Graduate Division

UCI joins CGS Coalition to Support Diverse Career Pathways for Humanities PhDs

Section 1

UCI joins CGS Coalition to Support Diverse Career Pathways for Humanities PhDs

August 11, 2021 

Washington, DC — Today the University of California, Irvine announced funding from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to encourage innovative ideas about preparing humanities Ph.D.s for diverse careers following their graduation. Through a competitive process, a committee selected UCI to join The Humanities Coalition, which will develop and assess initiatives for better supporting humanities Ph.D. students transitioning from graduate programs into the workforce, including outside academic institutions.

Universities will be working in one of two areas: grant-writing and resource development, and building professional networks. UCI will focus on grant-writing and resource development for School of Humanities graduate students. Starting summer 2022, the UCI Humanities Center will host a series of grant-writing workshops in partnership with university and local community partners to train graduate students how to seek support for their scholarly and extracurricular projects.

"Graduate students from the humanities go on to work in a variety of professional areas, including, of course, academic employment, but also in cultural institutions, government, business, entrepreneurship, and the non-profit sector," said Tyrus Miller, dean of the School of Humanities. "Garnering the resources to realize one's goals is critical to all of these, so having a deeper and broader knowledge of grant-writing represents great career preparation, whichever professional direction a graduate student wishes to pursue after they earn their Ph.D."

“We’re honored to join The Humanities Coalition,” said Gillian Hayes, Vice Provost for Graduate Education. “Our humanities Ph.D. students are some of the brightest on campus and providing them with more resources is only going to help ensure their academic and professional success.”

This latest project is an expansion of prior work that included developing and supporting a network of 75 U.S. doctoral institutions as they collected data from STEM and humanities Ph.D. students and alumni about their professional aspirations, career pathways, and career preparation. In general, data from the project yield a positive picture of humanities doctoral education. Most alumni reported that they are engaged in meaningful work and believe their doctoral work prepared them for their current job responsibilities. However, data also indicate that humanities Ph.D.s who were employed in business, non-profit, or government, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, feel less adequately prepared than their peers working at universities.

“Building on the extraordinary work of the Ph.D. Career Pathways project, The Humanities Coalition will develop, expand, and scale up a suite of programs and practices in key areas of need. We’ve been conducting research in career diversity for nearly a decade, and this work will take the next logical step from better understanding aspirations to preparing for successful careers,” said Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. “We know that humanities Ph.D.s have many possible career paths in front of them. We need to make sure they know their options, how to access them, and that they’ve developed the skillsets necessary for success.”

UCI will join a network of other grantees as well as universities that submitted competitive proposals to participate, including: Arizona State University; CUNY Graduate Center; Howard University; Indiana University Bloomington; Loyola University Chicago; Michigan State University; Purdue University; Texas A&M University; The University of Southern Mississippi; The University of Texas at El Paso; University of Arizona; University of Arkansas; University of California, Irvine; University of Missouri; University of Rochester; University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Wayne State University.


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About CGS

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.