Understanding Career Pathways

    No single existing dataset can give institutions or humanities and social science graduate programs the granular PhD career pathways information they need to improve their programs. National datasets such as the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR), while valuable for demonstrating certain aspects of PhD careers at the national level, do not give individual doctoral programs information granular enough to be used for program improvement.


    Project Overview

    With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CGS launched a one-year study to evaluate the feasibility of a larger project to develop and enhance templates and processes designed to track the career pathways of PhD alumni of STEM, humanities and social science graduate programs. The project included the development of a white paper summarizing what is currently known about the demand for career tracking at the doctoral level in STEM, humanities, and social science fields; a survey of all doctoral granting CGS members to formally document processes for tracking alumni from CGS member institutions; and a workshop that included graduate deans, PhD holders and methodology experts. Download the project report


    Press Releases

    Experts Convene to Explore Challenges of Understanding PhD Career Pathways

    CGS Launches Project to Study Feasibility of Tracking PhD Career Pathways


    Additional Resources

    CGS has compiled a list of resources for institutions, deans, and program directors seeking more information about solutions and challenges in tracking career pathways of PhDs.




    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.


    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.


    As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. Based in Washington, DC, the organization provides its members with regular updates and analyses of legislative and regulatory proposals and policies that affect graduate education.
    View Public Policy work


    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.