual researchers conduct formal and informal tracking projects of their own.

But those efforts, while lauded for shedding at least some light on Ph.D. employment outcomes, offer only disparate snapshots of the labor market and ultimately do not allow for comparisons because of a lack of uniform data.

Now the Council of Graduate Schools is organizing a new effort to create a set of standards for what information to collect about Ph.D.’s and how to collect it. If the project goes well, it could be the first step toward establishing a national clearinghouse for Ph.D. jobs that would potentially allow prospective students to compare career outcomes for different programs.

“As students consider pursuing a graduate degree,” said Suzanne Ortega, the council’s president, “they need to have a very clear notion of the full range of career opportunities that are likely to be available to them upon degree completion. <Read more.>

Via Vimal Patel, The Chronicle of Higher Education.