Richard Vedder wrote a great editorial in Forbes earlier today about the underemployment among English Ph.D. graduates and what is preventing the needed ‘market correction.’ We think it’s a great read and right on target. We’re not necessarily against pursuing a Ph.D. in English, but we do want all prospective applicants to have a full understanding of the potential job market they may be facing upon completion of their dissertation.
In the editorial, linked above, Mr. Vedder explains that only one Ph.D. graduate at Columbia University received a tenure track position. It wasn’t a prompt offer either as Columbia originally reported none of its graduates had received a tenure track position. Furthermore, Columbia admitted 19 English Ph.D. applicants for the next incoming class. It certainly isn’t alleviating the supply concern and, as Mr. Vedder astutely pointed out, if Columbia is having trouble placing graduates in tenure-track positions, how are lower-tier schools doing?
As with any other educational endeavor, please be sure you understand why you need the degree and how it is going to help you achieve your goals. Please don’t apply just because a GRE requirement may be dropped. Unless you are extremely confident you have an “in” for a tenure-track collegiate teaching position or you have other reasons for pursuing the Ph.D., please proceed with extreme caution.