Interesting piece in the New York Times on Ph.D.’s in the Humanities. Not surprisingly, many don’t find work in higher education upon completion. What is surprising, though, is that the average time taken to complete the degree is 9.3 years.

I, too, did a Ph.D. in the Humanities. (Authenticity, Consumer Culture and Postmodernism, if you’re interested.) Seems like a lifetime ago. I completed it in 4.5 years while working full-time as a sessional/adjunct instructor at another university.

I was lucky, though. I had a great supervisor. My sessional position at the university led me to believe that I might actually make it to academia. And I had a beautiful baby daughter that gave me all the motivation a person could ever need to accomplish just about anything.

Below, is an interesting infographic from The New York Times (April 8, 2010).

You may also want to check out an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by University of Pennsylvania professor, Peter Conn.

And Erin O’Connor looks at the issue in her great blog Critical Mass.



  1. This may come at no surprise, but it would seem that the trend to move away from the arts and humanities appears to be policy driven. Our federal government, in lieu of economic turmoil has asked for some payback for their appropriation dollars; which for them is measured within the analytical framework of production. Unfortunately, a two year technical degree gives a more immediate ROI, thus injecting instant productivity into the workforce.

    This may look like a sad day for all those with more classical interest, but there is a silver lining to the bleak statistical cloud of speculation reports. The rise of Web 2.0 paves the way for Rhetoricians to become Advertising Executives, Historians to become Net Analyst, Theatre folks to become Social Media Advisors, and Philosophers to become Social Commentators…etc.


  2. Nicely put, Sir.


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