PhD Career Path Tracking

In order to understand the quality of graduate education (and postdoctoral education),  universities and agencies need to find out what PhD recipients are doing after completing their university education and they need to investigate how career paths are linked to the quality of doctoral and postdoctoral education. CIRGE houses the data of the three national career path studies, PhDs – Ten Years Later (which surveyed PhDs in biochemistry, computer science, electrical engineering, English, mathematics, and political science from 64 institutions); Art History PhDs – A Decade Later (which surveyed all PhD recipients who graduated from U.S. art and architectural history programs, and  Social Science PhDs – Five Years Out (which surveyed PhD recipients from 65 institutions in anthropology, communications, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology).

The analysis of these data examines the transition from education to more stable employment, evaluates doctoral programs, assesses the doctoral degree’s usefulness for career and life, the relationship between family and career development, and analyzes respondent recommendations for improvements in doctoral programs. An important part of CIRGE  research focuses on doctoral program assessment from the perspective of the PhD recipients who went through the program and had several years of work experience and applying what they have learned.


  • Nerad, M. (2012). The Context of Tracking Researcher’s Careers. Towards a Conceptual Framework,” In European Science Foundation, How to Track Researcher’s Careers. A Report by the ESF MO Forum on European Alliance for Research Career Development, pp. 9-11, ESF – FNR: Luxembourg. Download: Complete report
  • Martinez, G. T., Nerad, M., & Rudd, E. (2010). Global perspectives on advocating for change in doctoral education. Learning and Teaching, The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Science, Vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 92-103. Download: Global Perspectives
  • Morrison, E., Rudd, E., Picciano, J., &  Nerad, M. (2010). Are You Satisfied? PhD Education and Faculty Taste for Prestige-Limits of the Prestige Value System.”   Research in Higher Education 52 (1) pp. 24-46.  Download: Are you satisfied?
  • Nerad, M. (2009). Confronting Common Assumptions: Designing Future-oriented Doctoral Education.  In R. Ehrenberg Eds., Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future, Ithaka, NY: Cornell University Press. Download: Confronting Common Assumptions
  • Aanerud, R., Homer L., Nerad, M., & Cerny, J. (2006). Using Ph.D. Career Path Analysis and Ph.D.s’ Perceptions of Their Education as a Means to Assess Doctoral Program. In P. L. Maki & N. A. Borkowsky, Eds., The Assessment of Doctoral Education, pp. 109-141,   Sterling, Virginia: Stylus. Download: Using Ph.D. Career Path…
  • Nerad, M. (2004). The PhD in the US: Criticisms, Facts and Remedies, Higher Education Policy, vol.17, no. 2, pp. 183-199. Download: The PhD in the US