It was good news to read that the Council of Graduate Schools, with the support of two major foundations, would be jumping into the fray over the issue of Ph.D. job placement. The council has announced that it will conduct a feasibility study to track the careers of Ph.D. graduates among its 500 member institutions. The study will conclude next December with recommendations for a full-scale research project.
Aggregate data about Ph.D. job placements has been available for a long time, but, as useful as that information is, it would be far more helpful to students, advisers, and graduate-education reformers to have specific information about individual programs. Then students looking to go to graduate school could make informed choices that support their intellectual and professional aspirations. Their choices could lead institutions to work harder to improve the doctoral experience, expand the variety of career outcomes, and remove the stigma of pursuing a nonacademic career. That, essentially, is what I advocated last June in “Just Look at the Data, if You Can Find Any. <Read more.>