graduatingPhD Posted March 6, 2014 Share Posted March 6, 2014 (edited) This is a modified version of a post I made under the forum "decisions, decisions." The most important question, I think, you should be asking yourself in this season of acceptances is not which program you should go to, but if you should go to grad school at all. The history job market is very bleak. It may well be better when you graduate, but it may well not be. There are troubling trends like MOOCs that, many people think, will restructure much of education in a way that will reduce the number of tenure track hires. How bad is the job market currently? According to Harvard, as of the fall of 2012, only 52% of Harvard PhDs who got their PhD in the humanities from 2006-2011 had an academic job. (And it looks like, based on some other data they report elsewhere, that about 1/3 of those are in non-tenure-track positions.) 23% were "unemployed and searching." (Due to self selection bias in reporting, this data probably underestimates the number of unemployed.)  And those numbers are those of one of the most prestigious grad schools in the nation. Here is what Chicago history's numbers look like: https://history.uchicago.edu/sites/history.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Placement%20Statistics%202002-2011.pdf Many people in history from elite programs, for instance, spend several years after graduating twisting in the wind with low-paid, time-consuming, and short-term lectureships and visiting assistant professorsips before either get a tt job or quitting academia. If you are really committed to an academic career, you may well be signing up for a PhD + several years of uncertainty and scrapping by after that. While it is hard to get accurate numbers, it looks like only 33% of Yale's history cohort of 2012-2013 got a tt-job. Of course not all subfields within history are made the same. Some of your fields have excellent job prospects; others, terrible. 20C US and Europe after 1789 appear to be the worst. It behooves you to research the matter and think about the kind of bet your are making. You are giving up 5-8 years of pay, and more importantly, 5-8 years in which you could be launching a different career. When you graduate at age 30 with a PhD, you will have opened a few doors (for instance, you are an attractive hire for a private high school), but shut many more. I am not saying you should not go. Personally, I have found getting a PhD immensley rewarding. But it has also come at a great cost. http://history.fas.h...s-2006-2011.pdf. Edited March 6, 2014 by graduatingPhD levoyous, hashslinger, Riotbeard and 5 others 4 4 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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