The humanities career landscape beyond academia draws on a wide range of insightful manifestos, studies, and narratives that have circulated throughout the world of higher education over the last few decades. Empirical studies, MLA reports, and individual narratives have sought to identify challenges facing Ph.D.s seeking traditional academic jobs, as well as the institutional weaknesses of preparing doctoral students for the changing employment landscape.
In the absence of a central repository of research on the topic of Ph.D. employment, we’ve drawn upon scholars throughout and beyond Georgetown to compile a directory of noteworthy resources. Many of the resources here might be unfamiliar, but of greatest interest, to graduate students. We would like to express particular thanks to leading voices in the discussion, such as Katina Rogers, who have curated their own lists of useful resources for many years.
We welcome any recommendations for resources. Please feel free to get in touch to make a suggestion.
We encourage those interested in the public and engaged humanities to explore the communities linked below.
- Beyond the Professoriate, a community for graduate students and Ph.D.s to connect with like-minded people and explore career options.
- ImaginePhD, a free online career exploration and planning tool for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
- Humanities Action Lab, a coalition of universities, issue organizations, and public spaces in 40 cities, and growing, led from Rutgers University-Newark, that collaborate to produce community-curated public humanities projects on urgent social issues.
Studies and Reports
Comprehensive studies from Stanford and the University of Toronto demonstrated that a large percentage of doctorate holders have consistently found work outside the professorship.
- Cook, B. “The Stanford Ph.D. Alumni Employment Project.” Institutional Research & Decision Support, Stanford University (2015).
- Modern Language Association, Report of the Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature, 2014
- Wood, L. Maren, and Robert B. Townsend. “The many careers of History PhDs: A study of job outcomes, Spring 2013.” Washington, DC: American Historical Association (2013).
- White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities (Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University), 2013
- Individual Development Plan (IDP)
- Scholarship in Public: Tenure and Promotion Policy in the Engaged University.
- Poul Holm, Arne Jarrick, and Dominic Scott, Humanities World Report 2015.
Critiques of the Academy:
In recent years, experts on the academy and graduate education have combined these insights into manifestos that offer a comprehensive critique of current doctoral education, as well as concrete recommendations for the revision of doctoral programs.
- Cassuto, Leonard. The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We can Fix It. Harvard University Press, 2015.
- Smith, Sidonie A. Manifesto for the Humanities: Transforming Doctoral Education in Good Enough Times. University of Michigan Press, 2015.
- White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities. Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University. December 2013.
- The Sky Is Falling. Profession, MLA Humanities Commons, May 2018.
These discussions overlap with critical examinations of the role of the humanities, and humanities education, in today’s interdisciplinary world.
- Haraway, Donna J., Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Duke University Press, 2016.
- Nussbaum, Martha C. Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princeton University Press, 2016.
- Small, Helen, The Value of the Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Sommer, Doris. The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities. Duke University Press, 2013.
- Fruscione, Joseph and Baker, Kelly J. (editors). Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM. University Press of Kansas. 2018.
- Peabody, Rebecca. The Unruly PhD. Palgrave Macmillan US. 2014.
- Williams, Jeffrey. How to Be an Intellectual. Fordham University Press. 2014.
- Bousquet, Marc. How the University Works. NYU Press. 2008.
- Newfield, Chris. Unmaking the Public University. Harvard University Press. 2011.
- Readings, Bill. The University in Ruins. Harvard University Press. 1997.
- Madsbjerg, Christian. Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm. March 21, 2017
- Boyer, Ernest. Scholarship Reconsidered. Jossey-Bass. 1997.
- Rethinking Careers, Rethinking Academia, Series Editors: Joseph Fruscione & Erin Bartram, University Press of Kansas. 2018.
- Walter Isaacson Lecture
- Quit Your Technology Job and Get a Humanities PhD (Stanford BiblioTech Conference)
Opinion Articles and News:
- That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket, Forbes
- Why Silicon Valley Needs Humanities PhDs, The Washington Post
- Fixing the PhD, The New Yorker
- What Can You Do With A Humanities PhD, Anyway?, The Atlantic
- New Website Reveals PhD Career Paths for Stanford Alumni, Stanford News
- Robert Newman becomes new President and Director of the National Humanities Center, National Humanities Center
- Humanities for All, National Humanities Alliance
For Curriculum Design:
- Readings and Links to Public Humanities Syllabi (Connected Academics @ Georgetown, Course Development Group0
- Educating Scholar-Teachers: Envisioning a PhD of the Future (a response to the MLA Task Force on Doctoral Study)
- The Future of Graduate Education and Training in the Humanities (McGill)
- Teaching History Communication: Early results, National Council on Public History, Kathryn Brownell, Jennifer Hart, Marla Miller, and Jason Steinhauer
- Audrey J. Jaeger, Jeremy B. Tuchmayer, and Shauna M. Morin, “The Engaged Dissertation: Exploring Trends in Doctoral Student Research,” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement4 (2014): 71–96.
- Anthony Grafton and James Grossman, “No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History,” Perspectives on History, 2011
- Bate, Jonathan (ed.), The Public Value of the Humanities, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011
- Cassuto, Leonard. “How to Go Public, and Why We Must.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018.
- Cassuto, Leonard. “Can You Train Your Ph.D.s for Diverse Careers When You Don’t Have One?” Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018.
- Cohen, Benjamin R. “Science and humanities: across two cultures and into science studies.” Endeavour1 (2001): 8–12.
- Celenza, Christopher S. “Humanism and the Classical Tradition.” Annali d’Italianistica, Vol. 26, Humanisms, Posthumanisms, & Neohumanisms (2008), pp. 25–49.
- Fenton, Will. “The Digital Humanities as Public Humanities.” Inside Higher Ed, 2018.
- Haraway, Donna J. Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, 2016.
- Horgan, John. “Why Study Humanities? What I Tell Engineering Freshmen.” Scientific American 20 (2013).
- Humphrey, Chris. “Discover the 20+ transferable skills that make PhDs totally employable.” Jobs on Toast, 2017.
- Jay, Gregory, “The Engaged Humanities: Principles and Practices for Public Scholarship and Teaching,” Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship 3, no. 1 (2012): 51–63.
- Matthews, Paul H., et al., “Portfolio and Certification Programs in Community Engagement as Professional Development for Graduate Students: Lessons Learned from Two Land-Grant Universities,” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement1 (2015): 157–183.
- McCarthy, Maureen T. “Promising Practices in Humanities Ph.D. Professional Development: Lessons Learned from the 2016–2017 Next Generation Humanities Ph.D. Consortium.” Council of Graduate Studies, 2017.
- Smith, Sidonie, Manifesto for the Humanities: Transforming Doctoral Education in Good Enough Times, University of Michigan Press, 2015.
- Chuh, Kandice, The Difference Aesthetics Makes: On the Humanities “After Man,” Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2019.
- Woodward, Katherine, “The Future of the Humanities — In the Present & the Public,” Daedalus 138 (Winter 2009): 110–123.
Graduate Programs or Initiatives:
- Brown University, MA in Public Humanities
- Michigan State University, Graduate Certification in Community Engagement
- Notre Dame, Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship
- Stanford University, Graduate Public Service Fellowship
- Stanford Humanities Center
- UC Irvine, Culture and Theory PhD
- The University of Georgia, Graduate Portfolio in Community Engagement
- Virginia Tech, MA in Material Culture and Public Humanities
- The University of Washington, Graduate Certificate in Public Scholarship
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Graduate Certificate in Public Humanities
- NextGenPhD Consortium with the Council of Graduate Schools
- MLA Connected Academics Blog
- Appel, Molly. “Lessons from the MLA Career Development Boot Camp.” Connected Academics, 2018.
- The Versatile PhD
- Beyond Academe
- Bootcamp for Post-Academic Job Seekers
- Beyond Academia (UC Berkeley)
- Humanists@Work (UCHRI)
- On The Fence
- InsideHigherEd Alt-Ac Careers Topics
- A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age