Key Coverage

Finding Life After Academia — and Not Feeling Bad About It

According to a 2011 National Science Foundation survey, 35 percent of doctorate recipients — and 43 percent of those in the humanities — had no commitment for employment at the time of completion. Fewer than half of Ph.D.’s are expected to land tenure-track jobs. And many voluntarily choose another path because they want higher pay or more direct engagement with the world than monographs and tenure committees seem to allow.

Though graduates have faced similar conditions for decades, the past few years have seen a surge in efforts to connect Ph.D.’s with gratifying employment outside academia and even to rethink the purpose of doctoral education.