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UofSC is Part of New Initiative to Better Understand PhD Career Pathways

Thursday, October 19, 2017


The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) recently announced a new initiative to improve understanding of career pathways for current PhD students and alumni. The University of South Carolina (UofSC) is participating in this innovative CGS initiative as an affiliate institution.

The new CGS project, entitled “Understanding PhD Career Pathways for Program Improvement,” is supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation. The project seeks to determine what types of careers PhDs pursue and examines their career trajectories up to fifteen years post-PhD. The data collected will be used to help determine what skills are needed to be successful in a variety of career pathways. This information will then be shared with institutions, including UofSC, to implement program improvement for current PhD students. Data collection will begin in fall 2017, and CGS will publish the initial findings in fall 2018. A recent Chronicle article discusses the Pathways project and asks, "How do we assess our efforts to train PhDs for myriad careers?"

Before the end of the month, surveys will be sent to UofSC alumni who received doctoral degrees from 28 selected degree programs in the humanities and STEM field. The first alumni survey will include over 450 doctoral degree recipients from July to June in 2001-02, 2008-09, or 2013-14. Campus stakeholders, representing the 28 selected degree programs and other offices, at UofSC will receive an update regarding survey and preliminary data by the end of the year. The Graduate School will share the purpose of the survey, provide ongoing updates on the status of activities, include overall results, and invite use of the results for program improvement on our various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), as well as our website.

The Graduate School would like to thank the many stakeholders across campus, including both college and department-level leadership and representation from a variety of university offices, who contributed their time to the development of our university’s proposal, which would not have been possible without their support.

The Graduate School looks forward to helping shape the future of doctoral education and providing support for a variety of meaningful career options for its PhD students.

Contact Dr. Heather Brandt, Associate Dean for Professional Development in the Graduate School at with any questions or for more information.