Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
red4tribe

Getting a Job as a Professor

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

 

As I enter a MA program this fall, I have begun to wonder about how difficult it is to get a tenure track job as a professor in history. I know the consensus is that the job market is pretty abysmal. However, will the job market stay as awful as it currently is? Does "abysmal" mean the chances of finding a tenure track job is about as likely as winning the lottery? Is it likely to improve? Will tenure track jobs continue to be replaced by part time adjuncts? 

 

I would like to hear up to date thoughts from those in the field and those who probably know a great deal more about the situation than I do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on recent AHA numbers, approximately 50% of history PhDs who graduated in the past 10 years have a TT job, 25% are still on the market, and 25% are no longer seeking. A postdoc seems to be a fairly standard part of the process. More precise numbers vary with subdiscipline and graduating institution. 

Edited by telkanuru

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on recent AHA numbers, approximately 50% of history PhDs who graduated in the past 10 years have a TT job, 25% are still on the market, and 25% are no longer seeking. A postdoc seems to be a fairly standard part of the process. More precise numbers vary with subdiscipline and graduating institution. 

 

Those numbers aren't as bad as I thought they'd be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But you are correct in assuming that a lot of TT jobs are slowly being replaced by adjuncts because they don't have to pay them as much and they don't have to offer as good of benefits.  This is the sad truth in academia all around in the social sciences and humanities.  This is one reason why I have been thinking of doing a MA in history or classical archaeology and a joint MPH/PhD in anthropology.  Just spread my interests a little bit and I'm fine.  Maybe if this is something that is feasible for you to do then it might be worth trying if you're afraid of the potential job market in 7-10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind some fields, like U.S. history, have a lot more PhDs on the market so the competition is even worse (which really is just a degree, because it's super competitive across the board). 

 

From what my MA profs have told me, if you are willing to move around anywhere in the U.S. for 10-15 years to take temporary positions, your chance of landing TT is higher than someone who will not follow the jobs wherever they may be. Several adjuncts working in my department chose to only work in California, which really limited their job prospects, whereas one of my TT professors moved around for a decade (including to areas he really, really disliked), building up his CV while holding out for a better position. This isn't to say it's a guarantee, and obviously a lot of sacrifices have to be made (some people choose not to start families, etc, until they land a permanent position). 

 

I read an article not long ago (I can't find it but I will post a link if I do) that said more history PhDs are going abroad to teach. Some countries have a dearth of PhDs and U.S. doctorates are pretty well respected, so if you speak the language and are willing to take a global view of job searches then you open other avenues to permanent positions (although I have no clue how tenure works in other countries).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just always have another plan for life after graduate school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind some fields, like U.S. history, have a lot more PhDs on the market so the competition is even worse (which really is just a degree, because it's super competitive across the board). 

 

 

Also keep in mind that some fields of history are out of fashion and are likely to remain so for the time being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also keep in mind that some fields of history are out of fashion and are likely to remain so for the time being.

 

It depends a bit on the department though, doesn't it? I know that at some departments comparative is still in and at others it's not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends a bit on the department though, doesn't it? I know that at some departments comparative is still in and at others it's not.

 

 

As you rightly say, you can look across departments and see that some are losing chairs in certain specific subfields due to retirement, buyouts, etc., and those vacancies are not being filled. Sometimes this is balanced by positions being created elsewhere across the discipline, other times it is not. The latter case constitutes a net loss of positions, and, although I don't wish to put words into Sigaba's mouth, I believe that is the point of his or her statement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you rightly say, you can look across departments and see that some are losing chairs in certain specific subfields due to retirement, buyouts, etc., and those vacancies are not being filled. Sometimes this is balanced by positions being created elsewhere across the discipline, other times it is not. The latter case constitutes a net loss of positions, and, although I don't wish to put words into Sigaba's mouth, I believe that is the point of his or her statement.

 

Yes. Not with standing David Silbey's 2009 reply to pieces offered by Patricia Cohen that same year and John Miller in 2006, some "traditional" fields of history (naval/military/diplomatic) continue to feel a squeeze. While some like Miller want to make the squeeze mostly about political ideology  :rolleyes: , I'm of the view that the lean times are due to two horrific miscalculations on the part of those traditionalists and an overdue course correction for the profession, that has become a bit of an extended over correction.

 

I sound philosophical now because I've got a decent job in the private sector, I've had the right amount of caffeine today, and I am never ever bitter. Not even a little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.