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The Humanities, Arts, and Education

Career Diversity and Advanced Degrees in the Humanities

In recent years, the National Endowment for the Humanities and disciplinary societies for the humanities have undertaken projects to promote career diversity for doctoral degree recipients in the field. A new report posted at the Humanities Indicators today highlights the fact that humanities Ph.D.’s are considerably more likely to work within the academy than doctorate recipients in other fields.

As of 2013, 60 percent of employed humanities Ph.D.’s reported teaching at the postsecondary level as their principal job–twice as large as the share of employed Ph.D.’s from all fields who are working in postsecondary teaching positions (30 percent). Among doctoral degree recipients in engineering and the life, physical, and medical science fields, 18–28 percent of employed Ph.D.’s were in teaching positions at the postsecondary level, while more than 42 percent were employed either in science and engineering jobs or (in the case of graduates from the health and medical sciences) in healthcare.

Occupations of Ph.D.’s, Humanities and All Fields Combined, 2013

Even among recipients of master’s degrees in the humanities, the tendency toward postsecondary teaching is striking. As indicated in a separate report on degree recipients at the master’s level, 22.5 percent of humanities graduates were employed in the sector in 2013.

In this month’s Data Forum, Kelly Anne Brown (Assistant Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute) discusses recent efforts to promote career diversity in the humanities field and highlights some of the hurdles along the way.

October 28, 2016

Confronting Salary, Gender, and the Disparities at Play in the Humanities

posted by
Kelly Anne BrownKelly Anne Brown is Assistant Director at the UC-wide Humanities Research Institute and project director of Humanists@Work. Kelly has a PhD in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and professional experience in public policy and program administration at the city, county, and statewide levels of California government. A "hybrid" academic, Kelly lives and breathes systemwide humanities program development while also pursuing her scholarly interests in graduate student professionalization, public humanities, and collaborative research.
, Assistant Director, UCHRI

Glass ceilings are hard to break, nowhere more so than in the humanities, at least according to a new report released by the Humanities Indicators. The report this week outlines how the gender gap in pay earnings in the humanities is the second highest disparity among all fields of doctoral degrees, trumped only by business (33.7 percent pay difference between men and women). Who would have guessed we had more in common with Ph.D.’s in business than in education?

Clearly there is a traditional glass ceiling that we face in the humanities, yet there is also a barrier between what Ph.D.’s in the humanities, regardless of gender, earn in comparison to their peers from all the other disciplinary fields. What and why is this? Considered alongside the data that demonstrate the pipeline of humanities Ph.D.’s into postsecondary teaching, perhaps the source of this disparity isn’t so hard to identify.

Humanists@Work (humwork), a University of California-wide professionalization initiative at the UC Humanities Research Institute, spans all 10 campuses of the UC system and is interested in the local contexts of these broad national numbers. Within an intensely collaborative community of engaged graduate students, Ph.D. alumni, faculty, and staff, we are developing a methodology around tracking Ph.D.’s that goes beyond accounting for the basics of who, where, and when (though for those departments   More... 

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