As the Indicators report elsewhere, recipients of doctoral degrees in the humanities tend to earn less than their counterparts in other fields. They also have a different occupational profile. With respect to job satisfaction, academically employed humanities Ph.D.’s report levels that are similar to those of Ph.D.’s in other fields who work in the academy. Humanities Ph.D.’s working outside the academy, however, are substantially less likely than other nonacademically employed Ph.D.’s to be satisfied with their employment.

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* The analysis excludes holders of the D.D.S., D.V.M., M.D., and other nonresearch degrees. A doctorate degree holder is considered employed in academia if he or she works for a two- or four-year college/university, medical school, or university research institute in any capacity.

Source: National Science Foundation, 2015 National Survey of College Graduates. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (

Conducted every two years, the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) gathers detailed education, occupation, and earnings information from a sample of individuals drawn from the larger pool of all those identified via the American Community Survey as holders of a baccalaureate degree. The National Science Foundation makes NSCG data available to researchers and the general public via downloadable data files and its online data analysis tool, SESTAT. Given the size of the NSCG sample, reliable estimates are available only for broad academic fields. For the NSCG disciplinary categories included in each of the field-of-degree categories employed by the Humanities Indicators, see the provided crosswalk. The categories for level of satisfaction in the survey were “very satisfied,” “somewhat satisfied,” “somewhat dissatisfied,” and “very dissatisfied.”

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