UNLV Graduate College Awarded Grant to Study Ph.D. Career Pathways

Jun. 20, 2018

The UNLV Graduate College has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to participate in an Understanding Ph.D. Career Pathways for Program Improvement project, a multi-institution effort to collect and analyze data on Ph.D. career pathways in STEM and humanities fields.

The project – launched in 2017 and funded by the National Science Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – includes, among others, the following partners: Brown University, the University of Notre Dame, Emory University, the University of California system, the University of Virginia, and New York University. With the addition of UNLV this year, approximately 30 universities are part of the project.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Understanding Ph.D. Career Pathways for Program Improvement project team and look forward to collaborating with other outstanding universities to advance the field of knowledge about doctoral students’ pathways into careers,” said Kate Korgan, dean of the UNLV Graduate College. “As one of the most diverse campus communities in the country with more than 5,000 graduate students in more than 150 graduate and certificate programs, UNLV is a perfect laboratory to study doctoral student experiences and career pathways. Driven by inspired faculty and students, innovative scholarship, and impactful research, our graduate community is growing and thriving. This grant reflects our dedication to providing cutting-edge graduate education in a supportive and student-centered environment and advances our mission to become a Top Tier university.”

Over the course of the next two years, UNLV Graduate College researchers – including Dean Kate Korgan, Associate Dean Emily Lin, Executive Director of Graduate Student Services Valarie Burke, and Postdoctoral Scholar Katelyn DiBenedetto – will survey current Ph.D. students as well as alumni who earned their degree three, eight, and 15 years ago.

“Today, universities recognize that Ph.D. students aspire to a wide variety of careers, including academic research and teaching,” said CGS President Suzanne Ortega in a news release. “Knowing what your alumni do – and how well they are prepared – is becoming the new paradigm, and our university partners are leading the way for the entire community of doctoral institutions.”

The large pool of aggregate data will allow the UNLV Graduate College, and other universities, to analyze Ph.D. career trends and strengthen career services, professional development opportunities, and mentoring for doctoral students. The data will also allow the Graduate College to communicate the career trajectories of Ph.D. alumni to current and prospective students, helping them make more informed Ph.D. program selections.