Join CGS’s Effort to Understand PhD Career Pathways

    CGS invites doctoral-granting federally recognized Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) that are CGS members to apply to participate in Understanding PhD Career Pathways for Program Improvement, a multi-institution effort to collect and use data on PhD career pathways, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF #1661272) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This is an important opportunity to deepen your institution’s understanding of the career goals and outcomes of its PhDs; communicate your support for the career diversity of PhDs; make evidence-based interventions that support the success of PhDs and the recruitment of future students; and access anonymized benchmarking data compiled from other project partners.



    Four awards of $50,000 to each selected institution to support implementation of surveys of STEM PhD students and alumni over a period of twenty-four months. Supported by the National Science Foundation; 4 awards available.


    U.S. doctoral-granting federally recognized MSIs that are regular members of CGS and that are not currently receiving funding from CGS for this project.

    Awardees must commit to collecting data on PhD student and alumni in at least one STEM doctoral program, but are encouraged to also administer the PhD Career Pathways Alumni and Student surveys to students and alumni from any doctoral program the institution offers.

    To Apply:

    Request for Proposals (RFP)

    Electronic Proposal Submission Link

    You may find it helpful to review the entire application form before beginning the process of submitting your institution’s proposal. A pdf version of the full online application is provided here. Once you have reviewed the proposal and assembled the materials you will need, please begin the online proposal process.


    Information and Materials to Guide Proposal Development:

    Survey Implementation Guide (Attachment A) - Updated 4.2.18

    PhD Alumni Survey (Attachment B) - Updated 3.20.17

    PhD Student Survey (Attachment C) - Updated 1.19.18

    Field Taxonomy (Attachment D) 

    Strategies for Sustainability from Current CGS PhD Career Pathways Participants (Attachment E) 


    April 2, 2018            RFP Released


    May 1, 2018             Proposal Due


    June 2018                Decisions Announced


    July 1, 2018             Grant Start Date


    July 9, 2018             First in-person Project Directors’ meeting at CGS Summer                                                               Workshop (Semiannually thereafter at CGS meetings)


    Fall 2018                   Wave 1 Alumni Survey


    Spring 2019              Wave 1 Student Survey


    Fall 2019                   Wave 2 Alumni Survey


    Spring 2020              Wave 2 Student Survey


    June 30, 2020           Grant End Date


    For inquiries about proposal submission guidelines, contact Project Manager Enyu Zhou.

    For all other inquiries, contact Project Director Jeff Engler.



    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.
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