October 16, 2008

Social Science PhDs—Five+ Years Out: Communications Report

Communication PhDs find faculty positions more readily than doctorate holders in other social science fields. Whether in faculty positions or working in business, government, or non-profit sectors, the majority are satisfied with their jobs and career paths. When assessing careers from the perspective of balancing work and family, both men and women report problems combining work and family, but women delay parenting because of their career more often than men do. According to graduates’ assessments, communication PhD programs prepared them well for their careers. Jobs outside of academia are more likely than faculty positions to require skills in data analysis and synthesis, team collaboration, working in interdisciplinary contexts, and managing people and budgets. Most respondents rated their PhD programs as “excellent” in terms of academic rigor and training in critical thinking. However, major criticisms included a lack of training in skills important to obtaining and administering grants, less than adequate formal teaching training, and little guidance from mentors in publishing and in finding a job.

Hickerson, Andrea, Elizabeth Rudd, Emory Morrison, Joseph Picciano, and Maresi Nerad. 2008. Communicating the PhD Experience: Communication PhDs Five+ Years after Graduation. CIRGE Report 2008-03. CIRGE: Seattle, WA.

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