The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has conducted a survey of 3,805 PhD students who graduated between 2005-2013 to learn about their career trajectory. The results have now been released in a report and an interactive microsite: outcomes.grad.ubc.ca. UBC faculty and staff can access additional department-level data by logging into the UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies’ faculty and staff portal. As well, summaries of this information have been added to PhD program listings for prospective students.
Ninty-seven per cent of survey respondents are working or doing postdoctoral fellowships. The larger project (including research on graduates who did not respond to the survey) showed that 51% of graduates are in higher education, 26% are in the private sector, and 13% are in the public and non-profit sectors. However, career outcomes vary significantly by discipline. At least sixty graduates have founded their own companies, and around 150 are self-employed.
In the survey comments, graduates shared stories of their successes and challenges in finding work and discussed aspects of their education and experience that they found helpful, as well as offering suggestions for what would have been useful in preparing them for their future careers.
There has been an ongoing discussion in Canada and beyond about the value of a PhD degree. This report provides insight specific to UBC so the university can evaluate and implement the programs, services and experiences offered to PhD students to better prepare them for their careers. As UBC continually works to improve doctoral education, learning more about the career paths PhD graduates take is essential. This survey information will inform this work and discussions over the coming years, and we plan to repeat this survey at intervals, to continue gathering data on the many paths taken by our graduates.