For some time now the federal government, the lending source for over 93 billion dollars in student loans routed through American universities and colleges, has been calling for greater accountability on several fronts, one being institutional disclosure of employment rates of graduating students. Most institutions, alas, have been less than forthcoming and many have outright refused such “intrusiveness” into their own institutional affairs. Given the major indebtedness of many students at the time of graduation, running upwards of $50,000 to $75,000 for graduate students, particularly those who have pursued the Ph.D. degree, and given the fact that the national employment of recent Ph.D. recipients is at only 65%, the justification for this federal call for institutional responsibility and accountability seems most reasonable. Given the fact that the loans owed for graduate education have for the most part been secured from the federal government, routed through the institutions awarding these degrees, it would seem wise and fair for a full disclosure of information regarding employment and employability of Ph.D. recipients to be readily available for all prospective students considering pursuing a Ph.D.
Recently, a major academic news source, The Chronicle of Higher Education and an internet news source, Inside Higher Ed, published articles on the topic of Ph.D. employment in the U.S. According to the Chronicle, “More people want better data on the job prospects of Ph.D.’s as the national conversation about the merits of graduate education has intensified and concerns have grown about whether programs are admitting more students than the academic market can bear. Many colleges have shown reluctance to produce Ph.D.-placement information, knowing that it would underscore the stark reality that doctoral students often do not get the kind of jobs they want for the money and the time they have spent in their graduate programs.” And, according to Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik, “The percentage of new Ph.D. recipients in 2012 who had a job commitment upon finishing their degrees increased by the smallest of margins — 0.1 percentage point, to 65.6 percent — over the 2011 proportion.”
While many institutions are reluctant to release employment data on their Ph.D. alumni, the Graduate Theological Foundation has taken the initiative to survey all of our Ph.D. alumni and published the data on our website for all to see – alumni, faculty, students, and prospective students. Our intention is always to provide full transparency when it comes to employment of our Ph.D. graduates. Presently, we provide statistical data on both the percentage of employed alumni and the various categories of that employment on our website where we show 93% employment rate at the time of graduation for all of our graduating students to date (N=2,209). The data also indicates percentages of all of our graduates working in these cognate fields of ministry, namely, parish ministry (41%), education (16%), administration (9%), counseling (5%), chaplaincy (9%), music and the arts (5%), and secular employment (7%). We also list over 300 colleges and universities where our graduates hold or have held teaching appointments provided merely to illustrate our graduating students employment successes.
Click here to learn more and to see a graph of our recent Ph.D. Alumni Employment survey.
Dr. John Morgan is Karl Mannheim Professor of the History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences at the Graduate Theological Foundation.