Non-academic pathways for Doctors of Philosophy: what does your department do?

According to a recent survey, 14% of Doctors of Philosophy end up in a non-academic job. In addition to this, some graduate students leave their programs before graduating to pursue non-academic jobs.

[photo by J. Weinberg]

While it’s hard to predict the academic job market for PhDs, I don’t know of anyone who says we’re on the verge of a major hiring boom. Some people expect the percentage of Doctor of Philosophy students who end up in non-academic work to increase.

While there has been some discussion of philosophy programs supporting students aiming for non-academic careers, information provided about people with a philosophical background with such careers (see here, here, and here, for example) and advice from the American Philosophical Association (APA), it would be useful to know what practical measures have philosophy departments actually taken to better prepare their graduate students to successfully pursue work outside of academia.

I know a few of these measures:

  • Non-philosophical curricular requirements
    • Texas A&M requires doctoral students in philosophy to also earn a master’s degree (or higher) in a non-philosophical field (or in an interdisciplinary early modern studies program).
    • Carnegie Mellon asks PhD students to take two interdisciplinary courses
  • Internships
    • Michigan State’s Engaged Philosophy Internship Program (details here) provides funding for doctoral students to support their work with non-academic organizations.

If your department has practices, policies, or programs in place to help students prepare for or find non-academic employment, it would be helpful to hear about them. Thank you.