The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s


If you’re a grad student, it’s best to read the latest report from the National Science Foundation with a large glass of single-malt whiskey in hand. Scratch that: The top-shelf whiskey is probably out of your budget. Well, Trader Joe’s“Two Buck Chuck” is good, too!

Liquid courage is a necessity when examining the data on Ph.D.s in the latest NSF report, “The Survey of Earned Doctorates,” which utilized figures from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. The report finds that many newly minted Ph.D.s complete school after nearly 10 years of studies with significant debt and without the promise of a job. Yet few people seem to be paying attention to these findings; graduate programs are producing more Ph.D.s than ever before.

More here.

3 thoughts on “The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s

  1. I liked the article . . . but part of me just wants to give up on the whole topic. I started reading 11D at about the same time I found the Invisible Adjunct, which is over 10 years ago. Back then it was real clear there was an oversupply of PhDs, and that many schools had grad programs that were either too large or shouldn’t exist at all. There were many, many thoughtful bloggers (including you, Laura, and IA) who pointed this out. And a decade on, nothing has changed, except, according to the data in the Atlantic, production of PhDs has increased, almost certainly outstripping population growth. Really, if someone chooses to get a PhD starting in 2016, they can’t say they weren’t warned. I’ll feel bad when they have to retool (as i retooled after I discovered a PhD in modern American history had been a bad call), but that’s about it.


  2. It is an old topic, monboddo, but I had a new report with new numbers. I did find it surprising that the people in STEM fields were also having a hard time and that the number of PHDs were going up. The report also had some good bit about first generation PhDs. Their debt numbers are horrible. It’s a small sample size though.


  3. Having also followed this issue for something like 15 years now through your blog and others—since the initial wave of blogging gave frustrated grad students and adjuncts new opportunities to compare notes and vent—I find it just plain sad that so many people are still flinging themselves into doctoral programs even though they have unprecedented access to persuasive information about what’s likely to happen to them. I’m glad you’re still on the case, though; hopefully each article helps open more eyes.


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