Faculty Perceptions of Political Science PhD Career Training

Faculty Perceptions of Political Science PhD Career Training

By Loleen Berdahl, University of Saskatchewan, Jonathan Malloy, Carleton University and Lisa Young, University of Calgary

Political science PhD programs typically train students for academic careers. But there are more graduates than permanent academic jobs. What do political science faculty members think should be done to address this discrepancy? Drawing on a survey of faculty members in PhD-granting political science programs at English-speaking Canadian universities, this article explores faculty attitudes to doctoral career skills training. The survey finds faculty are generally aware of the oversupply of graduates to academic jobs. To address the problem, some faculty members support reducing enrolments in doctoral programs; others feel that the PhD curriculum should be reformed to equip students better for non-academic jobs. However, only a minority support both solutions. Furthermore, faculty members are inclined to believe that PhD students are making an informed choice to pursue a PhD despite the poor academic job market. They also believe students themselves, rather than departments, universities, or supervisors, should shoulder the greatest responsibility for their career preparation.


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