Beyond the PhD was conceived and developed by people with arts and humanities PhDs in collaboration with careers professionals. It brings together a desire to make visible what happens to postgraduate researchers after they graduate and an ambition to avoid easy prescriptions of ‘getting your perfect job’.
‘We are interested in the emotions, the stories and the unexpected events which lead to unforeseen outcomes. How do people reach the decision to pursue an academic career or to explore other options? How do those with a clear sense of direction get to where they want to be? What is the impact on an individual’s career direction when they don’t get shortlisted for the first few jobs they apply for? How long do people cleave to long-held career aspirations in the face of pragmatic pressures like paying the bills? When people decide to take a job outside academia, how do they reconcile that with the academic identity that has been under construction during the years of postgraduate study?
What Beyond the PhD offers is a rare opportunity to listen in on the experiences of a range of different people from different backgrounds, ages and stages of life who have been through the PhD in an arts and humanities discipline and made the transition into a variety of work beyond it. Their candid personal reflections on facing challenges, responding to opportunities and reaching decisions are captured in segments of audio-interview.
Interviewees describe their PhD experience; the period of transition from their final year of writing-up to their subsequent employment; the contexts in which they currently work, and how the PhD has equipped them for their role. As well as responding to specific questions about, for example, the practical career-building activities they have engaged in, interviewees also reflect on more philosophical questions surrounding personal identity in relation to both work and the PhD.
Beyond the PhD is a good place to explore possible career paths within and outside academia, but it aims to complement rather than replace the existing support for PhD researchers; a select list of online and print resources is available via our links page. There are a range of perspectives represented on this site – some of which may conflict with each other, and your own – it is for you to evaluate what you hear and decide what to take from it.’