Phi Beta Cons

Don’t Get a Ph.D. in History

The dearth of jobs in the humanities has been around a while, but in history, at least, the picture is bleaker than ever, according to Inside Higher Ed. The American History Association lists 569 jobs this year; the number of Ph.D.’s awarded in history in 2009 was 989. A report from the history association reminds departments that they should “carefully reflect” on how many students they are training — a piece of advice that seems a little after-the-fact.

I don’t know whether the grim state of the history discipline is due to its embracing the kind of politically correct positions that have shrunk support for other departments (such as English), or if the problem is the increasingly vocational nature of college, but once again traditional education is on the wane.

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...


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