Friday, March 18, 2005


Jonathan Dresner finds the latest:
"By many measures, the news in the latest report is troubling. The time spent working toward the history PhD, for instance, grew longer and now surpasses every other discipline. Among the new cohort of history PhDs, the time spent registered for graduate courses increased, from an average of 9 (in 2001–02) to 9.3 years. In comparison, the average for all fields was 7.5 years. Given the extended time spent working toward the degree, it is hardly surprising that the average age of new history PhDs increased by two-tenths of a year, to 34.9 years—a year-and-a-half older than the average for new PhDs in all fields. It should be noted, however, that the figures given for "time spent registered for graduate courses" are slightly deceptive in that they are precisely that—they include time spent on any study following the undergraduate degree and not just for the PhD.

"Despite their years of effort, the new PhDs reported declining success in finding employment after they received the degree. The proportion of new history PhDs who reported "definite employment" fell from 52.9 percent to 51.3 percent—reversing three years of improvement. This is still well above the low point of 44.9 percent in 1998–99, but it does fit with our reporting on the declining number of jobs being advertised.2 Among the rest, 26.8 percent of the new history PhD recipients reported they were still seeking employment when they received the degree, while 14.3 percent planned to take or seek a postdoctoral fellowship, and 7.7 reported that they were uncertain about their future."


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