A Fresh Look at Careers of and for History PhDs

Are there career options for history PhDs beyond the academy? In today’s Chronicle of Higher Education L. Maren Wood (a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina) offers an emphatic yes.

Drawing on her own experience and that of her friends, she describes an array of former history PhDs who have moved on to fulfilling jobs outside the academy (in marked contrast to a friend now struggling in a tenure-track job). But more than that, she tracked down 487 graduates from four history departments (Duke University; Ohio State University; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and University of California, Santa Barbara) and offers substantive statistical data about the changing career patterns of history PhDs over the past 20 years.

The article fits nicely with a wider set of recent initiatives at the AHA, including an upcoming annual meeting mini-conference on the Malleable PhD, the Professional Division’s efforts to promote transparency in the placement of history PhDs, as well as our usual data-gathering efforts. We expect to announce a number of additional efforts in the coming weeks, and encourage members of the discipline to think widely about the many career paths leading from a history PhD.

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